Where to eat next? What dish do I fancy for dinner?
I’ve always been on the lookout for places to eat lately since I seldom cook in my apartment and going home from day’s work (and church activities) would always be around midnight.
Like most meager employees striving in this country, I would opt to have cheap meals. Fancy dinners would be reserved on weekends and or special occasions.
One of my recent discoveries among my neighborhood is Shalimar Darbar Restaurant, an Indian casual dining restaurant.
Situated along Qatari Bin Al Fujaah Street (commonly called as the car wash street) in Fereej Bin Mahmoud, it opened towards the last quarter of 2016.
Coming from Toys R Us intersection, you will not have a hard time finding this restaurant as brightly lit neon signage will surely catch anyone’s attention.
Parking space (limited) is available in front of the restaurant.
I live a block away from Shalimar and it has become one of my go-to places when I need a quick bite because of its convenience.
Food and Ambiance:
Since the place is relatively new, it has kept its cleanliness from the time they opened a few months back. I usually go during dinner after work around 6 and the place is not yet packed.
They serve North and Southern Indian dishes (there is such distinct difference between the two despite both being Indian) so you are sure most of your Indian favorites will get covered. From Dosa to Butter Chicken, Paneer Palak and even Beef and Chicken Biryani.
If you are not keen into savory Indian dishes, they also serve Chinese and Arabic dishes although choices are limited. Hey, this is an Indian restaurant after all!
Vegetarians and Pescatarians alike will be happy to hear that there are special menus that specifically caters for non-meat eaters and those who prefer seafood.
The past few visits, I tried mostly the vegetarian dishes as I generally love how Indian dishes make use of certain vegetables that I wouldn’t normally have like cauliflower and okra in a stew.
Among the long list in the menu, I had Aloo Gobi (potato and cauliflower) Paneer Makhani (more commonly known as Paneer Butter Masala) which is cheese combined with butter sauce similar to the more popular Butter Chicken. The potatoes and cauliflowers were cooked until tender (as soft as a mash) but still holds their shape. I love that the hint of ginger adds some zing to a rather sweet and savory taste of the dish. The masala sauce, on the other hand, is thick and very rich, it goes well with the naturally bland but firm texture of the Indian cottage cheese. They are divine!
Both dishes are best paired with freshly baked Indian flat bread. You can have chapatti, paratha but I prefer to have the plain Naan (there is butter or garlic Naan too) to go with my meal. These pieces of bread are baked per order so you are guaranteed to have it served piping hot every time.
Among non-Indian items, I’ve tried vegetable stir fried noodles. While I thought there’s nothing interesting to write about a bowl of egg noodles and vegetables, something tickled my fancy. While they gave me some spicy crackers and mint chutney, they also gave me a separate tray of small bowls with sauces: soy sauce, spiced vinegar, and ketchup. Tomato ketchup to be precise. I asked what is it for and they said, it is for my noodles. So I did, put a dollop of tomato ketchup on my noodles and voila, an interesting taste of sweet and salty. I’d like to put it as a mash-up of your tomato-based pasta dish, only on egg noodles and vegetables. Weird but it worked.
I learned that during lunch on weekdays, they have Thali and Banana leaf meals while on weekends, they have Kerala (a state in South India) themed buffet for a budget friendly price.
Speaking of price, meals prices are very reasonable ranging from QAR 14- QAR25 on average. Meat and other seafood dishes can go for 50QAR and up depend on the size but still inexpensive considering the serving portion.
If you’re looking for a quick bite or a place to satisfy your insatiable Indian craving, you might want to give Shalimar Darbar (I know the name itself is already a mouthful) a try.
They are open daily from 11AM-11PM and offers delivery too.
Have you been to Shalimar yet? How was your experience? Which dish would you recommend?