Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lunch at IBL

IBL is a place where I have made wonderful friends. And I have utterly enjoyed the lunchtimes at IBL. For this I should thank Mallya sir, Suma, Deven and my hostel caterers.Before you scratch your head and start wondering which restaurant is IBL, let me clear all such doubts. IBL was the place where I had previously worked.

Working at IBL had its plus points and a lot of minuses. But the best thing about that place was our lunch times. Now we were this motley bunch of constantly hungry people (atleast me) who assembled at lunchtime to take a sneak peek at each other’s tiffins and demolish food as if there was no tomorrow. Everyday, by 12.45, I used to put on my most charming smile and ask Mallya sir what he had brought for lunch. Mallya sir’s wife is an exceptional cook. She really has magic in her fingers. And knowing the brats that Mallya sir had as company for lunch, she used to pack extra food so that her beloved hubby didn’t starve amidst plenty.

Her food is legendary. Various types of dosas, which I hadn’t heard of till then, appeared in his lunch box. Neer dosai, Dal dosai, various permutation and combination dal dosais were frequent inmates of his lunchbox. Now Neer dosai was this soft, white, melt in the mouth, thin dosais, which you could never stop with one. Likewise anything she cooked was wonderful. The problem with singing praises of Mrs. Mallya’s cooking is that you never know where to stop. Each dish of hers requires special mention and if I did that I will overshoot my one-pager limit.

Next comes Suma and she is famous for her dal rotis and her corn chaat. She used to cook other lovely dishes as well but I was totally bowled over by these 2 specialties of hers. She was equally famous for her salads. 15 minutes before lunch, she used to take out her salad and used to get us into the mood for food. Deven’s wife’s speciality was typical north Indian khana and soft rotis. The khana was spicy and tangy and extremely tasty.

Now comes the turn of yours truly. At this point of time, I was single and living in a hostel. A pair of Tulu brothers ran my hostel catering and they served some amazing food. They used to pack me salad, roti / rice and veg curries. Their fried rice, veg Manchurian and channa curry were amazing and everytime I had these items in my dabba, there were more takers for my lunch.

This doodle will be incomplete if I did not mention about the amazing Masala Khichdi, I used to order from the restaurant right below. This is the yummiest khichdi I have had. It used to be delivered piping hot accompanied by papad and raita. This used to be my staple lunch whenever I did not bring lunch from the hostel. And sometimes I consciously did not bring lunch so that I could eat the masala khichdi.

As of now, yours truly no longer works with IBL and so does 2 others mentioned here. But whenever we end up talking we talk about our lunchtimes at IBL, which were truly a gastronomical delight.