Andhra Bhawan Canteen – the best south Indian food in Delhi

Whether it’s what they serve or how the serve it or a combination of both, nevertheless, Andhra Bhawan canteen serves the best South Indian food in Delhi, arguably. I have been going there for as long as I have been in Delhi and that’s over 10 years now. And I have eaten South India food at quite a few places in Delhi and there are many which serve tasty food but no one can beat what they serve at the Andhra Bhawan canteen, and that’s for sure. And my recent visit on 21st June for dinner confirmed the same once again.

Served with affection and without wait – unlimited and best south Indian food in Delhi

And it’s not just the taste, when it comes to eating how you are served is also important. And that’s another great thing about the Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen. The moment you sit at your table, someone will right away get you your plate and papad and a few other things. And if you are eating a South India meal (thali) then soon will start the unlimited supply of south Indian delicacies; daal (pulses), sabzi (vegetables), chutni (well…), chawal (rice), poori/roti (hmm…), sambar, rasam, kheer or halwa (sweets). Ghee, aachar (pickle), and few other condiments are always there on your table. And everything that they serve is unlimited except the papad and I have always wondered why. Although when I went there tonight there was an exception to the rule – they didn’t mind serving extra papad to my friend’s 2.5 year old boy and he liked it a lot and so did we.

The options are limited, but mouth-watering

If you are going for lunch or dinner, you’ll only get one option – South Indian meals, i.e., if you are vegetarian. Non- vegetarians also have the option of biryani and chicken. The advantage of more options is something non- vegetarians have always enjoyed and Andhra Bhawan canteen is no different. For breakfast you get the usual stuff; dosas, idilis and vada. I never went to have breakfast at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen, but I am sure it’s very tasty too. What will delight you further is; it’s all very reasonably priced – just Rs 110/- for the vegetarian meals. In fact, as compared to others it’s cheaper. Only road side options can beat them in prices.

Though wait for table can be frustrating – the whole world goes there

Now while I am claiming that Andhra Bhawan canteen serves the best south Indian food in Delhi, I could be wrong too. What if I told you the place is so popular that on weekends the wait for the table can be so long that out of total frustration even a fan like me would go away without eating, would you buy it? Well, that’s how long the waiting period can be and that’s what I have done once. But those who are real fans find the solution too, and so did I.

When you plan to visit Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen over a weekend, go there well in advance. Since this is a “canteen”, they have strict timings during which they are open – see the pic for the timings (click here). So if the lunch starts at 1pm, reach by 12:30 latest. Once the clock hits 1, its total madness outside. It’s really hard to even get inside to get the coupon. They have plenty of folks to manage the crowd, but still if you are hungry, it’s agonizing to wait for your table.

And the place is popular among people from all walks of life and all countries who wawpid-img_20140621_214753361_hdrnt to eat the best south Indian food. You can be sure to find people from all over not just India but the world enjoying the best south Indian food in Delhi at the Andhra Bhawan canteen.

How to reach Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen and where to park?

Another good part is, Andhra Bhawan canteen is not too difficult to locate. You can take the Metro, get down at Patel Chowk and take an auto rickshaw from there, that’s one option. If you have your car, then also it’s easy to reach. Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen is on the Ashoka Road and is very close to India Gate – at the first round about on the Ashoka Road. In fact, you can enjoy your evening at India Gate and then have dinner at Andhra Bhawan canteen.

To find the location of Andhra Bhawan canteen, click here.

To find the directions to reach Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen, click here.

Parking at Andhra Pradesh Bhawan canteen is a little tricky in a way since there is no place ear marked for it. The common practice is to park on sides of the Jaswant Singh road. Everyone does that, I have been doing it and I think you can do that too. After all you have to enjoy the best south Indian food that is available in Delhi.

PS: Change of Name?

In light of the fact that state of Andhra Pradesh has now been bifurcated into two states, not sure which state will now have Andhra Bhawan as its state house in Delhi and subsequently the name of the place/canteen may change too. Hopefully the taste will remain the same. As for my recent visit, the house is still called Andhra Pradesh Bhawan and place Andhra Bhawan canteen.

 

 

Best Cholle Kulche in Gurgaon

Street food is not really a speciality of Gurgaon, in fact it seems scarce especially if you don’t consider what is offered at many places outside the multinational corporate offices that Gurgaon is more famous for. For someone who has relished the best of street food be it Chole Kulche, Golgappas (pani poories as some call them), Dahi Bhallas, Rajmah Chawal, Kadhi Chawal, Masala Dosa, Idlli, Sambhar Vada on the streets of Delhi, Gurgaon has almost nothing worthy to offer.

For me it has been a constant struggle to find good places to eat street food in Gurgaon but I don’t quit especially when it comes to my taste buds and I didn’t. It’s never those fancy and costly restaurants for me – they make me uncomfortable, usually don’t fit my pocket, and for a travel enthusiast like me – the real essence of any place lies in its monuments, people and food – not in a starred hotel, tourist guides and restaurant food.

Raju Chole Kulche wala– the best Cholle Kulche in Gurgaon and why

Anyhow, after struggling for almost 2 years, I finally found the place which serves you the best Chole Kulcha in Gurgaon and it costs you only 25 rupees. And it could very well be among the best places to eat Chole Kulche in and around Delhi too but that could remain debatable so I won’t put any stamps on that yet. But in Gurgoan, it surely is.

Raju Cholle Kulche wala, yes that’s your place to eat the best Chole Kulche in Gurgaon (click here for location). The Cholle he serves are hot, not over spicy and have the right mix of all the condiments. If you are eating there then the supply is unlimited, if you get it packed then of course you have to do with whatever has been packed for you. The Kulchas are his “special” speciality and are “exclusive” since he makes these in his very own Papu Bakery, which makes sure that you’ll never find these Kulchas anywhere else. He fries these in butter and this makes for a great combination. 2 Kulchas, that’s standard offering but if you want more like I always do, you pay extra.

