Nightmare in Machan – The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi

Until now I have always written nice things about the places I’ve been to, because, well, somehow they turn out good. So here goes my first negative review about one of the posh restaurants in Delhi. Hope they don’t sue me after this but I merely wish to say that a place cannot keep resting on its past laurels. 
So this nightmarish experience happened in the least likely places of all – Machan at The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
A few of my friends had come and they wanted to eat North Indian cuisine. So based on the recommendations of one of my loyal foodie friends, we decided to go to Varq in The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. But when we reached at 2.40, Varq was closed. Apparently they only serve food from 12.30 till 2.30 (what the hell is that!!!). I was too tired and didn’t want to go and search anywhere else, so we settled for Machan, located in the same premises. 
So there were three of us and we ordered 4 dishes and 3 drinks, nothing that would confuse anyone in any other restaurant. Also the place was moderately filled. It wasn’t overflowing with people at all, lest the management could blame the shoddy service on the fact that the crowd was unmanageable.
We ordered a palak paneer with corns along with rice; a veg burger, a veg kathi roll filled with paneer (this was meant for me and was called PMKK, no clue what that stands for) and a chicken dish called Kanha Kebab Delight- Chicken Tikka filled in Garlic Bread. The drinks included an ice tea and 2 lime sodas. Each one of us gave our orders separately so it was really clear who ordered what. Even if the waiting staff didn’t know, it’s common sense to say the name of the dish out loud while serving so that it goes to the correct person.
So the orders came in and the waiting staff got our food and kept them in front of us without saying anything and rushed away before we could react. We all were a little distracted because we were talking and also very hungry. So we started eating what was kept in front of us. The palak dish and the burger belonged to my friend and he started gobbling it, while I was eating, what I discovered later, the chicken dish. I realized at this point that another dish was missing. So I called the waiting staff, who by the way was really busy and didn’t care to notice us. I called out to one of them and asked about the 4th dish. He said the kathi roll is taking a little time. At this point I realised he said “kathi roll”. Immediately I asked the name of the dish that I was eating. He said it was the chicken dish. I had just taken 4 bites of a chicken dish. OOO MY GOD… Well I should tell at this point that I am a VEGETARIAN and I had just eaten chicken. I have nothing against non vegetarian food at all. It’s just that I can’t bring myself to eating it because as a child I once saw a man butchering a chicken with blood oozing out and that incident is etched in my memory. So it is safe to say I was feeling queasy at this point.
I told the waiter that I am a vegetarian and he had just served me a chicken dish. He was unperturbed as if stuff like this always happened and he couldn’t care less. I thought that there was no point making a scene because this could happen (not to anyone I know and especially not at a five star where I was paying 5k for the damn lunch). I told him to change the dish and bring a fresh one for my friend, for whom it was meant. In the meanwhile, I thought I should eat my kathi roll which had come by then, because starving myself will only make me more nauseous.
If one thought all this was bad, wait for the best part. The waiter came back with the same dish with only the side of the bread cut, the part which I had eaten. Also the dish was garnished with 2 olives and I had eaten one of them. So when the “new” dish came, it was cut on the side and was missing one olive. So there was one bread which had 4 sides and the other bread on the plate had 5 sides, like someone had cut off from the side.
I immediately recognized that it wasn’t a fresh one but the old one which I had eaten and which was merely served back. I called the waiter and explained the situation and he replied with a bold “this is what the chef gave me” and went away WITHOUT listening to what I had to say.
I was furious. I called up the girl who had shown us to our table and asked her to let the manager know that I wanted to speak to him. He came immediately (thankfully) and I explained the entire situation, the chicken being fed to a vegetarian, the bread being cut off on the side etc and told him in clear terms that I wanted a fresh dish and not the one cut on the sides and that was willing to pay for both the dishes, the one that I ate and the fresh one. I just wanted my friend to have her food. It was almost 4 pm and she was obviously very hungry. He went and came back with a fresh dish with 4 cornered breads, garnished with 2 olives. Thankfully someone understood.
The rude waiter didn’t come and apologies for the goof up. I told the manager that we had ordered a masala chai too and hoped that it won’t get screwed up and come on time. The manager ensured the masala chai came and also sent a small pastry as an apology. But the waiter screwed up that as well and gave it to my male friend instead of me with whom the entire screw up happened. Seeing this, the manager sent the pastries for me as well as my other friend to cover up for another obvious embarrassment.
I just wanted to get out of there as soon as I could and waited for my friend to finish his tea. When the bill came, I was shocked to see that they had charged for the chicken dish (thankfully only once!!!). Had it been the West, the whole meal would have been free of charge, let alone the chicken dish.
I was surprised at the shoddy service, the lack of interest and absolute disregard shown to the guests at Machan, Taj. At a time when other restaurants are going that extra mile to make sure the experience is something to remember by, Machan has certainly made sure that this experience is something that I will not forget.
In the evening, I called them again and gave a feedback that this wasn’t expected at all and that I had a horrible experience and the manager said the next time I go there, great care will taken. Ummm??? No lunch or dinner invite but great care that will be taken NEXT time. Well, shouldn’t great care be taken every time, considering that this is the TAJ, one of THE posh hotels?? Doesn’t it have a legacy to protect? Even if we blame the waiters, shouldn’t they be trained well so that they can distinguish between paneer and chicken? And do they really think I will take a chance and go there next time to see what they will be serving me this time? This experience has made me stay away from every Taj restaurant and I will make sure to broadcast this incident amongst all my friends to stay away too especially from MACHAN!!!!

