Somehow, Mexican hasn’t really worked despite the fact that Mexican could have done well by itself. Nobody really pursued it. It could have been adapted to Indian taste, say by stuffing paneer or vegetables in the tortilla. As a back-up restaurants had Indian dishes too. Slowly people stated eating Mexican food.
Of late, Mediterranean seems to be the flavour. There are six countries and it depends on which one a particular joint is focusing on. Also, it’s important to know if the chef has ever tested the food. People just take a book and give a name. But it’s not the same. No wonder, many restaurants that came with a big bang made a silent exit. Take Seville in South Ex. It survived barely a year. But Shalom, at Greater Kailash and Laidbackwaters, Qutab Hotel, are always packed. Owner Dhiraj Arora attributes the success to the focus on the food. The other Greek restaurant, Odysseia at CP, is run by Margarita Pappa Parmar, the Greek woman who believes in cooking herself to ensure Delhiites get authentic Greek food.
Experts say it helps when natives open their own restaurants. Miran Lee is one such example. Her first Korean restaurant Kumgang is an example. And Lee hasn’t regretted her decision of staying back in India. On a holiday in India, her friends told her about the need for an authentic Korean restaurant. Lee felt it was a good opportunity to start one of her own since she already had experience of running a restaurant way back in Seoul. So, in 2001, Kumgang, a 48-cover joint, was started in Hauz Khas. Later, it expanded to a 78-cover joint and shifted to The Ashok. “The exciting demand for Korean food helped in making my restaurant successful,” says Lee.
The latest to join the list is Boyarin, the Russian restaurant. It was the demand from the Russians in the capital that prompted owner Arjun Amla to open this joint. The restaurant is doing pretty well and it has two Russian chefs and singers. However, it’s too early to predict if Delhiites will really bite into a Russian meal for too long. As of now Amla seems quite confident about his venture. “You won’t even get a seat if you plan to come for dinner tonight,” he warns. But others are skeptical. When’ll people eat? Russian salad? Do they know about the specialties? But Amla is not worried. After all, tomorrow is another day.
Castle 9, a Spartan little restaurant in Connaught Place, adjacent to Plaza cinema, has packed in the whole enchilada in terms of food assortment. Ranging from Mexican to Thai, Chinese and Continental, you name it it’s there. But you can’t write off this place too quickly. It may not be the ideal eatery to visit when you want to impress your boss at a business lunch, but for the office crowd looking for both economy and variety on a day to day basis, Castle 9 is a God sent.