In the quest for the extraordinary, one is often let down. For the well-traveled food connoisseur, there has been a serious dearth of innovation in the fine dine segment in India. Many restaurants have tried and failed at drawing in the numbers, because the pricing shoots up with every new item on the table. Add to that the trappings of high-street markets like Khan Market, where only the top of the line can survive and one expects nothing less than five-star treatment, in service and in pricing. Luckily, there is hope at the end of that tunnel.
Uniqueness is no longer the bent of only five-star restaurants. A small establishment can bring just as much uniqueness in its offerings. So it seems is the case with Trolleys, the new place in Khan Market. Trolleys is the brain child of Sandy Chugh, Vasu Chugh and Prabhat Adhikari. True to its name, there are trolleys on the floor, serving up the day’s specials on the house while you wait to place your order. On the day of my visit, the trolleys at Trolleys were serving chat-papdi, a very Delhi thing so to say. However, if you are lucky, the trolley might be serving martini golgappas or a vodka chuski. The idea here is simple; don’t keep the patrons waiting empty-handed while they make up their mind on the food.
The food at Trolleys gets its own wall of fame. Sandy has been a chef and traveled the world with his job before coming back to India and diving into his dream of being his own boss. He brings his own style and renditions of some of Delhi’s/India’s most liked flavors. I tried the Makai Aur Mirch Ki Seekh (corn kernels spiked with jalapenos and Indian herbs) and Kache Kele Aur Anjeer Ke Kebab (crispy patties of raw banana and dried figs, flavored with ginger and mint). I must add, if you do make up your mind to visit the place after reading this piece, do remember to order for the Kache Kele Aur Anjeer Ke Kebab. I vouch for it, you will not regret your choice!
Pathar Ke Kebab (piccatas of baby lamb leg marinated with a house special mix of spices), and Sharabi Kababi Tikka (succulent chunks of chicken cooked in the Tandoor and flambéed with rum) made up the day’s non-vegetarian choices for me. Apart from the taste of it all, which was brilliant, it was fun to watch the servers pouring in a shot of rum and lighting my kabab platter on fire. Honestly, I did look up for a moment to see if the fire alarms were about to go off. Luckily, there was no need to raise an alarm. My slight frame still had space for more appetizers. Egged by Sandy’s suggestion, I opted for the Grainy Mustard Chicken Wings – chicken wings marinated in a grainy mustard sauce similar to the Bengali kashundi. I quite liked the new twist in taste for the simple chicken wings.
Although there were a variety of choices, my eyes were set on the Nihari Gosht for main course. It takes a long time to cook Nihari, and to cook it right with the perfect flavors is nothing less than art. No disappointment whatsoever with the Nihari. However, the near perfect Nihari was overshadowed by another Delhi classic – the Shahi Tukda. It’s been a really long time and I don’t say this often, but the Shahi Tukda at Trolleys is way ahead of the competition. In fact, there isn’t anything that can compete, at least on this side of the walled city.
Food, so to say, was not the only thing that the trio set out to experiment with. They left some innovation for the bar and the interiors too. Bright colors all around the place, a ceiling with mirrors, and recycled glassware make the place even more interesting on the first visit. “We haven’t bought a single glass for the restaurant. All the glasses have been obtained from recycling different beverage bottles. All the glasses you see here say ‘Reciclar’ – meaning ‘recycle’ in Spanish”, says Sandy. “I cut the first few bottles myself and showed it to the person who now makes all our glasses”, he adds.
Adding spirits to those glasses is another story for the moment. Like every new place, Trolleys is going through some minor teething troubles. So the amount or the variety of alcoholic beverages can appear to be slightly limited. They do make up for it with their Sangria, which was quite good. Price point for all this jazz on the platter is not bad either, at around INR 1200 plus taxes for a meal for two (without alcohol).
My verdict – worth a visit, asap.