NEW DELHI: Arun Jaitley was a foodie for whom Sunday lunch often meant a visit to the famous Moti Mahal restaurant in New Delhi’s Greater Kailash along with his friends to engage in long chats as he gulped his favourite burra and chicken pakoda. Restaurant chain owner Monish Gujral recollected that Jaitley, a quintessential Delhiite, would also visit the Daryanganj outlet where his love affair with these two dishes began.
“Food and friends were his two favourites. He would tell us that from his childhood, he was a big fan of Moti Mahal. Lately he was more into our GK 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’ in 2004.
Sharing a token of fond memory, Gujral said when KFC had just made entry in India but failed, Jaitley said the reason is because of Moti Mahal’s chicken pakodas.
In later year, deteriorating health and restricted diet made his epicurean visits less. “Lately, his personal assistant would order or come for food delivery.”
Gujral mentioned.Ashish Sood, his party colleague and former general secretary of Delhi BJP, said Jaitley’s get-together was incomplete without chicken, chhole-naan or bhature and parathas.
“Sometimes, he got parathas from Murthal or on occasions, we got to eat chhole-naan/ bhature from Kwality restaurant, Connaught Place,” recollected Sood.
Amritsar was no less than ‘Food Capital of India’ for the former finance minister, who had admitted it was food that brought him to the holy city time and again.
His love for the city food’s reflects in his Facebook post — The Campaign Diary — 30th April, 2014 — where he recollected his link with Amritsar. “I have always regarded Amritsar as the Food Capital of India,’’ he posted.
Amritsari kulcha with chanas, of course, topped his list of favourite dishes.
Be it parantha, lassi, Amritsari fish, mutton champs, Makhan fish, Jaitley mentioned them all fondly. Such was his knowledge about food that he could rattle the names of eateries, restaurants and hotels.
“When Jaitely was young, he used to come to our grandfather’s shop…. In 2014, he came twice and relished kulchas and lassi as he recalled the love and affection he got from this city,’’ recollected Pawandeep Singh owner, of Kulcha Land.