It’s true. We men don’t ask for directions.
A couple months back, having heard one too many recommendations for Sitaram Dewan Chand’s Chhole Bhature, I googled their address, found the rough location on an online map, and went down to Paharganj. I reached the street I was looking for, but despite driving as slowly as the traffic behind me allowed, couldn’t spot the shop. I could’ve stopped and asked just about anyone, but no sir, I’m a man.
Then on a cold November afternoon, with humility that came from being utterly famished, I made a second sortie to Paharganj. This time, I pulled over next to an old rickshaw-wallah, and queried him about Sitaram Dewan Chand. His eyes lit up, “Saab, it’s just a few shops ahead, on your right. It’s very good — people come from as far as Ghaziabad to eat Chhole Bhature here!” My 25 km daily commute must have left me looking distinctly underwhelmed at this fulsome praise, for his young friend promptly raised the stakes, “Even people from Pakistan come to eat here!”
Sitaram Dewan Chand’s shop is a small affair, but with the facility of tables on the pavement outside, at which you can stand and eat. Of the three Chhole Bhature places we have as yet reviewed on this site, it is the only one which serves the stuff at the time I landed there — about four o’clock. The odd timing however meant that the bhature came reheated from a pre-fried stack covered by a muslin cloth. I have since been there once more, again at the between-meals hour of 3pm, and again had to make do with the reheated fare. The kulche are actually made in another location they own just a few shops down the street.
The purist would regard serving reheated bhature as sacrilege, and there is no doubt that mine were a little rubbery from the treatment. Hence I am not yet in a position to comment on whether Sitaram’s fresh bhature are quite as soft and fluffy as those at Nagpal’s. But they certainly trump Nagpal in the taste department. For one, the bhature are even more liberally stippled with paneer shreds. But that is not all that makes them so special — it is also the fresh coriander, and the variety of spices (including fennel, pomegranate seeds, and others that I couldn’t unravel) that are mixed into the flour.
Of course, the zesty chhole, served with green chillies and onions, are a favourite in of themselves. I saw several people get platefuls of them bagged to carry home.
Were it not for the inconvenience of plying through Paharganj traffic, Sitaram Dewan Chand would probably be my first choice for Chhole Bhature in Delhi. Until, of course, I find something even more delicious!
Location: The address is 2246, Chuna Mandi, Paharganj. This is on the street (technically, “Rajguru Marg”) which connects The Metropolis and Imperial Cinema to the big Desh Bandhu Gupta Road. The shop is on the ground floor of the building which houses Hotel Chanakya. Approximate Map Location.
[Update: April 21, 2009] They have recently also opened a branch at M.D. 2, DDA Market, Pitampura, New Delhi 88 (near Muni Mayaram Jain Hospital).
Timings: 8am to late afternoon.
Prices: Rs. 24 for a plate of two paneer kulche, with accompanying chhole and pickles. [Updated April 21, 2009]