Gurgaon: Restaurant and pub owners rue losses because of nitrogen ban

State government banned the use of liquid nitrogen in food and drinks after a Delhi man fell ill after consuming one such drink at a Gurgaon pub

gurgaon Updated: Jul 30, 2017 22:51 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Liquid nitrogen based food and drinks,Liquid Nitrogen banned,DLF CyberHub
There are 19 restaurants and pubs across the city including DLF CyberHub, Sector 29 and Golf Course Road that used to serve drinks and food laced with liquid nitrogen.(Parveen Kumar/HT FILE)

The five-year-old practice of lacing food items and drinks with liquid nitrogen in the city has been done away with since Friday. Places, which are popular with the city’s youth and children and often enticed customers with food and drinks laced with liquid nitrogen, has now stopped the practice since a 30-year-old Delhi resident underwent a surgery for removing a hole in his stomach caused by a drink laced with liquid nitrogen.

Such drinks and food items, which were once the talk of the town, vanished from the menu and the restaurants, too, got their staff to undergo special training and avoid spiking food with liquid nitrogen. Places that are known for dishing out drinks and food items in such a unique manner are mostly vacant these days.

Restaurant and pub owners are not happy with the decision to ban use of liquid nitrogen in drinks and food items and said they have all been made to pay a heavy price for one isolated case of negligence.

The state government banned the use of liquid nitrogen after the Delhi man allegedly took a drink laced with liquid nitrogen at a Gurgaon pub. He later complained of severe abdominal cramps and was rushed to a private hospital. Doctors detected a hole in his stomach and he underwent a complex surgery.

“The Delhi resident suffered complications due to consumption of dry ice and not liquid nitrogen. The steward who served him was not aware and his negligent approach led to the incident. No police case was registered and the restaurant has not yet been identified,” Ashok Yadav, owner of Chinese Panda, Sector 29, said.

“We were planning to open a new restaurant where the menu was to mostly feature food and drinks laced with liquid nitrogen. However, the ban on the use of liquid nitrogen has hit us hard. The ban is only in force in Haryana, as liquid nitrogen is used in all other states,” Yadav said.

Read I Delhi man drinks liquid nitrogen at a bar, ends up with a hole in stomach

The craze amongst the people declined after the news about the Delhi man spread on social media. Customers stopped trying out nitrogen-based drinks and food items and started quizzing the staff about potential health hazards before having them.

“Earlier, the youngcrowd that visited us would often click selfies posing with such dishes. They were happy to try out these dishes and even posted about them on social media. However, since the incident (about the Delhi man) became news, people stopped visiting us,” Mritunjai Tiwary, principal consultant, Blue Fish Concept hospitality, said.

The cost of serving such food and drinks was much higher, as the restaurants had to make their staff undergo a seven-week training programme and also hire experienced chefs. They also had to invest in doing up magical effect interiors.

“These days, people want X factor in every dish and drink. They want to try out something new. Perhaps, the customers were bored with the liquid nitrogen-based food and were looking to explore something new. This is probably why they stopped visiting us,” a pub owner said.

There are 19 restaurants and pubs across the city including DLF CyberHub, Sector 29 and Golf Course Road that used to serve such drinks and food. Two of them were especially popular for offering a menu featuring items based on liquid nitrogen.

Restaurant owners claimed that with the ban now in force, they have to change the entire menu and look for new concepts and dishes. They said the staff, which had the expertise in dishing out such items, will now be replaced.

“Government officials need to get to the root of the problem. Banning items laced with liquid nitrogen is no solution. We have received the notice from officials and have stopped serving such items. This is not fair,” a restaurant owner at DLF CyberHub said.

“We are often not mindful of the health risks before ordering such items. However, it’s best not to opt for items that could put our lives at risk,” Gaurav Pandey, an MNC executive and DLF 5 resident, said.

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 22:50 IST