Monday, April 23, 2012

I like fast food

I have two confessions to make. The first is that I do like fast food served by the Multi National chains that are operating in India. I don’t eat very much of it nor do I have fast food often. It is supposed to be unhealthy, poison almost, fattening, bad for you, loved by children and the corporations serving the food are regarded as the absolute scum of the Earth. They are supposed to epitomise everything that is bad about fast food. The companies make bucketfuls of money, destroy the environment, destroy our children and instil, horror of horrors, western values in our impressionable Indian kids.

I say bollocks.

I have a different opinion. Lunch for me is a something that I hate wasting time on. The idea of going into a formal dining restaurant, ordering a meal, waiting for it to arrive, eating, the charade about desserts, bills, tipping drives me round the bend. There is so much to do during the day that spending 90 minutes just eating lunch seems such a waste. I would much rather spend that time and money having a relaxed dinner rather than lunch. I find it difficult to handle a `masala’ laden lunch. Lunch for me is normally a quick dosa at an Udipi restaurant, or a sandwich if it’s on offer. There are times when you have decidedly dodgy lunch options, either hygiene challenged restaurants or restaurants serving such heavy food that the 90 minutes spent eating would have to be supplemented with another 90 minutes napping. It’s on these occasions that I look for the much maligned fast food places.

MacDonald’s is by far my favourite. I do genuinely like a Maharaja Mac. It is always fresh and hot, it’s reasonably tasty, it’s filling and most importantly it will not make you sick. HRH the Queen of Kutch invariably has the Fillet O Fish. A Chicken Zinger at KFC is an equally tasty option. Don’t bother with French fries and soft drinks. You go up to the counter order your burger collect and eat it and you are out and on your way in 10 minutes flat. No billing, no desserts, no tips, nothing. Neat and clean.

On Sunday I had an appointment to meet someone at Goregaon. HRH the Queen wanted to buy a few things from Hyper City which is an excellent supermarket, so we set out for a day in the suburban malls interspersed with a meeting. Our Amritsar Guide and ever enthusiastic eating out companion lives nearby, and, after a phone call, joined us.

Soon, it was lunch time and we were at the Oberoi Mall. We walked around the food court and thought why not try something different rather and we had an extra mouth to feed with our Amritsar guide with us, so we decided to eat at Pizza Hut. The second confession is that I have never been to a Pizza Hut. I do however recall the advertisements on TV. All those luscious pizzas with cheese filled in the crust, cheese oozing out of the crust, visuals of molten cheese stretching so very enticingly, smiling indulgent parents and cute cherubic children taking huge hungry bites out of the pizza all flashed before my eyes. For a moment, I also had visual of Paresh Rawal chomping into a pizza, until I was rudely informed by HRH that Paresh Rawal endorses Dominos.

The menu proved to be challenging for us, we were rather horrified by the Chicken Chat Pizza – Chicken Tikka, Alu Bhujia, Tandoori Sauce and Cheese – the Alu Bhujia on the Pizza seemed particularly scary. The Sev Puri Pizza had us on our knees. This Pizza has Onions, Bell Peppers, Alu Bhujia, Green Chilli and Cheese. It all seemed too much and threatening. I wondered what we had got ourselves into. To get out of this conundrum we asked out `server’ - so very American – what he recommended. We told him we were non vegetarians who ate everything. He said that the Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza would be a good choice. Out of pure curiosity I asked the server to also recommend a Pasta which was most popular. He recommended Penne with a Mushroom Garlic Parsley sauce. We accepted his recommendations. Soon the Pasta turned up and I am happy to report that it was perfectly decent. It was exactly as described in the menu and thankfully with no chilly in it. The Deep Dish Pepperoni Pizza was excellent. Not overly tomatoey, nor was there liquid leaking and the base was fully cooked. It was hot fresh and tasty.

Pizza Hut have got their act in place. The food is solid, hygienic, and, as I have said earlier, perfectly reproduced from the description on the menu. What more could you want? Pizza Hut would not be a 10 billion dollar company if it did not have its act in place. Much more than what could be said of our local publicity conscious restaurateurs who seem to crash and burn with alarming frequency. I recommend that you do have a meal here one day. My only bit of advice would be stay away from the Indianised Pizzas.

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera so the photos are from our mobile phones. Please excuse the quality.

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