Amid frenetic construction at Connaught Place’s (CP) Outer Circle, a 10 feet by 3 feet banner proclaims: “Haldiram’s. Opening shortly. Great food, great time.”
Haldiram’s, the country's largest sweets and snacks manufacturers, will inaugurate its restaurant here on June 25, said the company’s general manager Udit Awasthi. The spot lies at the corner of L Block, which links up the classic Georgian corridors radiating from Central Park and the Outer Circle of CP.
Once the outlet gets going, patrons can look forward to the delectable Misti Doi (sweetened yogurt) or the spicy choley bhaturey. Though the white paint of this one-floor structure is peeling amid the promise of a bright future, its past still beckons.
The structure was home to Nirula’s family-style restaurant, ice cream parlour and fast food outlet before its lease expired. It was here that the saga of this popular local restaurant-cum-fast food chain had begun 75 years ago in 1934.
Though shut since 2007, the Nirula’s outlet at L Block holds fond memories for many.
Anuj Garg (34), a senior investment banker with an European multinational bank, said: “Twelve years ago, I treated my family after I was selected for the Indian Institute of Management.”
His late father, a retired bureaucrat, had ordered the “usual — strawberry shake, burgers and hot chocolate fudge”.
Sangita Chauhan (45), a criminal lawyer, cannot stop getting “wistful” while driving around the place even now.
“It was at Nirula’s... where Vinod, my husband, had proposed to me 20 years ago over milkshakes followed by a chicken thali,” she said.
To others, the “L Block Nirula’s” was not only a useful landmark, it gave them a sense of being.
“I would always tell my customers that my shop was close to the old Nirula’s at L Block,” said Satish Gupta (50), a watch shop owner.
Managing director Samir Kuckreja of Navis Capital, that now owns the Nirula’s chain said: “The Nirula’s outlet at L Block had indeed become an institution and part of the city’s life. But we have two other outlets at CP and our patrons get the same experience and services there.”