RAJKOT:What’s common between Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Ravindra Jadeja? Other than excelling as international cricketers, all got into the business of running restaurants, directly or indirectly.
Who of the above tasted success in these off the field ventures? The answer is Zaheer and Jadeja. If the first takes you to Pune, search for the second will bring you to the city Mahatma Gandhi grew up in. Launched on 12.12.12 in keeping with its owner’s belief in the number of the month of his birth, Jaddu’s Food Field is going strong.
Located in an upscale corner of Gujarat’s fourth largest city, the multi-cuisine dining room caters exclusively to the vegetarian palate. With Jadeja being an infrequent visitor because of his schedule, sister Naina runs this show. Photos and equipment used by the cricketer remind diners of his association and among items on display is the ball that got him career-best figures of six for 138 in Durban in 2013.
“Other than Saturdays and Sundays, Wednesdays are also good for us because local factories are closed on that day. The restaurant has a capacity of 120. On busy days, footfall is about thrice that figure. You can say business has been steady in the last three and-a-half years as this has become one of the popular destinations,” said Rajinder Singh, who was in charge on Friday evening, in the absence of Naina.
While Jaddu’s Food Field is based on the theme of cricket, there has been no attempt to cash in on Jadeja’s presence in the local IPL team. Games featuring Gujarat Lions are beamed live on two TVs, but there are no happy hours or other offers on match days. “People in Rajkot prefer watching cricket at home if they are not going to the ground. On days matches are held, we actually see a fall in numbers.”
Jadeja drops in when he gets time, but is yet to make an appearance since February, when he got engaged at the place used also for banquets, parties and conferences. “Sometimes, he comes here and gets food packed. But mostly, his visits are without notice. If people get a hint, there can be commotion because of overcrowding. We’ve had to make security arrangements a few times when he was here. The road outside got nearly blocked,” said Singh.
So if you are in Rajkot and willing to savour the local cuisine with a bit of cricket as part of the ambience, you know the destination. Other than the combo lunch priced at Rs 190 and Rs 220, Jadeja favourites that can be tried out are Kathiyawadi Khichdi and Jaddu’s Food Field special dessert, a three-in-one ice cream.