Obama will have to dine Indian style at BukharaBy Suhas Munshi, IANS
Sunday, October 31, 2010
NEW DELHI - What is that Indian gastronomic delight that will tickle the taste buds of the world’s most powerful man? The chefs of Bukhara restaurant here are tightlipped as they cook up a dish to be named after US President Barack Obama - but it sure promises to be ‘finger-licking’ good.
Obama, who will stay at the luxury hotel ITC Maurya from Nov 7-9, will have to eat Indian style at its flagship eatery Bukhara - with his fingers!
One of the USPs of the restaurant is its custom of urging guests to use their hands, instead of forks and knives, to eat the food.
“The essence and flavour of the food that our chefs prepare, especially the meat, are lost when forks and knives cut through them. The special aroma and herbs of the dishes are lost when blades are used,” a Bukhara staffer who did not want to be named told IANS.
The Clinton Platter, named after Bill Clinton after his visit in 2006 and which costs around Rs.5,000, is an aromatic spread of mixed meats, lentils and oven-baked bread.
Details about Obama’s culinary preferences have kept the chefs and managers at Bukhara busy as they try to churn out the dish that will touch base with his taste buds.
“We have to respect Obama’s wishes of naming a platter after him, as had been done for Clinton. Our efforts are mostly directed towards Obama’s platter more than any other detail,” the staffer said.
The Obama platter is expected to have lamb, prawn and murgh kuchnar along with baked bread.
The ambience at the signature restaurant - voted one of the world’s best Indian restaurants for northwest frontier cuisine that has been patronised by world leaders who visited New Delhi - will remain the same.
“No particular changes in the ambience, including the music, seating arrangements, furniture etc, are expected, though one should expect last-minute requests for changes from their side,” the source added.
Details about the preparations for Obama’s visit have been kept strictly under wraps and the Bukhara staff has been told strictly not to divulge any details.
“Although the management has not made clear the seating arrangement for Obama’s visit, they may seat him there,” said the source, pointing towards a slightly segregated group of seats arranged in a chamber near the entrance.
Elaborating on Bukhara’s insistence on guests using their fingers, the source related an anecdote about Bill Clinton’s experience at the restaurant. Clinton had dipped his fingers into a dish of Bukhara lentils and tasted it with his fingers, and appreciated the slight change of table manners.
Bukhara also has a ‘Chelsea Platter’, named after Clinton’s daughter.
“A lot of demand for the Clinton platter was generated shortly after his visit to our restaurant, with slight variations,” said the source.
Obama is expected to arrive in the capital from Mumbai Nov 7 and check into the Maurya. He will spend two nights at the luxurious ‘Presidential Suite’. All 440 rooms at the hotel have been booked for Obama and his entourage.
(Suhas Munshi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
–Indo Asian News Service