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DILLI 32, KEMPINSKI AMBIENCE

When I first heard the news that Chef de Cuisine Ashwini Kumar Singh was spearheading Awadhi and North West Frontier fine dining restaurant Dilli32 I knew it would be a lucky throw of the dice for Hotel Kempinski Delhi. When you've eaten the variety of foods that I have had the good fortune to do.. you learn to discern the skill set of the chef. In Chef's case it's his ability to prepare gourmet delicacies defined by a confluence of legendary Indian heritage and local craftsmanship: the description on the menu don't even come close to describing the intensity of the flavours! 

 

Perusing the menu one can easily gain an appreciation for the Chef's variety and diversity. This is one time I was delighted I was officially reviewing the menu and took our reserved table after admiring the artistic spice wall as the management made us feel welcome and comfortable. I feel it's these small significant gestures that makes the meal enjoyable. Back to the table, instead of describing each dish I'll mention highlights. First up was 'Palak Ki Asharfiyan'. The chef had tossed spinach with apricot, betal leaf, ahoy and pine nuts and trust me I never ask for second helpings and here I was salivating for more of the spinach cake! Up next, I relished 'Makai Akhrot Ki Khaas Seekh'; the  seekh kebab packed with lotus root, walnuts, sweet corn, green cardamom and dried ginger was sumptuous. Vegetarians would have a field day here! The chef then brought us a non-vegetarian platter with his hot-sellers. 'Murgh Ke Tikke' and 'Peshawari Seekh’ were good and might have received more attention had they not been served alongside the sumptuous  'Shahi Galawat Ke Kebab' i.e. smoked mutton patties flavoured with star anise, cloves and cardamom. The lamb was tender, all lean and no fat. 

 

Though we were stuffed, Chef insisted that since we were reviewing the menu, how could we leave without the entrées and dessert? Too contented to argue, we relented and the specialty Nehari Gosht swooped up with Khameeri Naan was star of the meal. Shakahari Kheechra with wheat, mint, lentils, onion and green chilli and Kacchi Mirch ka Paneer with paneer, chilli and dum gravy were delicious too! We didn't have a lot of room for dessert but the selection was impressive and ultimately we settled for ‘Mirch Ka Halwa' i.e. shimla mirch halwa sweetened with caramelised sugar. This wasn't any ordinary dessert: they wanted things to end on a sweet Awadhi note.. and that was it! In retrospect, there's a reason why Dilli32—named after the postal code—is proud of Chef Ashwini Kumar Singh who brings with him a wealth of experience. He knows what he's doing and the growing number of guests at the fine dining restaurant proves it. For a first class taste of North West Frontier and Awadh.. head here! Bon appétit! (7.9.2015)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Dilli 32, Kempinski Ambience, 1 Central District Business, Maharaja Surajmal Road, Shahdara, New Delhi

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