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Indian restaurants

3,000 sq ft Wok in the Clouds [named WITC Soul Kitchen And Bar] — with seventeen years legacy and loyalists spanning bureaucrats, industrialists and artists — has opened in Connaught Place after successful innings in Rajouri Garden, Punjabi Bagh and Khan Market. So, is it a wonder that my friends and I were looking forward to cocktails and dinner… Walking in, we oberved the decor is stylish and quirky and the menu is a well conceived and executed result of fine-tuning, experimenting and pushing the envelope. There's a segregation of Indian classics, Chinese and continental cuisine… and when we saw Colonial era dishes starring in the Indian segment, we were smitten.


Perusing the voluminous menu, I sought help from Chef and he advised me to order 'Masala Gimlet' accompanied by 'Watermelon And Feta Cheese Salad'. The gin-based cocktail, laced with Indian spices, was potent and the fiery liquid instantly warmed me. And then the salad was served… in a watermelon. Packed with watermelon cubes and feta, the salad was refreshing and prepped our palate for the flavoursome starters and mains. Up first was 'Prawn Dynamite' — the jumbo prawns coated in a wasabi marinade, served in a martini glass, was indisputably the star of the meal. I've tried several variations but none of them have stood out or managed to come even close to what we had today. It was that good! The next dish served to us was 'Chicken Tikka Hara Pyaaz Mirchi' — it was so flavoursome I was afraid I'd eat my knife and fork as I rapidly consumed the aromatic spiced tikka. But, it paled in comparison to the dish that followed — 'Pomfret Fillet'. The presentation was superb and my friends and I deboned and polished it off within seconds! Rubbed with herbs and spices, the off- the- hook fresh pomfret was sumptuous. And just when we were sure nothing else could stand up to it, we were proved wrong. 'Crunchy Dahi Sticks', with its melt- in- the- mouth texture, was the perfect soul food. An absolute must-have for vegetarians!


Conversation and camaraderie flowed and then our entrees arrived. Up first was 'Railway Mutton Curry' and you could feel the excitement on our table; old dishes with a bit of history always fascinate me. The server explained it was a colonial-era dish that was first served in the dining carriages of long distance trains and it immediately brought to mind Burma teak cabins, plush interiors, servers in starched uniforms and railway mutton curry with spice levels toned to suit the palate of 'memsahibs'. Here, it was presented as sumptuous comfort food: the diced mutton in a thick sauce of red chilli, coriander seeds, brown onion and a dash of coconut milk was swooped up with the accompanying bread in no time, bringing with it a wave of memories of when I had it as a teenager in Kolkata… a dish I'll be back for pretty soon!! The next one was as intriguing. 'Dak Bungalow Chicken Curry' is another colonial-era recipe. This curry is said to have been prepared in dak bungalows or resting houses in Kolkata and Darjeeling where British government officials stopped overnight. During their stay, khansamas prepared meals with country style cooking ie steamed rice, dal, green salad, vegetables, chicken curry and dessert. The use of eggs and whole spices was the speciality in chicken curry. Here, too, the beautifully presented homestyle chicken curry went well with the steamed rice. Though we were content, satiated and almost purring, the team suggested we must try 'Prawn Patia' since we were all sea- foodies. A Parsee dish, the prawns were cooked with spices, herbs, jaggery and tamarind. It was hot, sweet and sour. Deelish!


The meal ended on a sweet note with a sumptuous Rose, Mango and Kesar kulfi platter. As we walked out into the moonlight, I couldn't help thinking that what works for WITC is that it retains the old-world charm of fine dining, the unhurried knowledgeable waiters, the attention and care given to diners with a sense of discreet familiarity. It's a great hangout for the young who want to broaden their culinary horizon and senior citizens who would go back in time with each forkful of the classics. Overall, the soul kitchen and bar offers a unique, interesting dining experience. Attention To Detail is key—right from the quirky interiors to the assortment of dishes; the meticulous preparation and presentation; and the warm service. It all combines to create a memorable meal that's laidback and fun. I’m sure it's going to continue its reign as a hotspot for diners and partygoers alike so I’m heading back there soon… aren't you?


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Block C Inner Circle
Connaught Place
New Delhi

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