Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Delhi – Pubbles Street

Posted by jwpiper on January 12, 2009

Best pub food… and worst pub beer.

We started with appetizers of lamb meatballs and a tandoori patter (pictured). Everything was extremely tasty, but the meatballs were absolutely unreal – spicy, spiced, succulent and rich, it was difficult to identify all of the flavors.

While I’ve had it before (under both its Asian name and American name, Taj Mahal), I thought I’d give Kingfisher a try near the source. Some of the bottles were brown and some clear. Not too surprisingly, there was a taste difference, presumably contributed by light skunking since the labels are the exact same: avoid the clear bottles. An unsatisfying experience caused the ill-advised switch to Tiger. My reviews are below, both poured at cooler temperature from 650ml bottles into 300ml pilsener glasses. Fortunately, I think I got sampling the light lagers out of the way early on in the trip.

For the meal, I tried a chicken dish, marinated in cream and spices. The dahl was incredibly earthy and played well with the bright and savory spices on the chicken. Kanak introduced me to what I call the chili chaser: taking a bite of your meal and then a bite of fresh green chili to add the fresh, sharp flavor and spice – delicious. It was so refreshing to be back to eating Indian food with my hands – something which consistently draws strange looks in Indian restaurants in the US.

Across from the restaurant, we enjoyed a treat of beetle leaf stuffed with spices – my second street food experience after being warned by everyone not to eat street food. Huh? It was referred to as an aphrodisiac, a breath freshener, as well as a digestive aid. I was instructed to stuff it in my cheek like chew, and slowly work it into my mouth since eating it too fast is bad for you. Huh? This treat seems pretty shrouded in myth. It was pretty unique: very refreshing flavors of mint and anise, honey sweetness, and some exotic savory spices.

My first real meal in India did not disappoint – and I’m told to expect better as we go.

Kingfisher Premium Lager

Appearance
3
Clear light golden yellow color with a decent white head which clung to the glass as it was gulped. A strange hope of a decent, clean, lager arises.
Smell
3
Some funky, yeasty notes which were strangely fairly pleasant – reminiscent of a light saison. I fear, however, that the funk was not intentional. All is discord between the label, the appearance, and the smell. But each in its own right is not too bad at all.
Taste
2
Whoa, downhill from here. The flavors are light, watered down, and still a little funky – is this open fermented? Were nasty local yeasts allowed to impart that funkiness? The brown bottle (reviewed) at least had much less skunky notes. But this isn’t very good.
Mouthfeel
2.5
Light. Actually had a mildly pleasant dryness.
Drinkability
2
Not horrendous. Actually, somewhat easy drinking as per the style, but why?
Overall
2.45
Again, not terrible (better than many American macros), but why?
Price
165Rs/650ml. Not even close to a value. Sparkling water is better and cheaper.

Tiger Beer

Appearance
2.5
Clear golden with a decent white head. Nothing about this is reminiscent of any good beer I’ve had.
Smell
2
A lighter smell than the Kingfisher, with nothing really inviting about it. Maybe a little malt on the nose – much like an American macro.
Taste
1.5
This was pretty terrible – light, a little malty. Nothing very redeeming about this.
Mouthfeel
2
Not as pleasantly dry as the Kingfisher, but still clean on the palate.
Drinkability
2
I mean, these are meant to be drinkable. I just don’t find them so. It’s like drinking bad water.
Overall
1.9
Speaking of water – pass me the water. I’d take a Kingfisher over this anyday. Now there’s a good beer!
Price
165Rs/650ml.
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One Response to “Delhi – Pubbles Street”

  1. […] Alicha. The brown dahl actually wasn’t as wonderfully earthy as my first experience at the Indian Pub, but was still pretty good. The biryani wasn’t exceptional, but the paneer dish was […]

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