PS : In the Vintage Machan section of their menu, they have PMKK “1978” – cottage cheese, onion, capsicum and mint chutney in a roomali wrap.  And the other dish was Kanha Kebab Delight – chicken tikka filed in grilled garlic bread.

Author: Guest Author

Food stories from fellow Food Enthusiasts and Bloggers.

69 thoughts on “Nightmare in Machan – The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi”

  1. Wow this review is even a worse let down than the restaurant you reviewed. There is nothing really objective about the restaurant or the quality of the food. Alright you make a point or two about the bad service but as far as I can see they got you the manager and he seems to have convinced you and your friends to stay on till the end. All I see in this writeup is a person who wants a free meal or two and nothing much else.If you were really that disappointed with the service you would have walked out the doors.

  2. @Odzer – I am surprised you see what you say you see. All I can see is rant of someone who is really pissed off. And please remember, its a 5 star place we are talking about, where for a kathi roll they charge Rs.700++.

  3. @Odzer: its not a review, so dont read it as one. It is about a horrible experience the lady had at a place least expected…

  4. @odzer ok first of all if I wanted a free meal I wouldn't have gone to Five star in the hope that they will screw up.. Getting the manager is not the point.. It's the lack of efficiency that is expected from a five star hotel.. When was the last time anyone had a nightmarish experience at a taj restaurant.. Probably never.. I am not trying to undermine the restaurant… But just said that it didn't work for me… Probably the shoddy service works for others… Maybe they had a bad day…. But can they afford to have a bad day?? That's my question…It was 4 pm… We were all really hungry… Why should one walk off especially when one is paying almost 5000 for all of it….

    @shashank thanks for sticking up for me man

  5. Well, I feel sorry for people in service Industry.Its not such a huge fuck up on the part of waiter if he kept the dish ordered by someone else on the same table in front of you.We just ate whatever was kept in front of us?Are you dumb or what, you couldnot makeout that you are eating paneer instead of chicken even after taking 3bites??
    Manager did more than he was required to do, you did get a replacement dish. Was kind enough to send some other complimentry stuff as well. Expecting them to waive off your entire bill or sending you lunch/dinner invites is expecting way to much. As they say there are no free lunches in this world.

  6. @ Nitin –
    1. You feel sorry, well I feel sorry for you. You seem to be a rich man, and do not care if you spending your money on a Dhaba or 5 star. My sympathies are with a boy who cleans my tables for few hundred rupees a month, and sleeps in the same mess, not with a well educated, trained staffer of a luxury hotel.
    2. The customer can be dumb, idiot, drunk, clueless, naive whatever… whats your point? Is the hotel paying the customer or the customer paying the Hotel?
    3. Replacement dish? when half eaten dish was served to someone else on the same table? and he was not 'kind', he was just trying to save his ass…
    4. I guess getting complementary stuff and free dinner invite would be enough to satisfy you or douse your anger, but some people have a different threshold.

  7. @ Vandhana Babu This article seems to be garnering a lot of comments. Let me give my two bits. I think too big a deal is being made out of the fact that the waiter kept the wrong dishes in front of the wrong person. It's a small thing, move on. Secondly, yes, the service was appalling. But your eating 3 bites of a chicken dish and not realizing it is ludicrous. How can you eat chicken and confuse it for paneer? That is just strange. Expecting your entire meal to be waived off is silly. The manager has some discretion in this matter but a whole meal cannot be waived off. It was a good gesture on his part to send you some pastries. It is very fashionable to deride everything in India and say that service in the "West" is better. Sorry to disappoint you but it is not. India and South East Asia are known for their hospitality, not the West. Renowned critics, in India and in the "west" criticize "Western" hospitality and praise the kind found here. Le Cirque is a good example. Expecting a free lunch or dinner invite is just plain and simple opportunistic, even greedy. I know I will get more brickbats than bouquets for this comment but someone needs to show you the folly of your review.

