I’d said my next Delhi meal report would be of a Kashmiri meal—two of them, in fact—but, yet again, I am a liar. Instead I have for you a report of a South Indian meal, an Udupi meal to be more exact. This was dinner on a day that had featured a blowout lunch at an aunt’s home . That was an excessive meal, and in true Bengali fashion, lunch was served close to 2 pm—and so we wanted to eat something relatively light for dinner. The friends we were meeting suggested an outpost of Sagar Ratna, located more or less halfway between them and us in Gurgaon, and that is where we went.
This is my second report of a meal eaten at a Sagar Ratna location, by the way. In 2017 I reported on a lunch eaten at their Connaught Place location, a meal I’d quite enjoyed. I’d mentioned in that report that once upon a time Sagar/Ratna was the undisputed king of this kind of South Indian food in Delhi (and back in the late ’80s/early ’90s, this was pretty much the only kind of South Indian food in Delhi). Now there are a large number of other options for all kinds of South Indian food; and in this genre, Carnatic Cafe is, in my opinion (though not only mine), clearly superior. But Sagar Ratna still sits at the top of the heap and is still very good in its own right.
Their empire in the Delhi/NCR spans more than 30 outlets and there are a couple in Rajasthan as well—plus there are a large number of franchise operations all over North India. I can’t say for sure but I suspect the location we were at for this meal may be the fanciest of the lot. It is located in the tony One Horizon Center on Golf Course Road in Gurgaon. All the other restaurants at this location—-which includes Comorin—are far more trendy and happening. I’m guessing Sagar Ratna has fancified its decor in an attempt to fit in but it’s still the most incongruous member of the group. And at least on the night that we were there the rest of the clientele were not the young Gurgaon set either. The food, however, was very good. The menu is centered on the Udupi all-stars (idlis, vadas, uthapams, dosas). But this being Delhi, there is no escaping the multi-cuisine structure, and so there are also North Indian and Indian Chinese sections. We stuck almost completely to the South Indian end of things.
We began with a few drinks: watermelon juice and masala buttermilk and then got down to bidness. The smaller things included an order of podi idlis to start. To be safe the missus and I also split an order of regulation idlis. Both were very good. Even better were the vadas and they made me very resentful of the drop in quality from these to even the better South Indian places in the Twin Cities metro. (I can only imagine how much better still all this would be in the South.) One of our friends got the dahi vada and enjoyed it greatly as well—he wolfed it down greedily before any of the rest of us could try it, the bastard. The main event featured dosas. One of our friends got a Ghee Roast Garlic Pepper Masala dosa (the masala served separately in a bowl). The other got the Butter Plain dosa. And the missus and I split a Mysore Masala dosa. All three were very good indeed. The chutneys and sambar were also on point. Oh yes, I also got a glass of rasam which came with a massive appalam/papaddum. Also very good.
To end, an order each of rava kesari and gulab jamun (I guess you can’t take the Delhi out of us either). Both also very good. We were offered South Indian sweet paan at the end but resisted.
For a look at the restaurant and the food, click on a picture below to launch a larger slideshow. Scroll down for more on the meal and to see what’s coming next.
I was not allowed to touch the bill and so cannot tell you how much it came to but it wouldn’t have been very much. You should be able to work it out by looking at the prices on the menu if you’re really interested. Service was fine and the food came out at a good clip.
I had been hoping to go back to Carnatic Cafe on this trip to eat their benne dosa (which I had regretted not getting last March) but we didn’t have time. If there are other places in this genre beyond Sagar Ratna and Carnatic Cafe that you would recommend wholeheartedly in Delhi, please write in below.
Alright, my next restaurant report will be from December’s Southern California trip and then we’ll be back in Delhi again for the following one. Both of those should drop this weekend.