Balle balle! And then again Balle balle! This is a double whoop of joy. Firstly, the true blue Punjabi in me is rejoicing to have eaten at this authentic, tiny dhaba in the Fort area. The second whoop of joy is for the legendary actress of yesteryears, Shobhna Samarth (immortalized for her role as Sita. I fell madly in love with this exuberant-great-fun granma, when I interviewed her, Tanuja and Kajol for my TV show “Kal aaj aur Kajol”). It’s a treat to be lunching with Shobhna’s son Jaideep, who though not into acting is making waves with his hugely successful foray into digital media. It is his charming wife, ex Air France, Shaila who guides me to “Oye Kake” since she has been here several times before. I happily marinate myself in four generations of this film family’s anecdotes, including foodie ones (Shobhna was a brilliant cook and foodie as is her great grandson Neal)
Wedged into the grey, dull street is this tiny dhaba which is bursting with color and vibrance. Parandis, matkas, murals, basic steel chairs are crowded into this small, airconditioned space. A sardarji sits it at the counter…good sign! Turns out to be the managing partner.
Lets get this straight, this is a pure vegetarian Amritsari dhaba (and that’s the way many are in Amritsar, contrary to your clichéd expectations about tandoori chikunn). The best-in-town, outstanding crisp tandoori stuffed parathas (mooli, gobi,aloo even pyaz and corn. It’s a complete meal, served with buttery dal makhani and curd. Rs 119). I am informed they get water from Amritsar for their parathas and kulchas. Happy to find Punjabi staples (served in very few eateries) dahi kadi chaval with it’s authentic tangy whisper and Rajma chaval too (makes for a complete meal at Rs 119 each). The chole kulche (though not like the iconic Cream Centre’s fabulous airy crisp ones) are tasty. The luscious mithi lassi has Jaideep scooping it out of his glass with a spoon. Happily. Delicous phirni and okayish rabdi complete our meal. Jain options served on request.
Located in a crammed street, parking impossible. Oye kake has its flaws, little elbowroom and big noise among them. The decorations do go a tad overboard. Hariyali tikka, bit too spicy and stringy and Achari paneer tikkas too slushy. The paneer tikka masala struggles to transcend soggy masala as does the bhindi. My friends Gaurav and Sonica Arya went back the next day, loved the food but reported that the gulab jamuns were not only hard also served cold. Ours were spongy and warm. No alcohol and please remember no non veg.
Oye Kake is a delight. It is the brainchild of four youngsters (average age 26 years) Pankaj and Swapna Gupta Abhir dhawan and Hardeep Singh. No parking, no alcohol, no non vegetarian, but Oye kake’s authentic, well-priced Punjabi vegetarian fare will have you doing the bhangra. Oye!
Oye Kake. 13C, Cawasji Patel Street, Fort, Near Fountain 22871882
Open lunch and dinner
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3
Meal for two Rs 300
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