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It is one of the go-to places for authentic and traditional Punjabi meals in the city. Dera, the speciality fine diner housed in Taj Chandigarh is hard to miss when you enter the lobby. Designed in a circular manner, the restaurant is uniquely designed. Step inside and it is a warm ambience that greets you. The interiors are done up in grey and beige hues and you will notice small artefacts peculiar to the state dotting the place. We love the fact that their choice of music is absolutely in sync with the food and vibe of the place. Expect Punjabi folk songs, Sufi numbers et al. The menu is not just an ode to the art of slow cooking and cooking on stone but also offers traditional dishes from the erstwhile Punjab state before Partition. Meats may take pride of place on the menu but there are loads of vegetarian options as well. During summers, the 'Lassi' is the perfect starter and in winters, the warm 'Shorba'. There is a huge section dedicated to starters, and among our favourites is ‘Amritsari Macchi Tikka’, ‘Bhune Mutton Di Tikki’, ‘Mushroom Malai Galauti’ and ‘Tawe Di Dabi Arbi’. A trip here would be quite incomplete if you did not try the 'Atta Chicken' that is good for 2. A whole chicken is marinated in special spices and wrapped in flour dough and cooked in the tandoor. There are dishes straight off the tawa as well like ‘Tawa Brain Masala’, another speciality here along with ‘Tawa Ke Masaledar Kathal’. The menu is very extensive at Dera and you will need more than a single visit to do justice to it. We relished the ‘Dera Da Meat’ and ‘Mirchiyan Wale Aloo’. For those who can not take spicy food, proceed with caution as some curries are truly hot. They even have a live ‘phulka’ station that tosses fresh and soft rotis for you. The dessert section is truly robust and the ‘Malai Kulfi’ is perfect to cool down the fired up taste buds.