  8. And I thought her experience was appaling enough. But lo and behold! There are some people who are atrocious to say the least.

    Dear Odzer, Nitin and Udit.
    (I shall not bother to reply to each one of you in a different post, because you ain't worth the effort.)

    When one enters a restaurant, especially a 5 star one, it's NOT because they have a scheming plot in their head to grab a free meal or two. There are langars, and very tasty ones for that.
    They do, because they wanna experience some quality service and not to forget the 'delicious, tingling your taste buds' food.
    A lot of you belong to the category where money has no value it seems. Glad that you have already seen such success. But us, we value every cent that is ours. When we spend it, be it on a candy or a 5 star lunch we want value for the money. Call us narrow minded if you please, but that's how we are.
    And in your fine detailing you clearly missed how she mentioned that she was more than willing to pay for both the dishes.

    Ironically, given your aristocratic demeanor, it seems, you have never walked into a restaurant with a quality staff. IT IS THEIR JOB, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, to remember who ordered what, to announce the dish.
    Us poor people, we have never had the pleasure to sample every dish in this world. So pardon us when we do not know which dish is named what.
    And you talk about not comparing to the 'west'? Where did your Indian sensibilities go when you just dismissed the whole 'serving-chicken-to-a-vegetarian' ? Eh? Care to explain?

    And dear darling, with the brain of a pea size, how will a person who has never had chicken recognize it's chicken? One doesn't assassinate and analyse their food. Unless you are James Bond, of course. In which case you should, because everyone wants you dead.

    We, the common people, just eat it. Without thinking a lot. The customer is the king. As Shashank pointed out, he can be drunk and sloshed and even throw up on the dish ordered, but if he is paying for it, DAMN he is supposed to get what he ordered for.

    And that is the sad part. We are known for our hospitality. The west aped us and are even better at it than we ever were. Isn't that just shameful?

    If the manager was worth even two cents, he would have put the whole meal on the house. What the hell, even pizza places have that much common sense.
    Maybe that's why they run way more than a five star.

  9. The point is simple enough. If you continued to finish your meal. You get a bill. End of Story. It was 4 Pm and we were just so hungry is just lame. You want to rant, fine enough but then also be brave enough to read a criticism. If you are not. You can simply delete comments or close them. Don't get your friends to gang up on them. Seriously you did expect a free meal and even an invitation to the same restaurant again as you mention in your "write up". It's there in black and white.

    @ Apurva : You seem to like attacking people and using capital letters. I can see you will lead and a long and "interesting" life.

    @ Shashank : You make a point that the meal was extraordinarily expensive so the level of service should have been flawless. I agree. It was not on that occasion though. That is why I said they could have left at any time because it was not worth their money. However they stuck on in the expectations of getting a few freebies out of this "opportunity". I think the restaurant staff seems to have seen through them because they often exercise judgement in these matters.

  10. Odzer – Brother, you crossed the line of any civilized discussion when you accuse the writer of getting her friends to gang up on you. It seems you do not have any relevant argument to offer now.

    And who are you to decide what they should have done or not? It was there decision to stay back and give the restro another chance. I feel it was extremely courteous and polite of them.

  11. Well Shashank the writer thanks you for coming to her rescue. Its clear enough.

    I did not decide if they stayed back or not but the fact they did speaks volumes about their intent. The fact that the writer expects freebies is absolutely clear and whether they were courteous or not is irrelevant to this discussion. Also if you do not want criticism you only have to ask, I won't post further.

  12. Hi,

    I am a little surprised to read @Apurva's response to my comment. It comes across as immature to say the least. I did not defend Taj nor did I ever say I am from a privileged background. And if I have to sink down to your level Apurva, please forgive me for doing so now. If you don't analyse your food and see it properly before eating, then you are no better than an animal who just eats the food put in front of him. What is ironic is that you follow a blog for food enthusiasts and seem to be unenthusiastic about the food that you are eating. The sight and smell of chicken is completely different from that of paneer. So if u are poor enough to have never come across those two ingredients then I do feel sorry for you. Your comment about the the rich and poor thing smacks out of nothing but misplaced jealousy. As I have quoted in my previous comment, the "West" is nowhere close to the standards of hospitality that we offer. Let me tell you of an occasion where due to appalling service I walked out of Yoko Sizzlers. Their owner called me up and offered a free meal to me which I refused to avail and haven't been there since. I refuse to go to places where the service is bad.

    Having said all this, what is the most annoying @Apurva is that you have picked up a few words from my comment and decided to launch a personal attack on me which is immature and petty. The references to James Bond are churlish and need I say it again, immature.


  13. @Odzer – In my defense, I am the one who runs this blog. Does that make things a bit clear ?? 😛

    @Nitin – if I say that I am a vegetarian and have eaten chicken by mistake.. without even realizing it .. would that help ?

