Kebabs, Curries & Much More: Experience The Flavours of Afghanistan In Delhi's 'Mini Kabul'


India is no stranger to Afghan migrations. In fact, several ancient ruling dynasties of North India have had roots in Afghanistan. Ever since the 15th century, natives from all parts of Afghanistan have made their way to India and friendly relations between the two countries have only helped. Even all these years down the line, Afghan nationals continue to migrate to North India, particularly Delhi in hope of getting a fresh start. It is this continuous migration that has given birth to a ‘Mini Kabul’ right in the heart of South Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar.

A small rickshaw ride from the glittering Central Market will get you to a completely different side of Lajpat Nagar, the Afghan Colony. The streets here are lined with hoardings in Dari. Migrants can be seen selling homemade products on makeshift tables right outside their houses. ‘Afghani chemists’ have put up bright signboards to cater to medical tourists. Over the years, several Afghani migrants have opened up small restaurants in the area. These eateries, which were aimed to meet local demand have now started attracting eyeballs of food aficionados from all parts of the city. Eat at these five eateries in Afghan Colony and experience the real flavours of Afghanistan. Meat lovers, you better sit up and take notice!

With two branches in Lajpat Nagar, Kabul Delhi is an institution in itself. The no-nonsense restaurant is best known for its mildly spiced meat preparations, humble ambience and pocket-friendly rates. Kabul Delhi’s signature, Qabuli pulao enjoys a cult status and is a must-try. The pulao is cooked to perfection with mutton, raisins and carrots, and served with a plate of rajma and Afghani naan.

Cost: ₹600 for two (approx.)

Standout dishes: Qabuli pulao, Jigar kebab, Rajma

Timings and location: 11.00 am to 11.30 pm; E-104, Ground Floor, Lajpat Nagar 2

Contact number: 07838978899

One of the oldest Afghan restaurants in the city, Afghan Darbar is the go-to choice for fine diners looking for an authentic fare. The menu at Afghan Darbar comprises a healthy mix of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies, with Ashak (veg Afghani dumplings served with naan) being the crowd-puller. Interestingly, Afghan Darbar continues to be operated by Afghan migrants while the decor adds to the authenticity.

Cost: ₹750 for two (approx.)

Standout dishes: Ashak, Mutton chopan kebab, Yakhni murgh

Timings and location: 12.00 noon to 11.00 pm; E-96, Lajpat Nagar 2

Contact number: 011-49502058

If you’re someone who’s looking to go all out trying the exotic flavours of the Middle East, Chopaan Kebab is where you should be heading to next. The rustic-themed restaurant brings recipes from Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan to the streets of Lajpat Nagar and does a phenomenal job at that. Right from chargrilled kebabs to rich curries, Chopaan Kebab is quite simply, a meat lover’s paradise. And just in case you have that one friend in your group who likes to play it safe, Chopaan Kebab also has a pizza and pasta menu. We bet this place will leave you getting spoilt for choice!

Cost: ₹550 for two (approx.)

Standout dishes: Whole grill chicken, Banjan borani, Baklava

Timings and location: 11.00 am to 11.00 pm; I-48, Lajpat Nagar 2

Contact number: 011-40109494

Mazaar takes the delicate flavours of Afghanistan and gives it a crazy, contemporary twist. Mazaar is bigger and fancier than most Afghani restaurants in the area but that’s not its only USP. The fine-dining restaurant offers a mix of classic Afghani delicacies like Qabuli Uzbeki as well as fusion food like Shami pizza. The Mantu (steamed mutton dumplings topped with yogurt) and Yakhni Murgh are the most popular items on the menu and are even sold out at times. No matter what you order, we highly recommend ending the meal with a traditional Sheer yakh – sheer bliss guaranteed!

Cost: ₹900 for two (approx.)

Standout dishes: Mantu, Yakhni murgh, Sheer yakh

Timings and location: 12 noon to 11:00 p.m.; I-78, Lajpat Nagar 2

Contact number: 011-41606041

ILHAM Afghan Cuisine, Jangpura

Want to savour Afghani food without getting out of bed? ILHAM is a kitchen with a cause and exactly what you’re looking for! The delivery-only kitchen was initiated by an NGO named Access Development Services and is run by a group of four women under the Afghan Refugee Single Mothers programme. The food here is prepared on order, from scratch – something that goes on to reflect in the quality. The warmth of a home cooked meal only acts as the cherry on top of the cake, making ILHAM a must try for every food lover.

Cost: ₹800 for two (approx.)

Standout dishes: Chapali kebab, Quorim-e-kofta, Sheer pira

Timings and location: 12 noon to 11 p.m (delivery only); Near Jain Temple, Bhogal, Jangpura

Contact number: 09818944096

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