A platter is defined as a full meal served at the table consisting of the best that the restaurant has to offer. Visual aesthetics preferable, but not essential.
With the above definition in mind, here is a platter of probably the best five platters in Delhi…
Kashmiri Tarami – Chor Bizarre
Chor Bizarre has another platter on its menu called the Non-Vegetarian Sampler, which is an excellent mix of their kababs. But there is nothing to beat their Kashmiri platter as a main course. Served on a bed of rice, the Tarami is a mix of traditional Kashmiri dishes, that so few restaurants make and even fewer make well. It starts off with pretty unusual vegetables (lotus stem, for example) and signs off with a phirni. Their Goshtaba is to die for while the other items are not too far behind either.
Presidential Platter – Bukhara
Ever since Bill Clinton came to India, he became Bukhara’s most famous brand ambassador. And the restaurant returned the compliments by making a platter of their choicest delicacies (which the President liked) and called it the Presidential Platter. Meant to be a meal for two, it has a selection of kababs of all hues (except prawns, unfortunately), their fabled Dal Bukhara, an assortment of breads and a dessert choice. Very fulfilling – and for the vegetarian, there is a Chelsea Platter as well! Presumably, the President’s daughter is a member of PETA.
Antipasti Platter – Diva
Diva’s reputation precedes itself so the expectations are sky-high to start with. They live up to the promise magnificently right from their starters of which the Antipasti Platter is a splendid example. Composed of fresh green vegetables, cheese slices and an ensemble of meats and fish, this platter sets the tone for the rest of the evening. The chicken is smooth, the ham is perfectly smoked and the salmon is divine… the only sad part is that you cannot order two. After all, there’s a lot more on the menu to choose from!
Vegetarian Thali – Andhra Bhavan
Visual appeal takes a backseat in the no-nonsense canteen of Andhra Bhavan. It serves fiery curries and piping hot sambars on mountains of steamed rice. Of course, the prerequisite for trying this one out is a high degree of spice-resistance since the Telugus believe in loading their dishes with lots of chilli. Non-vegetarian side dishes can be ordered as can be the butter-milk (essential to survive the spice)! And the service is super-fast, which is in keeping with the speed at which the food is devoured!
Gujarati Thali – Rajdhani
Where is Dipta? No, really – tell us where you have hidden Dipta? You impostor – he couldn’t have put TWO vegetarian thalis in his list. What do you mean the Rajdhani thali is really good? Okay, okay – it has a lot of ghee but… What did you say? There are 10 different side dishes? And is it unlimited? Only 225 bucks? What are you saying?
Well, stranger things have happened than my choosing a vegetarian platter in my fav list. So, don’t get hassled about this. Just try Rajdhani out and don’t plan for any other activity after the meal.
Actually, the best platter I have ever had is the Sunday lunch at my grandmother's - which was always simple and elegant. Starting with bitters, followed by daal and fried brinjal, followed by fish (hilsa in mustard, during the monsoons) and ending with mutton. And then, a long nap. Ah - bliss!