The Embassy harks to a time gone by and narrates a culinary journey of recipes ranging from Karachi in what is now Pakistan to India’s national capital. It is this legacy that the restaurant promises to offer every time you step in.
As Savar Malhotra, the brand’s Managing Partner, put it, The Embassy is “not a restaurant but a museum for stories”.
There is love and friendship tempered with various spices in the food story of The Embassy, which came into existence after two friends travelled from Karachi to India following independence.
“This place was started by my grandfather who came to India from Karachi with his friend. They came here and opened it; so it is based on friendship,” Malhotra told IANS.
Tucked away in a corner of central Delhi’s Connaught Place, The Embassy has stood the test of time and is a part of the capital’s food culture since 1948.
Soft and subtle music greets you as you take your table, set in a stylish décor with arched colonial windows.
The culinary sojourn for me started here on a patriotic note with the signature paneer tikka — an ode to the national flag with tikka splashed with the three colours. It’s been a part of the menu since 1992.
The cottage cheese melts in your mouth with minimal marination and is low on spices. Considering I am not a big fan of paneer, it fared well on my ‘tasteometer’. You can also dig into a fresh cheese cutlet, which is sinful but worth every nibble.
Also try the Embassy Samosa, a part of the menu since it opened its doors.
Non-vegetarians need not be disappointed. There is an array of options for you — tandoori chicken, chicken papad, murg mussallam, dal meat, chicken masala and tomato fish.
If we talk about fish, then it is soft and succulent, but the dish can be a disappointment for many. The sauce can be too tangy (if you are not a fan of tomatoes), and chips can be soggy. Murg mussallam offers you chicken in thick gravy and is bland and creamy.
One thing that you cannot miss is the channa bhatura. The bhaturas are soft, and channa flavourful and dry.
Dal meat is another hit item here. There is a bit of a crunch in the dish, and it goes well with the softness of the meat. It gets a zing from ‘garam masala’.
Since the restaurant’s name carries a legacy, Malhotra says it is not easy to maintain it as patrons don’t enjoy any customisation to the taste of the food they have been serving for years.
He admits this restriction may be hindering their creativity as, for them, it’s not just about “serving food, but memories”.
Malhotra says patrons have come and gone over the years.
“With time, many seats keep on getting empty. That is the most depressing part. For instance, there was a table for four, it became three and now it is down to two people (as the rest passed away).”
Now Malhotra is planning to take the legacy of the restaurant across the country.
“We will expand soon in Lucknow, Hyderabad and in Delhi’s Janakpuri. There are three models in our mind — cafe, QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) and fine dining with lounge.
“We don’t want to replicate this place, but take some dishes and introduce them to other places. We plan to open one branch in every state in the next five years,” he said.
Address: 11 D Connaught Place, on the radial road
Price: (for two) Rs 1,200 plus taxes
Timings: 11 am to 11 pm
(The writer’s visit was at the invitation of The Embassy. Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at [email protected])
By Sugandha Rawal