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Travelling to India? Check out these Restaurants Deals

Tamarai, meaning Lotus, is a restaurant that serves South East Asian cuisine in London, run by one of the most reliable hospitality companies in India—Old World Hospitality. The group has several well-known restaurants in New Delhi and its suburbs, including Chor Bizzare that serves up regional Indian cuisines at value-for-money prices, and should be a must-visit for any one seeking an India experience. The restaurant is also interesting because of its décor – bric-a-brac has been sourced from local “thieves” markets, that would often sell old and antiquated items, some of them even stolen! The pride of the place goes to a vintage car in which a chaat, spicy starters, counter has been set up, and you can dine off mismatched crockery and cutlery on tables created from sewing machines and so forth.

But this post is not about that restaurant: Instead, the reason for this long explanation is that I recently met with a chef from the company who runs Tamarai in London. That particular restaurant is interesting because of the experimental food that it serves up—a salmon sushi roll with curry-leaves tempered curd rice is one of the creations. But what I found even more interesting was the way the chef described the London restaurant scene: All the top restaurants there, right from your Duccasses onwards are offering hefty discounts on their tasting (and other ) menus. At Tamarai itself, the tasting menu that used to be for about Pounds 52 per person is down to 26 Pounds or so and thus quite a steal.

Unfortunately if you are traveling to India, there will be few such well advertised deals. Restaurateurs are still cagey about calling a spade just that and do not admit, publicly at least, that there business is suffering. Some of them in their foolhardiness are still maintaining the fabulous prices they used to charge even six months ago. Privately, it is another story. An Indian restaurateur that I met recently in New Delhi—he runs the stylish Kylin, an Oriental bar and lounge in Vasant Vihar, Ivy, another with-it lounge in New Friend’s Colony, and Sartoria, a surprisingly good and affordable Italian “family” diner—confesses that now when big groups come asking for special prices, the effort is to bag the clients even at a much lower price.

With restaurants undercutting themselves, there are deals to be bagged—if you know about them. Here are a few that I can recommend:

1. Contemporary Indian cuisine (Regional foods with a twist and Western-style presentation and ingredients): At the new Indian restaurant, at the boutique hotel, The Manor, in Friends Colony: A tasting menu of five courses (Lunch) comes for just Rs 900; pair each course with wine and it will cost you Rs 1,000 ($ 20) per person. www.themanordelhi.com
2. Wine buffet at The Park, New Delhi: Three Glasses of wine for just Rs 600 ($12). www.theparkhotels.com
3. Wine dinner at Sartoria, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi: Rs 1200 ($24). Tel: 011 – 41683305.
4. Wine dinner at Baci, an Italian restaurant run by a Punjabi-Italian in Sundar Nagar New Delhi: For under Rs 2,000
5. Henry Tham and Botleggers in Mumbai, Lounge and pubs, 30 per cent and 50 per cent discounts during “happy hours” – from 7.30 pm to 11.00 pm and 5.30 pm to 9.00 pm respectively.

Besides which, for a value-for-money deal but an authentic, great experience nevertheless, check out:

6. Swagath: Luscious seafood, spiced up, southern style. If you can’t take the Mangalorean chillies, ask them to do you crab or prawns or veggies in a milder coconut-based sauce instead. At Defence Colony, New Delhi
7. Sagar Ratna: Started by Jayram Banan, a runaway kid, the restaurant is the result of an incredible man’s incredible journey. It now has several chains not just all over the city but outside India too and is still regarded as the place that will sell you to-die-for dosas, idlis, vadas… do try their special red tomato-chilli chutney.
8. Rajdhani: Unlike in the West, where a meal proceeds in courses, traditional Indian meals have been served on a single platter, individual dishes kept on a banana leaf or on a steel thali in a strict order. Salt, followed by lime and pickle, starters, curry, dal, veggies, rice and pooris, curd and dessert. For lip-smackinf thalis from Rajasthan or Gujarat, two of India’s most vibrant states, go to Rajdhani, where the menu changes daily and yyou are greeted with buttermilk. Strictly vegetarian. A thali should cost you about Rs 200 ($ 4) per person. (http://www.rajdhani.co.in/)
9. Mystic in Bali: For all those who love Asian cuisines but enjoy a relaxed café ambience, here is a tiny neighbourhood restaurant tucked away in the heart of East of Kailash. The food is superb and flavourful and individually plated. And the best part is the generous helpings. You can have a satisfying enough meal in Rs 500 per person ($ 10).
10. Big Chill Café: Started about 8 years ago by an enterprising and unique couple—a Pakistani woman married to a former Indian Army guy, beat that!—this has two outlets in the charming Khan Market, New Delhi. Serves American-style Italian, generous portions, no-fuss comfort food and a cheesecake to die for. Rs 500 ($ 10) per person.

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3 Responses to “Travelling to India? Check out these Restaurants Deals”

  1. [...] Anna Haight wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThat particular restaurant is interesting because of the experimental food that it serves up—a salmon sushi roll with curry-leaves tempered curd rice is one of the creations. But what I found even more interesting was the way the chef … [...]

  2. [...] Tamarai, meaning Lotus, is a restaurant that serves South East Asian cuisine in London, run by one of the most reliable hospitality companies in India—Old World Hospitality.  Anoothi Vishal presents:  Travelling to India? [...]

  3. [...] Anoothi Vishal presents Travelling to India? Check out these Restaurants Deals posted at India – Food & Travel Guide, saying, “Tamarai, meaning Lotus, is a restaurant [...]

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