Sunday 18 January 2015

A Visit to the Iconic Shiv Sagar, now at Janpath... A Vegetarian's Delight

A few days ago, my friend and fellow food blogger, Sneha of The Kitchen Espion, and I found ourselves in Connaught Place, around lunch time. Our tummies were complaining in hunger, as we walked down Janpath. The Shiv Sagar sign was hard to miss. We exchanged glances and without saying a word, crossed the road and stepped into the welcoming warmth of this iconic restaurant.  

A light installation - part of the swanky interiors of Shiv Sagar

Shiv Sagar doesn't need any introduction really, any restaurant chain that has endured for 30 years needs no promotion. It's pretty obvious that they understand the keys to their success so I'm not going to go into it's history. But I will say this, when I heard Shiv Sagar had come to Delhi I did a little dance :) "Why?" you may ask. Well, the kind of food they have on offer is different to anything you will find in most place in NCR. It's Mumbai style veg khana, that a kid who has spent most of her life in Gujarat and Mumbai will desperately crave for in Delhi. 

So as soon as we sat down, we ordered some Mumbai style sev puri and vada pav. My mouth was already watering in anticipation. There is nothing in the world I love more than vada pav, Mumbai style vada pav, except chocolate maybe:) And I was going to taste it after such a long time! 

Authentic vada pav with Mumbai pav from Mumbai!

The first time I tasted vada pav was in my teens, in boarding school in Panchgani. I spent most of my pre-teens out of India  and this is the reason for me having never tasted vada pav before this. I remember one of my day scholar friends had bought me some vada pav, wrapped in old newspaper. How I managed to sneak this into our dorm at night, I don't know.  But I remember my bestie and I sneaking into the laundry room late one night, once all the lights were down. We sat below the dim night lamp (that was on all night) and opened up the parcel of vada pav like it was some magical treasure. I will never forget the joy I experienced when I bit into that vada, sprinkled liberally with a red, fiery and garlicky dry chutney, held between mumbai style pav. I think that was my first foodie moment. And as I bit into the Shiv Sagar vada pav, all those memories came rushing back. It was so good! And the only place in Delhi that has authentic mumbai style pav. The vada was delicious, with just the right amount of garlic and dhania. The dry red garlic chutney was a little different to the ones I've had in Mumbai, which has some dry coconut in it. But it hardly matters :) I was happy... now there is a place I can do to eat vada pav... and soon Shiv Sagar maybe coming a little closer to Gurgaon (to Select City Mall)... I can't wait!

Plate of Mumbai style Sev Puri- ask for it to be made 
less spicy if you can't handle too much spice

Happy face :)

The sev puri also brought back memories, of annual family trips to mumbai and our pilgrimage to Elco arcade where my mom and I would guff down sev puri and pani puri from the vendors that used be lined up there. Again, the sev puri was excellent, not as good as elco arcade, but that's a tough ask (in my head nothing will ever be as good). It's a lot spicier than the sev puri I'm used to having, and next time I will ask them to add less of the red teekha chutney. But I could easily have a plate or two of it :)

The Shiv Sagar grilled sandwich

Next up, we ordered the Shiv Sagar grilled sandwich. It arrived, and it looked like the famous Mumbai grilled veg sandwich, but I was disappointed with the taste. It was very bland. I could hardly taste the green chutney, which to me has to be spicy in a veg sandwich, to compensate for the cheese and the boiled potato. It was while we were discussing this, that the man behind Shiv Sagar Delhi, restauranteur Varun Puri, came over. He greeted us warmly and then gently scolded us for not letting him know we were coming. He sat down with us and we started talking food :) When we suggested that the veg sandwich could be spicier, he explained to us that they use two distinct green chutneys, one for the vada pav (a spicier one), and one for the sandwich (blander version with ground peanuts). But he was nice enough to ask the chef to make up another one with the spicier version of the chutney and this was much much better. 

Chinese Bhel

Varun then insisted we try a number of things, ranging from chinese bhel (amazing) to the veg biryani with raita (also excellent). The pav bhaji was also so yum, but the thing I loved the most, was this interesting concoction that I would have never imagined would work. A stir fry chilli-garlic crispy idli! It sounds ridiculous, but is unbelievably moreish. An absolute must try! 

The maara mari juice

Carrot juice

Shiv Sagar is also famous for its fresh fruit and vegetable juices spiked with masala and herbs like pudina and dhania. We got to try a little of everything, and I loved them all, although my favourite was the carrot. I love carrot juice and order it whenever I see it on a menu. I must say that this was so so good. 

My next visit is going to be very soon. The hubs is grumpy because I went without him :)

[All images by Shalini Pereira- please do not use without prior written permission]

[Sneha Lata Saikia, thank you for the pic of me guffing]


  1. Beautifully carved article Shalini.. You look good in those photographs.

  2. Awesome one. The food snaps look too delicious and mouth watery. Just love it. Will surely visit there and taste the veggies. Thank u for the share.


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