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RAAS

After some delightful shopping in "the village", the nip in the air encouraged me to head over to Indian and Pakistani Kitchen Raas. It's easy to find; take a pleasant walk from the car parking lot into "the village" and you'll see the restaurant's discreet signage. 

 

Once seated, I observed that the magnificent view of historic monuments and soulful Sufi set the mood but the real focus is on food — each dish is defined by artistic creativity in preparation, presentation. Nothing is in half measures and is experienced in a tranquil ambience. The difference is in the subtleties, which you'll notice are all around, including the bay windows and artefacts reminiscent of the nouveau rustico movement. Instead of appealing to a single audience, there are Sufi nights for those who enjoy live music and an excellent bar for the cocktail crowd… there are long tables with plush seating and if you're looking for something intimate grab a table for two! Perusing the menu that is carefully calibrated to suit every taste, I ordered platters of kebabs accompanied by their signature cocktail 'Rassito'.

 

The rum-based cocktail was served first and a sip proved the bartenders know what they're doing! Accompanying it was a plate of mini papads with a variety of condiments. And then the platters of aromatic kebabs arrived. "Chefs always talk about Indo-Pakistani cuisine but this is the real thing" I thought as I primly demolished melt-in-the-mouth "Peshawari Burrah Kebabs”—curd-softened and spiced roasted lamb. Up next was "Sarso Machli Tikka". Now I'm a seafood devotee and dived into the tandoori fish marinated in homemade mustard. It was masterful. I relished the textural quality of the fresh fish and am looking forward to ordering it on my next visit already! Lucknow's "Galuoti Kebab" was next. The slow-cooked minced lamb kebabs served atop baby parathas were so delicious I was afraid I'd eat my knife and fork as I consumed the aromatic kebabs flavored with the finest spices. Satiated, I requested the chef to keep portions of the vegetarian platter minuscule as I sipped the cocktail and took in a view of the magnificent ruins while the background music crooned, "Itna karo na mujhse pyaar... main nashe main hoon." Blissful.

 

I snapped out of this soulful reverie when the server brought the vegetarian platter packed with fresh curd and cottage cheese "Dahi Ke Kababs", mixed greens and cheese "Hare Kababs" and "Galuoti Kababs"—served atop small parathas—the vegan kebabs were rich and aromatic and easily the best I've had in a long time! If you like Awadhi cuisine you'll find this delightful! It's way more flavourful than the ones I have relished in Lucknow. Stuffed to the brim, I decided to skip the entrees and wrap up this luncheon with "Akbari Zarda Pulao"—saffron flavoured, moist rice liberally laced with dry fruits. I didn't have it! Rather it HAD me totally captivated and under its spell! (29.5.2016)

— JASMEEN DUGAL

 
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Raas, 9A Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi

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