Go VEGA – For the Maharaja Thali – by Aman Fatehpuria

As an absolute foodie by nature, and a pure vegetarian to top that, being impressed by good desi food is a real challenge. Being on a student budget, five stars were out of question. Highly recommended by a friend, I went to VEGA restaurant in Connaught place, ALKA HOTEL. I entered a small hotel, and was led to a lovely restaurant, the walls of which were adorned with quaint antiques , which upon inquiring I was told , some of it belonged to the colonial era , bought from the owners haveli (ancestral house) in Rajasthan. 
Went with some friends, who ordered a aloo masala and tandoori paneer for starters… ok the aloo masala is dynamite and scrumptious. Spicy and chatpata…..oh how could I miss it all this while? The paneer was super soft and perfectly cooked in the tandoor.
Well I started by ordering the royal maharaja thali because it said unlimited refills… that sounded just right!!! It was served in courses, started by the jal jeera which was so tangy n cold, I actually wanted to gol gappas to go with it. This followed by the tomato rasam, which was also very good. 
Then came the big fat thali….. which was a feast man!!! There were 3 vegetables, dal, dahi papri, fruit chaat and a lovely paneer cutlet accompanied gulam jamun too. I didn’t know where to start, so I attacked the paneer cutlet was just pure paneer, soft and vanished in the mouth. The thali had an assortment of roti (breads) the kind I have never eaten before- methi roti, adrak roti (must try) hari mirch roti (must try) , stuffed roti !!! The kadai paneer, palak kofta, and the dal were fantastic. There was a green vegetable also but I am not the green types, if you know what I mean. Then they started getting pooris, I thought I must try one at least, and I was not disappointed with their “bedmi poori”. Then came the peas pulao, which I just could not eat because I had to keep place for the melt in the mouth gulam jamun, which I am told the chef prepares fresh every day. It was divine n just right. Right when I thought I can’t put another morsel in my mouth, and was beaming over my food…. they got me a Kulfi in a beautiful traditional earthen pot with a wooden spoon to go with it. I told the manager I just can’t eat this now, and he assured me that the kulfi just finds its way into the stomach and I need not worry about it. What I should worry about is, where will I sleep after this wholesome meal, he joked, adding that they even have rooms in the hotel in case!!! 
All in all a wholesome, vegetarian experience, which was a definite value for money, and resulted in a deeply satisfied belly.
P.S-all the jains, gujratis and baniya community out there, this restaurant is a must visit because the whole menu is without onion and garlic, rest of you guys , trust me would not even realize that !!!!
Written by Aman Fatehpuria

Are we harassing Restaurants in name of Social Media? – A Restaurateur’s side of Story

Here is a mail that I received for a restaurant owner, who is also a friend and I thought I will put it up on the blog. As we always have a customers end of story, its important to hear a restaurateur’s side as well. 
Hey Shashank.. There’s a deep matter of concern that’s bothering me as a restaurateur, i wanted to take your and your fellow’s advice on it. All the foodies are always up to share their good/bad/worst experiences through such a strong community of yours, which is commendable, but theirs a flip side to it as well. A restaurant like mine bears the cost of losing business if they are being pulled down to extreme levels for slightest of mistakes. Though we are always up to accept the genuine, learn from them and re-correct it. But now we have started facing harassment due to it. Please spare some time to read the below story:
We have recently started home delivery after thorough research of the target market, few trial runs and with well executed SOP’s. 
Today we got a home delivery order from a posh residential colony( 2 km from our place) around 5.45 pm worth 3100/- (Order details: 4 chicken club sandwiches, 3 veg club sandwiches, 4 chicken pizzas, 2 veggie pizzas and few mock-tails and shakes) We got it delivered by 6.30 pm. 
We got a call from the same customer around closing time of 11 pm, and she complained that your sandwiches r  tasteless, pizza’s were under baked, we “didn’t consumed” the food apart from the drinks. You take it back and pay our money. we apologized for the bad experience and we inquired why dint she called us near the delivery time, to which she claimed that she was busy with guests, and she continued yelling at us to demand her money and harassed us that if we would not do so she will write about it everywhere online, be it zomato, eatlo or any other food blog per se. She even blackmailed that her folks are food columnists, bloggers, so she wouldn’t spare us anywhere. We would lose our name, our brand image. 
The operating owner calmly reacted to it and said politely that we will return the money, you return us the food. He said so bcz he genuinely thought that the kitchen team did the fault, he accepted it gracefully just keeping in mind that customer is d king! He wanted to see the food quality and understand what went wrong.
The bad end of the story is the delivery boy went there, returned 2300/-  to which the customer returned practically only 2.5 out of 13 unsatisfactory items. the customer consumed 5.5 of total 6 pizzas, 2 sandwiches out of 7. The delivery boy asked for more items to which she bluntly refused. He reached back, and we called her back but now she is not picking up the calls. 
The unanswered questions are:
1. why did she complained so late? 5 hours nearly after delivery time?
2. why did she consumed the faulty food items, if she dint liked it, if the pizza’s were under baked, if the sandwiches were tasteless?
3. Wen she was trying to claim her money, why was she taking shelter of all the esteemed food blog like yours?to build undue pressure?
he picking the calls now?
4. why on phone did she said that they dint consumed  d food, when practically she finished 80% of the total food order.
5. why isn’t she picking the calls now? 
As a restaurateur, I am feeling cheated, harassed, blackmailed  by the name of social media. I would have accepted the food consuming if she would have said that unfortunately we have all consumed the food, and it dint suited our health, or any other genuine reason. 
I want to know your opinion on it, what should have been done ideally with such customers? is it time to not just bother about the social media scenario so that we can work peacefully,strive to be better without much stress? or do we keep taking every damn person ( be it competitors, insecure counterparts who try to pull us down by taking the shelter of social media) We as owners know every genuine and every made-up mistake. 
Sorry Shashank, it would have taken a lot of your time to read it, but along with me i guess a lot of my respected counterparts are under scrutiny always to either perform or suffer for even a tiny winy mistake. 
Let me know what do you feel about it. If you think that the Eatlo community would understand my concern, I am open to put it up on the page as well, but as an anonymous owner to get an unbiased feedback.
Personally I did not have any answer for her, do you have an answer? Do share your opinion in the comments below.