I consider myself to be a bad observer – Indeed, I miss out on many things, even when they are literally in my face (and sometimes, on my face), and so, I had stood in front of the place without actually realizing that I was there, at We.Desi, a place that promised me delights from Delhi and more in Camac Street, of all places! The menu was interesting – an assortment of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes that looked promising, and as a hopeless fan of puns, the name was appealing.
By the time I had reached, D had started eating already, so half of the Talwari Murg Malai Kabab was already finished. I hurriedly took my seat, ordered myself the Malai Bharwan Khumb, because what is life without mushrooms stuffed with cheese and doused in cream? The menu features quite a few dishes with the word ‘malai’ on it, and cream seems to be the chef’s favourite thing to add, and I wasn’t arguing with him. The mushrooms were tender, oozing cheese and cream, and piping hot. We had a lovely time savouring these with a coffee and lime laden drink which came to me straight out of a old-fashioned lantern.
I kid you not.
I have always taken certain things with a pinch of salt, so I hadn’t expected the Square Foot Mutton Seekh to be that long.
But it was. Served with achar-laden onions and a tangy green chutney, this was a foot-long platter of happiness, and I longed for a couple of rumali rotis to wrap this baby in and take home, because eating this alone is difficult. Luckily, I had D to help me out here – we quickly decided on our portions, and bit into the kabab. The Seekh isn’t the tender, galawat-style dream that falls off – this is slightly more meaty, chewy, and as you chew, you get the flavours of the spices creeping out – the hint of pepper and cinnamon slowly giving way to mace and allspice – the hint of tang from the lemon squeezed on top.
The Chicken Nizami Tangdi was a delight – the chef, as I had previously noted, loved his cheese and cream, and this was coated with a good deal of cream on top which added a layer of softness to the crisp, charred chicken underneath, the smoky saltiness offset rather perfectly. I didn’t want to add anything to this dish – not the lemon, not the chutney, and definitely not the onion – this was one dish which I had on its own, inhaling the first bite before moving on to the next.
And then there was a moment where I closed my eyes and said “Hallelujah!” because the Amritsari Kulcha was everything I had wanted in a Kulcha and more. Served with a zingy chutney with tiny bits of onion, this was as close to the real thing, and it was beautiful.
On the other hand, the meat-laden Khichada was a comforting, nourishing delight, with a good deal of herbs, browned onions and lemon slices on the side to add as per individual taste and dig in. I was more into the desi ghee, (because what is life without it?) which was poured over with a grin, before I tucked into it. The meat and rice were soft, moist, and rather moreish, a word I thought I wouldn’t use, but I had to in the end.
The Butter Chicken was another favourite for me – the meat cooked in the tandoor before its added to the spicy masala – the Chef here who makes it was apparently once with Moti Mahal, so the flavours were familiar. I might have found the answer to “where to get a well-made Delhi-style Butter Chicken in Kolkata“.
The dessert was a rather interesting dish – the Nolen Gur Ka Sandook was actually more like a huge Nolen Gur Sandesh topped with a chequered square of chocolate, but I found it slightly too dry for my liking, although it wasn’t too sweet, which I appreciated vastly.
We.Desi is currently open for lunch and dinner at 22 Camac Street, and it is definitely a nice place to go to. A meal for two would cost roughly 1500 INR, and its a nice place to step into when you want to eat North Indian with a twist.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to We.Desi by the management.