Price for two: 1500 (including taxes)
Nearest Metro: Barakhamba or Rajiv chowk metro station
Contacts: 011 33105860
If you get a chance to eat at an old army mess high up in the Himachal Mountains, it would be one of the best meals you have ever had. It will be long before you forget the rustic, rough yet scrumptious taste of the food cooked entirely by men. We* got to revisit that memory right here in Delhi when we ate at 38 Barracks earlier this week. This army themed restaurants is not what you would think, the interiors bring back the old world charm of retired soldiers’ homes and makes you feel warm and welcomed.
Much bigger than the small army mess we ate at; this restaurant has two floors in the outer circle of the M Block, Connaught Place. Barakhamba or Rajiv chowk are the closest metro stations to get here. The restaurant has a menu that brings together items from all over the country discovered by army men who move from station to station hence it has a little for everyone. From the flavours of Amritsar all the way to coastal curries of Goa are offered on a platter here. And the most impressive thing is that though the presentations of the food might be restaurant like the taste is homely.
We started, mild and vegetarian, with paneer tikka barrels, a platter of thick cylindrical paneer pieces that are stuffed with a dry fruit mix served with sharp mint chutney. The savoury sweetness on the tikka goes really well with the sharp chutney. The presentation of the dish is so you might hesitate before you plunge in with your fork. The second starter on our table was the Malaysian military chicken satay. These slices of chicken breasts served on skewers with tangy peanut chutney are quite a departure from the homely and safe paneer tikkas. This dish takes you by surprises and then grows on you (like it did on my friend who started eating the chutney by itself having run short of the chicken). The chicken too is a little confusing at the beginning but you soon get accustomed to its lemony taste.
The starters should be consumed with the wide verity of cocktails and the mocktails the restaurant has to offer. As we looked at the menu to decide on the main course the chef sent a trial preparation called clash of clans (of fishes). The platter includes two different kinds of fish tikkas the classic English fish and chips and the Indian classic ajwaini mahi tikka. Both of these are served with their particular condiments and we urge you to try them with their respective condiments and then mix-it up a little for a new flavor in every bite. For those who are more towards burgers, pizzas and pastas rather than normal curries and kebabs, the restaurant has lot for them too. It has all the classic sandwiches and pies with varied twists, toppings and ingredients.
We continued our meal mixing up the continental and the Indian side of the menu. For the main course we ordered chicken schnitzel and a delicious Portuguese army Goan fish curry. The chicken schnitzel served with an assortment of veggies is a great choice for a quick lunch. It’s light, healthy, mild and crunchy. Whereas we would suggest the Portuguese army Goan fish curry for dinner time. The curry highly infused with the distinctive flavours of the coastal food is dish that will make you want to travel. The fish pieces are perfectly cooks and flavorful. We recommend you try it both with rice and roti.
Last but not, in the least, the least, the dessert, of which there are many options. The Swiss pistachio roulade was what jumped out at us, probably because all the rest are available at any other restaurant. And just like everything else this too did not disappoint. The sprinkled white chocolate on the top was enough to make us indulge but as your fork would slips further in to this roll you realise the cream in the center is the real deal. The restaurant is a great place to hang for a long lunch or for an evening hangout with friends at CP as the alcohol is very reasonably priced. If not for the food, come here at least once for the décor or just to see the right way to lay a table because they do it the army style.