Haveli Dharampura has a 200 year old history through which it has changed hands 3 times to have finally come to Mr.Goel’s family and now is popularly known as Goel Sahab Ki haveli. The haveli is situated right in the heart of the bustling Chandani Chowk area though it is a little off from the main road. It is easily accessible from the Chawri Bazaar metro station from where you can take a rickshaw to gate number 3 of Jama Masjid. From there you need to travel through a narrow lane to eventually walk up to this magnificent Haveli.
The walk through the lane does not prepare you for the beauty you are about to encounter once you enter.
While walking we realized that these were indeed very clean streets for Chandani Chowk and were later informed that the people behind the restoration of the haveli not only choose to renovate its interiors but also the area around it. Great way to give back to society!
Though the place has a rich cultural history I am just gonna give you just a little brief about it as you cannot truly appreciate the place without understanding the ideology behind it.
Mr. Goel has been involved in restoring the Chandani Chowk area for years and when he got his hands on this haveli his target was to compete it in a span of three months (as per his previous experience on the timeline of renovating his family home). However with all the unexpected challenges he faced from have to hold up the structure, ensuring quality of detail, maintaining the haveli’s true aesthetics to providing it a modern look that would suit the current market, it took him over 6 years to bring it to fruition. I had the privilege of enjoying the end result of their hard work. They have certainly set the precedent for more havelis to be cared for in the area.
They have beautifully done up rooms with modern amenities spread across 4 floors. What really deserves a mention is the terrace that gives you a beautiful view of the ever popular roof tops of that area with Jama Masjid to your right, Red fort in front of you and Gurudwara Sisganj to your left. What a beautiful combination of various cultures in one place!
The fun part to visiting such places is probably getting to hear some cool stories about it. So worry not, you will not be disappointed. I’m not gonna share them so that you can enjoy them during your own visit but let me just give you a small teaser that there is a khazaana involved! Intrigued enough?! 😛
The restaurant Lakhori is named after a type of red brick. The interiors of the restaurant remain true to this and has been aesthetically designed to give you a hint of old and new combined together. Without taking away too much of the old but actually using it as the base inspiration and building around it, the interiors exude old world royal charm. The beautiful arches lining one side of the restaurant allow for a burst of natural light to filter in. These were a part of the original 18th century haveli alongwith the lakhori bricks.
If I had to describe the food in one line I would call it a fine dining restaurant serving Indian Mughlai cuisine with a modern take on it. They have a set vegetation and non vegetarian menu which they update every month and diners are free to modify this according to their likes and dislikes. The servers are very well trained and ensure that you feel like royalty throughout with the care that they give you, smoothness of service and quick execution. So as Indian classical music played in the background, I dived into their elaborate menu.
Get Set Gobble:
~ Sipping mode on – We made it across the main aangan all set with a fountain to the air-conditioned paradise and were served a welcome drink of kaanji. What with the hot weather we immediately got to ordering a round of drinks and what popped out was the Baraf Khanna which was essentially like a ice gola with watermelon syrup and pomegranate seeds. The Banarasi paan was so authentic in taste it felt like a pan had been churned to liquid and served! The chai biscuit is a nostalgic drink for every tea lover. And the best part is the biscuit crumb served on top of the drink. The Jahan Ara was another favourite which was a khus based drink..yumm! They have a good selection of mocktails and shakes that are quite refreshing so take your pick. Other drinks we tried were Patangbaaz Sangria, Blueberry mojito, Lakhori manzil, Berries delight and Medi grass. Haha..I think I’ve named almost their entire menu. Well it was a long journey to the restaurant and all of us were quite quenched it seems!
~ Palak patta chaat – Crispy fried leaves of palak were converted into a delicious chaat with generous toppings of imly chutney, green chutney, curd, pomegranate and sev. It was a nice contrast of textured with hot crunchy leaves and cold toppings along with a sweet and sour combination. MUST TRY
~ Haveli special Dahi puri – I am becoming more and more fond of this preparation of golgappas where they are filled with chaat toppings and served with shot glasses of meetha (saunth) and khatta (jal jeera) paani. Trust me, no one can eat just one! MUST ORDER
~ Kadak roomali – This is a roomali roti that has been cooked to crunchy perfection to taste almost like a papad. Served upside down like a big bowl this was topped with a spice paste and chopped vegetables. It made for a great Chakna while we waited for our main course. DO TRY
~ Dahi ki arancini – This was again a great fusion dish where hung curd had been coated with Pablo crumbs and deep fried.
~ Mutton Galouti kebab – These were soft mutton patties of minced meat that wasn’t too sharply spiced. It’s served on tiny circular cutouts of ulta tawa ka parantha. I love me some sweet breads and would like if the base could be made slightly thicker and sweeter.
~ Mutton korma – The dish looked super rich with a thick gravy drowning pieces of tender mutton in it. It was absolutely scrumptious and the fact had a sweetish taste to it. Quite nice. Pay no heed to the layer of oil floating on the top. A very nice Muslim friend had once explained it very well to me, ‘The idea is to add the ghee to cook and flavour the meat. I don’t expect you to eat it. Leave the oil and eat the meat’…Makes sense right?! And so I simply spooned off some of this love to the side and dug deep to serve myself some gravy. MUST TRY
~ Murgh ki tokri – This stir fry preparation was served in a crispy bread tokri. The chicken was cooked through well and had a great blend of spices..something that my palette enjoys quite well. MUST ORDER
~ Kinari bazaar Kofta Dogala – This was probably the highlight of the meal ( yes, I’m appreciating a vegetarian dish more than its non vegetarian counterparts! Shocking but true). The presentation made for these lovely green balls which were koftas wrapped in spinach leaves served in a neat row in the center. On both sides were two colours of gravies, tomato and malai that mix together to form this rich decadent curry that boosts the taste to the next level. Blown away. MUST ORDER
~ Aloo katliyan achaari – I loved this aloo dish that was prepared so differently where slices of potato had been cooked rather than the traditional cubed chunks. It was spiced beautifully and had a sort of achaari taste to it. MUST TRY
~ Dharampura special dal – The dal was very thick and rich and is cooked overnight to give it that beautiful texture. However it was slightly sweet for my palette.
~ Gobi aloo matar deconstructed – This was again an amazing fusion dish and is one of the poplar items on their menu. Personally I hate matar (lol, yes :-P) so I can’t comment much on it.
~ Breads – We tried assorted breads that included naan, lachha parantha, lal mirch parantha, tandoori roti, khurmi naan (which was a naan topped with some spices and grated cottage cheese).
~ Kulfi – These came in four flavours – rose, malai, mango and paan. Rather than the traditional stick or matka serving, this was in the form of ice cream with a chocolate cone. I personally loved the rose one the best as it had a beautiful flavour that didn’t have a big hit of rose water. It actually had small rose petals in the mix that came in every bite or so which really elevated the flavour for me. MUST ORDER
~ Kheer Trio – This was served 3 ways – paan, beetroot and malai. It came served in chai glasses and was topped with lots of pistachios.
Old world royalty. Modern Indian food. Excellent service. Rich history.
Tips and tricks:
Getting there is not that tough – they do have sign boards but the easiest way is what I mentioned at the beginning. When you reach the narrow lane take a right at the end to discover this hidden gem. Do take a tour of the property and make sure you hear about its rich history and other interesting stories around it. The staff is only to happy to share these as it is a topic that is close to their hearts. They have cultural performances scheduled in the evenings so do ask ahead. Take a trip to the roof for that typical Delhi 6 view made complete with clothes being sun dried on the roof to a group of white pigeons circling the skies above. Beauty!