It’s hard to categorize Chhabra Restaurant; it’s not the metropolitan restaurant that one finds in malls or even city arcades and nor is it the conventional Dhaba. A village restaurant maybe, or a city-Dhaba; it might in the end not matter how it’s categorized because like with most things food all that ever matters is taste.
A 45 minute drive from HUDA Metro Station in Gurgaon – roughly 25 kms – near the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary main gate – another 5 kilometres ahead, past the railway crossing – Chhabra Restaurant is a vegetarian only eating joint that proved to be quite the culture shock for my 8-year-old daughter – first timer -who initially refused to eat at the place but by the end had finished everything on her plate – including a second Parantha – something that never happens at home.
The drive to Chhabra Restaurant is fairly smooth and straightforward with occasional traffic prone areas in-between. The restaurant though does come up suddenly if you’re expecting it to be a Dhaba – as I was – because it’s doesn’t have that kind of space up front or the other paraphernalia – Charpai and the likes – around it. It’s a restaurant plain and simple in all respects. The service is friendly and quick, typical of such establishments. It’s a place where even if they would have added a 10% service tax – which they didn’t – you’d feel like paying a tip on top of that. Moreover, it’s clean and airy, with a road in front that sees traffic but at least on the day we visited it didn’t have heavy traffic.
I came with prior knowledge that Chhabra serves amazing Tandoori Paranthas and they sure didn’t disappoint. They are the kind of Paranthas that would make some of the more expensive restaurants in the city bow their heads with shame. I know it sounds overly romantic but the Paranthas had a very earthy flavour to them, the coal-y smell and taste still holding tight with each bite and the freshness of the ingredients quite visible, and that good felling of guilt thanks to dollops of butter on top. I ate two plus Paranthas – Paneer, Half of Gobhi, Half of Aaloo-Gobhi, and a little bit of the Plain – and five minutes after having left the place I was already missing them hoping that it would have been a good idea to pack a couple for later – although, eating them fresh, only seconds out of tandoor, was part of the reason why they were so good.
As for the curries – Paneer Makhani and Kadhi (the pakodi was slightly hard) – while nothing stood out, they both were satisfactory. The spiciness in them didn’t linger for long and could easily be overcome with a spoon of yogurt – lovely smooth plain yogurt that would give any Greek yogurt a run for their money – or a sip of water. I did however enjoy the Methi Paneer which came in white gravy and went well with the Paranthas.
Chhabra Restaurant might not yet be one of the famous “dhabas” that dot the region, but it deserves to be frequented and is definitely worth the drive. The prices of everything we ate made me re-think living in the city and for a while I wondered if somehow I could relocate to where the Dhaba is or at least source the vegetables from where they do. That fact that Chhabra Hotel and Restaurant is so close to Sultanpur makes is more favourable as it can easily be linked with a day trip bird watching in the sanctuary with the family. Local, homely, delicious food that shouldn’t be missed and although I never got around to tasting their Tawa Paranthas – I’m sure they are good too – I wouldn’t mind driving there again just for the Tandoori options and a full plate of Dahi (yougurt).