World T20: Cricket fever hits Delhi’s chic restro-bars

World T20: Cricket fever hits Delhi’s chic restro-bars

By SRIJA NASKAR | | 26 March, 2016
Bar counter of Jugaad.

Remember Rosita from Friends? Rosita is no one’s daughter, wife or lover. She is the leather recliner that Joey Tribbiani affectionately named so and on which both Chandler Bing and he have spent hours watching their favourite TV programme Baywatch.  Unable to let go of the comforts of their new toy, Chandler and Joey would binge watch, brushing aside the monotony of self care (namely, taking a bath, having regular meals, so forth). Glued to their armchair, they would spend weeks having home delivered food, in fact, resorting to leftovers when they’d run out of cash!  

“If cricket is a religion, Sachin is my god,” is that one liner every kid learns to parrot since the time he indulges in galli cricket in his colony. No one loves cricket to the extent Indian fans do. They worship the sport and can kill for the World Cup. To all those old school lovers of longer format of cricket, who never saw Twenty20 (T20) coming, in its tenth year have developed a “why not” attitude. To all those who would earlier question and rubbish the defensive ability techniques of the batsmen with the entry of T20 in India, now binge watch the game from noon till late night at homes and in restaurants and pubs predicting, betting, celebrating or moaning the Men in Blue’s feats. The Chandlers and Joeys of every household, this is the time when siesta goes for a complete toss for them and cooking and cleaning are chucked out of the housekeeping vocabulary.

This also is that time of the year when big corporateurs and restauranteurs rush in for more money minting opportunities. From sponsoring cricket to preparing gourmet food at unbelievable packages, the big business players leave no opportunity to dig deep into the pockets of the moneyed class of this country, the latter waiting to give amiss their obsession over BMIs during the tournament season.    

From sponsoring cricket to preparing gourmet food at unbelievable packages, the big business players leave no opportunity to dig deep into the pockets of the moneyed class of this country.

While Cricket Australia is indirectly contributing to an obesity epidemic by using Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) as its domestic tournament sponsor, PepsiCo is doing the same here on the domestic front. And with the ongoing quadrennial T20 World Cup, live screenings and cricket-theme based décor with affordable alcohol and lipsmacking food have become the mainstay of most restaurants in Delhi and the neighbouring areas.

Aryan Singh, owner of the Jugaad Bar and Café in Delhi’s Defence Colony says, “Jugaad will have one of the biggest screens in the capital where all the matches will be screened live and exclusively on all three floors of the restaurant. Cricket matches in India have extensive followers which include more of youngsters who love spending time with their friends along with great food and drinks at the same time to complement the matches. We at Jugaad therefore have great offers for our patrons who would love to be a part of it.” Jugaad is giving offers such as 1+1 on Indian-manufactured Foreign Liqour (IMFL) and 2+1 on imported liquor on the day of the match. For every wicket, they have listed a ‘jugadu shot’in their Bar menu where everyone in the restaurant gets a free shot. There are offers on beer buckets as well. And the inevitable deal is the one which is listed as “10% off on entire bill”, if Team India wins a match.

Cafe Diva’s Salsiccia pizza.For a cricket crazy nation, the offer on India’s victory is as crazy as it can get. Sandy’s Cocktails and Kitchen in Gurgaon are offering a glass of champagne with every win of the Men in Blue. “The Indo-Pak Super 10 Group 2 match was a full house for us. The restaurant was completely packed with of course, our regular patrons,” says Arjun Singh. “The hottest picks have been kebabs with every table ordering both veg and non-veg kebabs with a pitcher or a glass of beer (mostly Bira),” adds Singh.

And for those, who would want to rely on home deliveries throughout the tournament, restaurants like Café Diva, in Delhi’s posh Greater Kailash area have included a ‘Sports Menu’ or ‘Food for the Soul Menu’, created for all sports fans in the neighbourhood to be delivered via Waiters on Wheels or Wow (the pioneer of Food Ordering and Deliver Services in India). Harendra, the enterprising manager of Café Diva, tells Guardian20, “Summers are usually a slow and a lazy time. The Delhi heat coupled with the IPL make a perfect excuse to chill at home. We then came up with what we call ‘food for the soul’ which is basically a hearty meal when you are in a mood to treat yourself.  Burgers and pizza would be a classic example. Our menu while being hearty is the product of Chef Ritu Dalmia s innovation.  The burger is just not a regular burger. It's a quinoa and egamame burger for vegetarians and succulent lamb burger for the carnivorous.  The pizzas are the original wood fire oven pizzas, with a secret recipe for the dough-which remains to be a favourite for years now.”

Hopes are pinned on the Indian Team. The Men in Blue could either make a comeback or this season could be a reality check for them. But for their fans out here in Delhi, this is nothing short of a carnival in which they can chug down their favourite brand of beer while cheering and hooting for every four and six that a Kohli or a Dhoni plays.

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