Pahalwan Dhaba, Sikanderpur, Gurgaon Review
Dhabas or roadside eateries serving local cuisine on Indian Highways have always been charmers to the truckers as well as the urbane especially in the Punjabi speaking belts. The rustic touch of huge clay ovens, chaarpais (Charpoy) to lounge on in the Sun, biting on freshly made spicy & scrumptious food makes a visit to a Dhaba delightful. However, given rampant urbanization Dhabas are also going through a character change. In an endeavour to look chic & upbeat, the highway dhabas are gradually losing out on their original charm. But Pahalwan Dhaba is surely not in the siding with its made up cousins and till today makes his food in Pure Desi Ghee – The Shaan of being a Pahalwan.
I had often heard about Pahalwan Dhaba (Pure Vegetarian) located in Sikanderpur, Gurgaon in online forums that was serving great food and retained its original character sans the chaarpais albeit. So a craving was already there. As it happened, Jatin Guliani and I were sitting at the City Club and had just downed a club sandwich when we took an impromptu decision to take on more food from Pahalwan Dhaba. Parking our cars on roadside we entered the dark but spacious environs of the Dhaba. Dimly lit, it seemed they were going through a power cut which Gurgaonites are not alien to. As we rested our bottoms on sturdy plastic chairs, I noticed the place as well as the furniture was quite Spartan which was a relief of sorts. That’s the way Dhaba’s do it – Focus on the food, rest are mere enablers.
While we were observing the well-equipped table with clean glasses, a jug full of water, chutney in another ‘lid covered’ jug and salt, a “Chotu” appeared placed a plate of radish & carrot salad on our table and disappeared. As quickly another one came in to check what we wanted. There were no menu cards, we had to choose from the huge menu hung on the wall. While we were deliberating on what to order, we did note that some of our requests were declined with a “Not Available”. Eventually, we zeroed down on rather inexpensive half portions of Malai Kofta (Rs.50), Chhole (Rs.30) & Rajma (Rs.30). By ordering half portions we were able to pack in more variety for less, but you can always order full portions.
To go with our vegetarian fare, the first round of breads comprised off crispy Lachcha Parantha (Rs.25) and Aloo Naan (Rs.15). The second round was that of fresh, hot and crispy tandoori rotis (Rs.3).
The food was served in no time and was served hot from the pan. As we bit in both of us found the Malai Koftas a tad hard, however, they were stuffed well with a Paneer mixture and served in a cream rich but tasty gravy. What really astonished us were the Chhole and Rajma preparations. Both of these were perfectly spiced and cooked well. Another thing that pleasantly surprised us was the garnish of Kalonji (Onion Seeds) & Magaz (Melon Seeds) on both Lachcha Parantha & Aloo Naan. The garnish took both of these breads to a different level. Just to be sure about our tingling taste buds we ordered a few more tandoori rotis and polished off the remnants with them. Needless to say, we were not able to find anything dicey but a whole lot of flavours. The fact that all this came to us at a princely amount of Rs.175 made a steal indeed. We could have ordered something sweet from the outsourced sweet shop which stands on the same location, but we desisted.
Overall! If you want to eat great local food and if you don’t give two hoots about the rustic surroundings and plastic chairs and can easily handle the ghee laden food, do visit Pahalwan Dhaba at least once.
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[c5ab_tab title=”Location etc.”]Pahalwan Dhaba
Address:Mehrauli Gurgaon Road, Off 55 – 56 Sector Road, Sikanderpur
Contact Numbers: +91 987 307 3755; +91 991 155 1694[/c5ab_tab]
[c5ab_tab title=”More information”]Cuisine: Local, Dhaba
Vegetarian Only: Yes!
Do they deliver: Yes/ Takeaway: Yes
Do they cater outdoors: No
Hours of Operation: 09:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Meal for Two: Rs.250 + Taxes (without discount)
Discount Available: No
Credit Cards Accepted: No
Smoking Permitted: Yes! Outside
Music: No (Live: No)
Parking: Street side (Valet: No)
Outdoor Seating: No[/c5ab_tab]
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[c5ab_tab title=”Location on Google Map”]