Under an ancient peepul tree at one edge of the raucous Defence Colony market. That’s where I’ve eaten the juiciest, tenderest chicken tikka. Outside of GymkhanaClub, that is.
Saliva inducing steam trails behind the waiter as he hurries towards me - holding the plate of tikka at shoulder height. It holds a large portion – 10 hot pieces straight out of the tandoor. And on a late winter evening this makes for a great meal.
You stand around a small round waist high metal table that’s almost as gnarled and battered as the tree itself; and you hit elbows with a tiny shack hawking paan and cigarette and gutka; and you sink your teeth into the succulent, yielding flesh.
The chill in the air bites hard. And after every mouthful you can’t but glance over your shoulder just in case a ghostly spirit, tempted by the luscious chicken piece in your hand, decides to pop out of the thick, leafy branches above.
The tikkas are delectable, fresh and sensational. The keema kulcha is crisp outside and soft inside. As it should be. Crunchy, yet dissolving effortlessly in the mouth.
Yes, the cooks here know their stuff. It’s an ancient art and they have mastered it, I can declare.
However, just because it’s an outdoor, takeaway kind of a place don’t think it’s cheap. Prices match those at any upmarket dine-in restaurant. But it’s worth every hundred rupee note. Every slurpy tikka.
Col Kababz at Defence Colony market has been around for decades; and the way it’s cooking, is likely to be there for a few more. Go there and savour the tikkas.
But watch out for the ghosts!