“There will not be peace unless access to the kebab is universal.”Kofi Annan
For the souls who swear by the luscious aroma of tender meat, smoked and charred in a grill or tandoor, Old Delhi’s Karim’s is one of those holy places where if one does not step his or her foot at least once, the kebab pilgrimage remains incomplete.
GOOD NEWS! Karim’s is now in KOLKATA!
The INITIATION – 2013 B.C.
Sitting back in Kolkata, I always heard peans about this place, so much so that in my dreams, I often found myself roaming around the by-lanes of Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. But when someone wants something so dearly, the universe itself will present an opportunity.
Rewinding the calendar back to 2013 September end, I had to make a trip to the national capital for my upcoming Danish work assignment and I knew in my heart that I would not miss the opportunity to visit the hallowed land, however busy the schedule might be!
It was a hot and surprisingly humid Delhi day, and Purani Delhi was in her usual mood with the small lanes and by-lanes overflowing with people, hand-pulled carts and rickshaws. But anyone who has has been through the lanes of this fabled “City of Djinns” will know the myriad sights, sounds and aromas that surround you as you walk the path in Purani Delhi quarters.
P.S: All pictures in this section are taken using mobile back in 2013 – so pardon the quality.
The moment we turned left and before I could spot the eatery banner, my mind and soul was already engulfed with the aromas of smoky hot flavors from the tandoor. Even it’s nearly a decade old memory, still the images are as fresh. We took seat and ordered couple of plates of Mutton Burra kebab with roti and then committed THE blunder (in my view, then) – ordered biriyani.
Let’s start with the best part – the kebabs were so succulent and flavorful, even though its cooked in dry heat in tandoor but the smoky and charred aftertaste, was something to die for. Now the twist – biriyani was completely different from what I had tasted in my limited experience then, so I couldn’t judge it other than what I have always looked for – so that’s the blunder. But memories of that burra remained an experience to remember since then.
The REVISIT. KARIM’S IN KOLKATA
Back in 2021 AC, another September – it was by chance that while scrolling through Zomato, I found that Old Delhi’s Karim’s from Jama Masjid have opened up their first outlet in Kolkata. The outlet was near Aurobindo Sarani, Hatibagan (see the location below), I could not but smile at the coincidence that they had to choose one of the oldest parts of Kolkata to open their branch here. Immediately did a quick search and once confirmed this indeed was THE original one’s outlet, I had to order to revisit that Old Delhi afternoon memories.
Zomato delivered on time and upon opening up the slim boxes, that smoky flavors got me a to a high. Though it’s best to have these at the restaurant, but we are still following quite strict precautions due to Covid. The meat was succulent, coming off without much of a resistance, the charred exterior gave smoky start but the mutton itself tasted nice. The taste was close enough to the original.
I paid INR 495/- for a half plate which comes with 3 decent sized mutton pieces. Price wise a bit high for half plate but quality is good. Probably I will like to eat these, fresh out of tandoor in the restaurant but that’s for another day.
Oh, this time I did not commit the blunder and ordered my favorite Biryani from Haan D’Biryani – undoubtedly the best low fat biryani in town.
We were yet to try their most famous dish, the fabled Ra’an with the sweet flatbread, but I will save it for the more authentic in person experience! Here’s a snap of their famous Ra’an by one of our fellow Honumans at the iconic Delhi joint.
So have you been to this historic restaurant yet?
The original one or the new one in Kolkata? What dishes did you like?
Let us know in comments.
Till then. Adios from the H Family…
1. P16, CIT Road, Kolkata (Zomato order delivered from here)
2. 84, Aurobindo Sarani, Hatibagan