Off Road No 10, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad.
Meal for two:?Rs 1,200
Vinod Mehta was, among other things, a champion of small, unpretentious, bullshit-free eating joints. During his Mumbai avatar, for example, he was typically spotted at lunchtime, tucking into the bangda fry at Pradip Gomantak or pork chilli at New Martins or bagla bhaat at Ramdev’s. When he was in Hyderabad some time ago, he asked me to take him out some place nice for dinner. And I knew that it wasn’t the Taj he had in mind.
I took him to PP, one of my favourite joints, and as we walked in, the proprietor rushed up and said, “Aren’t you Mr Vinod Mehta? I really enjoy watching you on TV!” We sat in the tiny front garden, under the stars and the gently rustling palm trees, and ordered a spread of PP specialities: maragh (that thin, fragant Hyderabadi lamb soup), followed by chilman ke kabab, pasinda kabab and lagan ka gosht, with kulchas and sheermal roti (but, alas, no beer, which Vinod good-naturedly grumbled about). So which were his favourite Delhi restaurants, I asked him. What he really missed were his old Mumbai eating haunts, he rued; Delhi was a wasteland for eater-outers; you generally had only two choices, either some over-priced, soul-less 5-star hotel, or some dhaba, which was a cholesterol-filled prescription for a heart attack. As we were leaving, Vinod thanked the delighted proprietor and, turning to me, remarked that Point Pleasant deserved a review in Outlook. So here it is, with apologies for the delay.