Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Travel Diaries: Day 01 - Jama Masjid Sojourn - #DilliKeDehlviRang with JW Marriott Delhi Aerocity

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Having lived the excitement of #DilliKeDehlviRang with JW Marriott Delhi Aerocity, I admit I have a lot to say and hence this post which is a follow up to the first one. Haven't read the first of this series? Click here.

Yes, the first post thought speaks of the overall experience, it is really just the tip of an iceberg. What really worked on this curated trip was that we were not restricted to just the hotel premises but the emphasis lay in getting down to the streets of old Delhi and experiencing the rustic offerings followed by the more modern and sophisticated dining.

On the first day, our agenda for the evening got us really excited and was surely something each one of us really looked forward to. It involved us taking to the busy street of Old Delhi to explore the first of the 3 sub cuisines that constitute the Dehlvi Cuisine - Mughlai. But before we get going with the food tour, it was important to understand the origins of this cuisine. 

Now that must be a good enough hint to where we might have started off? Delhi is rich in history and heritage; right from Tomar dynasty in 700 BC to Independent India starting 1947. It's wonderful to walk the streets which express pride in the history that's been lived here. We started with a visit to the historical monument and a place of worship; a marvel created during the time of Mughals who migrated to Hindustan not to loot the country off its wealth but to make it their home. One such result of it is the magnificent Jama Masjid. 

Yes, we did take a tour of the masjid guided by Kanika Pabby representing 'India City Walks'. This clearly set the tone for the rest of the evening around the periphery of Jama Masjid where we were food hopping from one place to another in search of that food nirvana of sorts. The road ran along Gate 3 of Jama Masjid on one side and not the other it was a line up of joints serving food either by the street or with some seating of sorts. This stretch seemed quite busy with the hustle bustle of motor vehicles, people walking around, cycle rickshaws making their way through all this rush. Complementing this was the diversity of food on offer. 

We could no longer hold the wait and started with a small joint called Qureshi Kabab Corner that kept rolling out sheek kebab like never seen before. Of course we stood there coz they are believed to dish out some of the best she's around. They served 2 varieties of sheek - Beef and chicken. While I don't eat beef, I settled for chicken. The sheek kebabs are served with a coriander - mint chutney and slivers of onions. The flavor of the chutney, the crunch from the onion and the succulence of the sheek complimented each other really well.  Had it not been a longer night planned, I'd have settled for these with a few roomali roots to go along. Voila!

Next on out list was the famous fried chicken. For this, we walked into one of the by-lanes to arrive at 'Haji Mohd. Hussain'. Like Qureshi Kabab Corner, this is a must visit too. Chicken was fried and served a really spicy chutney and accompanied with again slivers of onion and radish. The coating around the chicken was extremely crunchy, chicken moist and chutney really - really spicy. The heat of the chutney only got insane from the time we got started here. However, there was no stopping until it was time to head to the next course of our food walk.

After the long hours spent taking a tour of Jama Masjid, walking around the streets savouring delicacies a sit down meal was something I really sought. And here we were at Al-Jawahar for dinner. We were a group of about 20 and I'm sure this might have already given you a fair idea of the amount of food and the variety that would have made an appearance on our table.

There was mutton quorma, chicken stew, Chicken kalimirch, Kaleji Gurda and a lot more that was accompanied by fluffy and wonderful looking Khameeri Rotis. The Khameeri roti was excellent and of the gravies the most I enjoyed was the mutton quorma. The other dishes were nice but nothing really to speak off. I'm not sure if it was a bad day but I fail to really see a justification of the hype around this place.

As we walked around all evening, our eyes were fixated on Shahi Tukda for dessert and while it was available all over, we had a designated stall chosen for our visit. The shahi tukda at Haji Tea Stall was excellent. They also serve a variety of shakes, puri, sabzi halwa and a lot more. Desserts always hold a dedicated area in the stomach and so it was just a Shahi Tukda for the sweet tooth and then a paan from another stall by the corner to call it an evening. 

It was a lovely evening curated by JW Marriott Delhi Aerocity with experiences that really stood out to make it a memorable experience. Some of the key highlights and my recommendations from the evening were:
- Visit the Jama Masjid area in groups to make the most of the evening if food is your focus.
- Definitely visit Qureshi Kabab Corner for sheek kabab, Haji Mohd. Husain for fried chicken.
- Visit to Jama Masjid that ties culture, heritage, architecture and the bond between history and present.
- Do complete the evening with Shahi Tukda.

Signing off now with more travel stories. Safe & fun travel!

Note: This event was attended on invitation from JW Marriott Delhi Aerocity. However, the opinions expressed are solely mine and are absolutely unbiased nor influenced by the brand in any way.