My search for true Indian food took me all the way to Belgium. There are more than 200 restaurants serving Indian food in the Netherlands but maybe I was bring little too adventurous. I ended up in Aahaar Delux, a 14 year old restaurant run in the heart of the city of Antwerp. The restaurant is very close to the Diamond market which is one of the most interesting attractions of Antwerp.
In the last week of September one of my foodie friend and I took the journey to discover this gem of a place. Aahaar Delux is just 10 mins walking distance from the main central train station. Also if you haven’t been to Antwerp don’t forget to check their beautiful interiors of the central station. It looks almost like a royal palace.
Good food at good price is a rare find, don’t you agree? But it is not the case at Aahar. The word ‘Aahaar’ in Hindi means food, and the provider of food is called Aahaar Data (pronounced as Aa-haar daa-taa with a soft ‘T’ and not like data). The food served is truly a blessing. It was started by Mr. Patel who moved from Surat 20 years back for a better life in Belgium. Something very interesting that I discovered while talking to him is that 70% of the Diamond market in Antwerp is governed or run by Indians and there are merchants and dealers traveling day in and out from Mumbai, Surat to buy or sell diamond. That’s hell of a new information for me. This made this Indian super proud! Haha! You can even read more about how Indians took over the Diamond trade from the Jews from this article – https://qz.com/india/459422/how-indian-families-took-over-the-antwerp-diamond-trade-from-orthodox-jews/
It is a vegetarian & Vegan’s heaven. They have multiple options to choose from. From North India Poori Bhaaji, Aloo Paratha, Tikki to West Indian Undiyo, Bhelpuri to South Indian Dosa. They cover the whole spectrum of food that offers the visitors a peek into the world of Indian food. We decided to try their snacks options because you know you have come to the right place if they can make your chaat and pakoras right!
We started with Dahi Puri which is made of round, hard, puffy puri shell is first broken on top and partially filled with the main stuffing of mashed potatoes or chickpeas. To add more flavor sweet tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney are then poured into the shell, on top of the stuffing. And finally the main ingredient dahi that stands of yoghurt (sweetened in this case) is generously poured over the shell and the final product is then garnished with a bunch of yumminess. It came with a serving of 6 puris which gave 3 of us 2 puris each (Yaay for that)! And it tasted just like how a good Dahi puri should.
It melted in my mouth seamlessly. Are you drooling already? Not yet? Then see the closer view of it.
Moving on to the next item of the meal was vegetable bhajji or also known as pakoras which are nothing but variety of vegetables mixed in gram flour and deep fried and enjoyed with some spicy green or red chutney. The bhajjis were cooked to perfection.
Want one for yourself?
And what is a good chaat without some chai! It came with the perfect proportion of milk and tea leaves. And makes this not so very chai loving person also fall for it.
We didn’t stop here, I decided that we should try Bhelpuri which is made with puffed rice and a bunch of veggies like cucumber, onion, tomatoes and mixed with sweet and spicy chutneys and topped with from sev (made with chickpea flour). If I have something that I didn’t quite enjoy it would be this dish. It didn’t taste made at all but didn’t hit the right notes for me. It missed something, which I really couldn’t figure out till the end (maybe something sour, or may be something sweet).
All these snacks were each priced between €5 to €7 which is a steal deal don’t you think?
Moving on to the great Indian buffet which is the main attraction at Aahaar Delux. We went to the restaurant around 8.30 pm and most of the seats were full with Indians, Belgians or even many others from different nationalities. Most of them enjoying their chai with the buffet. And the buffet which comes with more than 10 items (all served unlimited) is priced only at €10 which is just crazy good!
The menu for the buffet is same for both lunch and dinner and it changes everyday. The day we went it had some great Gujarati (West Indian) items to the menu including some Dhokla (fermented rice and gram flour savory cakes). Moving to some great buffet photos.
They had some great Chawali (made with Black Eyed Beans) & Gujarati Undiyo made with mixed veggies and gram flour dumplings.
That Matar Paneer was lekker!
Gajar Halwa Barfi (I didnt stop at just 1 just so you know)
And the final plate with all in the buffet
If these photos weren’t enough for you, don’t forget to visit this place and explore some home style good desi food.
Is this place great for a fine dining experience, I wouldn’t say ‘yes’ to that. But it definitely brings out some good real Indian food at unbelievably low rates. I would definitely visit them again for the Dahi Puri Chaat.
The bill came to a total of €44 for 3 people which I think was great! (Please note: this wasn’t a paid promotion of the restaurant again).
This is the Patel duo who run this fine place. Mr. Sunil Patel on the right started the restaurant 14 years back and now has his son Savan Patel taking over the reins efficiently.
If you have been to Aahaar, what did you like the most? Let me know in the comments below:
Till we meet again soon<3
Lange Herentalsestraat 23,
2018 Antwerpen, Belgium
T: +32 3 235 31 35