This is the place most frequented by the players beyond the boundary, at least as far as Indians in the IPL teams are concerned. This is where they can eat something which is closest to what they get at home. Situated on the ground floor of the Southern Sun Elangeni in Durban, this restaurant is called Jewel of India and is packed during dinner hours.
Pop up there at that time and you might see Ramesh Powar ordering chicken on one table, V.R.V. Singh asking for more rotis on another and Ashish Nehra checking whether there is raita on offer.
Outsourced by the hotel, this restaurant is 13 years old and the menu comprises mostly of north Indian food.
Manager Ronny Kisten, who runs the show these days, said the IPL has caused an increase in the demand for south Indian dishes resulting leading to the invention of 'Chicken Madras' which is prepared with a dash of coconut milk. Otherwise, 'Chicken Biriyani' is the most popular dish followed by 'Veg Biriyani', 'Chicken Makhni' and 'Lamb Roganjosh'. "Priety Zinta was here the other day and seemed to love our 'Chana Pindi', said Kisten.
This place makes an Indian feel at home with Rajasthani paintings on the walls and furniture that has an Indian touch. Kisten, who has roots in Tamil Nadu and speaks Tamil, said all the spices they use are imported from India to make sure .
Catering to the Indian cricket bandwagon is a difficult task in a country like South Africa which loves meat and fish. Irrespective of whether they are from the south or north, many Indian players are vegetarians and to ensure that they have a problem of plenty, the restaurant has rolled out a special vegetarian menu featuring 14 dishes.
The other noticeable rise in consumption is rotis. Kisten said his kitchen staff is busy preparing around 200 rotis/naans/parathas everyday which is a steep increase from an average of 35 they are used to making on normal days. The demand for curd-based items like lassi or raita has also gone up.
Apart from keeping groundsmen, curators, security personnel and others busy, the IPL has also increased the workload of the restaurant staff. They don't mind it one bit.