22nd March, 2015 – Harpreet is 40, and what better way than to start by visiting the Golden Temple, paying our respects and starting our day. We were up at 5AM and at the Gurudwara Sahib by 6 AM, we wanted to catch the sun-rise, and for sure knew we will not be able to goto the inner sanctum, after all it was sunday, and an early morning Sunday visit means atleast 3 hours of waiting.. After reaching the Gurudwara Sahib, we sat and heard some kirtans, and then wanted to head out and grab breakfast. Though I was game for Poori’s in the morning again from Kahna but Harpreet was in the mood of some Kulchas. We went down to the Maqbool Road Chungi to each Kulche in the morning but were told they won’t be ready till 9:30 AM, so we picked the next stop from our list, Kulcha Land.
There are many Kulcha Land‘s in Amritsar, after all it is the land of Kulcha’s, but the one we were looking for was opposite MK Hotel, yes that is the only direction we had, and after a few rounds we found the place, they were just about to open and asked us to wait 10 minutes, and they would have it ready.. 10 minutes later we were told that they had 3 Types of Kulchas, The Amritsari, The Masala and The Paneer, and the Paneer will only be ready in 30 minutes. So we ordered the Amritsari and the Masala each.. to start our breakfast.. the Amritsari and Masala both had a similar stuffing of Potatoes, Onions, Corriander Seeds all of this lightly spiced. The Masala though came with more Coriander Seeds, and other Masala on top… the Chole (Chick peas) that came with this were spicy, very spicy and I do not mean the hot kind of spicy, just too much spice, and we had to ask for Lassi’s to make sure that the spices did not give us a bad tummy. But what was nice was the Chutney, the BEST we had ever in Amritsar or anywhere for that matter. A Mix of Onions, Green Chillies, Mint, Green Onions, all mashed together with hand – beautiful in texture, amazing in taste.
A few minutes later our Paneer Kulchas’ arrived, and we were in heaven, we for sure knew that after eating all this for breakfast at 9:30 AM, we were not going to be able to eat any lunch, after all we had been eating like pigs for the past two days.. and our tummies were soon going to give up.. A bill of Rs. 300 and we were all set to go, this included a Lassi, a Chaaj and a Bottle of Mineral water with our meal. The kulcha’s were flaky, the right texture and tasty, though we would skip the Masala Kulcha next time and only stick to eating them with the chutney.
We did not have any shopping to do, so we decided to retire back to our Hotel Room, the day was becoming warmer, we were already touching 29 degrees, and the best would have been to stay inside.. .Also our Home Minister Rajnath Singh ji was visting Amritsar so there was a lot of security and most of the roads getting blocked..
After catching up with some reading and some TV we left the Hotel room only to eat a late evening meal, we wanted to go look for Brijwasi Chaat on cooper road, sadly cooper road was closed to traffic and we were told we will just have to come back in a few hours… something occurred and we decided to park and walk down – it was closed to traffic and not pedestrians, only to find Brijwasi Chaat was Empty – How lucky can you get.
We had a wonderful chat with the guys at Brijwasi and they told us that indeed we were lucky that they were empty at this time since the road was closed, so we sat down. They told us they do not use any onion in any of the dishes, and we said we will want to try everything – Yes sir, we will have everything on the Menu.
3:45 PM – Our Evening Snack started with his famous Aloo Tikkis. The Tikkis were crips but were not oily, the texture of the potatoes wonderful and lightly spiced. They came with both hari and lal chutney on the side, and we enjoyed our portion. We followed this up with a Papri Chat, Followed by a Special Dahi Bhalla which was embellished with nuts and sultanas, followed by Kalmi Vada, Gol Gappe, and then how can we forget Bun Tikki… the team was amazed how we polished off everything off the menu. Our pick of the lot, Must do the Aloo Tikki, Gol Gappe and The Bun Tikki. The Special Dahi Bhalla is nice but nothing special to write home about, the only thing we missed which we realsied they also had on their menu was Bhel Puri that they told us about after we had paid. A flat bill of Rs. 200 for 6 dishes, and a Thums up and we were in happy land. I wanted to have a cup of tea, and had heard about Giani Tea, and he was across the road.
