Dechenling House – A Tibetan Retreat

By Farman Naushad (Editor, Culture Section)


Food: 2.8/5

Ambience: 3/5

Value for money: Off the chart.

How to get there: Hop on to the Yellow Line of the metro and get off at Vidhan Sabha Metro Station. Take an auto/riskshaw thereon.

A quest to have apple beer, led my friends and I on a journey to find a particular restaurant in the Tibetan refugee colony near Majnu ka Tilla. And this in turn led us to this small rooftop restaurant called the Dechenling House. Situated near the banks of Yamuna, this restaurant is nestled between other low key buildings, but yet not hard to find. At first sight, curiosity led us to enter the Dechenling House. Climbing a rather concealed flight of stairs brought us out into the rooftop which was designed to give the customers a sense of retreat.Open aired, with Tibetan flags and posters of ‘Free Tibet’ adorning the skyline, one seems to have entered a different world on its own. One can’t tell if the slightly dilapidated appearance is accidental or meant to add to the ambiance.

Famished as we were, we quickly chose a hut-like cabin to sit-in and asked for the menu (Yes, you read it right. The cabins were designed to resemble huts, or actually, shacks.) – and our lack of knowledge on Tibetan cuisine was very evident. But with the due help of the waiter (and the manager and the cashier), we finally decided to choose the items that we wanted, after much ado.

We started off by ordering a serving of vegetarian Thenthuk, which is basically a version of ‘pull’ noodles cooked in broth with vegetables. Full of flavour; very, very light. Next, we ordered, both, vegetarian and chicken Thukpas – which is a typical Tibetan noodle soup, traditionally a dinner dish, often served spicy. Being a chicken-biased person that I am, I found the chicken Thukpa slightly better than its vegetarian counterpart, but the vegetarian version was about as good.

The best part about Tibetan cuisine would be that the food is very light and you definitely don’t see oil floating on top which is a plus for all those living in hostels or PGs away from home, and have to eat the unhealthy food served to them. Another point to be noted here is that this place is surrounded by students given its proximity with the University of Delhi’s North Campus. While Tibetan cuisine largely serves to cater to a mild palate, some dishes are best served hot (like the Thukpa)! The next best about this place is that the servings were huge and the prices were low (while you may go on to question the quality here, I must say that we didn’t have any trouble with the food that we had).

What didn’t go down well with us is that it wasn’t as tidy a place as you’d  want it to be. And, Dechenling House, in case you read this, do keep in mind to modify your menu. Do put in the description of the food you serve, or train your waiters to do so. It may not be the best you have had, but the food at Dechenling House is definitely worth a try. Although, may I suggest that you visit this place on a day that you feel adventurous.


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