How do you feel when ten people stare at you having a full meal?
When you savor that last piece of chicken and people stare at you angrily… will you still bite that bone?
Welcome to Shivaji Military Hotel, a popular restaurant in Bengaluru.
My last Sunday’s lunch with my wife was a memorable one. I am not sure if I have to categorize that moment as a good or bad experience though it was an adventurous one.
Just a day before, I was part of a company organized family excursion in the Golden Amoon Resort, Hoskote. It was a full-fledged party with unlimited booze and games.
That day, I mistakenly thought myself as a volleyball champion and played it in the resort until the last bit of energy left in my body. I had practiced this game during my eighth grade and then never played for another two decades. Moreover, my diet for the day was a mixture of Kingfisher and Edelweiss Beer. Thanks to my good organization for the transportation, I was at home by evening safely.
The reason why I am quoting my resort experience in this post with different topic is because of my body ache that played havoc during my two hours wait for the table in the Shivaji Military Hotel. The previous day’s volleyball stint gave me more pain than pleasure and it continued the next day as well.
As a compensation for going to the excursion alone, I promised my wife “a lunch in one of the popular restaurants of Bengaluru”. The Google showed me this restaurant in top ten.
For a restaurant that leaves its customer on their own to hunt down for their table, how will it oversee parking for its customers?
However, with little common sense one can manage to find a parking in the surrounding area without disturbing the residents and attracting traffic cops.
All I had to do was to reach the destination first and search for a safe space for parking where the cops would not tow away my car. Fortunately I found a space within a walking distance.
The Shivaji Military Hotel
The Shivaji Military Hotel is not a hotel but a restaurant. The main difference between hotel and restaurant is that the hotel offers both accommodation and food while the restaurant offers only food and no accommodation. Google it if you want to read more definitions about it. It has become common in India to term every eatery as a hotel.
There was not much crowd in the main entrance. The dining is in the upper floor, we had to climb the stairs. It is an old building with not much cleanliness.
I usually do not like crowded eating place, especially when I have to pay for what I am eating. But sometimes I force myself to visit such places to understand why it is so popular.
About twenty customers were waiting for their turn near the billing counter. Before we could continue in line, somebody from the counter said the Q was for parcel. Those who want to eat can get into the hell hall.
It was 1.30 pm and as usual I started feeling hungry as the aroma from the kitchen entered my nostrils or did I see somebody eating?
Yes, I saw that all the tables were occupied with ten customers on an average waiting for each table. The table had only four chairs!
Couple of years ago when we went to Vidyarthi Bhavan, a popular vegetarian restaurant in Bengaluru, there was a huge crowd. The staffs managed the crowd in a very systematic way. They gave us the token and confirmed the average waiting time for our table. Moreover, they allowed the customers inside the restaurant according to the number of people in the group. For example, if there were two seats available, a couple would go inside instead of a group of people (more than two) irrespective of the token numbers.
I discussed the token system with one of the staffs in the military hotel. He was so busy that he laughed away. He suggested grabbing the chair before anybody could. I thanked for his advice. Moreover, why would the owners of the restaurant take his ideas?
Forget about the seats, the hall was crowded with very less space to stand. I did a recce with great difficulty and settled near a table where only five customers were waiting and four were already eating.
It was going to be a long wait. We couldn’t help but to stare at those eating only to analyze the average waiting period for our turn. The CPU in my brain malfunctioned couple of times because of low energy level and an empty stomach of course.
The four people already having food got up and the next four occupied the seats. They did not even wait for the used plantain leaf to be taken off from the table. It is not a good idea anyways in such a crowded place like this.
I assumed that our wait will be another thirty minutes. My assumption went wrong because I did not take the service time into consideration that was another 20 minutes. My body was severely aching due to my previous day’s volleyball stint. I could not wait nor leave the restaurant – catch 22.
Finally the food was placed on their table. The four boys were eating in a four different speed. It was about thirty minutes they started eating. While one person had almost cleaned the plantain leaf, another one was busy biting the bones. I was angry on one guy who was still counting the rice.
Meanwhile I acquainted a gentleman, a former professor now working in a software company. He was waiting with us for the same table. We ended up eating together while discussing about other popular food joints in Bengaluru.
Apparently he was waiting for his co-brother who just turned up when the table was ready. I could not control but told him how lucky he was as he arrived in time and his co-brother had waited for nearly 2 hours.
By 3.15 pm we settled down on our seats. The table was yet to be cleaned. The floor was dirty and that is not going to be cleaned as of now. I ensured not to step on the food.
A fresh set of plantain leave was placed on our table. The staff served onion raitha that sucked. I could not help but to eat it to calm my hunger. Our main course came after 15 minutes. Nobody took our orders. We just grabbed whatever came in to us.
The staff came with a mutton biryani, we grabbed it. In the next round came the mutton dry, we grabbed it too. The mutton biryani was awesome and the mutton dry was also good but scared us with lots of oil at the bottom.
It was 4 pm when we came out of the restaurant. We paid Rs. 200 for the mutton biryani and Rs. 170 for the mutton dry. Time is money and we paid our time as well.
My new friend joked that if somebody plans to go to Shivaji Military Hotel, he or she should go immediately after the breakfast so that the lunch can be had in time.
Are you planning?