Sadak Chaap is a 100% vegetarian, Punjabi restaurant from Delhi which, everyone please take note, has relocated three doors down and now rubs one shoulder with The Monk and the other with Yalla Momos on Street 4 B – dead opposite Bikanervala. The restaurant’s front façade is draped in Diwali style lights which hides its rudimentary, somewhat shambles of an interior – I mean, for goodness sake, who uses bamboo reeds for its wall décor these days? As its name suggests, Sadak’s claim to fame is that chaap, a soy-based meat substitute, is used extensively throughout its menu.
I was told chaap tastes very much like chicken (they told me that about frog legs when I was young). Sure, it looks like chicken and, when grilled, smells a little like chicken too, but even if all the pieces came together and started clucking, flapping wings and laying eggs, chaap still wouldn’t taste like chicken – no, not even a little. Having never tried anything with chaap in it, I decided to order their thali in-order to sample several of their chaap based dishes. This led us to the next problem, Sadak Chaap’s idea of a thali is more what we call a combo meal – a chaap ‘kabab’ starter, a butter-chicken-like chaap main, bread and a glass of rather unremarkable buttermilk – that was their thali. Hmm.
The pani puri I ordered to calm myself down with was served with five different pani’s including a vile tasting one made of hing and one with absolutely no taste whatsoever…which was supposed to be mint. By the time I had been through them all I was ready to run across the road to Bikanervala to refresh and recalibrate my taste buds with some real imli pani. Let’s just say, pani puri isn’t one of their strengths. Not one for giving up, I decided to go for one more roll of the dice and ordered the chaap tikki – think aloo tikki but with (you guessed it) chaap. I’m happy to say this last gamble paid off – the chaap tikki was really good, almost as good as the real thing.
I found the service at Sadak Chaap friendly and accommodating, something I appreciated even if I was the only person at the restaurant. I was looked after by Mukesh, the restaurant manager. He patiently took me though the entire history and production process of chaap, and then helped me order my food. I am very grateful to him and his team.
That said, this is not a restaurant I will consider returning to nor am I comfortable recommending it. I love vegetarian food, especially Indian vegetarian, which is so diverse, flavoursome and delicious. In this context I do not understand using a meat substitute, chaap or other. So, if you want a good vegetarian meal in Karama…ha ha ha…just go for a little walk in any direction…
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.