Chokhelal's chatpata chaats
The fare here is irresistible. Photo: K Bhagya Prakash
A PALATE-TINGLING filling of draksh, zesty ginger, and real almonds. Specially soaked in thick creamy dahi. Garnished with a well-blended array of chutneys and exquisite spices. This is just one of the several mouth-watering chaats served at Chatpati Chaatsagar. The restaurant, as the proprietors, S. Patel and A. Mehra, call it, was opened a year and a half ago for giving Bangloreans "a taste of good chaats". The venture, the owners of the place say, actually started at home. Mr. Patel's wife used to make delectable chaats and Mr. Mehra's father's hobby was cooking. A partnership was forged, and voila, Chatpati Chaatsagar was all set to storm the chaat scene.
A number of people refer to chaat joints as chaat shops. Then how come the partners call theirs a restaurant? They realised that people didn't consider chaats dinner. They would consume lots of chaats, a testimony to the lip smacking fare dished out by the chefs, but still not call it dinner! So, the two decided to serve parathas, curries, and special thalis as well. They now serve aloo paranthas, paneer paranthas, and dal paranthas accompanied by shahi chhola, masaledar aloo, and raitha. They also serve desserts. And one dessert rabri falooda they assure you, is not available anywhere else in the City.
Chaatsagar is not afraid to break away from convention and do things differently. Traditionally, the chola bhatura is one big bhatura served with chola. In Bangalore, it is often one big oily bhatura. But, here, it is served as three small bhaturas, with no oil floating on it. Evidently, a lot of thought has been put into the menu.
The partners confidently say: "Once you eat the chaats here, we can take a bet that you will come back for more, not once, but again and again." This, coupled with their extreme care for hygiene and quality, makes for a combination that is hard to resist. The cooks as well as the spices come all the way from Delhi. Their chaats are low on salt and are fat free, and the place uses purified water.
According to Mr. Mehra and Mr. Patel, the basic three ingredients for chaat are the sweet and sour chutney (saunth), the green chilly chutney, and curds. These spices explain the tingling sensation you feel when the chaat hits your palate and goes down your throat. For the saunth, the cooks here do not use tamarind as most people do. Instead, they use aum choor (dry mango powder), which is more expensive. And the curd is specially made, thick with just that faint yummy taste of the sweet and the sour.
Chatpati Chaatsagar also has a special section on Jain chaats. The Jains do not eat anything that is grown under the ground. The Jain chaats are made without garlic, onions or potatoes. For the chaats that need potatoes as a base, boiled chholas are used as a substitute.
The restaurant specialises in parties and outdoor catering. Chatpati Chaatsagar, with a mascot named "Chokhelal", a typical chaatwaala's name, is tucked away cozily on Kamaraj Road, opposite Sreeraj Lassi Bar. You can reach it on 5325512.
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