Bikaner House, which is situated on the south side of India Gate, was designed by British classicist Charles G. Blomfield for Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. Built in 1931, the palace was not intended as a permanent residence. Rather, its function was symbolic to signal the states proximity to the imperial government. Built purely of brick and plaster, it differs from Jaipur House (again by Blomfield, 1938) which was built of Delhi’s hallmark buff and sandstone. Jaipur House today houses National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).
The spruced up Bikaner House is different from what it used to be – a bus station for RTDC luxury buses and stuffy government offices. Today this palace has been restored to its former glory and has become a hub for culture and art. It also houses the legendary restaurant Chor Bizzare famous for its Kashmiri cuisine.
Rohit Khattar’s Old World Hospitality Private Limited (OWH) operates two hotels and over 40 restaurants, which have won several awards since Khattar founded the company in 1990. Khattar began his career when he inherited the small art deco Hotel Broadway on Asaf Ali Road, which is home to the iconic Chor Bizarre restaurant, the first restaurant that Khattar created 25 years ago. His latest restaurant is the award winning Indian Accent in South Delhi.
Chor Bizarre eclectic décor is quirky yet aesthetically appealing. The new restaurant has an independent entrance, which leads to you a grand hallway. There are two dining areas and one you won’t be disappointed in décor or seating. It was surprising to notice that too many diverse objects are harmoniously displayed together!
Four of us were starving after catching up an art show in the building. We decided to stick on to Kashmiri dishes, which is the specialty of the restaurant. We ordered a portion each of Mutton Seekh Kebab, Rista, Mutton Roganjosh, Goshtaba, Bakerkhani, Ulte Tawe ki Paratha and Steamed Rice.
We were served the regular pickle, pickled baby onions and some onion rings with green chilly and lemon wedges.
Then came a small tray with Mooli aur Acrot ki Chutney, Gande Chetin or onion chutney and curd. The radish and walnut chutney is unique to Kashmir and though, I am not a great fan of radish, I really liked the flavour of this chutney. The onion chutney was made of sliced onions soaked in vinegar and flavoured with dried mint and red chilli powder and was mildly spicy.
The Mutton Seekh Kebabs, which had the right mix of spices with mince, was delicious to taste with the coriander and mint chutney.
The Rista is red coloured mutton koftas or meatballs in a velvety red gravy. The koftas are made with tender mutton and fat hand-pounded together with spices with a wooden mallet till the mixture is rendered a dough-like consistency. The kofta is then cooked in the gravy and it tasted great with steam rice.
The Mutton Roganjosh served here had a distinct taste of dried ginger powder and was very different from many versions, which one may find in other restaurants. There were no onions and tomatoes used in this gravy and use of a unique ingredient – mawal or cockscomb – imparts the gravy a red colour. To soak up the mutton chunks and gravy with Bakerkhani was an absolute delight.
I rounded off the meal with a small portion of fresh rice and Goshtaba. The Goshtaba is the finishing dish of Wazwan and is similar to Rista. But here in this dish, the kofta is cooked in curd and spices to produce an aromatic gravy.
We were quite stuffed by the end of this meal and what else we could have other than a bowl of refreshing Kahwah!
Dining at Chor Bizzare is an absolute indulgence in midst of great ambiance with great service! Don’t miss this one.