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Not all bhavans serve bad food.

Authenticity is byword at most state guest houses

AMID the bustling food joints in Hauz Khas Village or the elite restaurants at Khan Market or the eateries in shopping malls, Delhiites tend to forget that none can possibly match the authenticity of food served at the state bhavan canteens.

Following the Maharashtra Sadan canteen fiasco, a M AIL T ODAY team on Thursday visited seven such state bhavan canteens, investigating their food quality and kitchen standards. However, the team found clean kitchens, good level of hygiene at all seven bhavan.

If only Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare would have chosen to eat at any of these seven bhavans, there would have been no reason for rage and he could have avoided the communal controversy.

The team started with the Jammu and Kashmir House. However, right at the entrance, there was a notice which revealed that the Additional Resident Commissioner had passed an order in 2013 that the canteen would only serve in- house guests. While their regular menu consists of dishes like rogan josh , chicken curry, loo matar and yellow dal , guests who wish to have wazwan or other authentic Kashmiri dishes have to order a day in advance.

" We have never had any complaints about cleanliness or hygiene levels. There were a few complaints made by the guests last year about their orders getting delayed, but since the place has been closed for general public, there were no further complaints," Mansoor Ahmed Khan -- the head chef told M AIL T ODAY . Similarly, at the Bihar Niwas, the canteen is closed for the general public. The head chef Ashok Kumar is a third- generation chef, his grandfather used to cook for British officials during the preindependence era.

He is also the favourite cook of former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

The Orissa Niwas canteen however, has a much broader menu and is also open for general public. " It is open on all days and a lot of native Oriyas eat at the canteen daily," Purna Chandra Mallick, manager of the canteen said.

Meanwhile, the Tripura Bhavan canteen was the most interesting experience. The kitchen staff is from every state but Tripura.

Though, one would feel that the thali served looks and tastes exactly like home cooked food, but according to the staff, the guests demand for just that.

The Gujarat Bhavan dining hall has a capacity to seat around 40 people. " We have a regular and a special thali that tastes like the regular home- cooked food and it is unlike the ' sweet' food that people perceive Gujarati food to be. The only exception is the dal and kadhi that is slightly sweet in taste, " said the manager of the canteen Naresh Kumar.

Chennai's Hotel Ramprasad caters to the canteen. It serves on an average 100 to 200 people. They serve both in- house guests as well as outsiders.

The Assam Bhavan is slightly more expensive compared to other state bhavans.

Run by the Paradise Group of Hotels the Jakoi restaurant at Assam Bhavan has the most interesting decore with gamochas ( the ethnic Assamese cloth) and jpis ( the bamboo conical hat). " About 60 to 70 people visit daily to enjoy the authentic Assamese food served by the twelve member staff," said Partha Pratin Das, the manager.

Arunachal Bhavan is been run by S. V Rahul Fast Food catering service for the last 10 years. " The pork is a famous attraction here along with the bolied fish and meat cooked in the authentic Arunachali style," the chef said.


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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 25, 2014
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