The Restauropedia

It is customary, in fact, common-sensical, to categorize restaurants based on

  • Cuisine (From Ethiopian to Thalapaakattu Biriyani),
  • Price levels (“Swiss Bank account details required” vs “mere account mein daal dena”)
  • Geography (Manhattan to Masilaamani Street (near Brilliant Tutorials).

Therefore, it is my solemn duty to categorize eating joints around the world by not using aforementioned parameters.

Let us start with The Snooty.

Waiters usually wear Hugo Boss suits and speak in accents that could be used to trim foliage. Food arrives in quantities inversely proportional to the cost. The wine comes from grapes that Mr Fox’ great-great grandfather declared to be sour. People speak in volumes so low that bats would need hearing aids to listen to them.

Eggsambles: Anything with a French name. Les Sappadeaux, La Foullthaalee

The Amreekan Desi

Pnjaaabi. All-you-can-eat. Mango Lassi. Slaaad. Same menu across the length and breadth of the United States. $6.99 Kingfisher beer. Instrumental (usually piano and saxophone) Bollywood background mujik. Posters of Taj Mahal.

Eggsambles: India Kitchen, India Palace, India Haveli, Taste of India, India Oven, Taj Mahal

The Makku Vaatthu

Uniform dresses. Caps. Zombie like forced smiles. Over enthusiastic “What would you like to eat today”. If you spend over $10, you are probably overeating. Or you came with friends. 5 of them. With the exception of Freedom Fries, everything on the menu is served between 2 pieces of bun. Animal Fat.

Eggsambles: Wendys, Taco Mani, Kaattuputthur Fried Cozhi, Arbys, Burger Raja

The Sukravaar Sandhosam

Hi. My name is (insert name). I’ll be your waiter/waitress today. What can I get you to drink? Your food will be right out. Large cocktails. Pacific Blue Mountain Margaritas. Lots of posters, theme based paraphernalia. Small box with glowing red buttons to indicate that they are ready to seat you.

Eggsambles: Yabbaaa! Friday Vandicchu, Chilis, Applebees

The Rajjaakku bai Massacred Barotta Stall

Street corner. Movable(with wheels). Extra Large Cauldron with Biriyani. Large tawa with devious torture weapons for making Kotthu Parotta. Two healthy looking street dogs with tails wagging all the time. Cutlery = 5 fingers of human hand.

The Wonton Van

Ramshackle van. Nepali or Naga chef. Questionable hygeine and spellings. Nudals, Amlate, Choupusy, Sweat and Sour chikan. Momos.

The Real Balle Balle

Dining table = Bed made out of jute rope strung across crudely cut pieces of wood. Several large trucks promising to blacken the faces of those who look with an evil eye. Butter Chicken. Sarson Da Saag. Side dish = 30 Rs. Tandoori Rotis = 0 Rs.

Eggsambles: Kake da dhaaba, Jabba di Hutti (Finest Pnjaabi cuisine on the planet Tatooine)

The Maxican Rashtront in Delhi (and Gurgaon)

Waiters dressed like Hombres de Mexico. Wearing spurs. Guns. Cowboy hats. Spanish music playing in the background. What do they serve? Paneer Butter Masala.

Eggsambles: Rodeo (Connaught Place), El Rancho

The Kumbakonam

Banana leaves. Decibel level of stainless steel vessels clashing against each other = 120. Waiter attire = banian, dhoti, striped underwear (visible below dhoti). Kumbakonamwaiterese for “What would you like to eat?” = “Mmm?”. As you tell him what dish you want, he will relay that information immediately to the kitchen using a very loud voice. Coffee served upside down. Bill arrives with the food immediately.

Eggsambles: Srinivasa Cafe (Kapey in Tamil), Mayavaram Arya Nivas

The Nilgi-rice

Meals Ready. Mountains of rice. Served not with a ladle, but a large plate. Limited side dishes.

Eggambles: All restaurants in places other than Chennai in TN, between the times 12 pm to 3 pm.

The Desi Fyvishtaar

Finely boiled rice from the Cauvery Delta subtly mixed with perfectly curdled milk featuring lactobacteria from Switzerland, and garnished with a delectably spicy combination of spices served with marinated citrus fried and preserved in sesame oil. Rs 425 + taxes.

Eggsambles: Dakshin (Park Sheraton), Southern Spice (Taj Coromandel)

Ofcourse, this list isn’t complete. Now readers, get to work.

32 Comments

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  1. kumbakonam’s waiter – I picture him wearing a ex-white azhukku veshti, ex-white half kai chattai with top button open, a half used pencil tucked behind one ear, oiled hair, vibhuti may be, one homemade tiny notebook, to write the bill, which you take to the counter (kalla) after eating. That is stuck to the long letter holder nail by the yenna chatti sitting there.

