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Slimmer menus, new dishes: Chowk bistros limp towards normality

Updated: Jun 30, 2020 22:13 IST
Deep Saxena
Deep Saxena

Slowly but surely, the Old City is regaining its glory as famous food joints open with the norms of the new normal – take away and home delivery only – with slashed menus and newer delicacies.

Few days after Tunday Kababi opened its Aminabad unit, the Old Tunday started operations at the Akbari Gate outlet. Raheem’s, Mubeen’s and Idrees Biryani fired up their furnaces last Friday. The Old Tunday, which usually serves only beef kababs and parathas, is currently serving only chicken kababs-paratha. “Hopefully, we will soon add our original delicacy to our menu. We are just waiting for the supply to begin,” says the sales boy at the over-100-year-old food joint.

Idrees, not linked to any food aggregators, is offering packing and allowing few to dine at its food joint. “We are operating only with the minimum staff just for our regular customers, who were missing our delicacies. Mutton is available but at high prices and dining with social distancing is not feasible, so we are just serving biryani, korma and rumali roti. Tandoori (grilled) and beef items are not available for the moment,” said owner Abu Bakar.

Chaat shops, kulfi, street and other vegetarian delights are also back at Chowk crossing. Raj Kumar of Raja Thandai said, “People are very scared. They are not venturing out to eat. I am procuring only one-fourth the pre-Covid days’ milk and that too is not sold in a day. We don’t offer home delivery and are just a dine-in and take-away shop, so whosoever comes to us, can avail our services. It’s a very tough time and when it’s business time in the evening, we start closing. So, we are missing the peak sales time as well.”

Mubeen’s Shoeb Ahmed Qureshi seconds him. “People tend to move out in the evening and after 7.30 - 8 pm, and we start closing, as 9 pm is the final deadline. We have cleared out the ground floor and are offering restaurant service only on the first floor with social distancing. Customers are avoiding dining and prefer packing service only. It’s getting tough for us with disposable packing, sanitising cost and other safety precautions to contain the prices.” They have added chicken pasanda and other similar items to make-up for the beef items which are the highest selling dishes at their restaurant.

Gomti Nagar resident Mayank Kant had come all the way to Akbari Gate to savour Tunday’s kababs and Mubeen’s beef pasanda. Instead, he had to settle for chicken kababs and chicken pasanda.

“Very few people are moving out. We are working with limited staff and outstation staff is yet to return. Also, our menu is very limited and customers are so less. Hope things improve and we return to the old days soon,” wishes Raheem’s Saud Ahmed.

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