Delhi’s comfort cuisine.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is restaurant food for those who get unsettled by the new–especially when it comes in the form of Manipuri or French cuisine, or some other similarly unfamiliar provincial/global style of cooking that becomes a star of the season.
Since 1975, Daitchi restaurant in South Extension-II is serving Chinese, Thai and Japanese dishes—laced with Punjabi sensibilities. Every dish is deep fried and spicy.
The cooking at Daitchi–the modest-looking eatery is claimed to be owned by the Bhutanese royal family–is homely. The vegetable manchurian resembles mother’s kele ka kofta, the spring roll is like her pakodis, and the honey chilli potato is not very different from mummy’s translation of MacDonald’s french fries.
The restaurant’s dimly-lit ambiance consisting of painted dragons, white china and revolving fans (don’t worry, it’s centrally air-conditioned) is equally reassuring. The staff is competent, non-intrusive and some waiters have been working here since the day it opened. The customers, no matter how loud they might be in a bazaar crowd, remain sober despite their partiality for Chinjabi chowmein.
The most unforgettable part of the dining experience arrives towards the end. Do not fail to have date pancake with vanilla ice cream. It’s as greasy as a stuffed paratha, and only mildly sweet, and it fills you with double happiness.
One day Delhi might become a World Class City with a sophisticated specialty restaurant in every neighbourhood lane. But it should never ever do away with the kind of comforting Third World fusion cuisine that is offered at places like Daitchi.
Our Chinjabi heritage