Members of the Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR), which represents 7,000 of Mumbai’s estimated 22,000 restaurants, have succumbed to a bizarre demand from the Republican Party of India (RPI) to include Maharashtrian dishes on their menus, irrespective of the cuisine they normally serve.
Following a meeting with Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athawale at his Bandra home on Wednesday, Adarsh Shetty, president of AHAR, said, “The majority of hoteliers are already serving Maharashtrian food, and the demand for it is good. Those who do not will start shortly.”
AHAR will write to all its 7,000 members, asking them to include Maharashtrian dishes on their menu as soon as possible.
However, the majority of Mumbai’s restaurants and hotels remain opposed to the move, terming it both impractical and regressive.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice- president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and joint managing director of the Pritam Group of Hotels, said, “We respect Maharashtrian food, but j ust forcing us to include it is wrong. How can you have Maharashtrian cuisine at an Italian or a Lebanese restaurant, for example?”
HRAWI, which represents hotels across western India, has 400 members in Mumbai, most of which are high-end restaurants and fivestar hotels.
Romi Chaddha, director of the Cosmic Group, said, “The ambience of a restaurant is designed keeping in mind the food it serves, and any kind of forceful inclusion will not blend well. We run speciality restaurants, at which patrons know very well what to expect. If they want Maharashtrian f ood, t hey should go to restaurants that specialise in it.”