At Giani tea I ordered the special tea, that is made with freshly ground ginger, black pepper, cardamom and brewed with tea. He also had Bread Butter on the menu and how could we let that go, crispy toast with butter is the best thing you can have with your cup of Chai. We met some people from Jallandhar who wanted to know why we were taking pictures and if the tea here was as good as they had heard, and what places to try… interesting conversations and a brilliant cup of tea (well actually glass of tea) later, and at about 4:30 PM we were full to our core again… knowing that we wanted to make some space before we got to dinner – yes we still wanted to eat dinner, though Harpreet clearly was telling me I had gone mad… anyway we walked back to our car.
I had to finish some work and Amritsar had the worst possible connectivity, so we decided to go down to the mall and use the Mall WiFi which in turn was not working, but anyway we spent about 3 hours here while I finished some office work and filed that, only to avoid an early Monday morning rush.. I was poofed and wanted to get something to eat… I wanted to go eat at Mohan Singh Ka Dhaba, but sadly that side of town was cordoned off after all the Home Minister was in town and the Prime Minister was coming in the next morning, so movement was restricted, and we decided to stick to this side only.
8:30 PM – Makhan Dhaba is right adjacent to Beera Chicken, and some people say has great fish and great food, since we were hungry again (yes) we went to Makhan Dhaba, when we asked the server what was good, we were informed that everything was good – now this is not relly a good sign, the menu was large, and everything is good is not something you like to hear. Persisting he told us that we must try their fried surmai fish – so we ordered one portion, and I asked him what do they cook on the tawa tak-tak style that I saw in the open kitchen and he said Mutton Tikka..It reminded me of Surjeet’s Mutton Tikka, so I went ahead and ordered a portion of this. Harpreet ordered Jeera Rice with Black Daal and we ordered a Thums up to go with our meal… Our Meal arrived in about 10 minutes, and the Fish was nice, crisp fried, juicy inside but well not the best fish I have had… the mutton tikka though was to die for and is a must do if you are ever in Amritsar. Harpreet’s rice were a bit al-dante and the Daal was nice, but nothing special… We enjoyed our meal and interesting conversations all around. There is a drinking place at the ground floor where they do not allow women, so I was telling how in Amritsar when people drink, they offer a sip of the drink to the gods by dropping it on the floor… a few laughs later we were off… the bill a cool Rs. 1313 (indeed, tera tera in Amritsar)… yes the place was pricey but the food did justice unlike our experience at Sarhad on Day 2.
Time for Desert, after all it was Harpreet’s birthday so we parked our car at Lohgarh gate, and walked down in the market for Rana’s Fruit Cream… something every one had recommended. Typically fruit cream is diced fruit covered with sugared cream and served in a dish, and all seasonal fruits are used, but here this was frozen like an ice-cream, just a bit soft.. there is no banana in it as banana will make the end product slightly black, and there were nuts.. we ordered a single portion, at Rs. 30 and enjoyed sharing it. For Harpreet the amount of pineapple in the fruit cream was a bit high, but I loved it.. wish I had the space to have another portion but I will go back for seconds another day.
Day 3 had come to an end, and we had visited 2 places, where we ate everything they had on the menu, had the best tea in Amritsar, had the Best Hari chutney ever, had some wonderful aloo tikkis, the best mutton tikka that one can die for, and what lovely fruit cream… it was also our last night in Amritsar and time for us to retire…
So just to wrap up, if you are wanting to do the Circuit, Day 3 included
1. Kulcha Land, Opposite MK Hotel
2. Brijwasi Chaat on Cooper Road [Try to walk to this place and park nearby, not drive]
3. Giani Tea Stall [Right Opposite Brijwasi]
4. Makhan Dhaba on Majithia Road
5. Rana Fruit Cream inside Lohgarh Gate