City Food – Ghalib Street, Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti
On poet’s trail.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This is the only Delhi lane named after Delhi’s greatest poet. Ghalib Street starts from Lodhi Road and terminates towards his deserted tomb, here in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. It has lately been emerging as Delhi-NCR’s liveliest food gali, that too very organically, without any central planning. Here’s a complete guide.
Street’s oldest, largest, buzziest eatery. Actor Ranbir Kapoor was famously seen eating sheermal here in the 2011 film Rockstar. Its lovely courtyard vanished with recent renovations. Everything now looks new, but the metal tijori at the counter dates from 1952, the year it was founded.
Rahmati’s pavement stall: very new,,fourth day today, she doles out coal-roasted bhutta; Raj Juice Corner: its wide selection of “crunchy munchi shakes” vanished during the Covid lockdown, now fresh sugarcane juice only; Aslam Kebab & Biryani Corner: founded in 2019; MK Tea Stall: since 20 years; Gulfam Alam Moradabadi Biryani: came up a year ago, replacing a mobile phone shop; Ilahi restaurant: specialising in “Muradabad ki mashoor biryani,” since 30 years.
One of Delhi’s best halwa-paratha establishments. Founded 40 years ago by late Abdul Rahim. Sooji halwa is spread across a gigantic platter, holding 40kg of halwa. Paratha is as large as the platter.
Salman Kebab Wale: since 12 years, diners lounge on the pavement tables—Paris style; Hashim Paan Wale: street’s only paan stall, founded 25 years ago; Shahnaz Tea Stall: street’s only stop named after a woman, since 20 years; Al Mohd Chicken Corner: founded in 1904 in Old Delhi’s Farash Khana, shut down a decade ago, reopened this year on Ghalib Street; Shah-e-Noor Hotel: small saada (simple) dining place serving homey dishes like “saada subzi” and “saada rice;” Nadeem Bhai Nihari Wale: since 30 years; Nasir Cold Drink Shop: serving ghee-rich sweet sheermal rotis that can last for two weeks, founded in 2006.
Ghalib Kebab Corner
Dominican Republic ambassador David Puig is partial to its nihari. The late founder Hanif Qureshi (died in 2019) once told The Delhi Walla: “After (movie) Rockstar, we started having people from as far as Vasant Vihar and Gurgaon.” The movie had a blockbuster qawwali featuring singer Chand Nizami who lives nearby—oh look, the celebrity qawwal is photo bombing our photo as he walks by the founder’s twin grandsons, Anas and Owais, who help their father run the eatery. Opened in 1959.
Salamat Shahji Dairy: known for kheer, opened last year, original outlet in Sikandrabad, UP.; Shahi Tukda Cool Point: since April, claim to be a branch of the similarly named landmark in Old Delhi’s Matia Mahal; Haji Tea Corner: forever buzzy with gossipers who kill hours on its long pavement bench; Mustaqeem ki Haleem: confined to a cart, haleem is served with biryani, since 1992.
PS: Ghalib had a passion for maash ki daal, a delicacy missing from Ghalib Street.