For the longest time I was under the impression that ‘Rao’s only existed in Andhra Pradesh. Pay a little attention to the shacks/dhabas on NH8 towards Rewari, every establishment is a ‘Rao’ with a prefix or a suffix! The original, I am told by regulars on NH8, is Old Rao Restaurant, sandwiched between Fortune Hotel and the Hero factory (while travelling towards Rewari from Delhi). The man and I decided to make good use of a Sunday when there was no water supply in our apartment complex- a trip to Old Rao. The best part was that yours truly got to drive, much to the chagrin of the man. The bestest part was the light drizzle and a surprisingly cool day!
Old Rao is 75 mins away from Gurgaon (M.G. Road) (which means 45 mins if drive like normal people on a highway!) The place is identifiable from the highway due to the multitude of cars parked around it. We reached at 3 pm only to be greeted by a packed hall! Patrons say that the place is packed at all times. The attendant handed over a small chit which is the extensive menu of paranthas, Indian breads, currys, raitas, snacks and beverages. We ordered aloo pyaaz parantha, garlic naan, shahi paneer and spl tea.
The wait is abt 20-25 mins but it seems excruciatingly long because you can see ppl at the nearby tables are tucking in warm paranthas/naan slathered with butter and curries drowning in ghee. Every table gets complimentary ‘salad’ of cukes and onion. By the time our food arrived, we had made our neighbours uncomfortable by staring at their plates!
The verdict: Old Rao is not for the faint hearted or calorie counters…the food is true to the dhaba reputation- fresh, fuss-free and fatty!! Old Rao claims to use only butter and ghee in its food. I personally enjoyed the parantha more than the naan (naan wasn’t oily enough for me!) The man enjoyed the shahi paneer. We rounded off the meal with spl tea (the closest to mallu tea that we got in north india- milky and served in a glass..yess tall glass) and the kesar kulfi which was rich with the right level of sweetness (sadly no pics). The lassi with its almonds and drizzle of rose syrup is also a must have (again no pics).
After-party: We didn’t need any dinner!!