Desi lane is not just a restaurant. It’s a fun ride to an amazing journey. The place has been designed with an unique concept. The scene that one may expect while walking through a typical North Indian had been skilfully depicted here ! Not only that, there is much more to it. The entrance is given a retro touch, with colourful lights greeting your way. The use of lights creates an amazing background, such that people start clicking photos and selfies here even before the entering the main restaurant.
Adjacent to that, is a side room which is mainly aside for party and such other purposes. The most striking feature of this, apart from the auto, is the photos of Bollywood actors arranged in a line. Coming back to the main section, one is surely going to be startled by the amazing concept ! One side of the wall is covered with posters of Bollywood films. The other side has a typical North indian street view having a liquor shop, a saloon and a beauty parlour ! These places have been given a slight rural touch and while passing from in front of these, one can feel the essence of walking on a ‘desi lane’.
My visit to Desi lane was on an invitation to Panchphoron from the management side. It is located on the first floor of the enclave near Alipore SBI crossing, close to Paris Cafe. The first floor of the building is entirely occupied by desi lane and this makes the place look all the more majestic !
Let’s come to business now. Going by the name and ambience, it is obvious that one might think this place to specialize in North Indian only. But no, this is a multicuisine restaurant serving North Indian, Chinese, Continental and Thai all under the same roof ! There was already a set menu ready for us. The mocktails started coming one by one to our table.
1. Mango mist – The flavour was actually quite strong unlike the tad sweet taste that you may expect from a typical mango drink. Instead, this was somewhat tangy ! The twist was appreciable.
2. Strawberry mojito frappe – This one was fizzy and quite refreshing.
3. Volcano 007 – presented in a Martini glass, this was quite nice. It was sweet and fizzy.
4. Menthol margerita – Another beautiful drink with an amazing flavour which was quite refreshing. The glass was rimmed with salt.
5. Apple float – This was presented in a tall glass and looked the best among the mocktails and even tasted the blast. The drink was loaded with thin slices of apple. It was low on sweetness and the flavours were prominent.
6. Mint cooler – This was a great thirst quencher. This somewhat tasted like a lemonade and I liked it !
Next came in the starters. What I observed was that the presentation and plating was done with care and neatness.
1. Veg nanthor – Small potato cubes were fried to an outer crispness, the inner region being soft. These were then tossed in pad Thai sauce. The texture of the potato was good but the sauce was a bit extra tangy.
2. Chicken takrai – This was my personal favourite among the starters, owing to the fact that had a strong aroma of gondhoraj lemon. The chicken was crisp, tasted sweet and the sauce was excellent.
3. Murgh malai kabab – Boneless chicken pieces were cooked in tandoor, above whom a layer of dense coconut cream was placed. The chicken was juicy and succulent and the coconut cream made it much more flavourful.
4. Murgh tulsi kabab – Unlike the previous one, the chicken pieces were a little stiff in this, which was how it was supposed to be. The chicken had an aroma of tulsi. This was spicy and tasted good.
5. Murgh tengri kabab – This is the speciality of desi lane. And yes, this common dish tasted so special. Firstly, the amount of chicken in the leg pieces were quite high. Secondly, the chicken was perfectly cooked and tasted excellent. Thirdly, the marination was done so well, that the spices did reach the whole meat and nowhere did the bland flavour turn up.
6. Masala cheese balls – Cheese, coated with spices was made into balls and served along with French fries. This was a great starter though I would suggest them to use liquid cheese in the balls so that cheese can ooze out whilst in the mouth and create magic.
7. Pan fried chilli fish – The fish was fresh and juicy. The outer coating, though a bit thick, was crispy. The overall taste was very nice.
Done with the starters, we shifted to the mains –
1. Dal Makhani – This was dense, rich and was garnished with some cream. This had a Punjabi touch and I quite liked it.
2. Desi Videshi Vegetables – Basically this is a mixed veg preparation with a quirky name. This tasted excellent. The flavours were on spot and almost everyone appreciated this.
3. Paneer butter masala – Paneer was cooked in a thick gravy which had a strong aroma of butter. The taste was average, and this can be worked upon
4. Murgh tikka masala – Chicken was roasted in a spicy gravy. The chicken was juicy and soft and the fact that the gravy was low on oil, unlike other Mughlai based eateries, made it much more awesome.
5. Fish noorjahani – In one word, this was outstanding. The fish tasted out of the world. Boneless pieces of fish were cooked in a spicy gravy. I kept licking my spoon till I finished the whole of this !
6. Chicken biryani – This was what impressed me a lot. The food, it had tasted till now, had the touch of dhaba style. So I expected the biryani to be average since places serving dhaba style food put less focus on biryani and such preparations. But to my amazement, the biryani was superb. Firstly, it wasn’t dripping in oil and that made me quite happy. Secondly, the mild flavour was really impressive. Thirdly, the chicken was perfectly spiced and the potato was well boiled. Overall, this is a must try over here !
We were almost full with the amazing main course but the desserts needed a try
1. Brownie with vanilla ice cream – What I loved about the brownie was its texture. It was very well baked and hence was rich in taste and fluffy. Though a very common dish, this deserves a try over here.
2. Darsaan – The flour chips tossed with honey and sesame were extremely crisp. What was surprising was the enormous quantity of the dish.
3. Malpoa – This is one of my favourite sweet dishes and over here, this was excellent. It would definitely fall short of words in praise for this ! The ends were crisp while the middle was very soft. The sweetness was a little high in proportion, but it wasn’t overpowering at all.
Overall, Desi Lane is a place that will be etched in your mind for long and would definitely want to visit this place again and again. The hookah section has also opened up and thus this place caters to the choices of everyone. The food, no doubt, was excellent and I would definitely be back to this place to taste the other dishes on the menu.