Hussaini Hotel | Nizamuddin Basti
Craving for some steaming hot Nihari on a cold winter night? Visit Hussaini Hotel in Nizamuddin Basti
These days, I just bask in the sun and enjoy the bright sunny corners of my ‘new’ house. Not sure if it’s the allure of the new place or my plain laziness during winters, but, it took some great effort on my part, to step out and again visit my regular haunts in the capital. As it was a cold winter day, I felt a massive craving for some steaming hot Nihari, Mutton Korma, Buff Biryani and Khameeri Roti.
Hussaini Hotel, my absolute favourite spot in Nizamuddin Basti is where Saurabh joined Gurjas and me. Walking through the basti, I passed by several Ittar shops, ‘hotels’ serving Nihari-Paya, flower vendors outside the Dargah and people waiting for zakhat. The area was beaming with vibrancy. We took our seat at the humble Hussaini Hotel. Already covered in several layers of clothes, the only further warmth we needed was that of spices coupled with some bold meaty flavours. The food didn’t take too long to be served and we couldn’t wait to dig in either. Gurjas has been a fan of Nihari served here and as usual, this time too, it was delicious. Beef paired with freshly cut green chilies, onions and succulent pieces of bone marrow. We hurriedly squeezed some lime juice on it and polished off the dish in no time!
My favourite, however, was the Mutton Korma. Tangy, spicy and rich, the korma had the deep-rooted flavours, reminiscent of slow cooking. The Mutton came off the bones easily, barring a few pieces, which were slightly underdone. It was delicious nonetheless.
The beauty of eating here was that we could shamelessly ask for extra servings of curry and Mohd Makki (the owner) kindly obliged.
As soon as we thought we couldn’t eat more, we were asked, if we wanted some Biryani as well. Saurabh being obsessed with eating biryani anywhere and everywhere, Gurjas and I knew we had to create some magical space in our stomachs to fill in the Biryani.
I am glad, we stayed back for the Biryani. The rice weren’t overtly coloured or seasoned with pickle (there are plenty of outlets doing so, these days). The subtle yoghurt flavour teamed with steamy buff pieces and chili chutney felt truly delectable. Saurabh wanted to get it packed and that’s when we came to know that the Biryani was outsourced from an eatery few steps away, which was kind of a bummer but it tasted good nevertheless.
While there are many more eateries in the area, Hussaini Hotel, however, exudes the charm of a bygone era. Mohd. Hussaini founded the place in 1950’s when he had moved to Delhi from Meerut. Today, his grandson Mohd. Makki sits with pots full of curries right at the beginning of the hotel, welcoming his guests and looking after his cooks doling out Khameeris and Sheermals. I have been to many places in Old Delhi and Zakir Nagar, but no other place has the openness and calm of Hussaini Hotel. Also, the food here is home style, which, as always, I just love indulging in.
As Saurabh and I drove back to our new house, my heart was beaming with joy and perhaps, this is what makes Delhi winters so special. Such rich food never tastes so good in any other season. Another advantage is that you can always hide those extra calories gained, under the endless layers of clothing, at least till summer arrives.
In a nutshell:
Location: Located right next to famous, but not great Ghalib Kebab Corner (shop no 57), Near Lal Mahal, Nizamuddin, New Delhi
Atmosphere: A humble eatery, with enough seating in the open space for you to sit and eat.
Service: Efficient, however, one might have an issue with understanding the dishes clearly.
Food: One of the best places to have Nihari and Korma, however, they outsource the Kebabs and Biryani. Hence, if you don’t mind where the food is coming from as long as it tastes good, this is your kind of place.
Must Haves: Nihari, Korma and Khameeri
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