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An Indian Canteen at the Delhi Grill

This month, the OCC U.K. branch continued their quest for a great curry by going to our second home, Zone 1 London, and attended Delhi Grill - Indian Canteen (21 Chapel Market, London, N1 9EZ) on a Friday evening at 7.30pm OST. Now some of you may have noticed in the name that it’s an “Indian Canteen”. Or how they say in Punjabi, a “Dhaba”. So what is this? Its essentially an informal canteen where people from all walks of life sit together and enjoy spicy, delicious street food. The evening commenced with a few drinks at The Bull (100 Upper St., London, N1 0NP) beforehand. It’s worth noting there are a few good boozers around the restaurant if interested in a drink before or after your meal. Whilst pre-drinking, the OCC U.K. branch pondered what the venue would be like, such thoughts sprung to mind with the following discussions... - ‘what exactly does an Indian canteen layout look like?’ - are we all sitting together in one big table?? - ‘how does the food work?’ - do we go around with a tray like a school dinner and pick out what we want? - ‘will we all get along?” - sometimes members of the OCC U.K. branch can be a rowdy bunch after a few double gin and tonics… Nonetheless as we ventured into the unknown, the OCC U.K. branch’s morale was high. We entered the restaurant to what can be best described by Smudge as a “little firecracker of a venue” with bursts of Bollywood movie posters wall to wall. A great aesthetic. The venue, although narrow and long, did have individual seating areas for each individual party. Alas, the OCC U.K. branch was probably not mingling with others tonight as they concentrated on their agenda and evaluating the food versus their curry excellence criteria (Customer Care, Service, Value, Quality, Atmosphere, and of course, …Accessibility). A waiter with great hygiene standards (suited and booted with disposable gloves) greeted us and shared Delhi Grill’s menu and specials. The street food on offer includes mouth-watering weekly specials such as a Curry Tandori sandwich. In terms of drinks, there’s a great variety, “who knew Indian craft beer existed?” Gidds professed. It’s worth noting that dishes are brought to your table as they are ready, but we adopted a more traditional approach with pops, then starters and finally mains, to ensure we assessed the curry house in the same framework as we do others, which Delhi Grill were more than willing to accommodate. To start 2 popadoms each and all the sauces were ordered. “Interesting sauces!”, well said by Jacko. Along with our crispy pops came a nice selection of sauces. Some originals such as mint sauce and mango chutney, as well as some quirky extras such as beetroot sauce. The majority enjoyed. Then the starters arrived, 4 Delhi Grills to be each shared by 2 people. Everyone was impressed with Delhi Grill’s street food take on a mixed grill. 1 lamb chop and sheekh kebab along with a couple chicken tikkas each. Watch out! The sheekh kebab is slightly on the spicy side, but it works. At this point, it was a great start, the sauces brought variety, the chicken was tender and the drinks were flowing. A few of us were slightly starting to be on the stuffed side. However we proceeded on and the mains arrived. The mains were more of a mixed bag. “Spicy butter chicken was good, daal makhani was ok (but heavy on the ghee) but the daba tawa gosht was sensational, great flavours and juicy lamb chunks.” said Gidds. While Jacko said “Unfortunately mains left a lot to be desired, lacking a bit in depth of flavour, Roti was also average”. All in all, we would suggest ordering a mix of the spicy classics and lighter dishes to have a good variety of dishes in true street food style. To conclude, the OCC U.K. branch awards Delhi Grill (21 Chapel Market, London, N1 9EZ) a score of 7.15 and as such is OCC approved with a sticker. A great little gaff with a real good vibe. The canteen style works and as such it’s no surprise it has an atmosphere score of 8.25. We 100% recommend the Delhi Grill for 2 and the Railway Lamb special if it’s about. There’s also veggie options at hand too for those inclined. Delhi Grill, according to their website, has been open for ten years now and they take pride in everything they do, and this definitely shone through. Here’s to a few decades more! Customer Care: 6.56 Service: 7.54 Value: 6.03 Quality: 7.38 Atmosphere: 8.25 Accessibility: Yes Total Score: 7.15


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