Contributed by Amit Uppal
After having been pestered, bullied and otherwise harassed by Sid for quite some time to buy myself a copy of the Larousse Gastronomique, I finally did so from Khan Market. Strolling through the market, we passed by a restaurant – Route 04, and thought of trying it out. My companion agreed and we merrily traipsed up the staircase to Route 04.
The decor and menu reminded us of the All American Diner at India Habitat Center or TGI Fridays. Tastefully done up in muted colors and akin to most American style food outlets in India, they have miniature vehicles and aircraft strewn around. Route 04 is named after America’s Golden Highway, known as Route 40 which spans the width of the US, East to West. The first sound to hit us at Route 04 was a cacophony of human chatter. We stood there, waiting to be seated, for fifteen minutes without being approached by the staff, who chose to spend their time chatting in a corner rather than help us out. Judging by their animated conversation I’d guess they didn’t even know we were there. The least one expects is to be informed of the expected waiting period. Later, we headed towards a table that had just been vacated and were unceremoniously told to leave it as it was reserved. Trying to pass the time, I requested a menu, which didn’t arrive for another 10 minutes. Therefore, after having spent nearly half an hour at Route 04, standing and apparently unwelcome, we decided to leave.
Once outside and having walked a bit further, a neon sign saying, ‘Ginger Moon’, greeted us and in we went again. Ginger Moon is a Chinese restaurant with appealing decor, subdued lighting and low tables with chairs and benches. We ordered Classic Crispy Chicken with Garlic Mayo and Roast Lamb Green Chili. Drinks comprised a Frozen Margarita and Lemon Iced Tea. The Crispy Chicken was the best I’ve had in the recent past, with pieces of boneless chicken, deep fried, topped with garlic mayo and finely chopped parsley. The chicken tased delicious and was crisp to the last bite. The lamb was equally good, with the right amount of bite and flavor. I only wish our waiter wouldn’t have dragged his feet so loudly.
The next stop was Amici. IMHO Amici was one of the best places for great pizzas and service. While the former still stands good, the latter obviously needs looking into. We sat out in the smoking area and asked for an ashtray, which wasn’t delivered for almost 15 minutes. Our neighbor was kind enough to lend us theirs. The menus then arrived, with the ashtray, and we ordered a Lebanese Pizza and a Guapo’s Mexican Pizza, with Spremuta (Lemon and Mint Soda). Now, I can’t say if it was attitude or urgency, but the server brought the pizzas and banged the platters on the table. I mean a fairly loud bang when the pizza hit the table. Even the toppings quivered. He didn’t bother to serve us, just banged down the food and left. The manager, I was told, wasn’t available. The Lebanese Pizza had spicy lamb, jalapenos and feta cheese atop a thin crisp base, which was nice. The Guapo’s Mexican Pizza had subtle flavors and went down quickly.
We were almost full, when Khan Chacha loomed up in front, and we decided to give it a try as well. Khan Chacha is one of the oldest eateries in Khan Market, having been there for the past 40 years. It was renovated recently, and now, looks more like a college canteen with air conditioning. Here, you climb the stairs, go to the cash counter, pay, take the bill, handover the order slip at the delivery counter and wait for your order, and in the mean time, find a seat for yourself. We had a Chicken Tikka roll and Mutton Seekh Kebab. The roll contained succulent pieces of chicken tikka, with the right spices, though a bit underdone. The seekh kebab was dry, tasteless; even the mint chutney and onion rings didn’t help much. Won’t bother going there again.
Thus ended our walk through Khan Market. I can’t wait to go back and try out some more places… soon!
Ed: The picture on the front page is a Lebanese pizza from Amici from a previous visit and was not taken during Amit’s trip.