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Feel at home


AS YOU enter Paatra, the Pan Asian restaurant at newly refurbished Jaypee Vasant Continental in New Delhi, its size at once hits you. A huge quadrangular hall with an appealing décor in shades of gold, beige and copper, a waterfall with glass tiles and wire curtains, tall stems of birds of paradise adorning many a side table, an open kitchen and big windows overlooking a mass of greenery.

And, the next thing you see once you take a table are an interesting set of things atop it. Flat copper plates holding glass dishes, a set of bowls in a variety of sizes and a revolving stand with different types of pickles and jams. A waiter comes forward to offer, first a plate with cocktail samosas and khandvi, then the menu card and finally this: `Please try some of the pickles please. They are home-made.'

Soon joins in Chef Aashish Joshi of the restaurant and Jaypee Hotels' Corporate Chef Nita Nagraj. Offering to follow your request to order food for you and also to elaborate on the name Paatra, Chef Joshi begins, "Most strict vegetarians do not prefer to eat in restaurants thinking that the utensils used for cooking vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes must be the same. Respecting this sentiment, here at Paatra, we have a separate kitchen for vegetarians with more than one Mararaj brought in from places like Benaras to operate them. Importantly, we have made the vegeterian kitchen an open one so that veggies can have a look at it if they want to." The dishes that roll out of the open kitchen hence, are a wide variety - Paratdaar Paneer Ke Pasandey, Bhunney Khulley, Baingan Ka Raita, Bhindi Ke Raita, Maah Ki Daal, Bhingri Gulistan, Besan Naal Bhunney Bhein Te Aloo, paan Ka Kabab, Besan ke Nimboo, Dum Ka Bharwaan Karela, Nizami Tarkari Biryani... .

"The idea is to give as many dishes as possible which have been the part of our menu at home, dishes that should not die down in a restaurant menu card due to some exotic import from outside," Chef Nagraj offers to add this time, though saying that the present menu has "more of Punjabi flavour in it, which is understandable."

The non-vegetarian fare too has interesting listings - Prawn 65, Chutneywali Pomfret, Lawrence Roadwalley Tawey de Tikkey ta-a-tin, Chingri Malai Mach, Nihari, Gosht udaygiri, Mardaan Murgh Malaiwala, Konkan Fish Curry... .

Beverages alongside can be Ananaas Ka Panna, Tarkheywaali Chaas, Phaalsa Sherbet... .

Paatra also has a hard drinks trolley.

Chef Aashish says they are constantly on the look out for dishes that are typical of a region. "That is why, we plan to keep changing the menu off and on. Send across any home recipe if you have," he adds. Once ready to sign off, do not forget to try out the Banarsi Paan offered to round up the meal as complete. Though, a point of caution here straight from self-experience - choose only what you could stomach without feeling the fill too much. Remember, it is primarily Indian food which trully and surely tries hard to put you to a snory sleep. Happy eating!

Iced tea, cold coffee and more

NOW, FOOD lovers have an additional reason to frequent McDonald's. The world's leading food service retailer has now rolled up ready-to-drink Georgia Gold iced tea and cold coffee at its Delhi and Mumbai restaurants. It means that tea and coffee are no longer winter-reservation and all set to come with cold drinks even during summers.

"The iced tea is a refreshing, non-carbonated beverage with the tanginess of fresh lemon while the cold coffee is a creamy, full-bodied drink with the taste of fresh coffee and hint of vanilla. Coca Cola, India has exclusively prepared these beverages for McDonald's," informed Sanjiv Gupta, CEO and President, Coca Cola India, while launching the products at The Imperial, Janpath in New Delhi this past week.

"We are constantly looking to offer innovative varieties to our customers. And we are certain that the customers will be delighted with these two novel and tasty beverages at the family price of Rs. 20," said Amit Jatia, the joint-venture partner and MD, McDonald's India.

SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

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