A friend of mine who runs a lounge in Bangalore spoke of how the economic situation is hitting the fine dining places in many of the large cities. Popular hang out places are running 40%-50% – much much below normal. 

In Mumbai, the situation seems to be mixed. Today itself I came back from a dinner at Oh! Calcutta in Tardeo. I was with the wife and the wife’s parents. We had an elaborate meal. We made a reservation in the morning itself. We came in by 8.30 pm and took our seats. By 9 pm, the restaurant was full. Oh! Calcutta does have a reputation for leisurely service. With the restaurant full, the leisureliness became a tad too irritating.

Anyway, the point of the matter is that Tuesday evening, i.e. working day, we have a full restaurant where the average meal for four people is around Rs. 3K. So are people recovering from the economic crisis?

Cut to Toto’s Garage Pub in Bandra. A typical working day night would resemble a Borivili local train. Friday and Saturday nights would resemble a Virar local train. These days, it resembles the early morning harbour line trains. There’s enough place to stretch out horizontally and have your drink, zamindar style.

Of course, for Toto’s the additional hit happened because of Ramodoss’s smoking ban. The smoking ban has significantly changed the usage behaviour of the patrons of Toto’s. Now, half the customers are standing outside in the footpath puffing away. After one puff, customers go in, finish their drink and order one more. Even as the bar tender is preparing the next drink, they are back outside for another puff. And life goes on.

By the way, at Oh! Calcutta tonight, for those who are interested, we had the following

1. Mutton Ryzala
2. Shorshebata Ilish (with bones) – without bones is for the cowards and pretenders
3. Chittagong Chicken
4. Bhaja Platter – an assortment of fried vegetables including brinjals, bhendi, fulgobi and alu
5. Luchi
6. For starters, we had bhetki fish fry and prawn cutlet

For drinks I had Vodka with aam panna (which was interesting) and the wife tried Vodka with tender coconut water (which wasn’t exciting at all) .


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