A couple of posts on social media introduced me to this non-descriptive Amar Jyoti Restaurant in Sarojini Nagar, Delhi. So, we decided to have our customary year-end lunch here. We reached the Sarojini Nagar Market and… Oh God !! Did I commit a blunder? Scared and navigating our way, four of us reached the almost rear end of the market. But man, once on the table, we forgot all our fear for what a great lunch we had. Amazing Chicken Tikka, Juicy Mutton Seekh Kebabs, Keema Meat, Butter Chicken, a divine Dal Makhani and some Breads. For what was our fear and joy, please read on…
Lets talk of our fear first and get over with it. We reached the market at around 1.30 pm. The parking lot was full and took us some time to find a comfortable space. Once we entered the market, Oh God. The place was scary. It was jam packed with the enthusiastic shoppers as if there was no corona. No social distancing, on and off masks, people jostling with each other and you could not walk without rubbing a shoulder with a stranger. Somehow, we waded through the crowd ensuring that we do not come in touching distance of anyone which made us look weird but then it was necessary. Finally, we reached, sanitized our hands and had a sigh of relief. And then the horror seemed to have ended there. The food brought broad smiles on our faces once it started arriving and tickling our taste buds.
Amar Jyoti Restaurant, Sarojini Nagar
Nested in the famous Sarojini Nagar Market, this is a typical Punjabi Style (could observe a Sikh family managing the operations) restaurant. The food has that Punjabi taste which one could find in those small iconic Dhabas (National, Royal, Kake etc) on the outer circle of Connaught Place in Delhi. In fact, a few dishes would be on higher taste quotient than those. The interiors are simple, basic furniture , melamine plates and steel glasses. And yet they are following all the safety norms like masks, sanitizer and markings on the seats to ensure social distancing. Google Location of the restaurant is here:
Normally a typical Delhiite would expect an orangish coloured, with a bit charred edges, meat morsels as Chicken Tikka. What came on the table was goldish, sparingly charred and relatively big meat chunks which had a glaze and a sprinkle of chopped coriander. First bite and it told me that this was unique and one of the best Chicken Tikka in the city. What hits you first is the flavour of spices followed by the taste of the meat. Each morsel was slightly crusty on the outside and very juicy and succulent inside. Loved it. The plate had 10 pieces.
Mutton Seekh Kebab
Four golden-brown, of reasonably good size, sitting in a plate arrived. The Mutton Seekh Kebabs had a glaze and a coating of moist masala concoction. Once you pick it up to transfer in your plate, you realised that it was soft yet firm in shape. I could slice it easily with a fork. The first bite and an array of flavours bursted on the palate. The Kebab was neither pasty nor very granular in consistency. The minced meat beautifully blended with the flavourful spices and the animal fat. One could taste the spices, the meat and the fat which gave it a unique taste. Again, a great Seekh Kebab.
The starters had raised our appetite and the expectations on the mains which were to follow. The dishes arrived one after the another and the looks of each dish and the the taste impressed us a lot. My camera may not be able to do the justice to the looks as each dish looked much brighter and robust than what the phone camera has captured.
The Dal Makhani had the hues of pale brown Dal, lemonish Butter, white Cream and saffronish tempering. Had never ever seen this kind of looks of a Dal. I quickly ladled a few spoons of Dal into my plate and tasted. Ummmm… the dal was creamy and the texture was like each grain, though separate, and yet blended with each other. The creamy taste and the smooth texture vouched that it was slow cooked over a longish time. The butter and the tempering together lifted the dal to a different level. I cannot not get over the great taste. I could say that this was one of the best Dal Makhani I would have tasted.
The Butter Chicken was a bright dish which again had a symphony of colours. The oil could be seen floating which seemed to be playing hide and seek with the goldish gravy, cream, green chilies and coriander leaves. Tasting of the first spoonful of the gravy told me that this again was one of the best and may be unique in the city. The gravy was smooth, was not overtly spicy, neither overpoweringly tangy or sweet. The Chicken was on the bone and yet soft and succulent. One could take out the meat from the bone quite easily with a morsel of the bread. An amazing dish. We had half portion which had 4 large sized pieces of the bird.
On the servers recommendation, we had ordered Keema Meat, meaning the Mutton Curry having minced meat in the gravy. Three good sized meat cuts came sitting pretty in the thick gravy with a garnishing of Green Chili, Chopped Coriander and Ginger Julien. The best part of the dish was the gravy. The minced meat was not fully granular. Rather it had small chunks of the meat and one could taste the meat with spices playing the supporting role. The meat again was on the bone and yet soft and succulent. A very good dish.
When our items started coming on to our table, we thought that perhaps, in our over enthusiasm, have ordered more than what we could eat. Each dish had an almost large portion. But then, by the end of it, four of us had polished off every thing and dishes wiped clean. Each of the dish was so tasty.
After the customary selfie, we again set out to wade through the human sea to reach the parking. By this time the tasty food had made us forget the scare we had experienced while coming. We ended the year in style and with a tasty, somewhat rustic and yet a wonderful lunch. The restaurant has a loyal fan following and we are now added to that. If you have suggestions and experience of any such eatery which is serving great food do share. Would love to experience it. Till then…..Happy New Year 2021 !!
Bon Appetite !!