Saturday, August 27, 2011

Have you ever been Really Confused about a Restaurant?

Name: The Place
Location: Before Main Street, MG road, Next to West End

Have you ever been really confused about a restaurant? Friends say it’s the best place for sizzlers in Pune, family exclaims ‘The Place’ is a big no, no. My brother says ‘The Place’ was his most memorable sizzler date. I trust his taste. Why did it take me this long to gather courage to try it out? The answer to that question dates back to 1993. The first time I visited ‘The Place’ was with my parents, when I was five. I have no recollection of that meal but since 1993 I have never been to ‘The Place’ again, until today. Why? I was told by them that the food here was, to quote them, ‘it was horribbble’. It has been almost two decades since. So, after mixed reviews, a lot of discouragement, many good reviews, I finally decided to find out for myself. Can you imagine the anticipation associated with this sizzler?

After an eighteen year long wait, I tried the sizzler at ‘The Place’. This is a small, in-room dining place with simple furniture and a practical setting, located in the heart of the city. Although the restaurant was full, it wasn’t noisy or chaotic, although, we did hear the occasional chittering-chattering of the sizzlers. Don’t you love that about sizzlers? They are so animated, such a happy, lively dish! When I look at menus, I get really excited, there is just so much food on that card, and it makes me want to eat everything. That’s why, I usually choose from the specials of the house or recommendations.

I was meeting two of my school friends, Roshan and Arjun, who frequent this restaurant and always order the same sizzler, ‘Piri Piri Chicken Shaslik’, they announced it like a song. It sounded very exciting. The best part, it was not long before my vibrant, Piri Piri Chicken Shaslik sizzler was brought to my table. The worst part about sizzlers, it is so hot, I either end up scorching my tongue a little or go crazy waiting for it to cool down a little. It smelled, well, alright. It was a safe first bite, since I had the fries without the sauce. Finally, I tried some chicken and the rice. My first reaction was, ‘Roshan was smart to have opted out of the rice’ because the rice was bland. But when the spicy chicken hit my tongue, I said, ‘thank God I have the bland rice to get me through this’, because the chicken was really, very hot and spicy.

I am an Indian and a true spice queen at that, believe me, I can eat very spicy food. Yet, the Piri Piri chicken in this place was something else. Piri piri is a type of chilli, it comes from South America and it is meant to be very spicy. I have eaten Piri Piri before but there were no fireworks in my mouth, I could not take it, this was exceptional and not in a good way. Arjun and Roshan were surprised too, they said, ‘It’s never so spicy!’ I could not even eat the last piece of chicken because the chilli had gotten into my head by then. The veggies were bland with no sauce but crispy, so they helped my palate in a way. The French fries, they were as good as any other French fries. The sizzler was filling and reasonably priced. In the end, I will not go with any of the reviews I had heard about ‘The Place’. It is not the best sizzler place in Pune city and neither is it the worst thing to do to your palate, well, at least not the worst if you don’t order the ‘Kill me with Chilli’ Sizzler.

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