No chicken soup in Bush's bowl!
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No chicken soup in Bush's bowl!

However, dignitaries will be able to savour mutton biryani and fried prawns.

india Updated: Mar 01, 2006 21:08 IST

While the bird flu scare has knocked off any chicken dishes from the menu on offer for US President George W Bush at the official banquet on Thursday, he will be able to tuck into a delectable variety of fare including mutton biryani and korma.

The visiting dignitaries from the US will also be able to savour other dishes like fried prawns, fried fish, continental delicacies and broccoli soup.

The special four-course dinner being hosted by President APJ Abdul Kalam for Bush and his wife Laura will be held in Rashtrapati Bhavan's expansive Mughal Gardens instead of the customary Banquet Hall.

"We found the weather is pleasant in the evenings and decided to shift the venue. There will be over 15 tables laid out for the guests," said a presidential aide.

Bush will be served a 'special dish' of his liking that will be prepared by the chefs in Rashtrapati Bhavan in consultation with the US embassy.

A guest list of nearly 100 VIPs has been drawn up for the dinner. The head table will seat Bush, Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chhaterjee.

The garden spread over 13 acres is divided into three sections (rectangular, long and circular) and is a blend of the formal Mughal style and British style.

The flowering shrubs and Western style lawns and flowerbeds are a visual treat, especially now when they are in full blossom.

The only other time that dinner has been served in the lawns was during the recently concluded visit of French President Jacques Chirac last month.

"He (Chirac) loved the setting and so we decided it would be a good idea to replicate the experience," said an official.

During the two-hour banquet that begins at 8 pm, a band is expected to play American folk songs as well as popular Indian tunes.

First Published: Mar 01, 2006 17:33 IST