Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bukhara - the Mecca of Indian dining

In New Delhi: Delhi weather is getting little warmer during day time. At the five star hotels' coffee shops and India International Centre (IIC) lounge, heated the discussions on the forthcoming Budget session of the Parliament are on.
After a series of meeting on Wednesday evening at the IIC, I was very tired. The Indian Airlines Jaipur-Delhi half an hour flight was late by two hours and I had no time to check in at the Maurya Sheraton and freshen up. Instead, I drove to the meetings straight from the airport.
The whole day rounds of coffee, tea and sandwiches, I was starved for a decent meal, and after many years, I decided to go to the Bukhara
A view of Bukhara
As I headed towards the restaurant, I noticed a posse of men in gray safari suits around the lobby area and the restaurant. Not a very uncommon scene at the hotel which has a huge list of famous and well-healed foreign and Indian clients.
As I stepped into the Bukhara, I realised that I had just followed in British Prime Minister David Cameron who was on a visit to India. Bukhara, with its rugged ambiance, an open kitchen, and its famous tandoor or clay oven, is often described in many elite circles as the “best Indian restaurant in the world” for north west frontier cuisine – kebabs and all.
It has an enviable list of heads of states, film stars, rock stars, celebs and Royal families among its clients. No visit to Delhi seems to be complete without a visit to the iconic Bukhara. This landmark dining destination offers a sophisticated yet totally ethnic experience where the kitchen is part of the restaurant. Stone walls and floors, carpets, rough-hewn trestle tables and wooden stools complete the rugged look.
Copper pots and urns are suspended from the ceiling and pillars; the crockery is earthenware in an earthy ochre colour, while the menu is painted on a block of wood. The chequered apron is also a totally novel concept that has become very popular. The view of the kitchen and its busy chefs adds to the warmth of the restaurant, inviting one to take time off to photograph the activity inside the kitchen.
The speed at which the food is cooked and delivered to the tables is proof of Bukhara's claim to “most efficient service among restaurants in the city”. There are 130 covers and during the rush hours the little bar-lounge area can also accommodate 25 covers or perhaps more.
Set up in 1977, Bukhara continues to add to its growing list of fans from across the world - Barrack Obama, Bill Clinton and family, Vladimir Putin, Tony Blair, Mick Jagger, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mahathir Mohammed, Corlos Menem and so on.
In last decade, Indian food has grown internationally and no doubt Dal Bukhara takes the lead. Who knew, one of the oldest Indian dishes, which can be cooked in any house in India, will get an international hype. Well done Dal Bukhara!
ess bee

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