Eons back, when I was studying at Delhi University, I had been to the Karim’s at Kamla Nagar. The memory is distant and faded. Apart from that, I have been to any of their branches. Whenever I craved meat, I will join a few friends and take the long road down to the original near Jama Masjid.
But when a branch opened a stone’s throw away from my house, I had to do the honours. This time I was accompanied by a friend’s father who is a true blood meat eater. This branch is a small restaurant on a single floor with none of the mohalla feel of the original one. However, the servers are dressed in the same red costume as the Old Delhi one and but nothing else is same. Given the size of the restaurant, bad service will take some serious effort. So, it was prompt.
Coming to the food, there was not much that two people could order. So, we were careful. We ordered shami kebabs for starters and it was a disappointment. The kebabs were hard and had none of the moistness that good kebabs have. It did not taste all that bad, but there is a reason why it’s called a kebab and not a tikki. My guess is they were delivered from the Old Delhi restaurant and are only being heated and served here. Given the hundreds of kinds of kebabs and the reputation that Karim’s has, it needs it to get them perfectly right to deserve the credentials.
Moving on, we ordered mutton qorma, handi chicken, roomali roti and the unmissable tandoori roti. I wanted to order the Kadhai chicken, which is generally my favoured item. But the guy at the counter recommended the Handi version and we went along. That was a good decision. Even the half plate that we ordered had two huge hunks of chicken that was delightfully meaty and was doused in spicy gravy. Going by the reviews, I later found that he recommends the dish to anyone who cares to ask. So, they are quite proud of the dish.
The mutton qorma was as delicious as ever. I am not a big fan of the red meat but this is one dish I can binge on. After tasting both the meat dishes, I became quite sure that the food is not cooked here. The food is same as in the Old Delhi restaurant and may be, they are delivered to the braches in deghs everyday.
The tandoori rotis proved my theory too. They were not the same gentle yellow, soft pillows of dough that the original ones are. They seems to be reheated and served, but not that bad, anyway.
Summing up, if you can’t make the trip to Old Delhi, don’t feel too bad about coming to Lajpat Nagar or any other branch for that matter. The food is good and the place is neat. Though I am not too sure which one is worse – Lajpat Nagar traffic or Old Delhi traffic.