The *original* plan this evening was to go to Moti Mahal at Daryaganj, the restaurant which invented the butter chicken (Murgh Makhani) dish which is now world-famous. Back in the 1950s, the cooks of Moti Mahal used leftover drippings from baking the tandoori chicken to make a sauce, adding tomato sauce, butter (or ghee), thickened milk, and various spices like cumin, coriander, fenugreek, etc., plus copious amounts of ginger paste and onion paste. Pieces of tandoori chicken (itself already heavily-spiced and fragrant from being baked in the tandoor oven) will be tossed in the sauce, moistening and softening the chicken until a delicious, tangy, sweet and slightly spicy stew is obtained - perfect to go with any Indian breads.
Anyway, the crazee Delhi intervened - bumper-to-bumper peak period traffic which stretched for miles, so we doubled-back to DoubleTree by Hilton instead. Cafe on 3 is a slick, well laid out casual restaurant with an open kitchen.
Cafe on 3's Murgh Makhani was as well prepared as any: thick and perfectly-balanced in its use of spices, tomatoey and creamy at the same time. The tandoori chicken pieces were absolutely delicious. I ordered a large, thin, stretchy and chewy "roomali roti" (translated from Urdu as 'handkerchief bread') to mop up the gravy. As usual, the "roomali roti" is served folded like a large handkerchief on the side.
Don't think I'm ever going to get used to the chewy, supple "roomali roti" - I much preferred the softer South Indian staples (appams, idlis, stringhoppers, or crisp Keralan parathas) to the hard, chewy wheat-based North Indian breads.
Need to do Moti Mahal one of these days.
DoubleTree by Hilton New Delhi
13 A Mayur Vihar District Centre
New Delhi 110091
Tel: +91 11411 05555