Monday, August 17, 2020


Yesterday was Parsi Navroz (New Year). And a person who does not live in San Francisco (resident of Bombay, Maharashtra) had an unpleasant time with that. She had ordered the special Navroz feast from a catering service (Mutton palav, Masala dal, Chicken farchu, Lagan nu custard) and should have had a wonderful experience. Instead she and her entire family ended up with food poisoning. Understandably she complained. And got ripped to shreds by the PR wallah of the enterprise.

Even Bamji is suffering!

Yesterday, for lunch while at work, I had a tasteless sandwich made for Americans, very cleanly presented in its see-through plastic container, with crisp lettuce on the side that you can put in yourself, oh the convenience, turkey and cheese on healthful sponge bread. Good for what it was supposed to be, but of course fairly bland and unexciting.

[If from this you deduce that I hate typical American food, you might be right.]

Tasteless crap. But NOT food-poisonous.

So Villoo and Bamji have my complete sympathy. Especially because having been in the restaurant industry, I actually have many years of experience of Indian commercial food preparation, which the worse it is the more defensive it becomes. "We are doing all very best only!"

Admittedly, at Indian restaurants in America and Great Britain, many of the customers sadly don't know anything, but even then they do deserve the very best.

Villoo and her relative Bamji could have and should have had a better meal. From Pot Pourri Restaurant in Vashi, New Bombay.
Bombay is more or less Parsi central.

One of the Parsis on that comment string had this to say about that feast:

"The food sent was tasteless. If any person knows what a pulao is, then plain rice is definitely not it. Added to that, the mutton pieces were tasting a little wierd. The chicken farchas were tough on the tongue as well as the stomach.(More on that later on). The masala daal was not even grinded and had full daal pieces swimming in the thin gravy. It was a mix between yellow dal and masala dal.
All in all we did not want to spoil our afternoon and took all of the above with a pinch of salt and an abberation on the part of the caterer.
This post would not have been put on FB but for the fact that all of us landed up in bed with severe upset stomachs, and the audacity and rudeness of the caterer when we contacted her with our problem.
Madam Caterer......  if you're reading this post, as you have very kindly suggested that "if the food was bad but we ate out of choice". What do you expect us to do at a moment's notice? We still gave you the benefit of the doubt and took it our stride. Also, I assume you must be a superhuman to pass loose motions and vomiting immediately after ingestion of lunch. It's only by night that the effects of your "delicious meal" started to affect our innards. That was the reason a feedback was offered to you the next morning. I think we should have also been shameless and given you the feedback midnight.
Madam, in the hospitality business you have to learn to take criticism and brickbats as also praise for a delicious repast. Your coordinator, the chef was gratious enough to offer an apology instead of the rudeness that you have responded with."

Now that exactly is why you need to be careful about who you choose to interact with the public. Two of the staff members at our restaurant would have raked the customers over the coals for the sheer temerity of heaving, and any subsequent toilet emergencies. And at several other Indian restaurants there were similar people.

Note that others in the comment string shared similar sentiments about the food, the mutton palav especially.

And Parsis know food.

As a matter of common sense, if at the holidays a restaurant or caterer offers customers the convenience of ordering a full set-up, it is probably a good thing if they do their research beforehand and make it the best possible experience the customers will ever have.
It's a priceless opportunity to make a splendid impression.
Might be the only chance they get to do so.
And word will get around.

There used to be two cities in which, despite the huge number of Indian restaurants, I would be hesitant to order Mutton Palav, or even anything claiming to be Biriani. San Francisco and London. Now there are three.

So I'm looking for recommendations.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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