By Uzair Siddiqui

A very dear friend invited me {okay, I shamelessly imposed} to go meet his friend at a new eatery in Gupta Market. Tucked between a slew of “boutique” Indian wear shops in the immigrant dense Amar Colony, was Bamboo Shoot Kitchen. A restaurant that serves some staunch, authentic North Eastern fare from the states of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, it had the added charm of an incredible rock playlist. No momos. And thank God for that!

Bamboo Shoot Kitchen is a simple eatery started by two cousins, from Nagaland and Assam. Their humble aim is to cook and introduce home-style, indigenous food from the North East. All indigenous herbs are sourced from Nagaland. Having to share a table with one of the key people behind the establishment, a very clueless me was coaxed into trying a wide spectrum of dishes I had never seen or heard of. The menu at Bamboo Shoot Kitchen is a single page, but it was quite challenging for an un-indoctrinated me. My friend and I were asked what we’d like, and we nodded in agreement to whatever was offered. But on my second visit, I came armed. Here is the low down on what we tried:

Eronba, a Manipuri potato and bamboo shoot {soibum} mash with rajamircha, was a complete revelation. It is served here as a condiment. But be careful, this stuff is heady! For the un-indoctrinated, Eronba can be a task. But think of the possibility that it offers. It can be a wonderful side to grub {like a tenderloin burger} if used intelligently, substituting horseradish and standard mash. We had ours as part of a wide mix of plates. All of it was eaten with plain rice.

Shinju, a Manipuri salad made with thinly cut cabbage, lotus stem, onion, rajamircha and powdered pulse. I quite enjoyed this number – it was fresh and cleansing, with the right amount of kick from the powdered pulses.

The Assamese Fish Curry was another big winner. Chunks of pre-fried Rohu fish, cooked in a heavy masala with standard aromatics {ginger, garlic and red onions} and tomato puree. The curry comes topped with white sesame seeds.

Ootti is going to be an easy comfort food for regulars here. A light Manipuri dal {of sorts}, consisting of white peas and spinach.

We also ordered a delicious buff curry on both occasions. The meal ends with an included serving of the best Black Tea I have had in a while.

The restaurant also offers specials every weekend, and the chef and manager are always willing to accommodate to your palate; I would recommend you trust them and take the plunge. Another delicacy is Galho, a Naga indigenous porridge cooked with green leafy vegetables, and served with either crispy pork or buff, and a green chili chutney. Vegetarians can have it without the side {optional}.

Bamboo Shoot Kitchen is one of those little eateries that tend to get swallowed in their own humility. I think we, in Delhi, tend to focus too much on things that come with a known egress. We are more comfortable eating a concocted version of something than the actual thing. Yes, this place is a standard shoebox, tucked into a faceless market. But what one can really take back is a convalescing meal that is authentic to its roots, all served with a big smile. And that is cause to celebrate.

Notes in our Little Black Book |

No frills; just delicious, home-style, indigenous food from the North East, and a great rock music playlist. The biggest winner is, hands down, is the Eronba. For people who crave their protein, the Buff Curry and Fish Curry are strong contenders. Vegetarians should order the Shinju and Ootti. Rice is the staple. Do not expect breads.

Where | 4/8, Gupta Market, Lajpat Nagar 4, New Delhi

Contact | +91 9560341088

Cost for two | INR 500