[Gurgaon, India] If you look at the big picture, Hawker Street is nothing more than an open-air food court.
However, it comes with a selection of some unique and new outlets in addition to an ambience that works wonderfully with Delhi winters.
Hawker Street is the place to be for a quick, relatively cheap, and tasty bite of food.
All the outlets at Hawker Street are in ship containers, giving it an exclusive appeal. It is similar to a line-up of food-trucks, only immobile.
Situated outside Gate No. 5 of the Ambience Mall, the atmosphere at Hawker Street is very much picnic like with the evenings giving out a semi-romantic vibe thanks to twinkling lights hanging all around.
There is a separate covered area for rainy days. Outdoor heaters are placed at regular intervals to keep diners warm. It’s perfect for a college date or a night out with the family.
With around 20 stalls in total, including some makeshift ones, depending on the time and day you visit, some are closed for business.
Nevertheless, these following 10 restaurants provide a nice variety of food that is sure to satisfy the most ardent of food lovers.
Game of Grills
The owners of the Malayali-Arabian food selling Game of Grills must be real fans of Game of Thrones to name their business after it.
There are Funko Pop figurines from the show at the cash register to welcome guests, and the restaurant boasts that their chicken, fish, mutton and seafood are fresh, anti-biotic, organic and halal.
Although there is a nice selection of Arabian and South Indian dishes on offer, I went ahead with the classic Chicken Shawarma Roll (Rs 199, SGD3.75). The bread, warmed over a coal grill, was soft, and the shawarma had a lovely cook on it from being on the rotisserie.
Delicious and a good quantity of filling make this a must eat.
A lot is going on at Live Wok that serves Pan-Asian cuisine through its shutters. There’s sushi, soups, dim sums, and a wide variety of starters and main course dishes ranging from noodles to Thai curries.
I do believe that they can get away with cutting down quite a few items off their menu. How they handle all this from such a small kitchen is beyond me.
Having said that, the Tofu Mix Veg (Rs 395, SGD7.50) was tasty. Although, a few more tofu chunks would have made it better.
I’ve grown eating kathi rolls. Often a part of school lunches, a good kathi can bring back some beautiful memories.
Kathi Nation captures nostalgia with their Paneer Tikka Roomali Roll (Rs 129, SGD2.45) that has large chunks of well-marinated paneer in it.
For the adventurous eaters, they also have noodles and pizza rolls. But I’m old-school and would personally avoid those.
The Salad Story
The biggest revelation for me at Hawker Street was The Salad Story.
I do enjoy a good salad, but would I go to a speciality salad shop for dinner? I will, from now onwards.
The Salad Story serves a range of healthy vegetarian and non-vegetarian salads, wraps, and meals. The ingredients are quite diverse and feature quinoa, beetroot, noodles, and a few comfort additions like bacon and cheese.
Now, their Asian Vegetable Salad (Rs 275, SGD5.25) might sound ordinary but came with a delightful array of well-cooked vegetables and crispy rice noodles. Lots of texture and a nice zing to it all.
Best of all, even though there is a very casual laid-back aura to Hawker Street, the food was presented nicely, on non-plastic plates.
The craze for milkshakes is at an all-time high in the country. The famous Keventers brought about the trend of takeaway glass bottles, now being followed by other brands.
Frozen Bottle is the same, offering a mix of unique flavours bottled up to drink at your leisure. In addition to this, they also have waffles and ice-cream jars.
The Kesar Badam Shake (Rs 132, SGD2.50) at Frozen Bottle was spot-on in terms of flavours, but the Nutella Kit Kat Fashion waffle was nothing to write home about.
Moets Curry Leaf
Moets has a culinary legacy in Delhi that is hard to replicate.
Their outlet at Hawker Street captures the essence of the legendary restaurant and serves up some delicious North Indian food.
The Non-vegetarian Kebab Sampler (Rs 395, SGD7.50) has fish tikka, chicken tikka, and mutton seekh along with dal makhani and naan.
I don’t have any qualms in saying that this is the ultimate comfort food done perfectly.
The Belgian Fries Co.
Surprisingly, it was the burgers from The Belgian Fries Co. that impressed me more than their fires.
Consisting of a variety of burgers, waffles, dips, and loaded fries, the menu plays around with different tastes but keeps the essential ingredients the same.
The staff is amicable and helped me with menu selection based on my preferences.
The Veggie Delight Burger (Rs 89, SGD1.70) turned out to be enjoyable with a nice crunch from the single patty. Customers can opt for an extra patty at an added price.
The fries though were run-of-the-mill, but maybe one of their specials like the loaded Bacon and Cheese fries would be more indulging?
No Delhi winter is complete without a few rounds of momos, even if they are not part of your regular diet.
Wow! Momo has a variety of options consisting of unique offerings like the tandoori and sizzler momos.
In a slightly adventurous mood, I went ahead with their latest experiment, the Butter Chicken Tandoori Momo (Rs 255, SGD4.85).
I don’t believe fusion food can get any weirder than this, but surprisingly the gravy was rich and creamy and quite impressive, as was the texture of the momos in it.
Artisanal coffee is the latest trend not just in India, but across the world. Sadly, Kaffa Cerrado failed to impress.
To begin with, their font is so confusing that it took me a while to figure out their name.
Then, after all the fuss created around the type of coffees they offer and the blends, their Cold Kaffacino (Rs 210, SGD4.00) was fairly basic.
I do acknowledge that it is supposed to be a “traditional cold coffee”, but I also expect it to be better than what I can make at home.
A meal, out in the open, during the highpoint of Delhi’s winter must end with a hot cup of tea. It is as simple as that.
Chai Point is among the many “tea shops” that have sprung up lately, each one looking similar to some extent.
The outlet at Hawker Street serves some basic eats like Maggi and poha to accompany the chai, but in the end, it is the tea itself that comforts the soul.
Chai Point’s garma-garam (hot) Classic Milk Tea (Rs 55, SGD1.05) was faultless.
Simple execution, done right.
In the end, that is all I need to leave Hawker Street with a smile on my face.
* Written by DFD’s India Correspondent @tickereatstheworld. Raghav is a travel and food writer who enjoys the thrill of discovering new places and writing about them. When he is not working, he can be found driving around his two kids from one birthday party to another.