“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.” – Elsa Schiaparelli
Nothing pleases a glutton more than a sumptuously rich and elaborate meal. Hence, hearing the word ‘thaali’ makes one gleam with delight! Delhi Highway in Sakinaka is one such all-vegetarian restaurant offering you a lavish vegetarian North Indian spread that’s sure to bowl over even the hardcore carnivores in the city with it’s simplicity and wholesome goodness! Reportedly, after the the grand success of their first outlet in Chennai that opened in 2009, the owners soon came up with another one in Chennai followed by one in Bangalore and another one in Sakinaka. Now, they already have plans to open two more in Bangalore and Mumbai, respectively!
The décor exudes a palatial and royal charm owing to the vast hypostyle dining hall with a high ceiling displaying artistic arcades on top supported by sturdy pillars. The space management is well done with sturdy wooden tables and plenty of well cushioned and heavy wooden dining chairs as well as comfortable couches strategically placed, adding to the glamour. There is a long community table in the centre of the dining hall enabling large families or groups to dine-in together with glee!
The sugar-y sweet flavour and faint floral notes of this one ensured us a soothing and refreshing treat indeed!
Tomato Basil Shorba
This was an absolutely heart-warming, piping hot, thin and tangy soup with a vivid minty and slightly peppery flavour and a just touch of sweetness.
These crunchy and crispy papads were rolled into cones and filled with diced onions, tomatoes, cucumber and finished with a large dollop of pesto sauce that further imparted more character to this preparation with it’s minty freshness.
Dahi Papdi Chaat
This one struck a perfect balance between sweet, spicy and tangy flavours to render it an aptly chatpata taste, owing to the combination of sweet curd, fresh and minty green chutney, sweet saunt chutney, mashed potatoes, pulses, juicy tomatoes, onions letting out the characteristic pungent tones and mellowed down sweetness, crunchy slender juliennes of carrots and beet and crunchy papdi.
These were shots of a tangy, sour and peppery spicy paani served with crispy puris placed atop and a combination of mashed potatoes, moistened boondi, cilantro and a few sprouts too, by the side.
Peshawari Paneer Tikka
The cottage cheese cubes were absolutely fresh and so effortlessly melted in the mouth yet well held its shape and form; also revealing faint smoky notes in every bite, courtesy the occasional charred specs imparted by the tandoor.
Veg Seekh Kebab
These were a letdown as not only were they too dry (completely missing out on moisture and juiciness), but they also had a tad too much of salt.
Naram Dil Kebab
This one was true to it’s name ‘Naram Dil’ (translates to soft heart) with a crispy fried golden brown crust revealing a pillow-y soft core comprising a filling of fresh crumbled paneer and green peas that also let out a vivid warm, faintly spicy and sweet flavour of cardamom in every bite.
These kebabs turned out to be an absolutely delicious combination of slightly sweet and dense kidney beans, earthy flavour of mashed potatoes and the characteristic sweetness and pungent undertones of onions with a relatively crisp and dark pan-fried exterior!
Hara Bhara Kebab
These good old cutlets made of green peas, spinach and potatoes, also had very finely diced carrots thrown in as a surprise element in the mixture. Moreover, biting into the roughly chopped big pieces of garlic present in the mixture occasionally let out a faintly citrus and mellowed down pungent kick that gradually left a characteristic lingering flavour on the palate.
Our thaali comprised of 5 sabzis, 2 Indian breads to choose from, 1 rice preparation, 2 desserts and 1 kulhad of Lassi. Besides, we also called for their hot-selling dessert – Jalebi & Rabdi; as leaving the restaurant without tasting that would have been equivalent to a sin otherwise!
Paneer Butter Masala
This was a rich, creamy and mildly tangy tomato-based gravy with onions adding a touch of sweetness and a large cushion-y soft paneer cube dunked in, finishing it off in style! Personally, I would have preferred a tad bit less butter in this one though, because at intervals the flavour of butter was quite overpowering the flavour of rest of the ingredients.
This thick, rich, aromatic and flavourful tomato based gravy with plenty of mixed vegetables was simply nailed to perfection!
The humble and faintly bitter spinach paired so very well with the sweet and relatively crunchy corn, to form a lightly spiced yet flavourful and slightly creamy dish.
This one was yet another hit owing to the piquant, tangy-sour flavour and irresistibly thick texture of the kadhi made of dahi and besan (gram flour) and the mildly spiced and well-soaked deep fried besan pakodas dunked in.
Dal Delhi Highway
This was again a tad too buttery for my liking; but was otherwise a rich, flavourful and wholesome preparation of black Lentils.
The rotis were neither too dry nor too thick and doughy (undercooked) but could have been softer, suppler and easier to manipulate into bite-sized morsels; definitely having scope for improvement.
This was a mild, aromatic and flavourful preparation of long grained rice loaded with vegetables. It had a faintly sweet and warm herbal fragrance, all courtesy the aromatic spices and was delicately and adequately spiced so as to render it a savoury taste and not make it excessively and unnecessarily spicy. However, it missed out on the characteristic smoky notes that a Hyderabadi biryani generally has. The rice grains didn’t stick to each other though, which was another good sign.
Moong Dal Halwa
This was absolutely rich, warm, sweet, creamy and delicious halwa made of split green gram.
This aromatic and flavourful rice pudding cooked in milk and embellished with a plenty of dry fruits like pistachios, revealed a warm and sweet flavour of cardamom and saffron.
The crisp, crunchy and syrupy deep fried Jalebis and the perfectly thick and creamy consistency and the right amount of sweetness of the Rabdi garnished with plenty of pistachios, both ensured that we wiped the platter clean within no time!
Delhi Special Lassi
The lassi, yet again loaded with a plenty of nuts like pistachios, was a perfect ending to our lavish meal owing to it’s brilliantly thick consistency and the right amount (not too much) of sweetness.
The service was extremely warm, welcoming and courteous. The attendants are well groomed, have good communication skills and are attentive. The speed of the service is reasonably fast, even if not consistent throughout the meal.
Their set meal deal that we sampled here, is priced at INR 499 for lunch and INR 650 for dinner per person, exclusive of taxes.
Food Quality – 4.5/5
Food Quantity – 4.5/5
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 3.5/5
VFM – NA (This meal was courtesy an invitation by the restaurant to sample their menu.)
Will I visit again? …Yes!