  14. Dear Udit,

    As I mentioned it was a reply to all three of you. And if my immaturity is so bothersome, well, have a look at your own.

    I am a vegetarian. And what you dismissed off as a small thing is not at all acceptable.
    And precisely. If we order food from animals, we shall ofcourse analyse it. But when we in our senses order food from human beings, we expect them to use their high order thinking skills.

  15. @Udit – The comment addressed to Odzer for was for Odzer only, clarifying that Vandy did not call me to 'gang up' on him :P, and she is thanking me as an Admin only.

    However the one for Nitin, was actually directed at you 😛 :D. That is my bad. And yes, I have eaten chicken by mistake more than once. And I know other people who have done that too..

  16. Misplaced jealousy?

    I am sorry, what?

    That was in response to your unending comments about how the author wanted free meals.
    Do not read between the lines.

    You are mature, you claim. Then you should gracefully remember that it's a reply to all three of you.

    Thanks! 🙂

  17. @Apurva, now since you can't find anything to rebut, you resort to farcical arguments between vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism. Give it a rest! PETA is not looking to hire you to pump up their glamour quotient! Peace.

  18. @Udit – Thanks for the advice bro ! but CAL is a professionally run setup, with full time dedication behind it. And FED is a raw recreational effort, having no ambitions of matching CAL.

    And I do not see anyone snubbing you, or deleting your comments. As the owner, should one not have a right to opinion ?

  19. @all.

    seriously ??

    bad service. end of discussion. The server is supposed to announce/tell the dish.
    Serving chicken to a vegetarian is BIG no no. even the roadside momo vendor replaces the dish without charge, People have long standing Faith and belief in leading a vegan or vegetarian life. Even though i might eat whatever walks on this planet, But do respect the sensibilities and sentiments attached.

    and, yes actually Attacking the author of the blog to be a person trying to gain sympathy votes for a free lunch or dinner is a PERSONAL ATTACK.
    and yes i like Using CAPITALs. Its called emphasizing. So please don't correct me.

    In the service industry, well guess what Service is IMPORTANT.

    and regarding chef at large and his blog, well i know the author cum owner of the blog, and so does shashank. So, i mean what are you getting at ?
    and, if you ever do talk to him, ask him how was the SERVICE at gunpowder, HKV ?
    You would get the Entire point of this write up.

    And well asking a person who hasn't eaten any meat product since a child, to know if the filling is chicken is asking a bit too much, and its a roll, generally people don't open it up to see the ingredients, trust me its hard to roll back.

    P.S In subway they throw away the sandwich and start a new one for a vegetarian person, if the meat has been handled by the server wearing the same gloves. Leave alone eating it, so thats the service i get and expect at a fast food joint, lets not even start what i will be expecting at a five star restaurant. Leave alone service or quality standards, i expect some basic human decency.
    that's it.

    ewz CHEERS.

  20. Dear All

    This piece was just an experience I had. I am sure many people have had many fabulous experiences. Let's all agree to disgree here. The point of the blog is not to create tensions and rift among fellow foodies but to have a peaceful and meaningful discussion. Chillax y'all and Peace out..

  21. @ Apurva : Read between the lines? The author does stay blatantly that she expected a free meal or an invitation for a free meal. I understand you are upset about not being a meat eater and being served some. However that is a non issue in the sense that it has not done you any bodily harm. If it has hurt your sensibilities that is a purely personal matter. I do not see why any vegetarians should make their own self imposed dietary restrictions in to a social issue. I am sure there was an apology given or else you would not have stayed on for a replacement meal. Perhaps you just expect everyone to grovel on their knees for a small faux pas at best. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill eh. However the fact that the meal service was completed shows that people on the table chose to continue with the standards of the service they were given. The vegetarian/non-vegetarian issue is thus of little relevance.

  22. OK, now all I can say from my end is that I have nothing against the Machan staff or the taj palace hotel. When I make a comment here, its about the service and standards of 5 star hotels in general, what I expect and what I do not.

  23. No Explanations…………. But Come what may……..The meal Would and Should have been complimentary and I am sure if the same is highlighted to the right people, it will happen.
    Please, dont misunderstand. As said earlier, if we want free meals, we can go to langar. But here we are talking about a 5* Hotel which has a reputation to keep and it's not the first time that this would happen, It has happened with many of us earlier and Hotels too understand this.
    About Chicken and Paneer issue. Hota hai bhai. We are not talking about Butter Chicken and Shahsi Paneer. We are talking about Minced Chicken which may easily resemble a Crushed Paneer.
    Taste: With the kind of different and Unique sauces these days, its tough sometimes as the sauces camaflauge the main ingredient.
    Repeat Visit:: I am sure for Vandhna it was not the first Visit, but this could prove to be her last, as it has left a bad taste in her mouth and with lots of regrets. But a Soothing Strong balm (Not Pastries, which sometimes I Manage free with just a Coffee at Taj)like a Waived off meal on the spot or a Complimentary Meal now would help her in keep going back for more and spreading a good Word about the Ever Famous Taj Hospitality!!

