Indian food gets the posh treatment at Anardana

Anardana’s South Delhi outpost at Sangam Courtyard is an evolved version of the restaurant that has set the bar high for Indian restaurant food.
Anardana at sangam courtyard has stunning interiors.
Anardana looks stunning, with vintage movie posters, beautiful tabletops and transparent cloches keeping plates safe and sanitised for diners.

The restaurant was the right amount of full, most tables taken but still a few available — always a good sign. We walked into the din of lively conversation rising above soothing Bollywood remixes (the DJ seems to have the TG figured out; he’s a great photographer too and will happily oblige should you need some photos clicked). The restaurant looked stunning, with vintage movie posters, beautiful tabletops and transparent cloches keeping plates safe and sanitised for diners. The inviting couch seating next to the French windows was all occupied but, after our first round of drinks, the obliging staff was happy to move us there.

Once we were settled and cosy, we dug right in. The millet crackers with an assortment of delicious dips were on the house and remained our faithful companions throughout. The menu was extensive, as menus tend to be these days — in an attempt to outdo each other, I suppose. We would have to pace ourselves.

Anardana's jodhpuri raj kachori.
Anardana’s Jodhpuri Raj Kachori.

The evocative ingredient the restaurant is named after is a staple of the Indian kitchen, finds its way into many spice mixes, and is popular as a souring agent much like sumac or amchur. Anardana makes several appearances on the menu, some of them in unexpected places.

Instead of ‘starters’, there was a triumvirate of ‘Chaats, Salads & Shorbas’. How sensible. When in Rome…

Left to right: palak and kale patta chaat; keema kaleji with maska pao; butter chicken pizza.
Left to right: Palak and Kale Patta Chaat; Keema Kaleji with Maska Pao; Butter Chicken Pizza.

I wanted to try the Banarasi Tamatar Chaat — having missed it on my last visit to the eternal city — but at the waitstaff’s recommendation, we opted for the Palak and Kale Patta Chaat instead. If you want to play safe, they have a Purani Dilli Papdi Chaat as well. I loved the Patta Chaat — which the restaurant suggested should be eaten soon, else it would lose its crispiness — although my fussy companion demurred, stating it needed to be thinner and they should have gone easy on the batter. It requires just the slightest coating of batter apparently. Do note the kale in the chaat though. This is Anardana in a nutshell — heritage Indian dishes, each with a refreshing, modern twist.

A shoutout to the dinnerware, which is stunning.

We skipped the aforementioned Salads & Shorbas, although the Pomelo and Lotus Stem Salad and the Burmese Dal Shorba appeared promising.

‘Small Plates’ are the mainstay of any restaurant these days. I’m not sure anyone gets past them really, what with the confusing array of fad diets everyone is on.

Again we went by the waitstaff’s suggestion, who had us firmly under their wing by now. The tandoori broccoli was acceptable but not mind-blowing. I’ve had better. What did blow us away though was the keema kaleji served with maska pao. Mutton liver is a tricky ingredient and calls for bold spices to balance the gamey-ness of the meat. Anardana pulls it off perfectly. Extra points for putting this mildly adventurous choice (by Delhi standards) on the menu.

Another view of anardana's stunning interiors.
Anardana’s interiors and food are made for the gram.

I’ll confess, we did order a few dishes just for the gram (all ya influencers, Anardana has you covered — it’s such a photogenic space). Hence the Anardana Lamb Burra Kebab, one of their signatures. The pomegranate-infused lamb chops came in a pair of brass weighing scales. We had so much fun twirling the scales and making boomerangs we almost forgot to taste the kababs. Yup, definitely one for the gram. I hadn’t had a burrah in a while but some places in Delhi have a justifiable reputation for doing them well. Not everyone can pull it off. Anardana comes close to perfection but could improve it slightly (bolder, distinctive flavours, please?).

In a review situation, one tends to order an inconceivable number of dishes. At the end of it, one is usually groaning. So I begged them to send a smaller portion of the wood-fired Butter Chicken Pizza. When it arrived, it wasn’t so small, so I don’t know what the full size is like. In the event, it was so moreish, we polished it off.

With a teary eye we skipped the ‘Dilli Wale Momos’ section. I’m glad we made it past the starters though, because some of Anardana’s gems are hiding in the ‘Mains’. The Royal Kipti Murg, another one for the gram, is a dish I have never encountered before. Bite-sized pieces of chicken lay languorously inside an omelette which sat in the middle of a platter, serving as a border between two different gravies, both delicious. The Anardana Mutton was another signature we sampled and loved. The sourness from the pomegranate seeds was the gamechanger in this mildly tart meat dish.

Cocktails at anardana.
The cocktails mostly tasted of the underlying spirit.

Although I get the point, I felt the Dal Dugani Makhni was overpowered by the generous use of cream and butter. Next time, I’d like to see the dal shine through.

I’ve not mentioned the drinks although there was libation galore through the meal. The cocktails seemed promising at first but mostly tasted of the underlying spirit (which many drinkers would say is nothing to scoff at). I think they lacked a dominant flavour profile. But it’s early days, when a lot of tweaking happens, and I’m sure this can be fixed easily.  

I would definitely like to see more desserts on the menu. Or is no one eating sweets anymore? Maybe there is a reason the dessert section on the menu is called ‘Registaan’. There are two signature desserts. One, the Double Ka Mitha, a classic, is everything you could ever want a dessert to be: rich, oozing with sweetness and balanced flavours. The Mora Berry Hamsani, which is a chocolate tree topped with candy floss with ice cream on the side comes surrounded by ‘smoke’. It’s the sort of dessert you’d order to impress a date – and it would do the job perfectly. I guess that’s the reason for its existence. But the Double ka Mitha is way better to bite into.

Left to right: anardana burrah kebab; royal kipti murg; and double ka mitha (in front) and mora berry hamsani (at the back).
Left to right: Anardana Burrah Kebab; Royal Kipti Murg; and, for dessert, Double Ka Mitha (in front) & Mora Berry Hamsani (at the back).

According to the press release, “The Anardana team has worked towards community eating, serving traditional heritage food with modern design and smart shareability.” As far as I can tell, Anardana is a new kind of beast in the F&B space. When you’re craving good old Indian food but still want a quirky-posh, contemporary fine-dining sort of experience, this is where you would come.

Anardana, 6 Sangam Courtyard, Sector-9, R.K. Puram, New Delhi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anardanad

Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Max: 5 stars) 
Food: 8/10
Drinks: 6/10
Service: 10/10
Interiors/Décor: 9/10
Vibe: 9/10
One dish we loved: Keema Kaleji with Maska Pao
One dish that didn’t work for us: Dal Dugani Makhni

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