Restaurateur's Raghav & Amit Share Their Love For Butter Chicken
Image Credit: Duo Raghav Jaggi & Amit Bagga

The moment you think what do eat in Delhi or what not to miss in Delhi; butter chicken and dal makhana surely tops the list. And while talking about the cuisine of Indian dispora, the influence of the immigrant cuisine of Punjab can’t be ignored.  With restaurateur like Kundan Lal Jaggi who contributed by inventing— Butter chicken and Dal makhana; the two iconic dishes and today Daryaganj restaurant that is across Delhi-NCR is knonw for keeping these dishes intact from the bygone era

Raghav Jaggi and Amit Bagga founders Daryaganj restaurants in a quick chit chat with HTSlurrp pour their hearts out.

Raghav Jaggi

• Growing up, how much food did the centerstage take at your home?

Growing up in a Punjabi family, food was absolutely of paramount importance from breakfast lunch to dinner, at breakfast we used to discuss what’s going to be for lunch and at lunch, we used to be be discussing what’s going to be there for dinner, so the entire household revolved around the kitchen and the dining table with my grand dad, Mr Kundan Lal Jaggi sitting at the head of the table and all fourteen of us in the same household eating together. So, food 100% takes a centerstage at a Punjabi household like mine. We used to eat from the restaurant every day. There used to be a wooden box containing food for dinner that used to supplement what is cooked at home.

• What has been your fondest memory of Dal makhani and Butter chicken?

My school used to be on Ashoka road and i used to come to the restaurant directly from school, The restaurant used to shut at around 3’o o'clock for a break and i used to go eat my lunch at that time, all I used to take was half a butter naan, some gravy of Butter Chicken and little bit of Dal. My fondest memories include sitting with my granddad eating half my butter naan on those friday afternoons. As a 10-year-old, I used to be so satisfied and then he would tell me to try other things and i would always stick to the usual Dal Makhni and the Butter Chicken.

• Let’s hear from you how exactly did these iconic dishes travel to India?

The dishes never traveled from anywhere, rather the man who invented these dishes, Mr Kundan Lal Jaggi came from Peshawar to Delhi, and he invented these dishes in the kitchen of his restaurant in Daryaganj, Delhi. The recipe that he brought along was that of the Tandoori Chicken which when he experimented with tomato pulp and butter led to the invention of the Classic Mouth Watering Butter Chicken.

• Holding up legacy, how much of it is pressure and how much pride?

Bringing back his legacy was a burning desire and always been a life purpose for me throughout my teenage and adulthood. Making it happen even though there has been a lot of pressure bringing the taste of 1947 back to life because this legacy has not been just about me as an individual or even him as an individual, it's about the legacy of India, and the culinary heritage of who we are as a nation. so, there is indeed a lot of pressure to maintain it and spread it across the borders. However, there may be a lot of challenges and strategies that may be required. I can say there is a lot more pride than there is pressure. In fact I am also the kind of person who is always up for challenges, so I have to say this is a win- win for me. Amit Bagga, my childhood friend and the Co-Founder of Daryaganj has worked meticulously for the brand, thus Maintaining the Legacy of the nation.

Amit Bagga

• How did the brand survive the lockdown?

We faced some challenges initially when our team was supposed to wear masks and other protective gear. But not to forget that motto of Hospitality is “service with a smile” and with masks, this power was lost. It made it tough for our team to connect with the customer. But eventually, they got used to it and despite these challenges, we have still managed to keep our customer satisfaction high. And when the world had shut and there was no way one could visit a restaurant, Daryaganj came up with an idea of taking the restaurant home.

Born out of this Pandemic- The brand created a concept which is first of its kind in India, called ‘The 5 senses Delivery Box by Daryaganj’  across the idea if touch, Smell, Taste, Sound and Vision. These were missed out on in the delivery model, and ‘The 5 Senses Delivery Box by Daryaganj’ contained all the elements to evoke your five senses in the comfort of your home.

• Please elaborate on this 5 senses Delivery Box by Daryaganj’; – What was the root of this extraordinary idea?

Year 2020 brought in a revolutionary change in the segment of packaging. With the norms of following best of safety measures in order to keep ourselves safe, we thought of thinking out of the box and as we believe in doing things differently- hence we thought of a unique packaging concept.

We, at Daryaganj believe that the 5 senses of a customer define the whole experience of a restaurant, and hence when the lockdown happened we created ‘The 5 senses Delivery Box by Daryaganj’ that deals with – Touch, Smell, Taste, Sound and Vision and contains all the elements to evoke your five senses in the comfort of your home.

- Touch Daryaganj

Our exclusively designed packaging will take you back to that same old-world charm. Our containers are designed to maintain the right texture of our food, so the experience of Daryaganj remains as close to the original.

Smell Daryaganj (The Smell of Daryaganj)

We at Daryaganj have done exactly that, by innovating a fragrant paper that captures the scent of Daryaganj. Add to that the aroma of our food, and Daryaganj is not hard to imagine.

Taste (The Taste of Daryaganj)

The use of authentic flavors and timeless recipes ensures that nostalgia is always alive. Our carefully crafted containers keep the robustness of the food alive and bring the same nostalgia to your home.

Hear Daryaganj (The Sound of Daryaganj)

A signature-curated playlist of carefully chosen feel-good tracks keeps our patrons entertained at Daryaganj. Experience the same music by simply scanning the QR code on the packaging and listen to the sounds of Daryaganj while you enjoy your food.

See Daryaganj (The Sight of Daryaganj)

They say you eat with your eyes first. Keeping this in mind, in the form of colors, and the contemporary design of the delivery box. This along with the fresh ingredients used for our food, make for a wholesome vision. We have created the concept, which is certainly first of its kind In India. 

• What has been the USP of Daryaganj?

For us at Daryaganj we believe that -

  • A complete 5 senses experience - The restaurant has been carefully planned with great attention to detail
  • Keeping alive the authentic secret recipes of Punjabi tandoori cuisine By Late Mr Kundan Lal Jaggi from the 1940’s that are served at restaurant.
  • Brand with an innovation & technology first approach with automation & data analytics at every step of the customer experience and operations.
  • Process driven approach powered by technology and a strong focus on human resources.
  • Varied Divisions Like - Kulfi kiosk, Catering apart from delivery kitchens and dine-in.

 How have you adapted to the changing food industry requirements?

Daryaganj Hospitality has adopted data analytics with AI for improving its systems, processes and the customer experience for modules like

  • Inventory
  • Cloud (Team Collaboration)
  • Point of sale (analytics)
  • Customer behavior
  • Customer feedback analysis
  • Kitchen Robotics
  • And Innovation 

They believe in innovation in design processes through technology and analytics. Unique packaging design products and concepts have been developed like mouth freshener box which is a first-ever smartly designed hygienic solution containing saunf & mishri to end a meal. 

• Where do we see Daryaganj coming up in future?

Daryaganj is at 5 top locations in Delhi NCR -

Currently we are at DLF Mall of India, Noida, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon; Pacific Mall, Tagore Garden, Parliament Street, CP, Worldmark 1, Aerocity. 

For expansion, the focus will be on North India with focus on Delhi NCR and Punjab for the next two quarters and then enter South India with Bangalore & Hyderabad and West India with Mumbai & Pune. Also, there are plans of International expansion in Thailand next year followed by UAE, UK, Canada & Australia.