  24. may be we sud start a justice or a free meal for FED Caimpaign. How abt holding a candle protest march outside taj this sunday?

  25. I have read through all the comments and the whole post twice only to analyze this –

    I would like to stay anonymous here as I am a good friend of Shashank's and would like to stay this way. He may not like what I post here.

    The writer ( the one who went to Machan ) wants a free meal. PERIOD !! No second doubt about it. Wrong and Greedy thinking.

    The writer called the Hotel again in the evening to express her views on the BAD service – she did it so she could get a free meal / invite. Ha Ha !

    The writer stayed there to eat the rest of the meal – Crazy !! I would have just walked off. She stayed there thinking it was 4 PM and they were all hungry. She probably thought the meal is going to be free by this point BUT alas it was not !! :p hence the anger and frustration.

    The writer must be blind / insane / plain stupid to eat chicken and not just 1 bite – 3-4 bites and then think ( oh !! this is chicken ). I think she liked chicken 😛

    And yes the other girl Apurva – were you also there for the meal ? You seem to be worked up quite a bit on people's comments.

    I was a vegetarian once and now a hardcore Non veg – I could smell meat from miles away and I have friends who do this mistake all the time. They just spit it out the moment the meat comes in contact with their tongue. Simple – meat is different from Paneer !! Duh !!

    I wholeheartedly agree with Odzer, Udit & Nitin.

    Shashank – Buddy I like your FED website a lot and also I like your articles BUT this judjement from you is a bit biased towards the writer. I can understand she may be a good friend BUT deep inside you also know she is wrong !

  26. PS – by the way I am a different Anonymous than the other one.

    And yes the James Bond and the money / priveleged comment is uncalled for. How low can one stoop. Childish and downright disgusting comments.

    And by the way do you guys even have a clue how much food is sent by the Taj to the homeless people and missionaries around CP. They would not even blink before offering you a full free meal. Damn – I have been offered a free night once with the dinner thrown in free ( BUT it was a different matter ) and I denied that. As someone said above that he refuses to go there if the service is Bad.

    I'd now love to hear what others say about this.

  27. Finally someone agrees with and understands my point. Thanks @anonymous, whoever you are! Having said that, I would like to bring to light the kind of service I faced @ Yoko sizzlers GK2. My family and I had been big fans of their sizzlers and went there for dinner once. We ordered a sizzler and instead of baby corn they had cut slices of "bhutta" and put it in the sizzler. These slices were unchewable. We called the manager and the chef. The chef refused to come and the manager was unapologetic. We left our meal, paid the bill, filled up the comments form and left. 2 days after that, my mom got a call from the Manager who questioned everything she had written in the comments form. Exasperated, my mother said that we will not visit the restaurant again. On saying this, the manager's response was: "Don't worry, we don't want customers like you!!". THAT is bad service. Then, I posted a complaint on Zomato and their website. Ever since then, their owner/MD has been calling up, requesting us to come for a free meal. However, we have refused to do so.

  28. Vandhana- I know Shashank through IndiaMike back in 2009. Anyways, I think you were completely, completely out of line here. You should have walked out. I have walked on restaurants when I felt the service was terrible, and many times didn't bother to call back. I just won't go back there. The fact that you sat through (and I straight up do not believe you when you say you ate chicken instead of paneer- as a vegetarian, that is almost impossible to do. I have done it and every time I spit it out). The waiter mixing up the orders is not a huge deal. And yes- even if it is a 5 star restaurant or whatever, they WILL f**k up every now and then. Human beings are human beings. I've gotta say- them returning the same food to you is shoddy and at that point, you should have gotten up and left. Let me guess- you went through the rest of the meal criticizing the restaurant while eating your food? That's just stupid. And why even mention that the restaurant charged you instead of giving you a free meal? That's even more stupid. Of course they're going to charge you- you ATE their food after ordering it. Shashank- I KNOW you're a good guy and FED is amazing, but I really do think you're wrong here dude.

  29. I don't normally join a mudslinging match with people I don't know (except one, Hi Odzer! Thanks for pointing me to this blog post, I've thoroughly enjoyed it and the resulting argument in the comments), but I feel compelled to comment here. And sorry, Odzer I don't fully agree with you.

