The entrance to Kingdom of Dreams is rather royal. You feel as if you’ve walked into a Bollywood movie set and any minute now you’d hear a director yell “Action” as a young couple might break into song and dance. The interiors are dimly lit with just enough lights that focus on the architecture that showcases regional Indian influences.
The interiors are eye-catching – every iconic (borderline touristy) Indian landmark had some colorful representation. From a giant Horn Ok Goods Carrier truck that you’d find parked outside a Dhaba to musical instruments, there’s even a little retail section for those who want to take back souvenirs. There were enough and more locals as there were tourists making the crowd an interesting mix. Culture Gully is the arts, crafts and food area at the Kingdom of Dreams. It is packed with theme restaurants and live kitchens from different states of India with their representative architecture and decor.
We got down to business with paneer pakoras, Aloo Chaat and Dahi Bhallas – tangy, street-food influenced appetizers that tasted just as authentic as what one would find in the streets of Delhi.
Dancers were rounded up and they momentarily had everyone completely distracted from their food – every by stander stood in rapt attention as they watched young boys and girls dressed in colorful traditional Rajasthani and Punjabi outfits, that effortlessly went from one foot tapping dance move to the next; they stopped to a thunderous applause from us all.
Inspite of the fact that all through our Delhi trip we ate plenty of these street-side, we got ourselves a plate of Chicken Momos with a uber spicy schezwan chilli sauce for dips. Steamed parcels of deliciousness would be a fair remark.
From the north east to way down south, we continued our journey of flavors with a Keralan Chicken 65 – succulent bite size pieces of chicken slathered in a spicy dry curry sauce with a generous sprinkle of crisp curry leaves. Another hit!
My biryani-loving soul needed a dose of Kacche Gosht ki Biryani – Hyderabadi style dum biryani with a peanut based Mirchi ka salan and raita. Best things to come out of Hyderabad in my humble opinion.
Popular on our table was another Hyderabad hottie – the Tala hua Gosht – slow cooked in ghee spicy tender mutton tossed with curry leaves and chillies that paired well with the roomali rotis and raw red onions.
Just when we thought the eating couldnt get any crazier – we chowed down crispy and steaming hot Jalebi dipped generously in copious amount of indulgent condensed milk and cardamom scented Rabri. The holy grail of Indian desserts this, the element of crunch, sweet and creamy all combined to form the perfect bite.
Perks of five people around the table with different taste buds and preferences, we could go all out on the dessert course – everyone got a bite of what they love and a spoonful of what someone else ordered. All that communal eating led to wiping off clean bowls of Phirni ( Rice kheer), Moong daal halwa and ras malai!
As we walked out bursting at the seams (knowing fully well we had dresses and suits to fit into), we swore we’d look away from food from this point on. Our best intentions were short lived as we saw this little corner shop that sold over 50 types of Paan ( betel leaf stuffed with mouth freshening tidbits and sweet things). And we succumbed!
“Magical, Mystical & Memorable Experience of India” is a tall claim to make – but Kingdom of Dreams sure delivers an entertaining insight into all things colorful and ever so flavorful bringing all that’s larger than life, both about Indian food and culture, to the people who drop by!
Location: Culture Gully, Kingdom of Dreams, Great Indian Nautanki Pvt. Ltd, Auditorium Complex, Sector 29, Gurgaon – Haryana