City Food – Patate al Forno, Ajay Guest House
So not Delhi.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It is not deep fried in vegetable oil. The patate al forno (Rs 165) at Ajay Guest House is a relief from Delhi’s native cooking.
Served in Brown Bread Bakery, the hotel’s coffee shop, the baked potatoes are generously brushed with olive oil, garnished with whole cloves of garlic, and flavoured with needle-like leaves of rosemary. The tubers are baked until the surface is golden-brown and crisp. They are then crushed into bite-sized pieces and served hot. The dish is untouched by spices and trans fat – so typical of our city’s delicacies such as aloo samosa, aloo tikki, and aloo gosht.
If you are a slave to Delhi’s cuisine, you may like to have parathas as an accompaniment. But if you just long for a filling no-fuss meal, the dish is perfect. The subtle sweetness of garlic infuses the entire being with gentle laziness.
Since the dish takes about twenty minutes to appear on your table, bring along a novel to kill the time, or watch the white people — the guests are mostly backpackers from Israel and Europe.
An in-house bakery serves cheeses, jams, rolls and breads. There’s a cyber café, a boutique, and a shelf stocked with forgettable books on Buddhism. End the meal with cappuccino (Rs 70), one of the frothiest in Delhi.
Where Brown Bread Bakery, Ajay Guest House, 5084-A, Main Bazaar, Paharganj Nearest Metro Station Ramakrishna Ashram Marg Time 8 am to 11 pm
A welcome respite