Chonas, Khan Market, Delhi

Contributed by Deepinder Goyal

Mediocrity at a prime location never goes out of business.

[singlepic id=1726 w=80 h=92 float=left]We were invited by the management team of Chonas to re-review their restaurant which has been around for 22 years now and claims to have a large fan following. Chonas is located at one of the most prime locations in the very popular Khan Market and is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. Given its legacy and location, Chonas is never short of walk in customers. We however felt that the restaurant falls woefully short in quite a few areas – most of which need to be taken seriously by the management.

When we entered the staircase leading to the restaurant, we encountered a damp, musty and mouldy odour, much like a place that hasn’t been cleaned for a long time. Moving on, we entered a well lit dining area with heavy wood tables giving an old world feel to the restaurant. The seating space could have been a little more generous as we felt it was quite cramped. The buffet was cleanly laid out in the middle of the restaurant – something different from other restaurants where the buffet is generally stacked up against the wall. As we sat down, a smiling member of the waiting staff promptly came to our table with the menu. Nice so far.

The menu has 6 sections in all – Continental, Sizzlers, Barbeque, Chinese, Indian and Desserts. Out of all the above, Chonas is very popular for its sizzlers. We asked the waiter to bring a sampler of some of the best dishes Chona’s had to offer, one from each cuisine. The waiter chose to serve us with the Chilli Chicken Sizzler with fries and rice, a sampler of Indian Tandoori starters, Chicken Masala, Fusilli Tomato Pasta and Pyaaz Pudina Roti.

The sizzler was pretty average – chilli chicken with rice put on a sizzler pan. The pan itself was dirty and thickly encrusted with burnt food residue). The fries were soggy and I was tempted to get some fries from McDonalds which is quite close to Chonas. We later learnt that McCains fries are used at Chonas. I believe it takes a great deal of ingenuity to ruin packaged fries, a skill that the kitchen staff at Chonas obviously possess in great measure.

The Indian Tandoori Platter looked really good when it arrived. I guess the fruit flies hovering possessively over the kebabs thought so too. Going by the taste, the flies were more than welcome to our kebabs. The Paneer Tikka lacked flavor of any sort and the chicken could have been more tender. The Mutton Seekh Kebab could be described as delicious if not for the crunchy lemon seeds ensconced within. The fries made me curious about the state of the kitchen. My request to visit the kitchen however, was denied. I believe every customer is within his or her rights to see the place where their food is being prepared. If denied, the restaurant may have something to hide.

The pasta was fusilli in tomato sauce with black olives and sun dried tomatoes. The fusilli was under cooked and chewy – perhaps the difference between under cooked and al dente should be explained to the Chef. We braved it. On a side note, if you are looking for good pasta, I would recommend Amici, which is right next to Chonas, Khan Market, in the middle lane.

The Chicken Masala and the Shahi Paneer were quite enjoyable. The Shahi Paneer in particular, although delicious, wasn’t close to the dish I know as Shahi Paneer. It seems the Chef at Chonas, Khan Market is only good with Indian flavors without the much needed attribute of paying attention to detail.

We ended our sordid ordeal at Chonas, Khan Market with a slice of blueberry cheese cake. My my, avoid it! I don’t know whether it is always like that, but I nearly threw up after one bite of that cheese cake… and I’m not very picky when it comes to desserts. That cheesecake was demented and needed 6 months in group therapy and another 6 with a talented psycho-analyst.

We whole heartedly recommend Chonas, Khan Market for anything that’s bottled or comes out of a packet (ready to eat).

All rights for the image used on the front page for this article lie with the owners of the Chonas, Khan Market.

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