There were quite a few advertisements in the local press about a Biryani Festival at Delhi Darbar, which seemed to have whetted our collective appetite. It competed with China Garden, Goenchin and Rajdhani for our attention, and won.
As it was a Sunday, parking was mercifully easy to find, and we were able to get to the place without any senior citizens having to pole-vault over ditches.
The turbaned, costumed doorman smiled his stock smile from beneath his thick moustache, and the smiles were echoed several-fold as the staff escorted us to out table.
So far, so good, we thought.
Then we got a little surprise. The Biryani “festival” was not what it seemed. The delectable fried rice dish was on offer as priced in the menu, the only bonus was that there was a “three for the price of two” offer on hard drinks ie liquor.
Which may have suited us admirably, as there were three of us. Except that two out of three of us hadn’t the ittiest-bittiest interest in alcohol. And we were looking forward to a celebration of biryani (isn’t that what a festival is usually all about?), perhaps a wide variety of the stuff, tastefully bedecked on a table specially set out for the occasion.
We deliberated on the menu, and this is what we chose:
1. Tangdi kabab for the entree
2. Two lassis, one sweet, one salted, and a pint of Kingfisher
3. Chicken biryani
4. Palak paneer
5. Buttered naan.
The service was fairly prompt, and rendered with a smile, and a flourish.
The lassis could have been served a little colder.
The biryani was well-prepared, but could have done with a little extra oomph. Same goes for the palak paneer.
The naans seemed to swim in butter, but that could have been me.
The portions were pretty generous.
It could be that we were venturing out for a meal after a respectable absence, and you could blame it on the recession, and inflation, cost of living, but the items did seem a little overpriced.
The place seemed to be a haunt for tourists, Indian as well as foreign.
That the establishment is child-friendly is borne out by the fact that a cute toddler was savouring the fare with much more gusto than her adult companions, and promptly dropped off peacefully to sleep on the seat after she had had her fill.
Review summary (in stars out of a possible five stars):
Food quality: ** 1/2
Value for money: ***
Ambience, decor: ** 1/2
Payment: Cash; major credit cards accepted
Would I recommend it to a friend (or anyone else)? Not very persuasively
Would I come back? Er, umm, yes, if I had run out of options.