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Magic of Orange

india Updated: Oct 03, 2008 16:17 IST
Marryam H Reshii
Marryam H Reshii
Hindustan Times
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Nowadays, the trend is to open up scaleable restaurants, which spread like wild fire to other locations and have the same menu and ambience. Thus, before long, we can expect a few more Orange Haras all over the city. In a nutshell, the concept is traditional food — principally North Indian, in modern, mall-friendly, young-at-heart settings.

Service is almost five-star, informed and articulate, though I wish they would restrain their service staff from sidling up to every table and asking how the food is every few minutes.

The amuse bouche — the free dish that is served to every table as soon as they walk in — was an Orange Hara version of papri chaat the day of my visit. It is one of the most memorable amuse bouches that I have ever encountered — the papris were crisp and flaky and the tangy hung curd sauce would have been the envy of a Chandni Chowk chaat-wallah.

The magic continued with the matarwali tikkis (Rs 225), which were made of coarsely mashed green peas that had obviously been griddled-roasted with a modicum of pure ghee. Though I was expecting dried peas à la Lucknow’s fabled chaat, this one was a novel take and made for a tasty, unusual vegetarian option.

The delightful tandoori prawns (Rs 595) mercifully had no ajwain in it (there has to be another way of marinating seafood besides using done-to-death ajwain). This version had light, subtle spices. They weren’t even over-cooked — a common enough occurrence in land-locked Delhi, but had the right bite.

I was slightly disappointed with the neza kebab (Rs 450) — grilled chicken that was a mismatch between the description on the menu and what appeared on the plate; saffron was certainly not present though it said so on the menu. What turned up was a robust, tasty Jama Masjid-style chicken that had a crisp, spicy coating and was succulent
inside.

Mirchi ka salan (Rs 295) almost never makes its appearance on menus in Delhi, though I wonder why. Intensely spicy with a rich gravy, it is one of Orange Hara’s best offerings. It would be a foolish restaurateur who leaves out murgh makhni (Rs 350) from a menu, that too in West Delhi. Their version is pleasant enough — not much better or much worse than hundreds of also-rans in the city.

The only ghastly note was the nalli ghosht (Rs 425), which tasted of some strange oil and not much else. I got another dish of my choice quickly enough, but the staff did say that nalli ghosht was supposed to taste like that!

Desserts include the omnipresent kulfi and gulab jamuns but also extend to tiramisu and chocolate fondant. Quite good value for money.