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Masha, a new Turkish eatery in South Delhi, serves up street food with fine dining elan.
We have always associated 'Masha' with Anton Chekhov, perhaps because that was the name of every second female protagonist in his stories. However, the name is originally of Egyptian provenance, and means 'beloved'. The new Masha in Hauz Khas Village has a Levantine feel to it — decorated as it is with ivory walls, blind arches covered with Moor-ish screens, and colourful pastel cushions strewn on wooden table and chair arrangements. The eatery boasts a balcony with a fabulous view of the lake, which also doubles as its smoking area.
The menu is a treat to read, filled with the oddly-joined consonants and vowels that make up the names of Turkish dishes. After spending a highly enjoyable time saying them out loud in what we imagine is a Turkish accent, we decide to put our patient and courteous server out of his misery. We start with the non-vegetarian hot mezze platter — comprising Chicken Shawarma, Lamb Kibbeh (stuffed torpedo-shaped croquettes) and Lamb Fatayer (think miniature samosas), nicely rounded off with some pita, dips and pickled vegetables.
The platter appears opportunely, just as hunger begins to rear its demanding head. The portions are large and keeping in character — like the Assyrians — we come down on the food like wolves on the fold. Which actually makes poetic sense as the majority of our dishes contain lamb. The shawarma is a rather fancier version of its street cousin, with tender shredded chicken and crisp pickled veggies all wrapped in a well-toasted pita bread. The kibbeh is equally well-crafted with two distinct textures: soft succulent lamb mince enfolded into a crunchy bulgur coating. However, it is the tiny fatayer that dominates the platter, especially when dipped into well, the dips. The dips incidentally are excellent, particularly the patlican salatasi — an eggplant dip studded with gleaming pomegranates.
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