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May 31, 2010 06:52 PM

Recent Dining in India

We returned recently from a three week trip to India and China and, while I'll also post a few recommendations on the China board, I thought I would talk about India first.

We were in New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Aurangabad and ate splendid meals everywhere we went. For me, one of the outstanding meals was at the Brown Sahib in New Delhi. The Brown Sahib is a very new restaurant, located in a very large, very air-conditioned, very fashionable shopping mall. To be specific, it's on the second floor of the MGF Metropolitan Mall at District Center. The phone is 4082-0027. It's about the last place we expected to find such a fine restaurant.

Brown Sahib specializes in the food of Punjab, and while we were there, they were preparing special food for Polla Beishak, the Punjab New Year. So, for example, we ate Mocchan Ghanto -- banana flowers sauteed with almonds. But their regular menu was also commendable -- delicious chello kebab (minced chicken cubes in butter) and wonderful duck vindaloo. The lentils were excellent, and for dessert, the sweet nut filled pancakes with cream and the mango rice pudding were superb.

All of this, and lots more, was about $70 -- hugely expensive by local standards, but well worthwhile for a really nice restaurant run by lovely people eager to be sure we were happy with our meal.

In Jaipur, we had a delightful lunch at Niro's Restaurant on Mirza Ismail Road. The phone is 2374493. As far as I could tell, the place was packed with local business people and shoppers (along with some tourists, of course). We tried the Rajasthan specialties: Sarson Ka saag (mustard greens in yogurt sauce), Makkiki roti (griddled corn bread), Gatta (besan flour dumplings in spicy sauce -- bright red on the inside and quite, quite spicy). We spent about $25 on our feast.

We had a magical dinner under the stars at the rooftop restaurant of the unlikely looking Jaiwani Haveli Hotel in Udapur. The phone is 91-294-2411-03. Even our driver had trouble navigating the narrow streets and finding the place. We looked out over the lake, and listened to the sounds of the city below as we dined on Gotta dumplings in yogurt and lemon sauce and lemon chicken and rice with cumin. We had the restaurant mostly to ourselves, probably because it was about 110 degrees during the day and people were afraid to come out, even though the night was cool and delightful. The bill was about $30. And the beer was nice and cold.

And in Mumbai, we had a wonderful and relaxing lunch in the air conditioned splendor of the Konkan Cafe in the Taj President Hotel. We don't usually eat in hotels, but the menu was so inviting, we couldn't resist. We were right: a delicious seafood thali (malabar fish curry, prawns, rice, dal, fried fish, three kinds of break, soup, kulfi and fried pastry for dessert -- all you can eat, in fact). And, to go with all of this, excellent fish steamed in banana leaves. The tab was about $60.

And, of course, because they were in season, we devoured a couple of alfonso mangos back in our room.

There were lots more meals, of course, but these were the real high points for me.

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  1. thanks for making the great report! and glad you had some good meals. Curious how you selected your dining destinations?
    I do hope you talk about your other meals - its nice to have more data points in India.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Dear Jen,

      Thanks for your kind words, Jen. Your posts are always so excellent. -- I've been reading them for years. I did a ton of research on line and in books, and, once we got to India, I started reading local magazines and newspapers (in English of course) and asking people what they recommend.

      1. re: EHBrown

        Such a great report.Although I have my favorite restaurants in Delhi.Mumbai and Kerala as I am there monthly.I have to say any Taj property through out India or the world,besides the endearing Parsi/Indian sensibilities ala Tata,always have great food in their upscale restaurants.One of the managers once gifted me with a recipe collection book of the various chef's at the various Taj properties and I treasure those recipes.

    2. Excellent report. Thank you for writing so much detail. I read elsewhere that Niro's is the best restaurant in Jaipur. I will definitely be eating there when I go to India in a few weeks! :)