South Africa has perhaps more Indian food on the platter than what the cricketers, superstars and super-tycoons had asked for.
While Sachin Tendulkar is chomping on chicken haka, butter chicken and dishes made out of Indian cottage cheese, Anil Kumble is enjoying South Indian cuisine. And not to mention the Kings XI Punjab co-owner Preity Zinta who is lapping up platefuls of dal ki khichri.
You name the Indian dish and it is available in Cape Town and Durban, which has a surfeit of Indian restaurants. But the two eateries that are being patronised by Indian players are ‘Jewel of India’ in Durban and ‘Bihari ka Restaurant’ in Cape Town. Latter is owned by dentist named David Ross.
The ‘Jewel of India’, a restaurant in the Southern Sun Hotel, has quite a few Indian chefs. One of the employee, Anita, tells us that the restaurant has employed four Indian chefs. She says, “I am a great fan of Delhi Dare Devils, but seeing Sachin Tendulkar really enjoying food here in the restaurant gave me satisfaction.
“It was his birthday…but when we came to know about it the next day, we presented him a cake. Sachin, accompanied by his wife and children, cut the cake and we thoroughly enjoyed that evening…it was a cherishing evening for us,” said Anita.
Another chef, Dinesh, hailing from Lucknow said, “Sachin loved the chicken haka and butter chicken here. The restaurant made an exception for Kumble by preparing South Indian cuisine.”
The Palki restaurant in Durban is also the favourite haunt of players. Opened by a former Karnataka Ranji cricketer, Mahalingam, in 1998, this eatery is currently a rage among Indians.
They sell a special kulfi here called Deepika, named after the girl who loved it so much that one day her father told Mahalingam to name it after his daughter.