Celebrating Delhi !: "NOT JUST PARANTHAS"! AN EARNEST TRIBUTE TO PARANTHE WALI GALI
Monday, May 5, 2008
The best way to realise your dream is: TO WAKE UP ! And that's what Varun Agarwal - the founder owner of the food chain "NOT JUST PARANTHAS' ! - learnt at a very young age. After obtaining a degree in Hotel Management from Manipal (India) he worked with various prestigious hotels of India for some years, learning the ropes. But the adventurous bug in him to do something different, kept coaxing him, that the run of the mill jobs were not meant for him. One day he quit all and set out on a tour of India to see what kind of cuisine he could come out with that would be traditional as well as 'innovative'. The tour of India did not generate much of ideas. Continental was continental everywhere; Mughlai had nothing more to offer beyond kebabs, tikkas and kormas; Punjabi was only butter chicken and dal makhni; Chinese and Thai were becoming more 'Indian' in taste, and the ones those were authentic, were drawing only connoisseurs , Italian was doing good but only the international chains; and Mexican was neither developing much taste nor revenue. Within a year, Varun was back to his home in Chandni Chowk, Delhi, with no clear concept. His father, Parshottam Sarup Agarwal, suggested him to take a cue from the Paranthe Wali Gali and develop that as a concept. Sister, Bhavana Agarwal, an architect by profession, worked out the interiors that resembled the heritage of Old Delhi and a food chain was born in August 2003. And now, Varun along with Supra - his partner in business and life too - together serve some sumptuous and mouth watering paranthas ! ..........errrrr...........well.......... "NOT, JUST PARANTHAS !! NOT, JUST PARANTHAS, because it is not, just the paranthas here, that is the main attraction. It is also the ambiance - the architecture, the music, the over all 'feel' of the restaurant - that influences you and makes you feel as if you have been energised in a time capsule that has landed in the Chandni Chowk of yore. The props like the doors, lanterns, clocks etc. have been meticulously collected from the old havelis of Purani Dilli, to enhance the decor of the restaurant. Old Hindi songs, play pleasantly in the background, to complement the period.Now the food ! The restaurant caters to both, vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians. After being guided and comfortably seated by the steward, a tabloid, "THE NJP TIMES" is placed in front of the guests. The tabloid, in fact, contains the menu ! And the variety is sumptuous, scrumptious and incredible !! Designed on the range of food available in Purani Dilli, there is a variety of Chuskis, Soups, Chaats, Kebabs, Curries and Dals available.
Now, the Paranthas ! Paranthas ? NOT JUST PARANTHAS ! Going through the menu, it seems like an unending journey through Paranthey Wali Gali ! You name a filling or a combination of stuffing and they have it. Almost a hundred to choose from. The fillings and stuffings are categorised as regular and premium, and the paranthas come in six inches and nine inches size. You can have them all in crispy tawa fried (fried on a griddle) or tandoori (roasted in clay oven) There is a choice of special Diet Parantha (made with special whole-wheat chakki flour, with crushed outer layer of wheat called bran which is supposed to be rich in fibre, roasted in clay oven and served with an option of olive oil).
Then there are Pocket Paranthas (an innovative pocket shaped parantha stuffed with whole kebabs), Speciality Paranthas, Chur Chur Parantha (a unique combination of four different flavours kneaded to perfection with butter and ajwain, stuffed and roasted in clay oven, crushed and soaked in butter), Italian Pizza Paranthas, Continental Sandwich Paranthas. One more specialty parantha is Sharabi Parantha. A little bit of burning alcohol is poured on the parantha at the time of serving and a blue flame keeps burning on the parantha for some time keeping it hot on the top.
NOT JUST PARANTHAS, in a way can be counted in the category of a theme restaurant. But unlike other theme restaurants, where food usually takes a back seat to the presentation of the theme, NJP makes sure that their paranthas remain in the forefront and the decor complements the food. After all, it's the food that drives a successful theme restaurant !