Delhiwale: eye and palate treatment
Here in the Walled City, the entire restaurant is uniquely adorned with hand-drawn paintings. This is a feast for not only the taste buds but the keen eye as well.
And even before entering the restaurant Shabnam finds art on the sidewalk: a fish and a rooster drawn in red and black on a metal box.
The wall next to the counter has a drawing of a samovar that looks appropriate for a Kashmiri specialty restaurant. The very hot tea comes out of the spout of the kettle and goes straight into a cup.
Once inside, there is the extraordinary rear wall that is based on a fish and rooster motif, now greatly magnified. While next to the switchboard, a delicious whole chicken on a bed of salad leaves sits on top of a serving plate supported by a long, narrow stem. The illustration creates a languid mood and you almost expect Omar Khayyam to enter with his Rubaiyat and his glass of wine.
And there is much more: the pantry offers the (unmasked) face of a man with a pointed mustache who stares at a samovar, with his large and very expressive eyes.
“I don’t know who drew it,” explains the man at the counter, a native of Srinagar in Kashmir. “We bought the restaurant last year and the drawings were already here.”
One of the most moving aspects of this artsy restaurant is the fact that the drawings somehow seem to be an integral part of the place. Art does not scream. And quite unlike other places, mainly in the hipster parts of town, where the effort to be cool or artistic becomes simply overwhelming.
It can happen anytime between 6 a.m. M. And midnight and, yes, the gushtaba is delicious. Shabnam Restaurant is located in the so called Motor Market, across the street from Jama Masjid.
And yes, don’t forget to go through the bathroom. Instead of the mirror, the wall has a drawing of a pierced heart showing the lips of a woman.