I have a soft corner for good gastro-pubs. The combination of good drinks along with some finger licking food makes me happy. So when I heard about We.Desi, the new gastro-pub that opened last month, I was really eager to try it out. On top of the Westside store at 22 Camac Street, this is where Ivory Kitchen used to be. The decor was bright with some fun wall installations, like a huge fan and Madhusala written beside the bar.
With ace mixologist Irfan Ahmed manning the bar, the cocktails with desi twists are definitely the main attraction here. While Palang Todh Long Island was a tangy, fruity drink with the right amount of kick, Tandoori Narangi Martini was a pleasant surprise. The addition of the green chutney served along with kebabs and lemon zest made it a fun drink. Loved both. The presentation was also good, specially that of Palang Todh.
I am a person who loves good starters to enjoy with his drinks. What I loved the most here was they think the same too. The starters I had with the excellent drinks were great too. In fact the starters alone could have made this place great. To begin with Talwari Murg Malai Kebab was both tasty and soft. I love super soft, melt in your mouth kebabs and this one didn’t disappoint me. The presentation was fun too. It was served on a long skewer which looked like a sword or talwar, and hence the name.
The Tandoori Jhinga ke Diye were pieces of tandoori prawn served on diyas or small oil lamps made with baked clay. By now it was clear that food presentation and styling is another area they are good at. So if you love well presented food, you will love this place. Expect some hatke styling. The prawns were cooked and spiced well. But I would rate the Talwari Chicken higher.
The next item was served on a charcoal loading iron. The Chicken Nizami Tangdi was a delight to watch and was by far the best non veg starter we tried. The buttery and soft leg pieces were juicy and tasty. The only thing I didn’t like about it were the pickled onions served along with it. This is one item you should not miss if you are here and not a vegetarian.
If you are a vegetarian, or, like me, have it on special days, the veg starters were not bad too. The Square Foot Sabz Sheekh was tasty, though a bit dry. Adding the chutneys generously solved it for us. This is one monster sheekh of, as the name suggests, one foot.
Aloo ki Tashkari was better among the two veg starters we tried. It was aloo tikki topped with pindi chana. The tikki was well made and I loved it both alone and along with the chana topping. If you are a potato lover like me, you would love it.
The bun samosa ghugni combo was presented in a fun way inside a tin box. A miniature form of the school boxes which were common during our childhood days. The bun was soft and the samosa inside was good. But I didn’t like the ghugni served along with it. It missed the tang.
For mains we tried Amritsari Pindi Chhole, Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda and Punjabi Butter Chicken. The Pindi Chhole was good (the same one that comes as a topping over Aloo ki Tashkari) if not one of the best found in the city. The Butter Chicken was also good. Rich, creamy and soft pieces of chicken. The lachchha paratha and kulchas served along with it to wipe the gravy off were soft and perfect accompaniments.
But what stole the show for us was unexpectedly the veg Punjabi Kadhi Pakoda. It was not the usual Kadhi Pakoda and came with a twist. The normal pakodas were replaced with pakodas with rice filling. A great way of making it a complete meal. It is like eating kadhi chawal, where the chawal is served within the pakodas. Loved it. Only if the tang of the yogurt is increased a bit, this will be a killer dish.
The first dessert we tried was Nolen Gur ka Sandook. Presented in a fun way on a half broken plate this looked like their signature dessert and matched the checked table tops. The sponge cake and the thick filling both were good.
The Apple Kheer Tart was a winner for me. Creamy kheer with apple chunks served on a pastry case. The kheer was so good and perfect. Not to sweet, but still rich. A perfect way to end a great meal.