Ashok and Ashok – a taste of The Sopranos in Old Delhi

A happy eater at Ashok and Ashok

Sorry for the silence  – life seems to have gone a bit crazy around here. Ever since The Hindustan Times wrote a lovely feature about Eat and Dust a couple of weeks ago, my inbox has been overflowing with offers of exciting foodie projects! One that I’ve been extremely happy to be preoccupied with is a new newspaper  column on baking – coming very soon – stay tuned!

I did, though, still manage a couple of street food forays – and that despite the 42º heat!   One outstanding new find – and it took a bit of finding! – is Ashok and Ashok’s Meat Dhaba in Sadar Bazaar.

For those in the know,  Ashok’s chicken and mutton korma is legendary. The tiny little street eatery also has an extremely macho pedigree.  Word has it that the original Ashok and Ashok (now deceased) were, how shall I put this? Locally referred to as ‘toughies’ or ‘hoodlums’,   I gather there was a touch of The Sopranos about the two friends, who to curry (!) favour with patrons, used cook up great pots of mutton and chicken.  Catering eventually became their main activity and the legend lives on in Sadar Bazar.

The original Ashok and Ashok keep an eye on the new generation

A man's world?

The shop still feels pretty testosterone-fuelled – I get the impression not many ladies lunch there!  Maybe they should: A&A, now run by a son and  brother-in-law, have a limited but incredible menu.  They make chicken korma every day, mutton korma (only on Wednesday and Saturday) and biryani.  To give some idea of how good this food is, we arrived at about 2pm on a Wednesday (1 hour after opening) and the mutton was already finished.  If the chicken was anything to go by, the mutton must be stupendous. The meat was melting, the dark brown gravy hinted at a magical mystery masala (apparently up to 30 different spices), pistachios,  and a devilish pact with the ghee tin. Alongside, the rather racy, coriander-laced rotis moved things along fabulously.

I thought The Caveman was going to cry, declaring it one of the best things he’s ever eaten; the American journalist who had come along to research a feature on street food confessed he was ‘having a moment’; and I wondered, frankly, why I ever bother eating in ‘proper’ restaurants.

I can also recommend the jalebis from this young man on the corner.

Ashok and Ashok,42, Subhas Chowk, Basti Harphool Singh, Sadar Thana Road. We came to Sadar Bazar from Idgah Road – at the crossroads with Sardar Thana Marg, turn right and Sadar Bazar Police Station will be on your left. Keep walking until you see Madan Lal Halwai shop, Ashok and Ashok is up the lane just before it.  You’ll smell it before you see it!


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41 thoughts on “Ashok and Ashok – a taste of The Sopranos in Old Delhi

  1. I’ve been there several times n the food is yummy infact i was about to tell u about this place . i was at Chawri Bazaar last week n had rabri falooda at one of the stalls on the road it was mouth watering n so many ppl had the same thing in front of me .The Old Delhi charm is always alive n 2day i plan to go to Delhi Haat INA coz they hv all the Old Delhi fav there.

    Happy eating!!!!!!!!!

  2. I actually came to know of your blog through that feature in HT and have been reading it ever since… Love Delhi and its street food and miss it a lot.. I’m thankful and a bit jealous of you that you’re doing this though 🙂 .. Keep up the great work…..

  3. Apparently Sadar Bazar area has some amazing eat joints besides Ashok and Ashok. In fact, Bara Hindu Rao, Paharganj, Sadar and adjoining areas have some legendary eating places, which are well into a couple of generations now.

  4. Hi Pamela,
    I just arrived Delhi today from Canada. i’ve been reading your blog enthusiatically since I discovered it a couple on months ago in Vancouver. We’re here for just three days and am looking forward to trying all the delicous places decribed in your blog. We’re staying in Connaught Place. Is this place walkable from here.
    Thanks,
    Michelle

  5. Hi Michelle – thanks for your message – I wouldn’t recommend walking anywhere in this heat! But from CP you can get the metro into Old Delhi (Chandni Chowk station) then take a rickshaw. There’s a lovely rickshaw guy called Rahul who speaks really good English that you could call to meet you at the Metro station. Rahul found Ashok and Ashok for us no problem! Good luck! Rahul’s number is 9871533849

  6. Hi Pamela, Thanks for so much for the information. We decided to splurge and go to Bukkhara yesterday. It was delicious but what I really want to try is the local fare you describe so well. I’m going to try and head to Ashok and Ashok today and will call Rahul asap.
    Michelle

  7. Wow!,I didn’t knew about it!

    Thanks Pamela, I’ll surely visit A&A this weekend.

