Beyond Borders

Raas dishes up a saporific Indo-Pak menu with some interesting degustations.

When we googled the word 'raas', a plethora of meanings came up, the weirdest of which was an Ethiopian prince or king. However, when applied to the new Indo-Pak eatery in Hauz Khas, we decided that 'juice or essence' (or juicy essence if you will) was probably the mot juste. Raas, the new restaurant in Hauz Khas Village, is accessed through a short flight of steps that begin on the main street. The interiors are warm — in shades of dull gold — and the wall dominated by a huge picture window overlooks one of the many monuments that dot the area. The music was a pleasant cross-pollination from both sides of the border, comprising songs by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and some gentle Bollywood numbers.

The menu is long and varied. Interestingly, there is no clear demarcation between Indian and Pakistani foods; the dishes are divided according to courses. After a brief mental tussle between the traditional and the twisted, we decide to go with the latter for starters and devote our mains to the former category. Accordingly, in appetisers, we choose the Murg Tikka Vanilla and the Murg Tandoori Wasabi (though we were tempted by the Sharabi Naan). By the time they arrive, our stomachs have started to roar in the most Sunny-Deol-admonishing-enemies-of-the-state way, and we dive into the food without even waiting to yell 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'.

The malai tikka, layered with evanescent accents of vanilla, is a juicy palate-pleaser. The tandoori chicken on the other hand, though a promising shade of green, while succulent in itself, lacks any flavour of the celebrated Japanese horseradish. But it still has you reaching out for a tissue to wipe your nose, a clear indication of the presence of wasabi. Perhaps, the chefs are worried about maligning the tradition of the fiery red tandoori chicken, an entirely justifiable concern.

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