Dehlvi Cuisine Showcase

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Old Delhi is renowned for its culinary heritage, and though I’ve eaten my way through many meals that have their origins there, a weekend wholly dedicated to Dehlvi cuisine sounded wonderful and quite irresistible. This entire experience was hosted by JW Marriot New Delhi Aerocity, a beautiful property located very close to the New Delhi airport.

The team at JWM had done a terrific job of organising and curating this weekend affair, with food trails to the Jama Masjid bylanes and Chandni Chowk interspersed with themed events at the hotel.

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As one would expect, the bustling JW Marriot New Delhi Aerocity hotel has lovely guest rooms perfect for a comfortable stay, and the service is fabulous. A special word for the modern and exquisite flower arrangements that brightened up many spaces. There’s lots of seating near the lobby and the outdoor cabanas are perfect nooks for relaxing over a drink in the evenings. I also peeked in to a hall that was being decorated for a wedding and the floral decor was quite stunning!

 

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The buffet at the K3 restaurant was what we tried on Day 1. Here the spread is hosted by three separate kitchens serving Indian, Cantonese and Tuscan cuisine. Though I usually avoid multi-cuisine spreads, this was more like eating at three separate restaurants, since the food at each was really well done and true to the theme.

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The Indian section in K3 mostly serves dishes from Delhi, including seasonal specialties. We enjoyed a tikki made with winter turnips, as well as a tava fry with vegetables including bitter-gourd. Another highlight of the meal was the decadent Chicken korma made with pistachios, and the meaty Mutton Rara which had succulent chunks of mutton in a rich burgundy-coloured masala with minced meat.

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A breakfast hosted at the Delhi Baking Company had all kinds of tempting baked delights on offer along with some healthier options like granola parfaits. This is a lovely place to relax over a coffee and pastry, or even a scoop of gelato.

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The team at JWM also put together a wonderful dinner for us one evening, with a very interesting theme. This was a jugalbandi between two of their chefs, Asif who is an expert in Delhi cuisine and Arif specialising in Lucknowi delights. So we had some delicious kababs served up from both contestants, the highlight of which was the truly superb Kakori Kabab with perfect flavours and incredible smoothness in the meat.

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And so it went on..there was a korma round with hot, flaky Tandoori parathas to dunk into the thick gravies, and then a biriyani round. The deep, dark mutton korma was delicious, as was the lighter chicken dish with the gravy flavoured with plenty of fresh coriander. The biriyani would probably go well with one of the kormas, since this style of biriyani is not made with much of masala, it is just the meat and the spiced rice with some caramelised onions.

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The showstopper dessert was a joint effort by both chefs, with a beautifully constructed Shahi Tukda, sweet rice cooked with saffron – Zarda, and a smooth, creamy saffron mousse that I could have easily eaten a whole pot of!

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We went back to K3 for a Dilli-style breakfast spread the next day and found that this busy restaurant serves up a huge spread in the morning too, with a special themed Sunday brunch to follow.

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Our Dehlvi themed breakfast began in true theatrical style with the appearance of four gorgeous, gleaming copper tiffin boxes. These were ceremoniously unpacked to reveal their contents – Kachoris, Chole (though aloo ka saag would have been more appropriate), Raita and Kheer. Tiered tiffins are something that most of us have grown up with and these brought some precious memories right back, along with a delicious sense of anticipation that the very act of opening a tiffin box incites.

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The second course was Chole Bhature, Delhi’s own signature breakfast, and this was followed by some very delicious and crusty stuffed parathas. A bite of kheer for a sweet note, and a mug of ginger chai, and we were set for the day!

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The entire trip featuring Dehlvi cuisine was truly lovely and enjoyable, made perfect by the care and attention that the JW Marriot Aerocity team had lavished on creating and executing each part of it. If you’re looking to experience luxury and comfort at a premier hotel in Delhi, we do strongly recommend this amazing property and their very friendly and competent staff.

 

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