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Worth its wait in gold!

Patience yields the most gratifying rewards, they say. And South Delhi's Garam Masala restaurant bears out the truth of the adage, says S.M.YASIR


NO MATTER how many new cuisines make their way into the Capital, no matter how delectable they are, North Indian restaurants would always enjoy a place of pride in the eyes of the epicures. It's not only the richness and the exoticism of the cuisine but also the joy and assurance of things known. Familiarity here doesn't breed contempt. Experimentation is another exercise in gastronomy.

Garam Masala, the North Indian restaurant-cum-bar at The Forte Grand behind the Chanakya complex, is no exception. It invites you to add warmth to your palate and spirit. But adding warmth is a slow process. It's therefore advisable to go to Garam Masala if you have adequate time to appreciate the various types of palms that surround the restaurant. If you can't afford the luxury of time, then the more exotic dishes, which take longer then they should but justify the time in terms of taste, aren't for you.

The menu has more than a fair sprinkling of starters. However, with dishes like kalmi kabab, murg gilafi kabab, kakori kabab and boti kabab shaslik, few would complain. Generally, the chicken dishes here have a more uniform and balanced taste that goes beyond the upper layer covered with the marinade. The first two kababs (made of chicken) here therefore make more sense, even though the flavour of the meat is somewhat suppressed in the gilafi by an excess of rather raw vegetables. The (mutton) shaslik is good in parts and is recommendable for those willing to experiment, but avoid the ajwaini mahi tikka unless you are deprived of the sense of smell. Vegetarians might try the hara bhara kababs, which for once aren't made as dry as some other restaurants make them. The paneer tikka is just about fine.

Speciality dishes

The main course has an array of familiar dishes, but it's the speciality dishes that must be tried. However, the wait is a real test of patience. The chicken longlatta, which is made of minced meat rolled into chicken skin and served with gravy having the flavour of laung (clove), is one such speciality. The murg tikka lababdar stands out due to the consistency of the gravy, but the chicken could be more tender. The rogan josh has nothing special, but the paneer Mumtaz is perfection defined. The stuffed paneer delicacy is easily the piece de resistance. The dessert menu is one of the shorter ones you might come across. So weight your options and indulge in select dishes.

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