    A few observations

    1. If someone were to go to a 5 star in order to hope that they mess up so they could get a free meal, that seems very inefficient. I don't think they would mess up every single order, so you might end up having to pay an expensive bill if they actually *gasp* provide good service! I mean the very least you could do is bring some dead insects along in your bag in order to sprinkle over the food before complaining.

    2. Ok, so you ordered, they messed up, the waiter ignored you and was rude. But it was 4pm by then, you were hungry and you ate it. Whatever. But I am absolutely shocked that you were happy to just pay the bill after that! I would have refused. YES AFTER EATING THE FOOD I WOULD HAVE REFUSED. I'm sure they can cover the costs for my meal, they're a fucking 5 star they make plenty of money. If they had argued a lot about this and tried to compel me to pay, I would have still refused to pay for the dish that they failed to serve to the right person and then just simply trimmed and gave back. It does not matter that they later on served up a fresh one, but I would not expect to receive the same food back if I complained in McDonalds, I would expect them to throw it in the trash and make a new one! (I would also expect that someone might spit in my food after I've complained, but that's another story entirely).
    And then bitching and moaning that it would have been free had it been the West.. The reason it would have been is because in the West, the customer would have been furious and refused the bill. That's what you should have done!

    3. Who the hell goes to a 5 star and orders burgers and kathi rolls (Your friends wanted North Indian food, really?? Things must have changed a lot since I left India). Shame on the restaurant for having such things on their menu! And shame on you for having more money than sense!

    4. I agree with Vandhna about the other restaurant being closed – it really pisses me off when places open for only 2 hours during lunchtime.


  30. Vandhna and Hedonist are the same people.

    Both use the words * gasp * and no one does that.

    Hedonist just used it in the above post. And Vandhna used it in the Brick House Diner Blog I read 10 minutes back.

    Coincidence – me thinks no.

  31. Whatever, have someone check the IP addresses used to post the comments. Plenty of people use that phrase. (Might I point you to my rather empty blog, which has a picture of my frosty garden from October. I wasn't aware Delhi gets frost at all.)

    Anyone else see the irony that someone who's "Anonymous" is pointing fingers over identities of others.

    Unless I've misunderstood and you literally meant we're the same people as in very similar because we've used the same phrase. That may be so, although my comment above clearly disagrees with Vandhna on various issues. But if you meant to write that we're the same PERSON, then I would have to disagree.

  32. Ha Ha Ha !! This conversation and comments are brilliant.

    PS – Vandhna – I am a LEO too. I am writing this all in good debate and humor and the hospitality industry which I also have an interest in ( specially food )

    * I am going to leave a good hint – I own restaurants and some famous ones in Delhi so I'd rather be not named. I give away Free Tables all th time so I am not a miser. Heck – I give away free drinks all the time.

    Hedonist – Hey this is all in good humor and NO I am not your ex :p

    I wish I could disclose my identity BUT it would just upset shashank that and I dont want that. I dont think he knows I own restaurants.

  33. Yeah right! Anonymous, I don't believe you. Those are exactly the type of things my ex would say.

    There is nothing you could do or say to convince me otherwise. 🙂

  34. @Anonymous – Its not easy to offend me, if you the posts here, I have been accused of lot of things, however I take it all in good spirit.

    I would love to know who you are and what you do, if do not want to do this in public, then please ping me in private.

  35. Omg.. What went on here & I can't believe people here actually think you wanted a free meal vandy!
    Look people, she just wrote about a bad experience she had & that's it! Don't go about judging her intentions coz you don't know anything about that person. I can understand why someone would be so pissed. It's a big let down in terms of service from a Taj restaurant. Hope they won't goof up again & will teach their staff how to handle their mistakes better, we expect them to.. 🙂
    @shashank, I'm proud of you for letting this conversation take its path & for not deleting any posts. People should learn to respect other's opinions from you.. 🙂

  36. OMG really, Udit, of everything I wrote, you pick out the one thing that was a joke I posted in response to Anonymous up there questioning my identity.

    What I am curious about, if one goes to a 5 star place to eat something that is essential street food, was it mind-blowingly amazing in spite of the horrible service?(which I don't think anyone here disputes, the service as described in the original post is appalling) Or was it just the same old crap but with a hefty price tag?

  37. Oh C'mon you guys! Get a perspective atleast, if not life! And cut some slack to the writer!

    @Anonymous: You used 'BTW'. During my school days, our 70 years old headmistress used it once too. Are you by any chance that head/mistress! What kind of logic is that? It is just WTFness at its sullied best! Welcome to an adult conversation.

