Changing Face of Today’s Dhabas
Reviewer: Aalok Wadhwa | 26th July 2018 | Reviewer Rating (Out of 5) 3.88

Please note: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant to taste their food, and no bill was presented to the author. While the author assures you of objectivity, the review may be influenced by the personalized attention the author got.

There was a time when highway dhabas had the same classic menu – parathas, urad chana dal, yellow dal, kadhi, jeera aaloo, aaloo gobhi and a paneer bhurjee thrown up – all rounded off with lassi or chai depending on the season. Things started changing. Now the younger generation wanted more than just north Indian fare – they wanted desi Chinese, local dishes and some versions of biryani too.

So Dhabas had no option but to adapt to survive and introduce many dishes that were not traditionally a part of their repertoire. And now Dhaba Estd 1986 has made a brave attempt to capture the changing foods of the highway, mostly successfully.  I am here at the invitation of the restaurant to taste from their Highway menu at their Cyberhub outlet.

I start with a refreshing Sanjhi Glassiyan (Rs 249) with six amazing drinks - Sattu Sharbat from Bihar, one of the most indigenous protein sources of India; Sol Kadi, a refreshing Konkani drink with a light coconut base and a hint of kokum; Orange twist with carrot from orange city of India; spicy version of Kawa from Kashmir; Malihabadi aam mojito, and a refreshing peach n coconut drink from Uttarakhand.

Next we travel to the Kashmir valley with Mutton Rogan Josh (Rs 569), cooked with anise seeds and dry ginger powder; and Dum Aloo Kashmiri (Rs 399) made in mild yoghurt and red chilly. Both these dishes are competently made.


We make a journey next to Rajasthan with some delicious food. Dhoongar Lal Mans (Rs 569) captues a wonderfully smoky taste because of it having been smoked with cloves. Papd ki Sabzi (Rs 399) has papads that go creamy when cooked in tomato and yoghurt gravy, making the dish really moreish. Gatta Curry (Rs 399) however is not so good since the gattas are too dense and the curry too brown looking.


The born in Delhi but popular across India Egg Biryani (Rs 429; small) is made with a home grown recipe is flavourful and satiating. Going literally from Chandni Chowk to China, Veg Manchurian (Rs 299) has all the elements of the dish Nelson Wang of China Garden invented. Another desi Indo-Tibet innovation, Tandoori Chicken Momos (Rs 249) is mercifully not as doughy and thick as those made in Delhi University and so enjoyable to eat.


Veg Chowmein (Rs 199) however is restrained compared to the one made in Chinese vans or halwais. I do miss the hit of black pepper and garam masala that make this dish so iconic.


 The journey to Kolkata, however, is somewhat accident prone. Machher Jhol (Rs 599) has no connection to the iconic Bengal fish curry but is a Punjabi dish. Baingan Bhaja (Rs 349) misses the texture due to lack of enough sugar grains, and the Chhena in Chhena Payesh (Rs 249) is more like ras of ras malai. This takes away from an otherwise good food adventure.



Ratings (Out of 5)

Food: 3.5 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 | Value: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0

Meal for two: Rs 1400 | Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Wheel chair friendly: Yes

Address: Address: Shop No. 111, 1st Floor, Cyber Hub, DLF Phase 2, Gurugram, Haryana 122008 Tel: 085279 00779

About the Author
Aalok Wadhwa Aalok Wadhwa
Restaurant Information
Dhaba - Estd 1986 Delhi Dhaba - Estd 1986 Delhi
Shop No. 111, 1st Floor, Cyber City, Behind RBS, DLF Phase 2, Gurugram, Haryana 122008
Telephone: 085279 00779 view on a map
Opening Hours: 12Noon to 4PM, 6:30PM to 11PM
Cuisine: North Indian
Average Price: Rs. 1400 - 2000