This was probably that first restaurant in Delhi that I fell so much in love with, around a decade back, and continue to be till this day. Both the outlets have not changed in any aspect whatsoever over the years, but they are still awesome.
Naivedyam at Hauz Khas Village is the more famous of the outlets, the one at Kalkaji being a lesser cousin. I have never been to the one in Gurgaon, wherever that is. Anyway, apart from décor, almost everything else is same at both the outlets. The black stone bull outside, the heavily carved black doors and the servers in white dhotis- you will get it all at both the outlets. It’s only the interior that is better at Hauz Khas. Based on a South Indian village house theme, it beats the drawing room feel of Kalkaji one hands down.
The good news is that the food is as impeccable every single time you visit, no matter which branch you go to. Food always tastes as if it has come out from the same kitchen, prepared by the same cook. The service is bang on the coin too. It’s the only south Indian place in town where you get complementary rasam and papad on arrival. The servers are never rude nor over-friendly, as if they are set on the Warm Humanity mode by some invisible button.
The menu has remained constant over the years, but I can’t complain. I would love it if they add a few items but haven’t gone there any less for the lack of it. We always order the Maharaja thali, a different dosa every time, my favourite bisi bele bhaath, Idiappams, coconut water and finish with filter coffee and Kesari bhath. When we have a guest, we add a tiffin thali to the order too. In nearly seven years of frequenting Neivedyam, both the outlets, I can’t recall a single bad experience – either in terms of food or otherwise.
The Maharaja thali at Neivedyam comes with five puris and a gigantic bowl of rice. I always make it a point to eat with my hands, Andhra Bhawan style. There is not any hardcore South Indian curry or gravy in the thali, like the Tamilnadu House canteen has, bt it is quite a deal. The thali by itself is enough for a couple averse to food. We are not, so, we always order a dosa etc to go with it.
It’s worth pointing out how of all the things on the thali, I love the very simple raita so much. Something about the quality of dahi that they serve. Anyone who is averse to spices and wants to go for something other than an idli, should also try the idiappam that comes with coconut milk to soak it in. Dip the idiappam in milk like an Oreo and drink the leftover milk.
The food, ambiance and service are all top of the class. We have only a slight debate when it comes to the outlets. Hauz Khas when we have a guest. Kalkaji, when the craving is too bad as it is closer to home.