14 Feb 2010

Gluten Free Places to Eat in New Delhi, India Part 1

As an extension to the London Gluten Free Restaurant guide I have been writing, I decided to let you know about the places I would recommend in New Delhi too, since this has for a time been my home, and food wise still has a warm place in my heart.

Many visitors to the country are forewarned, as I was by my nurse when jabbing me with vaccinations, about the dangers of Delhi belly and all the other horrors of eating abroad, especially in India. I am pleased to report (not something I openly talk about, but feel the need here) to not have gotten sick the whole six months we were living here – for hygiene or gluten reasons. There are of course precautions to be taken, such as drinking only bottled water with a seal broken in front of you (common practice in many restaurants) and use of those bacterial gels or plain old hand washing, since India is a dusty, dirty place. Use common sense, only eat fresh hot food from reputable places and and you should be happy and healthy.

The places below are establishments that I have been to at least once, in most cases a couple of times, since we ate out more than once a week, trying to get our fill of the wide variety of Indian food before we left. I have to say too, that I never got sick of the food, and would happily subsist for the rest of my life on rice and dal!

I will lay these out by area, as if you are a visitor to the city, that (for me anyway) often determines where you eat, unless you are seeking out somewhere in particular, as I habitually do. Beginning in Greater Kailash Part 1, or GK as it is known, this was our home for six months in the south of the city, it had a selection of really good restaurants and is a good shopping area open till late, which we could walk to, dodging the traffic of cars, rickshaws, autos and the odd cow.

Please note that some places do not have their own websites, so the links give their address and info.

Moti Mahal Deluxe – Not the original home of butter chicken, but one of hundreds that are benefiting from using the same name. A good local restaurant with hearty Mughal fare, the chicken tikka and dal makhani were my favourites. This was actually the first place I ever ate in India, alone on my first day when Jack was at work, and needing to grab some lunch. Go beyond the ornate heavy door and sample the straight faced service and hearty food.

Le Cafe – Incredibly more international than Moti, this slick cafe above the even slicker menswear shop which you have to walk through, is a serene and modern serving internationally inspired food often with an Indian twist. Good salads and juices, plus main meals and sandwiches on their own breads are served by friendly waiters. Good if you tire of dal and rice... and fancy something little bit western.

The Turtle Cafe – A time honoured cafe in the Delhi coffee shop scene, this place serves plenty of pasta, sandwiches, salads and cakes with a huge selection of drinks... Their own made seasonal juices are very good. I spent many an hour away working and reading over their good South Indian coffee, as there is nothing gluten free to eat except channa salad. They also have a branch in the more central Khan Market.

Kasbah – The top of three floors of restaurants, the Indian venue serves traditional north Indian food. We became rather known here, as its modern setting and reliable food was a good introduction to Indian restaurants, and was a nice place for a more formal evening out. Good vegetarian offerings, I love the paneer tikka. Their kulfi, the Indian ice cream is completely different to anywhere else I had it, caramel-y without the dried fruit bits I would always insist on sharing one. The other restaurants are Chinese and Italian and have equally good reputation for Indian takes of the cuisine.

Shalom - A dark, atmospheric bar cum restaurant, this Moroccan inspired place was the place we sank a few (very expensive) G&T’s on the rare occasions that we went out drinking. The food is simple mezze and kebabs, with some of the best houmous I have eaten... it has DJs over the weekend and is quite a young and expat crowd.

Big Chill – Not somewhere I would normally recommend based on the very Indian interpretation of Italian food that they serve in, but this place is an ice cream mecca. A place we took every visitor (at least once) for ice cream in those scorching summer days, we would sit in the very kitsch diner style but heavily air conditioned surroundings and eat their homemade ice creams. Seasonal variations are to die for, and I had more than my fair share of the mango sundae. A tiny branch in Khan Market also, where you can get take away and mooch round the shops.

More to come for central areas, and some tourist favourites that we got to try whilst here... But let me know, have you been to any of these.. thoughts, advice for travellers to India... but please no horror stories!


Anonymous said...

Seems incorrect - cafe turtle and big chill do not have gluten free products.

Kim McGowan said...

I meant purely the ice cream... other products indeed are far from gluten free.