Jaisalmer is a rather sprawling space in Sector V serving North Indian and Pan Asian fare. To be fair, I have been to the place before, but hadn’t found the food remarkable, so when A called for a taste of their North Indian fare, I was, at first, sceptical, but then R was enthusiastic about the meet, so who am I to tell him no?
I walked inside and was guided upstairs to a cozy corner, where, after we were seated, the server brought me a tall glass of Blue Lagoon. Although its supposed to be winter, I was sweating from the heat still, and the glass of chilled blue soda was very welcome, albeit a touch too sweet for my liking.
We started off with the assorted vegetarian kabab platter, with a series of delicacies which were recommended by the chef. I reached for the stuffed mushrooms (something about mushrooms make me go weak in the knees), and these were juicy, tender, with a spicy outer coating, and a creamy filling inside. It was also hot, so be cautious while consuming. The Vegetarian Birbal Kabab was another standout from this platter, easily outshining its non-vegetarian counterpart.
The Vegetarian Niligiri Kabab might not look great, but T and R both raved about it, so I decided to take a bite. With an abundance of nuts, these were soft, yet not mushy – the decided flavours of spinach shining through. Good, and with the rather creamy green chutney served with it, even better!
But then, we forget the meat. Of course, with me around, can meat be far behind? The Chicken Pahaari Kabab was a crowd pleaser, with creamy pieces of chicken grilled to add a smoky char.
But then, the Chef brought out his piece de resistance, the Adrakh Ke Panjey. Now, I am a fan of this particular dish, because, when done right, its beautiful. And, in this case, it was! The meat was tender, moist, fell off the bone, and had a gingery kick which was the perfect compliment to it. I could have had this solo, and not eaten the rest of the meal.
Of course, when you have had a taste of glory, then the rest falls flat, somehow. So, although the Kashmiri Pulao was delicate, and with plenty of dry fruits, it was still not something that could compete with the rather sublime dish I had just had. While others helped themselves to more of it, I took another one of the mutton chops from the platter.
A had been talking about the Kabuli Naan, and, I have to admit, it is worth talking about. I would ask you to have the Kabuli Naan solo at first – it is cooked with a layer of peanuts and sugar on top, which is then caramelized in the Tandoor, leading to a satisfying crunch from the sugar and nuts. It was decadent, with plenty of visible fat, and I really wasn’t able to think much at that point.
Of course, there was a dish with paneer brought in at this point, but as someone completely focused on the non-vegetarian fare, did I look at it?
The Chicken Rara Punjabi was a rather heavy affair, with chicken pieces cooked in a gravy which had minced meat in it. I would have loved a few plain rotis with this – it would have done better justice to it.
The Mutton Biryani was Kolkata-style, with the ubiquitous potato and egg in it. The mutton portion was soft, the potato quite large and fluffy, although the rice smelled a bit too much of rosewater. But, I have had far worse Biryani in some of the so-called ‘top’ places of the city, so I wasn’t complaining.
We all were, at this point, about to find pillows and sleep, but A insisted on dessert. I am not a fan of Firni (I think I might be a Firni snob – very few places have been able to please me), and this one smelled a bit too much of walnuts, with a hint of burnt milk in the background, so even though it had a nice texture, it wasn’t my thing. Jaisalmer is primarily a restaurant serving North Indian cuisine, and a meal for two would cost roughly 600-1000 INR or higher, depending on what you are ordering. At Sector V, its a nice place to come in for lunch and/or dinner, and I did like the kababs.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to dine at Jaisalmer by the management.