Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Last Days of Pepto-Bismol

There have been changes afoot at our favourite little Pakistani restaurant for a while now.

For quite some time over the summer it was closed completely. When it reopened, it appeared to have undergone a change of ownership (a bunch of real Pakistanis having replaced the Chinese family that used to run it). Some of my friends griped that it would lose its "distinctive charm", but actually I thought it rather improved. The menu remained identical, but the quality of the food seemed a little better (slightly less greasy than before). The newly built covered balcony at the front was a pleasant open air hangout, and an even better vantage point for gauging the lack of custom in any of the shops in the adjacent hideous mega-mall, The Village. There were two pretty Chinese girls added to the staff, who both spoke a fair bit of English. And they still had the big bottles of Tsingtao for only 10 or 15 kuai.

It had lost the charm of its "namelessness", perhaps. There was a newly painted and much more prominent sign above the entrance - but at first it still said only 'Pakistani Restaurant', I think. The menus, though, (and I think the sign as well, for a while, though it's changed again now) proclaimed it the Yaadgar Restaurant - though perhaps they just picked them up cheap from a failed business elsewhere.

Now it appears we are about to suffer a more convulsive change. They were briefly displaying a new sign with the name Pardesi, announcing both Indian and Pakistani food. That came down again, but they have a HUGE sign with that name on it stowed on the balcony now. I'm not sure if there's been another change of ownership or management; all the folks there appear to be the same; but there is major change in the style and ambition of the place about to occur. The Choirboy and I dined there last night and were told that a new menu is about to be introduced within the next few days.

Yes, we may have stumbled upon the last ever chance to savour the Pakistani experience as we have known and loved it for the past year-and-a-bit.

I do not welcome any change here: I like the old menu.

Even if the dishes are greasy and heavily spiced and apt to repeat on you for hours afterwards. (Boy, was I suffering last night! But maybe I have an ulcer. After this week, I wouldn't be surprised!)

I suppose we can but hope that the new menu will encompass the old in its entirety (only about 10 dishes, after all). We shall see. Change - I don't like it.

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