Khana Unlimited (Connaught Place)Pros: Rs. 99 per person and Unlimited food*. Constant and Instantaneous service. Takes half-an-hour from start to finish.
Cons: Starters are not "great". *Sweet-dish is not Unlimited. Some small things... read on.
So this restaurant in Connaught Place which everyone's been raving about (that is, everyone who happens to be over forty years of age and who belongs to my parents' sphere of friends, relatives and general well-wishers). This is also the restaurant started by the fat comedian. That would be Satish Kaushik or Satish Shah, I don't remember which. They are both extremely fat and comedians, so it doesn't matter.
Those who wish to skip the review and just pop in there, it's located in the Outer Circle, opposite Kake Da Dhaba, or in terms of theoretically more recognizable landmarks, it can be found if you keep moving in the Outer Circle until you see the sign for Minto Road (which should come on your left). Once you reach that sign board it's just a little ahead. You can't miss it.
// End Location
We got our parking spot right in front of the restaurant, and our company of five instantly got seats while larger and Punjabier... erm... healthier-looking people were kept waiting outside (company of fifteen). If I had a stopwatch I would have told you exactly how much time it took between us taking our seats, them bringing the huge empty steel thaalis, water and "Welcome Drinks" (shikanji). There was a five-foot diagonal screen being shown by an LCD projector on the wall to our left, and on it, music videos (with loud-though-not-completely-uncomfortable volume of music) were being shown. Two gigantic banners across the walls proclaimed their motto in big, bold letters "Pay Limited, Eat Unlimited". Please don't mind the redundancy with "shown"
We were given menus, or we thought we were. Because what we were given was instead a list of the foods that we would be served. That was when I started loving it! This was the first restaurant that did not give you a book to read, and simply told you what was in waiting. No looking at price tags coupled with incomprehensible names. This joint's message clearly resounded in every aspect of its presentation and that was "Aao, Khao, Jao".
Within about fifteen seconds of getting the "menu du jour", the food started rolling in. First came the starters, which were basically a round mini samosa and a round mini vada, with three kinds of chutney, and some salad. If I recall correctly there were about six empty bowls in the thaali waiting to be filled. They didn't have to wait for long because the food started popping into them and within the span of a minute the plates were completely loaded with food. We were told that we just had to nudge a passing waiter if we wanted rice. Now the waiting system is also completely different in this "restaurant". No one actually waits for you. Unlike the localized waiters in all other restaurants, the servers in this place are "delocalized". Each carries a contraption which is basically three big serving bowls connected together like vertices of an equilateral triangle, which the server carries around, and they have a ladle (or kadchhi if you prefer) of exactly the same size as the katories (bowls) such that one ladle-full efficiently fills it up. Now, effectively you have three servers for each table. One guy has the kadhi, dal makhani and boondi ka raita; another has aloo shimlamirch (rassey waali), palak paneer and mix vegetables. These waiters keep wandering around. The first round of refilling is done automatically, while for the subsequent refills they ask you. We had rice as well. And Tandoori Rotis and Chapatis (Rotis) were served by a third person; also continuously. Once they think you look like you're two-thirds of the way through your meal, they automatically come and place a bowl of sweet dish next to your plate. In this case it was sayvaiyyan (heaven knows how to spell this in Latin-1!); it was beautifully delicious. And we asked for refills. Unfortunately they don't have refills for the sweet-dish (should have read the fine print!).
Once you're done, they somehow detect this themselves and silently start clearing the table. As with everything else, the bill (check/receipt) came within five seconds of the clearing of the table (which, once it starts, does not stop even if you kindly ask them to). Saunf is offered (actually we had to ask for it, but the manager smiled and said we didn't give them a chance to offer it on their own, though I thought it was the opposite and that they were almost shooing us out once we had eaten).
Meal eaten, bill paid. In less than thirty minutes, we were in and out. Efficient. Inexpensive (relatively).
UPDATE: I checked. It's Satish Kaushik, the better of the two comedians. He's based in Karol Bagh, New Delhi. He probably figured since Ganguly had opened an eatery in Kolkatta and Tendulkar in Mumbai, it was his duty to umm open Khana Unlimited.