It’s hard to categorize Chhabra Restaurant. It’s not the modern 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? In the end, it doesn’t really matter how we categorize it because like with most things food all that ever matters is taste.
The trip to Chhabra Restaurant takes about 45 minutes from HUDA Metro Station, It’s roughly 25 km and situated near the Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary main gate. Remember to drive past the main entrance of the bird sanctuary for another 5 kilometers, past the railway crossing, and you’ll find the restaurant amongst a small collection of local shops.
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. However, by the end, she had finished everything on her plate – including a second parantha – something that never happens at home.
The drive to Chhabra Restaurant is reasonably 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.
It doesn’t have that kind of space upfront or any 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 continuous traffic on most days.
I visited 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 flavor to them. The smell of the coal still holding tight with each bite, and the freshness of the ingredients quite visible. Add to that the feel-good guilt factor thanks to dollops of butter on top.
I ate two-plus paranthas – paneer, plain, gobi, and a gobi-aloo. 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 the 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. 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 low prices of everything we ate made me re-think living in the city. 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 favorable. It can easily be linked with a day trip, packed with bird watching in the sanctuary.
Local and homely, Chhabra is all about delicious food that should not be missed.
Although I never got around to tasting their tawa paranthas, I’m sure they are good too. In all honesty, I wouldn’t mind driving to Chhabra Restaurant just for the tandoori options and a full plate of Dahi (yogurt).
Update: Chhabra has since my first visit updated their setup a little bit. They still have the tandoor on the outside, but the main restaurant is enclosed and a lot cooler.
The prices still remain cheap, and the food equally good. Do ask for the tandoori paranthas and in case they haven’t started out making them as yet, wait a while.