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Delhiwale: Nihari mornings, Korma nights

The charm of Husseini Hotel goes beyond food. Its quiet courtyard offers the best afternoon refuge.

delhi Updated: Jul 10, 2017 15:15 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Even its address is filled with romance. It lies in a neighbourhood that is named after a great Sufi saint, and the lane on which it stands is named after a great Urdu poet— Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Mirza Ghalib street.
Even its address is filled with romance. It lies in a neighbourhood that is named after a great Sufi saint, and the lane on which it stands is named after a great Urdu poet— Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Mirza Ghalib street.(Mayank Austen Soofi / HT Photo)

The pots and pans are filled with Delhi’s customary dishes. The thick rotis are stacked under a white netted fabric. The friendly cooks wave at passersby on the street. The two owners ladle out the curries themselves. The diners sit in the uncluttered courtyard, which is so quiet that the adjacent street seems a world away.

Husseini Hotel is truly romantic.

Even its address is filled with romance. It lies in a neighbourhood that is named after a great Sufi saint, and the lane on which it stands is named after a great Urdu poet— Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, Mirza Ghalib street.

Come here, sit down, turn on your e-book and read for hours — nobody will bother you. The only distraction is the smell of spicy food. It’s best to first get that out of the way. Try the Bhuna Dal, urad cooked with roasted meat. The calorie-rich paya and nihari are delicious. There are also kormas and biryanis. And it will be foolish not to have the milky sheermal roti, a sweetened bread served at a very few places in Delhi.

Although the food is homely and traditional, you can get similar dishes in other eateries that line this street. But Husseini Hotel is about more than just its culinary heritage. Lounging in its courtyard brings peace of mind. There is also a shaded corridor, much-preferred in hot afternoons.

The eatery was founded in 1952 by Muhammed Husseini, who moved to our city from Meerut. Today it is run by his two extremely polite grandsons, Talib and Makki.

The two cooks, Abdul Aziz and Muhammed Ayub, have been here for over a decade. Mr Aziz has a passion for music — his ears are always plugged to his mobile phone’s earphones. Even then, he can get very chatty with regulars.

In the ongoing month of Ramzan, come in the evenings after the day’s fast is over. The eatery closes around midnight but its flavour lingers through the night.