How often does it happen that you walk up to the paranthe wala bhaiya and he asks you in slightly accented English, "Which one would you like to try this evening, ma'am?"
In Chandigarh, at least, it's happening till September 16, at the ongoing food fest, Delhi 6, at Hotel Park Plaza.
On at the hotel's restaurant, Cinnamon, the fest is a simple abstraction of Delhi's beloved foodie junctions such as Chawri Bazaar, Paranthe Waali Gali and Lal Quila amongst others. The buffet at the fest begins at these live counters, where one can find Dilli's favourite dahi-papri chaat, gol gappe, samose-channe, paranthe and kulche-chole. Surprisingly, most of these 'starters' come very close to the authentic taste of rehri food - when you eliminate the risk of falling sick after, the food tastes so much better.
Moving on to the vast spread of the buffet, to begin with, Rajma Raseeledar was a big letdown. The beans were unevenly cooked and lacking in gravy. Kutimirch Wale Chhole, however, made up for the loss - a bomb of flavour from the first bite on. Another dish that hit the right spot was the perfectly cooked Kallu Ki Nihari; meat lovers will not walk away disappointed. As for those who prefer to go the veggie way, close your eyes and try the Soya Chop Takatak; the soya is splendidly melt-in-your-mouth, getting as close to maas as possible.
Amongst the desserts, go in for Jama Masjid Ki Phirni, Ramashray Ka Malai Chop and Agrey Ka Petha. Do not dare to try the Bharwan Gulab Jamun. If your experience gets any close to ours, the gulab jamun would first be served cold, and then, just about warm, leaving aside the lack of any flavour - be it the stuffing or the chaashni (sugar syrup).
Since Park Plaza is a new entrant to Chandigarh's food industry, the least you expect is a polite and efficient staff. The lack of side plates during main course, the stack of plates (from starters) on the table till the end of main course, and having to ask for water and dessert spoons twice, made us believe otherwise.
Restaurant: Cinnamon, Hotel Park Plaza - Delhi 6 food fest (Block 10, Sector 17 A)
Overview: Located at Chandigarh's favourite sector, Sector 17, the hotel is located near the Reserve Bank of India. The restaurant hosting the food fest does not do justice to its name. The word, cinnamon, incites a warm, calming feeling; the interiors of the restaurant, however, have a different story to tell, with white and maroon interiors.
Menu: Though the restaurant continues to serve a continental fare as well, the food fest is dedicated entirely to Indian (Muslim & Mughlai) food. The starters get a thumbs-up, the main course has its goods and bads, and the same applies for desserts.
Ambience: For the name of the restaurant, the décor is slightly cold, but comfortable.
Service: The waiters, though dressed in traditional outfits and polite, are not very proficient, so to say.
Training them better in buffet etiquettes might work to the hotel's advantage.
Dress code: Semi-formal/formal
HT City recommends: Gol Gappe and Kallu Ki Nihari
Cost of a meal for two: The buffet, despite the vast spread, is slightly overpriced. A meal for two including taxes rounds up to R1,900.
Hours of operation: The food fest is available only for dinner - 8 pm to 11.30 pm