Do you remember the melas (local fairs) organised in the city? During October, as the city decked up for festivities, these carnivals would be host to attractions like the Ferris wheel, street snacks, and game stalls.
We experienced a similar sense of nostalgia on our visit to The GT Road, Connaught Place, on Sunday afternoon, October 24, 2021. The interiors of this restaurant, which was hosting the food festival ‘Chal Mele Nu Chaliye’ since October 16, was decked up to resemble a village fair. “It has been so long since I have been to a mela,” reminisced Tanishka Goel (23), one of The Morning Standard readers from South Delhi, who accompanied us to the festival along with Pitampura-resident Saba Nehal (23). “I like the hanging lights and flowers used,” said Saba.
Cuisines of the past
According to The GT Road’s director, Rajan Sethi, “The theme of the restaurant is reviving cuisines of older times. This festival is a virtual extension of the same theme.” The tantalising aroma of the food brought mixed with the smell of the fragrant betel leaves served as a reminder of the past. The food festival, which will run from noon till midnight all through October, serves dishes encompassing the Grand Trunk Road. Comprising a three-course meal, each dish pays homage to a different cuisine. Also, food typically found in fairs—Dahi Papdi Chaat, Ram Ladoo Pakoras, and Banta (carbonated lemonade)—was available.
A trip down memory lane
We tried a bit of everything from the buffet. “The Aam Panna Banta was nice. It brought back memories from my childhood,” mentioned Saba. For a restaurant that specialises in authentic Indian cuisine, both Saba and Tanishka enjoyed the starters, mentioning how the Salsa Potato, the Ajwaini Jheenga, the Corn Pepper Chaat and the Moongphali Aloo Masala Tikka deserved special praise. However, they weren’t happy with the Momos, Pizza, and Pasta: “It didn’t go well with the theme.”
For the main course, Tanishka’s favourite was the Dal Makhani. While we liked the Murg Makhanwala, Saba mentioned it was slightly on the sweeter side. In comparison, she liked the Shorshe Maach while we thought it couldn’t deliver the authentic taste of Kolkata. Although we were content, we ended our meal on a sweet note and tried the variety of desserts on offer. Saba was pleasantly surprised by the Walnut Tart. However, we were slightly disappointed by the Rabdi-Jalebi combination. While the Rabdi was delicious, the Jalebi was sweeter than necessary with a slight aftertaste.
Overall, the experience was interesting. We were impressed by the food quality along with the restaurant’s attempt to bring back childhood memories in this urban landscape.