Busy Bee ... New Sardar


The ingenuity and enterprise of New Sardar , the restaurant close to my office at Chinchpokli, continues to amaze me.
I was quite fed up with the cold dosas which my office canteen served. They claimed that it would get cold while getting it from the first floor to the second. So I ordered an idli from New Sardar which is actually down the road. They delivered this puny (Rs 18/ 20 cent US) order in five minutes. Piping hot. This morning I missed breakfast at home and felt like having the Maharashtrian dish of Misal Pao. This is a slightly messy thing to order in, specially if you don't have plates or bowls, as it consists of a pulse (matki in Marathi and Moth beans in English as Manasi tells us) and gravy, farsan (gram flour fritters) and bread. I called Sardar who had won an award for the best Misal Pao in Mumbai. They sent it in five minutes, piping hot, in a tiffin carrier with individual carriers for the components AND a spoon. And took it back when I was done.

Now that's what I call customer service.

Frankly, I shouldn't be surprised though. I happened to meet the owner, Vivek Prabhu, one day at the restaurant. Vivek is a C A by training who took up the responsibility of running his family business. Vivek spoke to me at length on his efforts to contemporarise his restaurant. He caters to a mix of up heeled executives to daily wage earners and needs to have a range which appeals to both. So you will have a nice, refreshing ice tea co-existing with an ethnic butter milk or chhas.

Vivek is a South Indian but Sardar is known for its Maharashtrian food. However it is located in a locality, Chinchpokli, which has an increasingly non Maharashtrian clientele. Vivek tries to keep up with this trend by innovating and introducing fancy sandwiches and garlic bread and fasting food. He is particularly proud of his garlic dosa which he claims to be the only garlic dosa in the world. I have tasted it and found it to be pleasantly buttery with a subtle garlic taste. Vivek pointed out that most other fusion dosas fuses the South Indian dosa with other cuisines - spring dosa (Chinese), Palak dosa (Punjabi). Garlic dosa is the only one which uses a predominantly South Indian ingredient - garlic.

Well as you see Vivek is proud of his restaurant which is named after a title, Sardar, which his grandfather got in his village years back. He loves to talk and you have to keep some time aside if you happen to chat him up. But I would strongly recommend that if you like men of food.
The fare at my office canteen seems quite unappetising today. So I have ordered a masala dosa from Sardar.
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