It is interesting to read about the history of Connaught Place – how it went on to become the shopping hub of Delhi from a ridge, the early establishments and challenges. No doubt Connaught Place or CP was the first area to see development and get exposure to the outside world. It was here that the Kwality restaurant saw it’s birth in 1940 – serving fuss free authentic food.
Talk to anyone who grew up in the era of limited restaurants in Delhi and one name you will always hear is Kwality – famous for it’s Anglo-Indian continental menu and the legendary Chana Bhatura – it was practically the restaurant that introduced Indians to the delights of ice-creams and fine dining. Continuing the legacy, Kwality is back in a new avatar with the same soul.
The spanky new interiors are reminiscent of the look and feel of the bygone golden era. Be it the furniture, the hard to miss piano sitting in the hallway or The Polo Bar (any guesses why the name :)?) – there’s a touch of historical authenticity in each and are complimented by the age old and original photographs of CP – taken by the famous photographer Madam Mahatta, we were told. Things have changed, for sure, with the new avatar – but all for good. Speaking to Mr. Divij Lamba, Director of the group owning Kwality restaurant, we understand the nitty-gritties involved in the renovation.
“The brand is now all set to bring back the old world charm of having a fine place to dine at, and yet feel comfortable and non-intimidated. The idea continues to be to enjoy time with family and friends over hearty meals and hearty conversations. Here is where you will see the grandfather, the father and the grandson having a ball together on the same table.”Divij Lamba, Director
To cater to the clientel which includes people with evolving preferences of food as well as people who want to stick to the classics, the menu remains an interesting mix of classics and some new additions. The legendary Chana Bhatura stays – and one bite into it will explain why – it’s so difficult to get the chana right with minimal spices, but Kwality does it just right – it truly deserves to be the legend it is; this is probably one thing you shouldn’t miss here. Another must have here are the Seekh Kebabs – sausage length, minimal spices and the taste of the meat – the three things that make it a winner.
Kwality Chicken Kebab is another special from the kitchen that we loved – juicy chicken patties, shallow fried and tossed in butter and cream – the slightly crisp outside layer and the oozing juices inside make a wonderful combination and are perfect to go with a drink from The Polo Bar. We tried Kwality G&T, which is a variant of the famous Gin and Tonic with flavors of cucumber and coriander – there’s some serious talent at the bar, and the bar menu has been crafted keeping in mind the preferences of the regulars and the new age drink lovers.
Chicken Bharta and Nalli Awadhi Nihari was suggested for the mains, with a side of Onion Kulchas. Outside of the lanes of Old Delhi, this was probably the only Nihari we loved – consistency of the curry is just right, the meat from the lamb shanks falls of the bone and the balance in taste is inexplicable. Pair it with a steaming hot Onion Kulcha and we can eat it everyday for the rest of our lives. Chicken Bharta (a special from the kitchen) was ordered for the sake of trying something new, and we didn’t regret it – chunks of chicken in a semi-gravy with the sweet-spicy taste is a great option if you want to go boneless.
It was quite a hard choice, but we settled down for Kwality Special Pudding and Creme Caramel from the dessert section. Glad we did – since after the heavy meal, there was just a little space and the items were light enough to satisfy the craving.
P.S. – This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Views are ours and unbiased. Portion sizes might have been customized for the experience.