No…this is not the description of the restaurant. Actually, it may as well have been. The Iraqi Restaurant, set in a bylane in Lajpat Nagar 1’s residential E Block (E-178 near the gurudwara) is indeed an Iraqi Restaurant and for the sake of simplicity, the owners decided to use the description for it’s name as well!! It takes a little bit of searching to find this nook and its best if one asks around for Krishna Market and thereafter locates it. On a hot Delhi afternoon (and the afternoons are getting sweltering hot these days), we braved the weather and went ahead in our endeavour of constantly trying to find new places to eat.
The decor was much better than we expected. Expecting bare tables and chairs like Bline (the Russian restaurant that is now shut), we were pleasantly surprised to see the minimalistic yet aesthetic look of black tables and sofa seats. The waiting staff, like the owner, are all Iraqi students and speak just a tad bit of English but pointing and hand gestures should get you by.
Very interested in exploring a new cuisine, we decided to start with the appetizers. A platter of kebabs, a mix seasonal salad and a dal (lentil) soup. The kebabs came impressively on their skewers but were dry and very bland in comparison to their Indian counterparts. The salad was great though – was one part an eggplant and onion salad, one part cucumber and tomato and a part of hummus. The dal soup was a large bowl of ..well what did you expect…dal! It had some boiled rice thrown in, so your quintessential khichdi!!
Telling ourselves that there must be an upside to this place, we went ahead and ordered the main course. The Qosi Rice is the most recommended dish to eat here so we ordered a plate of that with a bowl of beans for our vegetarian friend. Trying to figure out what the beans dish is like, we asked the waiter and he said it was like baked beans…we thought that perhaps that is just a metaphor. Alas, he was forewarning us, it was indeed just a plate of baked beans! Having said that, I have a feeling that our vegetarian friend had a better meal than us because the Qosi Rice turned out to be one large mound of rice with a ‘boiled’ piece of sheep meat on the side. Thats it. No gravy, no flavor. Literally just a boiled piece of meat! Thinking we must have ordered wrong (rather desperately praying that we had), we asked him to get any other dish with a gravy – the house speciality. What he plonked on our table though looked like he was very very mad at us. In the huge bowl, there was a lot of runny red water, submerged in this water was 2 huge rotis broken into bits and on top of this pile was yet another piece of the boiled sheep meat similar to the one that we had been struggling with!
The prices are low. A meal for 4 cost us just Rs.1000. Yet, we walked out hungry, discontent and very very unhappy. Nothing that a quick stop at the Def Col Nirulas couldn’t fix with their Hot Choc Fudge though!
All in all, a very disappointing experience. If Iraqi food is like this, then perhaps this is one country I’m not planning on visiting soon! If not, I hope to find a restaurant that does it justice!!
Rating: –0.5 out of 5