My favourite is something else!

Surprising what I like the most about Raju Cholle Kulcha wala is the salad he offers, in fact the special green chilli. The onion is dipped in vinegar, which is pretty standard. But the green chilli is awesome – that taste is the icing on the cake – though the feeling is nothing like ‘ice’.

Since this place is very close to where I live, I mostly get Chole Kulcha packed and eat at home, I order 3 Kulchas, extra green chillis and that for me is a perfect street food breakfast. And since he is open from about 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening, I don’t mind paying him a visit during lunch time or for an early evening snack. After all every time is the right time for the best serving.

The secrets from the horse’s mouth – Raju the owner  

I know any chef or business man would never share his secrets and surely not the one who sells the best Cholle Kulche in Gurgaon, I wasn’t expecting Raju the owner of Raju Chole Kulche wala and Papu Bakery to share his. But he told me quite a few things like he belongs to Moradabad district of UP; he has sold Cholle Kulche all over Haryana in places like Sonepat, Panipat, Ambala and Karnal; his nephews currently own a Chole Kulche shop in Kurukshetra that he set up but since his special Kulchas from Papu Bakery can’t reach them fresh, they use Burgers so making it Cholle Burger or Burger Chole joint; and the fact that he even lost couple of lakh rupees in some of these ventures. The better part though is the best Chole Kulche he makes for food lovers like me in Gurgaon.

Find, try, enjoy Raju Cholle Kulche wala

So next time you feel like enjoying the best Chole Kulche in Gurgaon, I strongly recommend you visit Raju Chole Kulche wala(click here for location) – you will find his yellow cart  at a T-junction about 4.5 km on the right side of the road(you’ll need to take a U-turn) on your way from HUDA City Metro Station to Subash Chowk (Sohna Road) (click here for directions). This guy offers you one of the best street food options in Gurgaon for sure and arguably in Delhi and places surrounding it.

In case you know, think or feel there is some other place which offers better option in Gurgaon for Cholle Kulche or some other amazing street food, do share. Otherwise, the remains the best place for Chole Kulcha in Gurgaon.

 

 

Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba in Ambala – the epitome of greed, discourteousness and is not recommended at all

The Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba in Ambala is a place where they serve greed with a lot of dis-courteousness. While returning back from my home town after a memorable Diwali, we decided to have a ‘memorable lunch’ at Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba in Ambala and the greedy guys made it memorable for all the wrong reasons.

We went there to enjoy food, and with 100s of similarly named dhabas in Ambala we put our trust on the popular NDTV Good Times show and their stamp this particular Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba had put on its hoardings. But they disappointed us to no end.

This is how our experience goes. A guy came to take our order, and we ordered three dishes and roti for all. We were carrying a few Diwali snacks from home and thought we’ll eat them with our lunch. To this the guy said that they don’t allow outside food and we joked that it was ‘home cooked’ and not from ‘outside.’ Anyhow, we decided that we’ll eat these snacks in the cars and have only proper lunch which we had already ordered from the Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba.

But that was not to be. In 2 mins their manager came and asked us to place our order. Assuming that he honestly wanted to take the order as the waiter may have missed what we had ordered or maybe the manager didn’t know we had already placed the order and wanted to give best service  (not knowing his real intentions, how sad I feel now) or whatever, we again placed the order. And before repeating the order I did tell him that your waiter had already taken the order and should I place it again. The manger said yes and I very innocently repeated the order.

Now this gentleman manager told us that we should order one more dish as due to the quantity they serve 3 dishes will not be sufficient. We told him that we’ll order more if we feel like. But the manager persisted and we told him that how would he know how much each of us eats and may be 3 was good for us. After this the truth came out in open. The manager said that they had a policy that each person must order a separate dish and there is no sharing. In other words, if you are 5 people eating together, you have to order 5 dishes, and your can’t share. We are like, are you kidding us? Also, this also didn’t make sense as we were 6 adults and one kid – I don’t know what math he was doing in his head as one more dish would have meant 4 dishes for 6 poeple, not exactly as per their policy.

Anyhow, I mean how weird is that? I have been to my share of restaurants and that includes road side redhiwalas to fine dining restaurants and there are no sharing of food rules if you are eating buffet or thali, etc. But this was a-la-carte for crying out loud. Needless to say we got his real meaning, the Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba’s real motto was making money only and at any cost, even being totally weird and stupid, period. And this manager actually wanted us to either get the hell out of there or order as per their ‘policy’ – a fact the initial waiter had failed to mention and in fact had never been shared with any of us who had had lunch there in the past. Why he brought it up this time should have some reason behind it for sure.

Well, next we asked him to at least show us where the rule is written as it was not there on the menu given to us. The confident manager took us outside and proudly showed us the signboard (I have attached a pic of the same here). This was a shocker, a-la-carte and no sharing. This one is something the NDTV Good Times guys missed, in fact this one is for Limca Book of Records or may be Ripley’s Believe it or not. And mind you, the policy is invoked under ‘special circumstances’ only – like ours today.

Anyhow, after it left a really bad taste in our mouths, we decided to spend our money where we can also get some respect and basic courtesy which I believe is the least you can expect. And our much looked-forward-to trip to Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba in Ambala turned out to be a big thud and a real disappointment.

Whether I’ll ever go there again, of course that’s out of question. Whether you should go there, well you know the best for yourself. May be you can go there when you are really hungry so that you can do full justice to their one dish-per person rule.
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Response from NDTV Goodtimes

I shared this post on NDTV Goodtimes Facebook page and following is their response..

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