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.

The logo outside the restaurant

Address & other details: The All American Diner

Meal for 2: Rs. 500 onwards

the beautiful interiors at All American Diner

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.

interesting competition at All American Diner

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.

Retro stuff inside the diner

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.

bacon & eggs platter at All American Diner

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.

interesting retro posters & pics all over the walls

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!!!!

the bar area at All American Diner

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.

another view of the interiors

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to njoy reading:

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Huxley’s Bar & Kitchen (Terminal 5, London Heathrow Airport)

An Indian foodie’s experience of British food in London vs same dishes available in India.

In a nutshell: Enjoyed the good food here & some of the excellent ones – look forward to revisiting on my next trip

Address & other details: Huxley

Cuisine Type: Vegetarian & Nonvegetarian

the facade

Meal for 2: US$ 60 onwards

Short Description – In case u r in a Hurry:

This is one place where grabbing a table always seems to be time consuming – u can mostly see a queue outside the Restaurant. This time we got a chance to get in & try the food without having to wait in a long queue. We chose the basics & not fancy dishes to see how they taste in London vs. say in Delhi India.

Add ons on the table at Huxley’s

The ambience is good inspite of being a bit dark in some corners. There is a bar on one side & one can choose to sit at the bar as well.

Mixed Meat Grill at Huxley’s

The menu card is self explanatory – so one does not need to ask too many questions to the person waiting on. We were lucky to get a very warm & helpful waitress.

Food was good overall & some of it was excellent.

Detailed Description – In case u have the time to enjoy reading:

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Special French Omelet (Shyam Palace, Sec 4 & 5 Chowk, Dhanwapur Road, Old Gurgaon)

In a nutshell:

A roadside ‘French’ Dhaba which has no French Connection but serves lipsmacking good egg dishes.

French Omelet

Meal for 2 : Rs. 80 onwards

Website: French Omelet

Google map: French

The shop facade

How to get there: Take a right from Rajeev Chowk on NH8 (if facing Jaipur), Keep going straight. At one point the road narrows & u pass thru a congested market. After u cross it, u find Shiva’s idol in the road divider. Keep going straight till u reach a small roundabout (gol chakkar). Cross this & keep going forward till u come to a crossing with Atul Kataria Marg. The store is right in the corner of this crossing. Just ask someone at this point.

Cuisine Type: Egg dishes

We were curious to visit the place when my friend told me that there is a shop called French Omelet in Old Gurgaon. It sounded as crazy as a Dhodha shop in Paris!!!!!

Since the original recipe was continental & since it has been Indianlized, it is dual classified under Indian & Continental.

Seeing that my friend was very upbeat about the food here,we along with some foodie friends visited the shop. The shop looked like any other roadside shop that sells food in India. We asked why it was called French Omelet & what was the French Connection. The answer we got was quite cloudy & I guess it meant that the term ‘French’ sounded good – So it was chosen as a name.

We first ordered for Omelet with half fried toast. Some people call this French Toast in India. It is conceptually an omelette & bread stuck to it & is salty (not sweet like the original French Toast).

On top of the omelet-bread, they sprinkled a dark powdered masala, onions, few drops of lemon & minced coriander leaves. The masala as it is tasted like churan but it gave an unbelievably good twist to the taste of the Omelet-bread. All this was then served with a green chutney which apart from the usual dhania (coriander) & pudina (mint), also had nuts in it !!!! The chutney was marvellous & before I ate this combination, I had no idea how good bread, egg & chutney can taste when they land on ur tastebuds.

omelet bread

They used a quarter of an 100g Amul Butter pack per dish for frying. That surely contributed to the taste.

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