A sign outside Tarami announces that arms and ammunition of any kind are strictly prohibited inside, making us smirk - imagine a Village hipster with a gun tucked into her skinny jeans. Inside, it’s all freshly painted walls and Kashmiri bric-a-brac, typical and often tired collectibles "from the valley", ribbons of incense smoke edging the room, and best of all, bay windows directly overlooking the monument and its ruins.
Named after a traditional Kashmiri sharing platter, Tarami, we learn, specializes in Wazwan cooking, typified by lots of meat. We decided to go with its namesake – Tarami for two (also available for four) comprising samples of vegetarian and non-vegetarian appetizers and mains – instead of dealing with the drudgery of an a la carte menu. Happily, they allow us to tweak and customise our order to include a couple dishes of our choice.
High Spirits of the Valley
And although Tarami is still waiting on a complete liquor license, they do have one they renew on a daily basis. Throw in a bartender who politely inquired after our tastes before mixing us a drink and we're happy customers already, even before we get a load of the sweet-spicy mango mojito and boozy thyme lemontini. Cheers!
Poetry on a Platter
Our meal arrives in a (gimmicky) metal platter, its contents hidden by a silvery cloche, a variety of dips and salads – yoghurt, radish, walnut and mint – surrounding it. The cloche is removed with a flourish to reveal a variety of kebabs sitting pretty on a bed of steamed rice and tomato gravy. Our favourite from this course is nadru shammi – a minced lotus stem patty packed with flavors and designed to melt-in-the-mouth. Waza chicken – whole roasted leg and breast – and Kashmiri seekh however, lack in salt and spice, and have been overcooked. But it’s what we’d most been looking forward to – tabak maaz or shallow fried spare ribs of lamb – that turns out to be our least favourite; the meat is fried so deeply that it’s coated in grease and practically unrecognizable, let alone edible.
Our second course features four different curries, which arrive in individual silver bowls. Of these, gushtaba is too mildly seasoned dotted with tiny balls of mutton, and we end up preferring the vegetarian tamatar chaman (cottage cheese in a tomato based sauce). Our favourite is the chicken dhaniwal korma – light, flavourful and tangy, completely unlike any other kormas we’ve sampled in the past, with a nice yoghurt based gravy.
For dessert there is a phirni – again a staple that is messed up beyond recognition – cloyingly sweet from too much sugar only lightly camouflaging the obvious taste of condensed milk. Pass.
Getting there: Tarami, 30 A, Hauz Khas Village, call 8527298941, a meal for two with one cocktail each costs Rs 3700.
bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.