    @Odzer, Udit, Nitin & few others: Yo paesano, why are you getting so miffed out of shape for? The writer wanted from the Taj what she rightfully deserved. I think what writer did was still very poised. This is what I wud have done (U may wanna paint me purple, smack my ass and call me Shirley, I dont give a tiny rat's ass):

    1: Wud hv created a huge, huge ruckus – right in the middle of the restaurant.
    2: Wud hv shouted at them like a hungry child who has been bitten.
    3: Wud hv refused to pay, demanded a new on the house meal and over and above, an apology from everyone.
    4: Ask them for more freebies with which I can load up my van! Yes, because perhaps that is what will make up for my ruined lunch, mood and time! (Actually even this cant make up for that)

    And all this not because it is a 5 Star! It is because I am paying for it. Its my hard earned money and I wont let any measly guy, and be it Mr. Ratan Tata himself to pinch even a penny outta my pockets. I work day in – day out to earn it. And its not like I am a miser. Trust me I have lotsa money – I have especially flown to London just for a meal! I will never walk out of the restaurant if they have ruined it. They gotta face the music! You call me cheap – ur choice.

    I dont know anyone here. Maybe just the owner of the blog, that too not personally. So I am basic sorry for an unsolicited intrusion and my blackbart-tone-2 cents! I really cudnt keep it in after reading all the yippitty yap in the comments – A brick short of full load!


  38. @NG – Sorry to take this OT, but DUDE ! you seriously did that just for a meal ??? Then we SHOULD know each other :D.

    Yours truly has done something similar as well, but on a lot lesser scale. But its all about spirit you see 😉

  39. @Shash: Lolzz.. Yupps and it was every penny worth it! With stuff I had there, you would also wanna go, without even batting an eyelid 🙂

  40. Just one small comment in general. Hedonist and Vandana are two different people. I did give hedonist a link this morning to amuse her with this mishegoss she seems to have become a part of…

    @ NG : Why did the writer have to pay her hard earned money to them in the first place when she did not receive the service she expected. If you do not get what you deserve, you should not pay for it.

  41. @NG, hear hear! Scream, shout, complain, refuse to pay, demand they make up for everything. Not: pay the bill and then complain later that a bill was presented. I don't call this poised, I call it too little too late.

    And now I'm curious which London restaurant is so amazing it deserves specific travel plans to be made for it. I might muster the spirit to see for myself.

  42. Sorry if I sound naïve, but shouldn’t the visual difference between roomali wrap and grilled garlic bread be easily discernible?

    As far as the behavior of the staff is concerned, if I were you, I would have gotten up and left, even if they had offered me free meal!

  43. Wow ! Like some of the people here, I would refrain myself from posting at this point but…..

    1. Please for godddd sake ! When someone goes to a Rs. 2,000 per head restaurant, they don't expect a free meal.

    2. Someone pointed out correctly that the author called up the Taj back in evening but dude it's not about the free meal again, it's about the bad feeling which stayed with her and yes paying Rs. 5000 is a part of that feeling. If it occurred to her later that Taj should make it upto her for their mistake, I don't think why she should not.

    3. The thing about why did she even pay or why she did not create a scene, let me tell you, there are times you're too surprised to act at such thing or more often you don't want to spoil your evening with your friends by creating a scene ( which is the case with me) but that doesn't mean that you aren't angry enough.

    In an interview Mr. Bikki Oberai of Oberoi group said, that in case anyone feels that he/she was not well served at any oberoi property across the world and mails him directly, he ensures a personal apology reaches the person with a complimentary stay at the same property with a renewed experience taken care.

    Damn! Bikki Oberai, what a fool who serves free-loaders, who first consume, then pay the (hefty) bill and afterwards mail him in greed of a free stay ! Hah !

    I don't know Vandana personally but I would say that she wrote this post by heart probably without posing much. N that's why she wrote that Taj did not offer a free lunch/dinner invite, while I think what she means is that "how else Taj thinks that I'll ever visit again after such a horrible experience"

    PS: Apart from being a Foodie, I am Restauranteur too plus serves food industry in more than one way. I do understand goof ups happen and complimentary meals are not offered to prove a customer is a free-loader but to show that we own the responsibility towards the damage and want a chance to makeup for it.

    Also, the guy YoKo Sizzlers experience, I agree with you on not going back to places who don't know how to serve well, even I don't But just some thought, if the owner intervenes that means he knows that manager screwed up, might have fired him as well, I am sure you should give them back a chance. (disclaimer: I know the owners )

  44. I am surprised at this point in the conversation that the only 2 sorts of people backing the writer up for what she did are –

    (A) Either too underprivileged / as they cannot differ between chicken and paneer and think its quite a normal mistake which happens and should be not noticed even though this is a food enthusiast site ( I think here the word * gasp * comes in appropriately )

    (B) Either too priveleged to have flown in specially to the UK for a meal. Good for you. We really dont care if its ramsay, ledbury or chettinad.

    So that leaves us normal folk to keep out of this conversation.

