Sunday lunching for former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley would mean visiting his favourite restaurant Moti Mahal in Greater Kailash along with his friends and engaging in long chats while polishing off his favourite bara and chicken pakodas, remembers the restaurant chain’s owner Monish Gujral.
Jaitley's love affair with these two dishes began at the restaurant's Daryaganj outlet, recalled Gujral. “He was a foodie by nature. Food and friends were his two favourite companions. And being from Delhi he would tell us that from his childhood, he had been a big fan of Moti Mahal. Lately, he was more associated with the Greater Kailash outlet,” Gujral told this newspaper.
Jaitley’s fondness for the restaurant was also evident when he came as the chief guest to launch the first book by Gujral titled ‘Moti Mahal Tandoori Trail’ back in 2004.
“I requested him to release the book because he was an ardent fan of our food. That time he said he came not as a politician but as a Moti Mahal fan who had been eating our bara and chicken pakodas,” he noted.
Sharing a fond memory from the book launch, Gujral said this was when the fast food chain KFC had just made an entry in India but initially it didn’t succeed.
“Mr Jaitley during the book launch said the reason why KFC couldn’t make any headway is because of Moti Mahal’s chicken pakodas, so they flew back. This is perhaps one of the sweetest memories,” he added.
However, owing to his health condition and dietary restrictions, his visits to the restaurant became fewer.
“But none the less, his family members would visit us. Lately, his personal assistant would order or come to collect food owing to his health. But he always held that Moti Mahal made the best baras and chicken pakodas,” Gujral said.