    Regards,
    Sid

  8. Siddarth – Make sure you get there before 2pm if you want to make sure of getting the mutton (only Weds and Sat)

  9. Pingback: Ashok and Ashok – a taste of The Sopranos in Old Delhi « fast food combo

  10. Hi, I’ll be going to Delhi for the first time in a month. I’ve been doing my research on the delicious Delhi food.. Your site is extremely helpful. Can’t wait to visit Ashok and Ashok. Also, what are the top food destinations in delhi that you would recommend?

  11. Hi Rahul – the food I like most (Old Delhi street food) is on my blog. If you’re looking for sit down restaurants head to Gunpowder, Swagath, Sagar, Saravana Bhavan, Nathus.

  12. Hi Pamela,

    After planning for so many days, finally I managed to have the Qorma today.
    I reached there even before 1 pm. Had both chicken and mutton qorma. And it was pure bliss I would say. Thanks a ton 🙂

  13. Hi Amit – well, your Dad left a great legacy – A&A is one of my favourite places to eat in Delhi (perhaps even the world!)

  14. Visited this Monday. The place was easy to find, thanks to the directions given by Ms.Pamela in her blog. The place has no seating arrangements, just stand & eat or takeaway. A plate of 1&1/2 pieces of qorma with tandoori rotis costs Rs.140. We were three guys and ordered two plates of qorma and 1 plate biryani. The biryani was very forgettable & the pieces in qorma appeared to have come from a rather ill bird as they had very little flesh. We had to order two more plates of qorma before we could quieten our stomachs. Not that the food was awesome (I have had better qorma at atleast half a dozen places in Delhi alone), but the quantity was so little that we had to reorder. The behavior of staff and the owner pictured here was unwelcoming at best (I guess their best hospitality is reserved for regulars or foreigners). Coming to food, not anywhere near the best experience, the food was greasy & overflowing with desi ghee and the pieces were hard and inconsistent. And the food poisoning (‘Delhi belly’!!) that happened to us the following morning definitely put this spot in the ‘no revisits’ category for us.

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  17. Hi Pamela , thanks for the lovely review on A&A , however you should have seen when both the A&A were still alive , they would serve you food and made sure that you ate everything and not waste anything , not even curry in your plate. I had gone there as a kid with my father and also recently and I must say that the taste is still the same , though the compulsion to finish the food is not :-).

    Thanks for the awesome reviews on your blog, take care God Bless

  18. Hi Aman – I would love to hear more about the good old days of Ashok and Ashok, as my book features the shop – in fact it’s named after them! COuld you email me on pamela.timms@gmail.com Thanks

  19. Hi Pamela,

    Made it to Ashok and Ashok this afternoon. Reached early at 12.30 as was not aware that it opens only at 1. So saw the staff set up the tables on the footpath, etc. I must confess that for a moment I was bit disappointed by the look of the place but decided to keep an open mind. Everyone was quite courteous while I waited and took up their suggestion to enjoy a Thumbs Up. Finally, the food arrived on dot (It seems its cooked elsewhere): Chicken korma and Chicken Biryani. Ordered the former with piping hot tandoori roti (served along with raw onions and green chillies). Easily, the best korma I’ve ever had anywhere. Took home a biryani and korma. Now ready for the mutton korma on a Saturday.By the way, they don’t make the mutton koftas in the summer as these tend to harden because of the weather.
    Thank you for focusing on the place.

  20. Went for the Mutton Korma. Again excellent. Thought I agree that he could add a piece or two more to the fantastic dish. Therefore, to enjoy it fully it is best to order two plates per person.

  21. I’m making my pilgrimage to A&A tomorrow, and I just can’t wait! I’ve recently moved to Dilli a year, and I’m already genuinely worried that I won’t have enough spare time to sample its culinary delights! Pamela, your blog is fantastic and is now my go to source for weekend and evening forays. My only problem with this town is that I also have a passion for cooking, which means a constant mental battle between the merits of attempting to recreate my local favourites at home and going out instead to discover new gems. What to do.

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