Journalist Vir Sanghvi is reported to have quite a reputation when it comes to “dressing up” columns. As someone who is new to the national capital, having moved here from Ahmedabad, I look up various websites to check out options for fun places to hang out and to eat.
Recently, a website called ‘eazydiner’ came out with a list of ‘Vir’s Choice Awards’ for best restaurants in Delhi-NCR. Curious, I opened the link to zero in on a restaurant to check out over the weekend. The first restaurant Sanghvi recommends is “The China Kitchen, Hyatt Regency”.
Hmm, Hyatt. Five Star. Must be expensive. Out of curiosity, I looked up the restaurant on the food rating website, Zomato.
A meal for two at China Kitchen costs Rs 4,500. That is equivalent to 3 months’ electricity bill in winters for two. That is more than monthly groceries for two. China Kitchen serves most authentic Chinese food in Delhi and Sanghvi recommends ‘Peking Duck’. The menu is in Chinese with the description in English below it. Peking duck, Beijing style roasted duck costs Rs 3,888 for a full portion and Rs 3,288 for half portion. The Gujarati in me was upset that the difference between a full portion and half is just 600 rupees.
I scrolled down, hoping there would be something more affordable. Next was “Tres” at Lodhi Colony. Zomato says it is best known for “High-end chef-driven place with gourmet European spread” and cost for two (average) is Rs 3,000. Their online menu does not have a price list. Struck it off the list because while I love surprises, I was not sure I was prepared to see the bill amount directly. (oh, and you call them ‘cheque’.)
It was followed by one “Jamun” in Lodhi Colony, again costing Rs 3,000 for a meal for two. Apparently, one Chef Picu, a European chef by training has chosen the best dishes from India. I am not sure how that is a good idea. Curious, I looked up the menu. It serves ‘sev puri’ for Rs 325. Remember how people made fun of food bloggers who referred to khichdi as ‘Indian hotchpotch made with rice and lentils, tempered with mustard, with mild flavours’? Yeah, so Jamun describes sev puri as ‘homemade jaggery chutney, dried ginger, cumin powder, tossed with onions, fresh raw mango, potato and sev’. Couldn’t get myself to pay Rs 325 plus taxes for something you otherwise get for Rs 20.
This was followed by a restaurant called ‘San Gimignano’ at The Imperial and ‘Indian Accent’ at The Lodhi. Both these restaurants cost on an average, Rs 5,500 for a meal for two.
Most of the restaurants Vir rated were in five-star hotels. While he is entitled to have a fine taste in food, how often does an average Indian visit such high-end restaurants? It is elitist, to say the least, to say that the best food in Delhi is served in restaurants where 90% of people wouldn’t be able to afford it.
The target audience for such lists may not necessarily be able to afford such luxuries and those who could perhaps don’t even go through such lists before zeroing on where to eat. Oh, and not to forget the fact that the website which hosted the list, eazydiner, is co-founded by Sanghvi himself. This disclaimer is not put up at the beginning of the article. So much for transparency. (references to the headline of one of the previous articles in by Sanghvi, intended.)
And while it all comes down to personal preference and taste, I couldn’t even verify Sanghvi’s claims because I am not *cough* paid enough.