I first came across Kake Da Hotel many years back when I was going through a vegetarian diet phase. Back then, I was intrigued by the crowd of well dressed people impatiently waiting outside in hot summers as well as cold winters in what seemed to be a very small dhaba. The only time, when the place seemed empty was when it was closing close to mid-night.
Some time later, when I started eating meat again, one of the first food joints that my friends
took me to was this one. First time I went inside, I had no expectations or idea what the place was. For me, it was just a small ‘upgrade’ over a street food stall with somewhat cramped seating arrangements. The chairs were not very comfortable and the air-conditioning barely worked. The waiters and kitchen staff in their red t-shirts shouted orders and the place was buzzing with families, couples, office workers and friends talking animatedly over their food. The food was and still is kept in brass pots simmering over charcoal fire right near entrance and served right from there. A space saving measure perhaps.
As we had entered some time after peak lunch hour traffic, we got a table easily, but the place was still 3/4ths full.We placed our order and the food came up within 5 minutes. As far as I can remember, we had ordered Paalak meat ( chicken cooked in spinach gravy), Meat kofta ( mutton meat bals) and Butter chicken along with some rotis (breads).For salad, we were served onion rings sprinkled with lemon juice and chaat masala.
Right from the first bite of Paalak Meat with the crisp roti, I was in love with the food. A large number of Indians love ghee and I could see why this place was so popular. Everything was cooked in pure ghee without it overpowering the flavour or aroma of any other ingredient. Everything was in just right proportions. Meat was tender and cooked properly, dishes were spicy without burning the mouth and each curry had it’s own distinct flavour.Even the simple onion salad with it’s plain dressing tasted pretty good. These days, even when prices of onions are touching 3 figures, they haven’t reduced the quantity served.
They have a few vegetarian dishes like Daal, Paneer for vegetarians too, but I’ve never tasted those. So can’t comment.
Since then, I’ve visited Kake Da Hotel numerous times over the last couple of years and have never been disappointed with anything. It’s one of our favourite places for taking our guests for non-vegetarian part of our Indian food tours in New Delhi and every single one loved it. The quality of food has remained impeccable over the years and we’ve enjoyed numerous meals over there without a single complaint.
The only sore point, as I mentioned earlier was the cramped space and patchy air-conditioning. The restaurant/hotel/dhaba ( or something in between) has some very good food but not the ambiance. But when you consider the price, quality of food, location (Connaught Place) and the history of the place, there are very few comparable food joints. Kake Da Hotel was established in 1931 and it has remained in business for so long for a reason.Do visit it whenever you’re in New Delhi looking for a good place for non-vegetarian food and you’ll not be disappointed.