ASB sipped the cup of Kahwa set before us. “Its nice, but the water of Kashmir makes a simple cup of tea so wonderful! There’s no comparison, you know!” MSB, his dutiful wife, nodded sagely at that.
We were sitting at Guchhi, the sun bright outside as we sipped on our cups of Kashmiri Kahwa tea and ASB reminisced about his trip to Kashmir last year. “Its beautiful and dangerous, and we loved every moment we spent there,” ASB continued. I looked at his face and longed to run away.
But then, food beckoned. Servers brought in the Waza Seekh Kabab first, finely minced meat cooked around a skewer, served with a drizzle of ghee and a smile, which wasn’t melt-in-the-mouth like I expected, but with a decided chew to it. The Tabak Maaz followed, tender lamb ribs cooked till tender and then deep fried till crisp. I picked off my portion and snagged a second helping quickly.
In the vegetarian part of the offering, the Tomato Paneer shone through – the chunks of paneer tender and holding up brilliantly against a brightly red tomato gravy, made redder with the application of some ratanjot which is a natural food colorant. The other pick of mine from this menu was the Rajma Rasila which was served with crisp naan but I would have preferred some plain rice because I really didn’t want a drop of the extra gravy going to waste.
I had the good sense to save some stomach space for the main courses, and the Gushtaba, Rista, and trout curry were all delicious, but my heart was set on the Guchhi Biryani and Mutton Yakhni Pulao, and for a good reason. The Guchhi Biryani, filled with bits of morel mushrooms, is heady with the woody scent of the mushrooms mingling with the rice and copious amounts of ghee. The Yakhni Pulao didn’t disappoint either – the mutton stock used to cook the rice permeated through every single grain, making them fluffy and tender, with chunks of meat tender but not mushy, a bit of deep fried onion accentuating the dish perfectly.
Apart from the a-la-carte dishes from the special menu, vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kashmiri thaalis are available at Guchhi, priced at INR 2125 and 2375 respectively, and desserts include a Khubani ka Meetha which looked divine. The Kashmiri food festival will continue till the 15th of August, 2017, and it is for dinner only, so head over to Guchhi soon if you do not want to miss out on this special menu.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to Guchhi by the management.