    Talk about not taking criticism. A free meal ( ha ! )

  45. Here is a direct cut copy paste –

    " We ordered a palak paneer with corns along with rice; a veg burger, a veg kathi roll filled with paneer (this was meant for me and was called PMKK, no clue what that stands for) and a chicken dish called Kanha Kebab Delight- Chicken Tikka filled in Garlic Bread "


  46. Wowie Guys !! It is really HOT in here !! I for one empathize with the poor souls who had to go through this harrowing experience and especially if one is treated the way they were and that to in an iconic joint like Machaan.I for one have had my share of bad experiences and can understand the anger.

    When one works in such places the employees tend to acquire the stiff upper lip and a high headed attitude.It is good that the experience was shared and was enlightening.I for one shall never set foot at that place as we have a lot many options. Thanks Vandana for sharing your experience !! Regards ….Pankaj Sain

  47. i tink v al shud stop comntng nw…..some1 shared her experience….n i dnt wanna comnt on tht….bt if she realy wanted a free lunch she wud hav askd the manager….so clearly she wasnt there fr a free lunch 😛 😛
    P.S : i dont know any1 here 😀


  48. WOW, Well first off the review of the place is CRAP, the review of the service is okay, mistakes do happen and the lower level staff at every organization try to cover up, may it be service at a dhaba or a 5 star or an it organization, But come on are your taste buds so dead that you could not tell the diff between chicken n paneer, your eyes so weak that you could not see chicken vs paneer??? then you go on to say " the lack of interest and absolute disregard shown to the guests at Machan, Taj. " WOW , did the manager not come up promptly ? did he not attend to your issues ? did he not try and fix the goof up by one waiter who was prolly new or having an off day, dont tell me you have never had an off day at work ? "No lunch or dinner invite" wow do you really expect that, you get bad off service every where , and they fix it the best they can , I was at harem we were 18-20 people we ate drant and we ordered 2nd round of main course 40 mins later it didnt arrive, we called the manager, told him he had 5 mins by the watch to get us the bill – the service charge or we leave, 6 mins later no bil and we left, no one stopped us

  49. Woooooooooo….So much has already been said..Just Cldn't stop myself frm raising few really naive question..(Naive wll b absolute rght word fr Me also as I've nvr visited ny 5 star fr dat matter nd muchless experiencd in compare to all da gr8 foodies here)…:)..Bt it just tht sme very basic question r bugging me..

    1) Is dere ny fixed code of conduct to apologize or to make up fr da mentioned goof ups..???. say sme free lunches/ dinner..stay…party invitation etc..or dey need to kneel down nd beg fr da mercy of da customer just bcz dey r gracious enough to pay 5k fr dere meal

    2)Wot was da reviwer actually thinking when she ws relishing da pastries…Fr da Manager when she acceptd dem she has also acceptd da apology…den why so much hue nd cry abt it…

    3) U ate da food…u gt to pay da money….dere is no rocket science in it…weathr its 5k or 10k…

    I guess even a child can understand dese simple thngs…y need to cry ot loud just bcz dey didn't follow "UR WAY" of apology..!!!!

    *** Just another Anonymous in da list of may..:)****

  50. @Vandana- u have every right to criticize the service provided to you, this is plain and simple stupidity of the waiter, but did i read it right – you ordered a paneer kathi roll and ended up eating chicken filled garlic bread isn't the appearance totally different- well never mind, it has happened with a lot of my Veg friends they end up eating a bite or two without realizing they just had chicken.

    The manager should have not charged you atleast for the chicken filled garlic bread but it seems you did not put your foot down and i would call it being decent at that moment- although i know of a lot of people who would have made a molehill out of a mole on this issue and demanded maybe a life term of free food supply, but to be honest if you didn't ask for it at that time you shouldn't have made a call and should not have expected to invite you for a free meal -we can always pay and have a meal if the food is nice

    last and not the least i did expect a word about the food you had – was it good, was it worth going there even after what happened. Do they serve quality food if not quality service ?

    guys no point accusing the other here we are here to discuss food as well as service and i do expect service even if i am having it from a road side vendor leave alone a 5 star- honestly i am feeling hungry after reading and writting so much about food

    @shashank where is the next food raid- i hope not machan by any chance

  51. Serving non veg to a vegetarian is very serious issue. Restaurateuring is serious business. Can't be taken casually by anyone, be a a five star or a small joint. And it's great that we now have many online fora where people can express their views, both positive and negative. It's important for f&b places to connect to these fora and keep a tab on feedback on their places. Service recovery, after all is a very powerful tool that all good f&b places use to win back clientele who been unhappy with their product.

  52. Indian Hotel Company wont give you a free meal, a few complimentaries here and some discount but no free meals. If you want a free meal after eating it try ITC next time

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