Culinary Journey at The California Boulevard

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When I think of Rajouri Garden, there are a list of things that pop in my head- gourmet is not even near that list. And I was wrong. The California Boulevard is to blame for this. They have turned and twisted my assumptions, perceptions and notions. Thank you for that. Started my meal with the Thai Refresher. And this is something I highly recommend. A signature they say, there is watermelon, mint, lemongrass and galangal muddled with soda and served.

As I sipped and browsed through their enormous menu (over 160 dishes and 11 cuisines) I could sense the amount of work that has been thrown into this space for the diners. For example: there is constant, well synchronized slideshow of artists on LCD screens (best way to start a conversation); there is a Harley Davidson; there is controlled lighting; there is comfy-poshy furniture and there are servers with headsets. Which is where you notice the interesting stuff- the staff coordinates with the valet team to make sure the guests are served instantly. Also the staff wears gloves, you get ‘compressed towels’ before your meal, the plates are warm, the cutlery spick-and-shiny and the service lightning. In short when you are here, you are well taken care of. But there is more to this place, the kitchen that is. Because the food is amazing.

The good things, first:

  • Dilli Ki Chaat: Quite an innovation. Crunchy spinach sturdy enough to hold sweetened yogurt, sauces and sev, this starter is a must-try.
  • Kaffir Lime Tikka: another beauty. Soft, succulent chicken swilled over coal and then infused with Khaffir. Delicious. If you tend to enjoy Thai flavors, this place is bang-on in that department.
  • Steamed Fish with butter garlic sauce: The plating does put you off. But one bite leaves the unpleasant thoughts aside, because the fish is so delicately treated. It was well-balanced and seasoned.
  • Chicken dimsums was stuffed fine. They were cased well and went super with the sauces- light soy, thai green and chilli.
  • Gosht Nihari: Wonderfully cooked. When I bit into it I could sense sweet aroma, followed by softest of meat texture and earthy flavor. The parantha was warm, flaky and soft.
  • Prawns Chilli Garlic Basil is flavored superbly here. The folks here are not afraid to experiment with flavours and correct flavors. They are liberal with ingredients. The prawn were plump, there was tons of basil, kaffir and garlic in the sauce. But nothing overpowering.
  • Mushroom and Zucchini Ravioli was lovely. The white sauce was heavenly. The pasta al-dante. The garlic bread given equal attention- good job there.
  • Shepard’s Pie: another dish done real well. The saucy, succulent minced meat covered with baked baked potato was delightful.
  • TCB Gazzak Ferrous: a must-try. This can be a spoiler for first-timers. Sorry to ruin the fun. Anyway, it is basically a kulfi which cased with a chocolate shell. And you will never realize this when the plate is bought to you. The shell is then blow torched for an easier crack. The bitter sweet chocolate surprisingly goes really well with the cold kulfi topped with crunchy gazzak.

Now the not so good things:

  • Ganderi Kebab- presented well, but the sweet sauce was too much. Lacked balance of sweet and spicy.
  • Paneer Sushi- again a stunner. But not for me. Maybe the ginger was too strong for my liking.
  • The Mezze Platter- hummus bland, falafel was good but pita a bit to hard.The Udon Noodles- nope. they tasted fishy. Left this on my plate, after a bite.
  • The Pizza: nice. Nothing stellar.

This place isn’t the usual fine dining, multi-cuisine restaurant you will find in this part of Delhi. I can be wrong. But haven’t discovered something like this. And not to forget, I was highly impressed with their after- dining data collection processes to maintain their standards. This means they collect, analyze and action on customer’s feedback. Kudos on that. Hardly seen any south Delhi restaurant doing so. Me asking you to visit this place won’t be a surprise by now. Visit this place and get ready to be taken aback, in a pleasant way.

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