Monday, June 1, 2009

Salesman's eating options at a 5 Star Hotel: The Oberoi Delhi

Patisserie and Delicatessen, Oberoi Delhi
I know it’s a salesman’s guide to eating out, so why am I doing a review of an F&B outlet of a 5 star Hotel at New Delhi. Besides I never do reviews. The reason attributed for this unique departure. Pastry shops are the last bastion of the salesman’s visitation to a 5 star hotel. That too sheepishly slipping in after business hours for the 50% discount.

A few decades ago it was the fine dining restaurants where shark skinned suit (a suiting material) and gabardine clad salesmen were often seen. Then we plebs started going to “the coffee shop”. Now we have been relegated to the pastry shop that too at a 50% discount. Before you get the impression I am doing a Bridget Jones on you (poor poor me). On the contrary, a salesman is all about opportunity, liberty, hope, dreams, democracy and success. However the reality is , we like the tossing of the key to the valet (except the Hyatt at New Delhi which charges, pre-paid a Rs 100/- as valet parking charge), smelling the lobby air (unless it’s the Le Meredien which used to smell like French fries always (to a hungry salesman that’s good too), the smart walk to the pastry shop and chatting up the ladies at the counter.Some hotels put in four and half chairs for the coffee while your order for the cake, meat cheese is being packed.

Last week Rohinesh, a friend I walk in the park with invited me to come over and let’s check out the new Oberoi Pastry shop. We often talk about little else other than food everyday. Actually I waited, and followed up for 6 months for the opening of the swanky new pastry shop at The Oberoi and then was reluctant to go as there was no discount after business hours.

We the middle aged and middle class princes of the future decided to throw a care to the winds and decided to go check it out as an academic field tour. We throw the key (sorry I had my dear wife Praveen’s driver), walked in smelt that smell (did not smell of any food like substance) it was like forest in South of France kind of smell. My brother Sanjiv who worked for The Oberoi Hotel for 28 years and was the GM here from circa 1992 to 1996, often said the lobby should never smell of food. We walked past the Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, Hermes and others to walk down to the old Kandahar (where prawns were the size of turkey legs in the 90s).

Down the wide frosted glass stairs, into the 4000sq ft of intimidation. At The Taj, the staff chats up with you to make you comfortable. At The Oberoi, you chat up with the staff to make yourself comfortable. We scout around, the coffee counter, the meat section, the pastry section, the inviting picnic basket, the wines in a wine cooler. The décor was Spartan and nice. So was the stocking, the meat section was frugal; we expected it to be largely stocked. The wines were well stocked amongst other Chinkara ( a house brand as, its owned by the daughter of the Oberoi clan in Australia).

We perch ourselves on high stools in the centre court around an enormous dummy cake, as the four and half coffee tables were occupied. The menus has small eats all, priced at Rs 600 and above, way out of our current league, so we settle for patties, nearly the cheapest things on display Rs 100 for a chicken patty and Rs 75 for a vegetable patty. We cannot escape not asking for tea or coffee as I have a feeling they might kick us out if we don’t and just stick to the patties. We order a cappuccino (Rs 245) for me and an orange pekoe (Rs 225) for my host.

The people, we meet Atri Sengupta a friend of mine from my days at Star TV, with a friend. We see Azharuddin, the cricketer and now The MP from Moradabad with a friend (I hope I am right). Three broad hipped women with a Quiche and a patty between them and narrow minded conversation around them. You should have seen the gift she gave……… (You know the kind).
Great service for a pastry shop, no discounts yet and a cool place to hangout. The coffee is wonderful; I like coffee a shot as the one that burns the lip with the first sip. Hard to get it at any of the Café Coffeeday, Baristas and Costas. Have to be at a quality place to get that. Smarter to order tea as you get a pot, while coffee is only a cup. The biscuit with the coffee is divine, or is it called biscotti. A good experience. We spent Rs 645, for two beverages and two patties. Oberoi very smartly (started by the GM in 1992 and my brother Sanjiv Malhotra) has an inclusive price of taxes, service charge. Hence no surprises, you get a bill for the amount you expect.

My wife often tells me that a common mans writing will not get me very far, hence I am taking baby steps through the pastry shop route.
Next stop downtown dining and uptown dining and something in between.
So Long !


A.K. said...

Sir, whenever you are at Hyderabad next, try out Midnight Biryani Counter at The Green Park. Its supposed to be great and is open from 12 midnight to 3 am

Raghunath said...

sam okay.i hope u still stick 2 100 bucks &below menus.they make better reading.

Samil said...

Rags I totally agree, i was trying to get ambitious,
warm regards,

A.K. said...

Sir surprising to note that you have never written about Mani Dosa near our Channel [v] office in Mumbai.

Samil said...

I will Rama,
Infact I was talking to Mohit this morning and out of the blue I remembered the name of Mani Dosa, all this while it had lapsed in the folds of the cranium,
warmest regards,

protima said...

Samil Bhaiya, please start charging some royalty from all these restaurants on your blog!!
love all the posts

Samil said...

sure protima,

have always believed khud hi ko kar buland itna, ke hotel walle bande se poochen bol teri raza kya hai

protima said...

Wah wah !! Amein!

protima said...

have u been to the restaurant in gurgaon- Sola topee ? i love it !

Indian Accent Restaurant said...

In Delhi the Manor Delhi is also a good option for the variety of food - Indan Accent Restaurant Bar in South Delhi, India offers traditional Indian food as well as contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with fresh ingredients prepared simply and presented elegantly

veejay said...

Samil Boss,

Great to know about such joints, where in one will tempt to visit & enjoy d same.

Mahesh Lunch home at Juhu is famous for tasty fresh sea foods U can try it out

Amit said...

New Delhi Hotels said...

You should also write about Eatopia or Diner in delhi. These are good restaurants as well.

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