Desi Culture gives an interesting twist to chaat and thali
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This new resto-bar at Kamala Mills attempts to give a gimmicky twist to desi Indian food.

What’s Hot: Let’s begin with the chaat. Ragda Pattice comes topped with crushed puris and creamy cheese foam and jalapeno poppers. It’s salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy, saucy and tangy with a kick of spice and a blast of funk. Even the Sev Puri gets a luxe treatment with a nacho base topped with spicy chicken and sev. That’s not all. The accompanying tamarind, mint and garlic chutney is molecularised to resemble spheres. It’s complicated but nails just about every bliss point.

But if you could eat just one thing at Desi Culture, let it be the thali. Take your pick from the Maharashtrian, Chinese and a Punjabi thali. Personally, I loved the Raju Chinese thali. Served in a thali, the katoris brim with spicy, peppery, Indianised gravies. The portions are big, the meat is hearty and the noodles are full of bite — and really, what more could you ask for? It’s the ultimate street food delight.

Another must-try is chef Gaurrav Gidwani’s Butter Chicken and Dal Makhni. The latter is cooked for over nine hours, giving it a creamy melt-in-the-mouth texture. The butter chicken too boasts an incredible depth of flavour. You just cannot miss this one.

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The quirkiness is not restricted to the food alone. The dining room creates a merry mood, with funky lights, black and white etchings and a wall of tea kettles. The drinks too are whimsical. Try the Desi Tharraa a refreshing cocktail of white rum, coconut liqueur, coconut water and lime juice served in a quarter bottle. My personal favourite is Jaljeera Mojito, the tongue has fun rolling all the sweet and sour flavours.

The smooth and creamy Rose Kulfi served with namkeen jeera chikki is the best way to end a meal at Desi Culture. I found it spectacular, though the fresh rose frozen in liquid nitrogen and scattered over the dish is quite unnecessary.


Dahi Bhalla

What’s not: The Dahi Bhalla topped with pickled beetroots, tamarind and jalapenos had all the makings of a hit if not for the hajmola sorbet that numbs the taste buds. The result is a bit of a mash-up that lacks any discerning taste. Ditto for the Reshmi Murgh Tikka topped with a foamy masala omelet soufflé. It carried more oomph than substance.

Where: C Wing,Trade World, Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Call: 022 2495 5766
Cost: INR 1,500 for two

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