  2. For some reason the “Nudals, Amlate, Choupusy and Sweat and Sour chikan” made me laugh the most and it was at the worst possible time because right then my boss walked up leaving me very little time to switch back to my serious ‘im super busy, leave me alone’ look.

  3. Where do I start!

    Aamchi Mumbai is the worst culprit here in their avowed desire to be world food capital of India.

    Forget the name, but Ravi of B4u (Blatant Khushwant-esque name dropping here!) took me to this Japanese place in South Bombay, where the decor was all faux Japanese down to rice paper screens and scrolls with Kanji characters on the wall.

    The hilarious bit was all the waiters, very obviously kattu-mast-aana Mallu-s with murukku meesai-s dressed in Kimonos.

    Wonder why this place did not resort to the subterfuge of other Chinese places in Mumbai that hire Nagas or Mizos.

    Much better to give up this pretense and stick to the ‘jhunka-baakar’ kendra-s,
    ‘AAAy! pHude chala bhaoo!’ as they slap the jowar roti and stiff dal into your hands.

  4. If I’m carted off to the loony bin today (laughing looking at the laptop is not exactly signs of a sane mind it seems), I squarely blame you. Only you.

    (Ok, maybe by 23 other alter egos, but it’s still mainly just you!)

  5. >>Taco Mani, Kaattuputthur Fried Cozhi<>Burger Raja<>Waiters dressed like Hombres de Mexico. Wearing spurs. Guns. Cowboy hats. Spanish music playing in the background. What do they serve? Paneer Butter Masala.<<
    Never knew this…. Cha.. i missed it when i was in madras – there would have been atleast one wannabe mexican restaurant there…

    LKS

  6. LKS,
    There is. It’s called Don Pepe. The food is pretty decent though. Atleast 80% authentic I would say. Rodeo’s in Delhi is Mexican in Ambience and Pnjaabi in cuisine. The waiters are all hefty Jats though

    Marc,
    These food joint broad categories. Yes.

  7. Doc,
    Fixed. The problem was that I was doing this from my mobile phone, and I didnt bother to check the url because of the inconvenience of opening a new window in Opera browser for mobile phones.
    There, nothing establishes one’s tech credentials more than a foul up thanks to technology overuse 🙂

  8. One more category: Andhra Family Resturant.

    Usually serves two tonnes of rice and twenty three assorted dishes containing about a quarter ton of garlic. When they say ‘limited meals’, they usually mean limited meals for overweight Sumo wrestlers.

    Every table has a holder with three small cups, containing paruppu podi, gongura and avakkai.

    Loved the Jabba Di Hutti reference, by the way.

  9. LOL – the part abot India- had me in splits. Why do Desi restaurants in US have a fixed set of names usually following the : <Place (Palace, Mahal, Darbar etc)

  10. lol. how about the omnipresent chinese lunch places…

    chicken cashew nut – no chicken. only tofu. why rie or brown rie? egg rol? hot an sar soup…but is it chicken broth? $6.99 again.

    cheers!

  11. I want a delly lipo and a monly lipo for all the happening lestaula’ in chennai from now onwar’ lah.

    Too funny boss. The makku vaathu restaurants cracked me up!

  12. Andaa Bhurji Gaadi:
    Omnipresent in several cities of Maharashtra.

    Peak business hour: 12 am to 3 am.

    Where: all the miniscule bylanes and narrow alleys near railway stations and slums, where the cops probably won’t bother them.

    What: Serves assortment of egg dishes mixed with onion, tomatoes, unknown spices, flies, germs, and other unknown biological species.

    When: Indispensable after bachelor parties, college buddy gettogethers, raves, and full-night video/pool/carrom or card playing sessions.

    Why: whatever your culinary expertise, you can’t make anything at home that tastes like it.

  13. you must have spent sometime in US? Or maybe forced to try out some of those places?

    BTW, for Amreekan Desi, one common theme: Once you are done, don’t expect the waiter to come to your table and pick the check/bill if one of the following conditions are met:
    1. You are an Indian eating alone or with a small group of Indians – family and/or friends.
    2. You (an indian) are with your non-indian colleagues, but are known to frequent the place i.e. the guys at the restaurant recognize you, the desi.

    Desis are expected to come to the front and pay. If you are ignorant of this and wait at the table, you may wait forever – they won’t give in and they won’t tell to go to the front either. While you do this, you may even find the guy picking up the check in the next table – if the customers there are all non-desis.

  14. FUKABULOUS!! Just loved every bit(e) of it… But what really threw me off the chair was RODEO bit! Cuz I visited it just yday! Being a Bangalorean Kannadiga (Which means to say, I follow more Tamil than Kannada) your tam innuendos are top of the world… Plz find a venture capitalist, drop ur current salaried job and do this full time! Soon you can go for paid membership also at this rate of brilliance and readership…

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