Once upon a time there ruled over twentieth-century Indraprastha, not one but two Ashoks, whose empire stretched as far as the eye could see, and their fame even beyond.
Okay, granted that the eye couldn’t see very far at all in twentieth-century Indraprastha, but you get the gist.
Every day when the sun would set on their bonny kingdom, the Ashoks would collect their tithe, and transform it into a toothsome treat of mutton and chicken, curried in the richest of gravies, replete with desi ghee and the finest dry fruits their minions could muster.
Then one day, legend goes, as they were surveying the plains after a particularly bloody battle with enemies most fowl, they had an epicurean epiphany. “What haven’t I done?!” they cried.
And that is when they decided to renounce violence and mint money by selling the stuff they conjured up each day.
So when the venerable Rahul Verma told me that the legend is still alive, and he would even be kind enough to take us to the shop, I immediately pounced on the phone and rang every friend I could think of. Here was a treat no one should miss!
We gathered in the parking lot of the Press Club on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but the pleasantries were brief. We were a bunch of foodies and we had work to do. Plus, we had been told that the place is open only from about 1 to 3 o’clock, and often runs out of its offerings even sooner. In minutes we had piled into a couple of cars, and sped off to Sadar Bazar, where stands Ashok and Ashok Meat Dhaba.
The location and other details have already been covered in an old article of Rahul Verma’s.
All I’ll say is that the place comfortably lived up to its billing. The seven of us barely exchanged a word from the moment the plates of mutton and chicken curry landed on our roadside table, not counting the frequent grunts to ask for more chapattis. The thick chapattis, garnished with dhaniya, were themselves quite unique and delicious. But they are understandably overshadowed by the gravy, which was easily the best I’ve had in a meat dish yet. A perfect example, in fact, of a good Indian curry — rich with spices and flavour without being hot, generous in its use of ghee yet somehow light on the tummy.
Incidentally, we had one vegetarian amongst us as well, and Ashok was able to serve her with a capable thali, with the regular shahi paneer etc. accompanied by the same delectable chapattis. It goes without saying, though, that it pales in comparison with the mutton and chicken curries. There is also biryani on the menu, which none of us have tried yet.
Price: Just Rs. 90 for a plate of mutton or chicken curry, with unlimited chapattis.
Timings: 1pm – 3pm. Carry out available from 1pm to 8pm. Mutton is served only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The shop is shut during the Navraatras.
Location: 42, Subhash Chowk, Basti Harphool Singh, Sadar Thana Road. Ph. +91-9871471700, 9910363803, 9891776283
Also see the Rahul Verma article cited above. That said, it’s probably best to try and go there with someone who already knows the place.