The most clichéd quote about food is that “there is no love more sincere than the love of food”. This is precisely what makes writing about food, especially a review or a critique, a very difficult task because one person’s love can be another person’s object of dislike. Also, love is the most difficult experience to be objective about and capture completely in prose. Over and above, it is a very personal experience.
Food fits the bill on all these counts. This I believe a simple disclaimer that the following piece is strictly a personal experience and might not be fit for everyone’s taste buds.

To come straight to the point, I liked Charcoal Tandoor Grill. It is small restaurant, of about 10 tables, of which three are al fresco. Located, as it is right in middle of the pretty much crowded and traffic clogged Safdurjung Enclave, I would give the al fresco sitting a miss. I like to watch the world as I eat but I don’t like being watched by the world while I eat. The interiors are clean, quite spartan in black, white and amber. The amber glow of the lighting somehow goes with the ‘tandoor grill’ theme.

We were the first guests of the evening, so the staff showered all their attention on us but they seemed to be pretty polite and helpful. I especially like restaurants which customize their orders and portions a bit to suit the guests. Charcoal did exactly that when they served us four pieces of chicken instead of three, in consideration of the fact that we were four people. This was even without being asked to do so. This in my books deserves a special mention.
Coming to the most critical part of any restaurants – the food. It was good. The menu is a limited four page one, with two pages of Indian tandoor and two pages of European grill. Each item is well described. Most pleasantly, we got almost exactly what was described. We stuck to ordering an all Indian fare. Having heard good things about their Nimbu Chicken, for starters we ordered a portion of Charcoal platter – Nimbu Murgh and Nimbu Mutton and a portion of Tandoori Mushroom. The Nimbu Murgh was excellent. The chicken was juicy and succulent, mildly spiced with a distinct tang and flavour of lemon. The nimbu mutton was good but could have been better. The spices were mild and flavourful, the meat was fork tender but it was the wrong cut of mutton for such a dish. I wish they had chosen a less fibrous cut of meat. The dish to write home about was the Tandoori Mushroom. I am always wary of tandoori mushrooms, as in most places these are overly spiced oversized mushrooms where the spices inside the mushroom remains uncooked. This was however perfectly cooked juicy mushrooms with the right amount of spice that didn’t overpower the mushrooms. Both the dishes were served with fresh green chutney and onions.

The main course was Murgh curry which is described as an in-house chicken curry, and as the waiter informed it comes with a side of bread. We opted for Lachcha Parantha and ordered another portion of Lal Mirch ki Roti. The chicken curry is accompanied with a small bowl of Raita, Papad and some Salad too. The curry was very good. It was chicken on bone, cooked in fresh tomato gravy that had flavour of shahjeera, and was finished with fresh coriander. It had the look and taste of a wholesome homemade chicken, but very aromatic and balanced. The raita was fresh and had onions and cucumber added to the curd. The bread are nothing much to talk about. The Lal Mirch ki Roti had a lot of lal mirch but the bread in itself was listless. We were too full to sample desserts but would surely go back for trying the rest on that small menu at Charcoal. The damage was around Rs.1800.
A special mention for the beautiful plating and the tic tac they served at the end of the meal.

Address: Charcoal Tandoor and Grill, B-6/5, Ground Floor, Shopping Centre, Opposite deer Park, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi
Meal for two 1400(approx) without taxes.
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