Food aboard AC 1st Class Duronto Train – & the travel story


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.

The story:

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.

inside Duronto AC1 coupe

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.

welcome rose & face wipe aboard Duronto

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.

Foldable dinner tables aboard Duronto

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.

vegetable thick soup aboard Duronto

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.

fish orly aboard Duronto

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.

Dinner Main Course spread aboard Duronto

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.

ice cream aboard Duronto

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.

breakfast spread aboard Duronto

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.

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42 comments

  1. Excellent 🙂
    I usually travel by August kranti rajdhani (Del – bom) and get a similar experience…dint know Duronto is as good…thanks for the review

    1. And now that Mamta is gone so is the run of the Duronto Express. News in high level government circle is that the train is shortly getting discontinued. No wonder of course. The train gets no preference anymore and always arrives late from 30 minutes to 3 hours. The bogies used are now old Rajdhani ones. The door to the pantry is always open and the kitchen folks use the bathrooms that side to wash utensils and for their own use. Its really in a pathetic condition…..And there goes my fish fry.

  2. Couple of observations:
    -Indian Railways assign AC1 coups basis passenger profile. That is why, seats and cabins are not allocated till the time of journey. Imagine some having a profile of F24 gets a 2 seater coup where the other passenger is having a profile of M40…:) and during night, you have the option of locking the door from inside. Well not a good idea!

    Alternatively, what this means is, if you and your partner are travelling togther and booking the ticket accordingly, you will alwats get a 2 seater coup. Again passenger profiling! So it was not a stroke of luck!

    – AC1 are generally near the pantry. …primarily to serve hot and fresh food.
    Cheers

    1. I agree with you. But I and a senior citizen and travel alone so its a 2 month tense moment for me till I get the sms a couple of hours before the departure which so far has been a lower birth. I shudder to think what I would do if Im allotted an upper birth as Im partially handicapped. Too few people and most folks are so arrogant on this bogie that exchanging a birth is next to impossible. I therefore demand that at least senior citizens are allotted the birth right away.

  3. -Indian Railways assign AC1 coups basis passenger profile. That is why, seats and cabins are not allocated till the time of journey. Imagine some having a profile of F24 gets a 2 seater coup where the other passenger is having a profile of M40…:) and during night, you have the option of locking the door from inside. Well not a good idea!

    This sites is very interesting and useful for ordering food in online when you travelling on train.Just have an look.As any traveler will tell you, enjoying the food on train is one of the greatest experiences one can have but major Indian railway passengers have craved for this experience and we bring this dream into reality. Before you hit the road, we’ve put together a list of best restaurants you’ll want to check out and we will bring them to your seats. These celebrated travel food providers give their first-hand account of fantastic food experiences in their cities as well as the ones you visit.

    http://www.idlyvada.com/

    1. ohhhh,,,,,,stupidity,,,once i was in radhani AC1 and I was paired with a lady in AC cabin,,,,,that time this rule was not followed,,,,i asked one of my friend in another compartment to be with me,,,,,,,to avoid any false sexual harassment cases

  4. Hahahhaaaaaahaha!
    My brother travels from Del-Pune in Duronto. and after a few quick bites, tells them not to wake him up and offer meals. They feed SO MUCH!! When he traveled for the first time, the server woke him and offered dinner. This irked my brother, who hadn’t slept well for weeks because of his exams. While getting down my brother made it a point to apologize for his rudeness (that he couldn’t help) and the server was fairly surprised about it. :p
    Awesome! I am so looking forward to doing Delhi-Pune now. I wish you could write something like this for my travel-blog 😀

      1. Hi!
        I haven’t written any post about that as it isn’t my experience. It is my brother’s.
        Very kind of you to offer for that. I just read your post and put two and two together regarding what irks him in Duronto :p But for me, food is always welcome!

  5. Really impressed. Am going today from kolkata to Kanpur by Duranto. Will share my experiences even. But yes, it’s a brainchild of Mamta, and credit goes to her.

      1. I am really surprised. First of all Howrah or Sealdah Duronto doesnt stop in Kanpur. It has no stops except the technical stops. Which means people cannot get on or off. Today this train started by Ms Mamata Banerjee is in shambles. It is uncared for, the food is atrocious and most importantly reaches its destination on an average 3 hours late. So in short the Duronto is no longer a Duronto haha.

      2. Hi Sudipta, the time when the post was written all facts mentioned r correct. It used to stop in Kanpur for technical reasons (water filling, fuel, electrical checks etc).

        Thanks for updating on the current state of affairs.

      3. The post was written today only so I cant figure out what youre talking about. Do please clarify. The bottom line is you could never travel to Kanpur from Kolkata by Duronto and thats it. Unlike the Rajdhani it has no stops in between where you can get off or get on. The train stops at designated stations for technical checks and to fill up water.

      4. And I responded SUDIP
        DECEMBER 30, 2013 AT 8:17 AM. Im glad we’re on the same wavelength.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience buddy. Please let me know whether the food provided in duronto is limited or not..and menu for 1AC n 3AC are same? Awaiting your prompt response on my email id Mukesh.sharma90@aol.com. I have to book the train asap but before that I need your reply………

    1. Dear mukesh, this post was written sometime back and it describes the experience at that time. As you can see, some others did not get good experience recently. So am not sure. I think number of items on menu was more in 1 ac as compared to the rest.

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