If you are a meat lover then this episode will leave you mesmerised. While travelling to Nainital from Haldwani, there comes a place on the Haldwani-Nainital named Naina Gaon which is renowned for a special mutton preparation called shikar mutton. It is a hot favourite with the locals and visitors. Our search for the same led us to Chandan Ji's modest eatery that serves this meat dish with plain rice and some onion roundels. This modest eatery is situated at a slight descent from the road and it is run by Chandanji and his son.
Unlike the rich and robust super popular North Indian counterparts, this is a rustic style stew whose enticing flavours can be attributed to the mountain lamb, a mélange of whole spices like clove, cardamom, cinnamon, jamboo etc. and slow woodfire cooking process. They start the cooking in the morning and by 11 am they are ready to serve. The decent stock of approximately 20 kg mutton curry lasts for about 3 hours. And within this time span the place would be bustling with dinners from all walks of life.
Apart from the aromatic mutton curry, another star of this place is Chandan Ji who is such a warm hearted jovial fellow. The way he approached each and every customer with individual attention was simply commendable. We were truly inspired by the manner in which he was cooking, serving and managing his customers with cheerfulness and cordiality. In spite of being on his toes all the while he was all enthused and focused. The rice and meat curry combo was truly deadly and the experience was accentuated with chandanjis affection.