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Go Chelo!

By the time you’ve figured out how to correctly pronounce the name of the restaurant, a complimentary bottle of mineral water has arrived on your table.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2010 14:33 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder
Jayeeta Mazumder
Hindustan Times

By the time you’ve figured out how to correctly pronounce the name of the restaurant, a complimentary bottle of mineral water has arrived on your table. The décor is a bit depressing. Yellow walls, blue and white beaded strings pretend to act as curtains, while an utterly mismatched neon blue chandelier is made redundant by the bright white concealed lighting.

The chairs wear amusing black leather corsets, haute enough to look stunning on a pretty girl. Guess when Morocco meets modern, this is what it looks like. The one saviour seems to be the TV playing the IPL match that pulls your attention away.

The staff is quick, our starter arrives within 15 minutes of ordering it. The Murg Esfahaani Tikka (Rs 170) is succulent and tender, with distinct flavours of cashew and saffron. As we bask in the satisfying taste, the waiter asks for our main course order, adding that they may take a while to be prepared.

We turn our attention to the menu and are mildly surprised to see the mention of Chingri Malai Curry (Rs 210), which is the classic Bengali prawn dish cooked in curd. Try their most expensive dish, Raan Biryani (Rs 710) if you love lamb. The litmus test would be the Persian Chelo Kabab (Rs 200).

Although unfair to compare them to those found in Delhi’s Paranthewali Gully and Kolkata’s Peter Cat, this was something to be reckoned with. The fragrant buttered rice combined with the kababs is indeed a must-try. Expectations had built up by now. Although pretty full, we decide to assess their ‘multi-cuisine’ claims.

The extensive menu lists Mughlai, Persian, Continental and Chinese foods. Some dishes like Charcoal Chicken and Cilantro Vinaigrette Salad (Rs 125) and Pink Pepper Chicken (Rs 300) sound interesting. We settle on Spanish Paprika Babycorn (Rs 130). It fails horribly.

By this time, we realise that the AC had been turned off and a slim cooler in the corner was meekly blowing some wind. Badly craving something sweet, the only natural choice of dessert here is Gajar Ka Halwa (Rs 75), but they come complementary only on weekends. The waiter suggests Fresh Strawberry Cream (Rs 125), a concoction of whipped cream and ice cream with juicy slices of strawberries.

That gives us reason to come back again.Before leaving, we ask the waiter the inspiration behind the restaurant’s name. The third largest city in Iran, the owner apparently visits the place frequently. But sadly, Esfahaan here hasn’t been discovered by many yet, as we were the only customers they had all night!

WHAT: Esfahaan
WHERE: 33rd and 15th Road Junction, Off Linking Road, (KFC Junction)
Call: 26052378, 26052379

Mughlai, Persian, Continental and
Chinese fare
Smoking: Yes

What we like
The complementary mineral water bottle
The Chelo Kabab
The friendly staff and quick service
The prices

What we don’t like
The décor
The Spanish Paprika Babycorn
The unavailability of Gajar Ka Halwa and Phirni
The AC being turned off

First Published: Apr 23, 2010 13:44 IST