Karim’s, a name synonym to the royal Mughlai cuisine dates back to 1913. Started in the by lanes of old Delhi or fondly referred to as Purani Dilli, Karim’s was introduced to the world by Haji Karimuddin, who used to serve earlier in the kitchens of Mughals. Back then who knew this place will turn into a landmark one day. The sole purpose of this establishment was to introduce to the world the royal Mughlai taste and his name which should get etched in the memory for ages to come. This iconic place is not just famous in Delhi and NCR but has been creating a name of its own across the country including our own city of pearls – Hyderabad.
The moment you step out of the elevator at 4th Floor Podium Mall Tolichowki, you are greeted with a gold engraved board of Karim’s. Karim’s has tried its best to bring in the same old Mughlai flavors from the royal kitchens to the Biryani lovers of Hyderabad. Talking about the décor of this place, they have stayed true to their roots keeping the interiors simple with a seating capacity to accommodate 70-80 diners at a time. The menu has been in line with the focus being on the specialty gravies and tandoori kebabs. The meal started out on a very good note with Mutton Shorba accompanied with semolina rusk with shorba being exactly the way it should be light on palate but full of flavors. Followed by this we were served appetizers like Chicken Malai Tikka, Mutton Burra and Mutton Seekh Kebab, these preparations though being good in taste were very basic and failed to leave a mark. Chicken Malai Tikka topped the list with chicken pieces tossed in a flavorful creamy sauce. Mutton Seekh Kebab were good in flavor but they lacked texture and were a bit too rubbery. Mutton Burra was disappointing as due to over cooking the meat got burnt and was giving a bitter flavor.
The main course, erased all the previous dislikes. We were served Nihari and Chicken Makhani in the curries along with a selection of breads. Nihari was filled with flavors given to its slow cooking and was topped with julienned ginger and green chilies. This was paired with Taftaan or Khameeri Roti which are originated from Afghani cuisine. Chicken Makhani, made of onion, tomatoes and cashew gravy was creamy and reminds you of Delhi’s favorite butter chicken. Though not being an authentic Mughlai flavor this worked well for my liking paired along with spicy mutton keema.
Desserts were the two in house specialties- Shahi Tukda and Kheer Benazeer. Kheer Benazeer was served chilled in earthen pots reminding of kheer or rice pudding with cardamom flavors topped with chopped nuts. On the contrary Shahi Tukda was served hot with a good amount of saffron flavored rabri and pistachios as a topping. Not being a dessert lover myself this was addictive as they were not overly sweet. Karim’s did not disappoint a bit in the service part. The coordination between the kitchen and the service staff deserves a mention. The warmth of the service staff made my experience a happy one. There have been some changes made to the original recipes to accommodate the taste buds of the locals which is fair enough. If you are looking to try the delicacies and flavors which were served on the royal Mughal tables, Karim’s is the place to be