You’ll have to be rich, almost as rich as the date and pine nut dessert at Dum Affairs, in order to be a regular at this new Awadhi restaurant in South Extension. And while the prices are high and the food is good, the loud arm chairs and tiles masquerading as wood, doesn’t provide you with a super luxe dining experience.
But as our fellow companion pointed out, we should focus on the finer points, like the pristine white textured walls, deep mahogany furnishings and an open kitchen at the farthest end of the room. Nice view!
Our Tuesday night meal started with a round of cocktails - a martini and a lime margarita. Although both were slightly watered down, they were still yum and well-mixed, the martini sporting six neatly speared, brine-soaked olives and the margarita, a fresh flavour.
Keeping the cocktails company was a plate of subz ki shammi, light and flavourful veggies served with a tangy mint chutney. Next came a more interesting –sounding mahi and dill kebab that featured sea bass. Rather than a cool take on Indian food, these bland fish cakes felt like a Mediterranean platter clumsily attempting Indian moves.
In the extensive mains department, you will be spoiled for choice. We got the gosht or mutton nehari with khamiri rotis and a jaituni kulcha that comes stuffed with olives. This course was easily the best part of our meal, the bit that made the recent memory of underwhelming appetisers fade away. The mutton was succulent and tender, spiced just right and served with a side of browned onions, fresh ginger and green chillies. The gravy is both colourful and fragrant with a perfect stew-like consistency and not a single flavour is out of place or overpowering.
The late comer at the table is the dum cooked chicken biryani, which disappointingly, arrives in a bowl instead of an actual handi and is not nearly as flavourful as it should be. It did however, come with a coarsely textured raita that blends yoghurt and a shallow fried, finely ground mixture of spices that blew our socks off.
Moves Like Jaggery
Picking a dessert might have been tricky, if they hadn’t been out of the kulfi and malai gulla the day we visited. We decided to go with the abovementioned date and pine nut delight and jaggery and fennel phirni, both of which are miniscule at first glance, but filling nonetheless. The phirni is mediocre but satiating. The date and pine nut invention however is a whole other story – a heady and intense taste trip that lingers on for long after.
All in all, Dum Affairs holds a lot of promise, with its interesting food and talk of evolution. Now if only they’d check the prices while you check that (moth-eaten) coat at the entrance.
Getting there: E 12, Third Floor, South Extension II, 8826608855, Rs 4,800 for a meal for two with one cocktail each.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.