Read YUMMRAJ’s latest review of AC 1st class rajdhani here: rajdhani
In a nutshell:
My first time travel in AC 1 of Duronto – turned out to b a series of Pleasant surprises. Pretty Good food, very good service & an amazing experience in a coupe of a new coach.
Duronto , like the Rajdhani trains, r full AC trains with meals included in the ticket price. Unlike Rajdhani, Duronto is a ‘no stop’ train – so it straight away stops at the final destination. We decided to travel by this train for a holiday from Delhi to Kolkata & chose AC1.
What is strange about AC1 is that even if u book way in advance, the seats / cabins r not allocated till the day of journey. We were thrilled to see us being allotted to a coupe (only two people in a cabin instead of four).
As I entered the coupe , I was pleasantly surprised. It did not quite look like Indian Railways. New coach, spic & span, pristine white walls & ceiling, a huge 4ft X 3ft mirror, a tiny mirror etc. I cud sense the room freshner as well. At times it felt like we were sitting in a mid-range hotel (of course ignoring the size of the cabin).
We were lucky to have the pantry car just next to our coach. It had transparent glass window & I peeped into it – looked as good as an open kitchen restaurant. Within I guess 10 minutes after the train started, an IRCTC representative came & welcomed us & gave us a rose & a facial wet wipe.
Within minutes of this, the pantry boy appeared with two menu cards – printed & laminated like the ones in low to mid end Restaurants. One menu card was veg Indian & nonveg Indian. The other was Veg continental & non-veg continental.
We started to read the Indian non-veg & were surprised to see ‘veg au gratin’ written in it. We were told that ‘the starters r common for Indian & continental but the main course is different’.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
Service started within 30 minutes of the start of journey. The server came in & pulled out two foldable tables from one corner of our cabin & set them up.
He served freshly made thick vegetable soup. Good to taste by Restaurant standard & awesome to taste by ‘Indian Railways standard’. Soup sticks were also given along with this – those turned out to be sub optimally crunchy. We njoyed our soup with dollops of Amul butter. Halfway thru the soup I decided to season it with black pepper – that is what turned out to b a bad decision. The pepper provided was as fine as dust & it was quite weird. Spoilt the Soup to some extent.
After a gap of almost 20 minutes, we were served starters – 2 pieces of Fish Orly & a lump of vegetable au gratin, in addition to one apple.
Vegetable au gratin turned out to b a catastrophe. It was a lump of sweet potato with cheese popping up at different spots, funny texture & really bad by Restaurant, someone’ home or train or any standard.
The fish orly was awesome to the power 10. It was deep batter fried fish that had a thin outer batter layer & a superbly juicy, soft, flaky fish fillet inside. Outstanding flavors of the fish & also the spices ……………….. Good by all standards – Restaurant, train, aeroplane, someone’s house etc.
Another 20 minutes later came the main course. Almost everything was freshly made. For cereals we had long grained boiled rice & freshly made tawa rotis. For main course we were served yellow daal, aloo bhindi, chicken curry, salad, curd & ice cream.
The yellow dal was made in Bengali style – Very simple, not spicy, not hot yet very tasty.
Aloo bhindi fry (potato okra fry) was amazing. Cubes of potatoes & pieces of okra stir fried with spices. It tasted like home made & was really enjoyable.
The Chicken curry was sub-optimally salted. With addition of a pinch of salt it started tasting very good – we finished it off till the last drop. Chicken pieces were ok & quite generous in quantity.
The ice cream was standard Mother dairy Butterscotch ice cream.
Next morning breakfast we had options again – egg omelet, sunny side up, water poach or boiled!!!! I was quite surprised. Breads were toasted & served soon after unlike kuccha (un toasted) bread that is usually served in trains.
We chose omelet – turned out to be quite good by train & home standard & also by low to mid end restaurant standard. It had tiny pieces of capsicum in it, among other ingredients, that made it taste better.
Vegetable cutlet was too good. it’s a Anglo Bengali dish – vegetables (beetroot, carrot, potatoes etc) made into a patty & crumb fried. This is usually mildly sweet & of course salty. Cashew & raisins are also thrown in to add value. Loved it.
Overall, quite an interesting & memorable journey – look forward to some more in future.