The “Oh” Factor: Prepare yourself for a “trial-by-fire” as Nagaland’s Kitchen takes you on a piquant and spicy journey through Naga cuisine.
COST: Rs. 1,500 for two people (Approx)
ADDRESS: S-2, Uphaar Cinema Complex, Green Park Extension Market, Green Park, New Delhi
PHONE: 011-46088968; 011-26515058
Walking into Nagaland’s Kitchen is like walking into a Naga cultural hub amalgamated with fine dining. The small area gives a very cozy feel and one would be just as comfortable on any table. On weekends, it is suggested to angle towards the entrance side in the evenings as Himalayan Dream performs ambient music as well as classic hits with a touch of their own taste.
Looking around the appropriately lit room one can easily find hints of Naga culture adding to the theme of the restaurant. From traditional Naga wearables to collages of various local tribes adorn the walls and the decor simulates a Naga village feel.
So the unique facet about the cuisine has to be the liberal use of spice, in particular, a chili well known as Bhut Jolokia or Raja Mircha. One of the spiciest chillies in the world, it is quite central to Naga cuisine here at Nagaland’s Kitchen. Though of course, it is completely optional in some cases.
In fact, the chili is central to even one of their signature beverages. A refreshing take on the traditional cocktail, Bloody Mary, the Raja Mircha Mary is a must try for the spice-minded. What sets it apart from the traditional is the vodka which has been infused with Bhut Jolokia. The spicy vodka goes well with the tomato juice and the garnish of pepper and salt at the rim gives the drink a tangy zest. Another signature which is available as both a cocktail and a mocktail is NK 11. 10. 10. A combination of fruit beer and Red Bull, it is named after the opening date of Nagaland’s Kitchen.
Coming to starters, the smoked chicken with Naga chili is a good palate teaser. The woody flavor of the moist and succulent chicken jumps out at you and the Naga chili is a great spicy jab to the overall smoky overtones. Texture wise, the sautéed onions add a crunch flavor to the dish. In the vegetarian alter ego, the Bamboo Shoot Chili is a substantial option. Cooked with bell peppers the bamboo shoot is a worthy competitor delving well into authentic Naga cuisine.
Saving the ultimate spice of life for the entrée, the Pork Raja Mircha is fire. Paired with rice, the gravy is spicy, nourishing and swimming with pork flavor. The pork meat chunks are thick and luscious. And the Naga herbs and spices give a great authenticity to the taste. The Naga basil with Tofu Mersuon, a fusion take at Naga cuisine with Chinese influences, does not lag behind either and packs a punch to the palate. On the side is an assortment of chutneys the best of which have to be the Akhuni chutney and the dry fish chutney. The Akhuni chutney is biting and zesty due to the tomato and onion base with an assortment of herbs. The dry fish chutney as the name suggests is a bona fide mixture of fermented fish and Naga spices well paired with any main course.
It is well said that there is always space for dessert as it doesn’t go to the stomach but to the heart. A highlight of any good meal is the end and although Naga cuisine does not entail any desserts as such, going here the Chocolate Mud Pie is well recommended. A warm slice of which, goes contrastingly well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and leaves a grin at the conclusion.