I have been to Hauz Khas Village (HKV) on a number of times but never in the wee hours of night. As far as my limited knowledge about Delhi’s nightlife goes HKV is the closest thing you have in Delhi. With street food, clubs, restaurants, bars, lounge, live music and young crowd, even CP (the ultimate Mecca for all things in Delhi) can’t beat it. So a visit was long overdue to see what the fuss is all about; and on Saturday night I, Akki Boy & Rauuul landed there after having lip-smacking rolls at Rajender Da Dhaba in Safadarjung (for all those who are clueless about Rajinder da Dhaba, please google it, as this one is about HKV).
Since we are not regulars so we settled for the place with maximum crowd standing outside, the Bulldogs (don’t go by name, but they were serving hot dogs; somehow the owner thought the two are related).
There is a golden rule in India to be followed whenever you are heading to any service oriented place, more famous it is, more crowd it will have, poorer the service will be. We Indians don’t give a shit about service, ironically even in the service industry. Whether it’s a showroom or a restaurant, any place with a brand and customer will suck at service. So against our better judgment, we started walking towards the entrance of Bulldogs and voilà, they proved us right at the entrance. The host abruptly stopped us and said ‘Rs. 1000/- cover charges lagega’ (thinking and talking in a manner as if we will run away after listening about charges) and sent a girl with us to get our card swiped. A small elevator that could hardly accommodate 4 of us stopped at the second floor where she swiped our card and told us to go and sit on the third floor as second is only for couples. Now this came as a relief and shock, because against the general perception, this place was actually letting stags enter when the preference was for girls and couples.
So here we are, 3 of us sitting in dimly lit corner with loud music and no one to serve us. As I said, service industry in India is seldom service oriented, and this place had worst possible service you could think of. On a small floor space with 8 tables there were 2 servers and they were busy doing I don’t know what.
Now this place has an innovative concept of ‘Bar exchange’ on the lines of stock exchange and when the market crashes the drinks become cheaper. But that’s about it. Till the market was down, Rauuul tried his level best to place order for drinks, but all his efforts were in vain. 20 minutes sitting there, and after numerous calls and nudging the manager the server came and after listening to the order he said, please tell the other guy I am new here (we will call this server as the first guy and the other one second guy). You gotta be kidding me, you are new so you can’t take the order. And this was not even the pinnacle of bad service to which I will get back.
We started with potato skins and cheesy garlic bread. Although with extra thick skins, the potato was decent enough to tingle the taste buds, but garlic bread was too bland and too dry to eat. Everytime I took a bite of it, felt I was chewing a piece of dry rubber. Next came ginger chicken drumsticks which were made in excessive coconut oil and tasted more like artificially flavored Thai red curry with not even hint of ginger or other spices. The pace of all this food was real slow and it was surprising that drinks were even slower. It took 20 minutes and 2 reminders to the server before he brought drinks, and the funny part was the order placed with first server (who was new) didn’t count; as when reminded the second guy asked angrily ‘kisko order diya, mujhe do mujhe aur kisiko nahi’. There was no dedicated server on our table and both the guys were coming to take order (and their frequency was so poor that you can not turn down anyone who was coming to you). So this first guy took order of spring rolls from us and when asked about it with the second guy he said spring rolls are not available, so we asked him to bring nachos. But to our surprise the first guy this time came up with spring rolls (which the second guy refused) along with nachos. Spring rolls were good, nicely stuffed, accurately fried with optimum thickness of outer shelf and properly spiced. But nachos were bland again. I figured the chef, was not garnishing any food item that had cheese on it, and so bland taste. Now came the real surprise when the new guy brought ‘paneer tikka’ and placed on our table, which we never ordered. He said you ordered to the second guy, when asked to the second guy he said you ordered to first guy and this time the first guy says yes you ordered. After returning it via the manager, the first guy comes up and argues that you ordered, ‘gareeb ki bad dua lagegi, humare oopar ayega yeh’ being the closing argument. WTF dude!!! This was the pinnacle of bad service. Like everything else check was also slow and he didn’t charge us for paneer tikka telling us ‘nahi lagaya bill mein’, ending a three-hour ordeal.
If I have to rate it, on an overall scale of 1 to 5 it would be only 2+. For food I will give 2.5, ambience 3 and service 1. Had it not been for the manager, I would have given it a big zero for the service. So take my advice & avoid it at all costs.