The All American Diner (India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road, New Delhi)
This is a review of Breakfast at The All American Diner
In a nutshell:
A drop of water in the desert – that’s what this place was like, but take note, the water is surely not a mineral water like ‘Evian’ but it is pond water carried in leather bags on a camel back for maybe 2 days!!!! To top it all, its offering is not as unique as before.
Address & other details: The All American Diner
Meal for 2: Rs. 500 onwards
Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian
Short Description – In case u r in a hurry:
The Restaurant is Better than some other similar options in Delhi (in terms of food) but surely not comparable to good American Breakfast joints in America. Infact, Restaurants in Delhi like Choko la Khan Market , L’ Opera Khan Market, Eggspectation Vasant Kunj etc which r not just American, serve better breakfast egg dishes.
The Price is Indian for sure. That’s one argument that the Restaurant might have, for serving sub-optimal taste – An American Breakfast for approx. US$4 per dish? – u don’t get that in US for sure.
The interiors r superb – Black & white tiles , lots of bright colors, a colourful jukebox, outstanding posters all over the wall – Automobile ads of the past, Marylin Monroe ads, Alcohol ads & food ads like ‘People eat People’s meat’ – refers to a brand of meat called People’s meat. Peppy retro music that played in the background was enjoyable too.
The Guy who planned out this place is a genius & I admire his/her attention to detail. However, I am surprised at how they have left out the shop management in the hands of a bunch of uninterested people.
Service is much worse than even the smallest of most roadside eateries I have visited of late – at least in Dhabas waiters smile, greet, do not usually forget to inform ur order to the kitchen & try to accomodate people in a rush hour.
You may skip the description of our experience of bad service (in italics) if u r in a hurry –
The experience here at AAD was a disaster – We reached the Restaurant at 9.15 am. As we entered, we saw loads of people waiting. The guy in Black tee shirt (all others wore White Tee shirts) & a notebook in his hand appeared before us after about 5 minutes – till then we were looking all around trying to figure out what was happening. Even in Saravana Bhawan, a security guard notes ur name as soon as u reach there. As we asked him to note our names for getting a table, he looked at us with a facial expression that clearly said ‘oh S**t, two more morons’. Leave about being excited about getting customers, he was actually pissed. The sentence that he spoke post this & the tone was even more shocking ‘ There is a waiting of 1 hour. Do u still want to wait?’. I was getting the feeling that I was in a Govt. run ration shop where every customer is looked at like a pest who has come to spoil the shopkeeper’s time.
We decided to wait & to sit on the high stools on a side. We asked the same guy to give us a menu card so that we cud order some shake / smoothie to beat our hunger (we travelled all the way from Gurgaon). ‘Sorry, we do not serve food on the high stools’. We said – ‘We r not asking for food but drinks. This is a Rs. 1000 note – now that u r assured we will not run away, pls get us the menu card.’ He reluctantly handed us two menu cards with disgust writ all over his face. We decided on 2 drinks & as we wanted to place the order. The guy walked in front of us 3 times pretending not even to see us – almost running away & consciously avoiding eye contact. Finally we had to actually hijack his attention by getting in his way to stop him to take the order. See how desperate become when someone plays around with their hunger!!!
We got the seats at around 10.00 am – that also after one waiting guy in white tee tried to tell us that our name was not listed in the waiting list & I challenged him to get back the notebook in which names were written. He came back, without the notebook & said ‘ ur seats r ready’!!!
Orders were placed at 10.00am as soon as we sat & at 10.15 the guy returned to us – ‘Sorry, I forgot to punch the order on the system. Can u pls repeat the order’!!!! I failed to understand how that is possible. We obliged & finally got the food at 10.35. I had no idea it cud be such a struggle to get a breakfast after paying for it!!!!
I also noticed that while there were people waiting, there were few couples seeing pictures from a laptop, or another group just chatting & not really eating something!!! Try that in other high traffic Restaurants like Saravana Bhawan & see what happens.
The food is not bad but not great either. I guess the myth of All American diner stems from the fact that when it was launched, there were no good alternatives & this was probably the best choice in town. Its surely time to deconstruct the myth – how about this:
If the joint is so popular & has so much waiting, why not have some more Restaurants? Why not have some more space? Why have snobbish staff with disasterous body language? Where does that pride stem from? The waiting guys? …………………… Well, nothing lasts forever. If someone else opens up a similar joint in Delhi on a larger scale, this one will not take time to wither.
Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:
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