Restaurant Bills Explained – 2016 Version

Service Charge, Service Tax, Value Added Taxes – We bet they have got you all confused. Here is a layman’s guide for understanding & making sense of our Eating out bills.

Menu prices may seem very deceptive once you get the final bill in hand. Suddenly there is a barrage of taxes and charges staring in your face which you cannot make any sense of, however still are supposed to pay. Here is a guide that we have put together, which may help you in making any semblance of your eating out bills.

Difference between Tax and Charge

Charge is not fixed by anyone and outlets are free to write whatever percentage they deem fit on the menu. You can protest against it sure – if you do it before eating, it would be like haggling for the price of food and if you do it after eating it’s similar to you refusing to pay the bill if you are not satisfied with it. Service Charge is the most common charge applied in India and ranges from 5 – 15% of the total bill, 10% being the most common number in industry. Charge is something which is part of the revenue of the restaurant – what they do with it is their prerogative.

Continue reading “Restaurant Bills Explained – 2016 Version”

Mughal Mahal Restaurant & Bar – The Buttery Experience

I can tell you is that whatever I ate there, tasted very nice, it is something I will recommend if you like rich food, and if you like rich food, this place is worth making a trek to, from any part of the town. Something I would be going back for, for sure.

Being a resident of the area, Mughal Mahal is something that I have been familiar with since childhood. However have never really tried their food, except for their dal maybe couple of times which was brought home by a cousin. Being a vegetarian, Malai Kofta and Dal Makhani were the things that he used to rave about. being a vegetarian back then I was deaf and dumb to anything with Chicken in it so any reference of Butter Chicken would have skidded past without leaving a trace. But now no more.
Another reason for me never venturing in there was easy availability of North Indian food at every corner in the area, and then the costing. I remember the first time I went in, I was in my teens and me with 3 other friends collected 100 rups each and went to Mughal Mahal to have dinner on some occasion. Being used to eating dal for Rs. 30-40, I guess dal at Mughal Mahal for Rs.80-100 came as shocker and the bigger shocker was Tandoori Roti. While our favorite dhaba was feeding a roti for Rs.1-3 at that time, Mughal Mahal was Rs.12 for one. and the way we ate at that age, thinking about 5-6 rotis was enough to give me mini heart-attack. To save our izzat, we ordered 2 beers amongst 4 of us, paid Rs.200 and decided to spend remaining 200 at our favorite dhaba.
But then things have changed, and how. Now I am a non-vegetarian, in my early 30’s and if I may call it, well-FED. Besides that since Mughal Mahal got a very high ranking in a recent Butter Chicken Hunt by Delhi Gourmet Club, I have been searching for an opportunity to sample and savor their butter chicken. Yesterday offered a perfect occasion for that as I was hanging out with a friend and she showed some affinity towards Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani and Butter Naan combo. There was not better time to venture in Mughal Mahal.
Located on edge of Rajendra Place, facing East Patel Nagar it has a cozy corner for itself. From outside, looks like a run down place, with restaurant and bar as the label, easy to take it as one of quintessential watering holes of that part of Delhi. Being a with a lady friend, I was bit worried, however once we stepped in, it was heartening to see families and groups. Everything about this place seemed to be archaic, from its waiters, to table clothes to the patrons that we saw last evening. That said, I was surprised to see the kind of following this place has, did not expect it to be.. ummm… crowded.
Opening the menu I was looking for a rude shock, like the roti for Rs.80 or something, somehow I was OK with whatever cost Butter Chicken and Dal came at. And when I saw Roti for Rs.35 I took a deep breath of relief and realized that the world has moved on, I have moved on. quarter plate of Butter Chicken for Rs.360 odd and Dal for Rs. 230 odd did not seem too bad, made me realize how times have changed and how Rs.500 per head has become very middle class. How no one bothers about the food costs and everyone understands that they are paying for the experience and not for dal, roti and boti.

 

Butter Chicken (Can you see the texture of gravy?)
We ordered quarter plate Butter Chicken, which came with 2 pieces of Chicken and one Dal makhani along with a Butter Naan and Roti. The portion sizes were very nice, though it was only two pieces, however the Chicken came with huge amount of gravy and combined with Dal would easily complete a meal of 2-4 people with decent appetite.
One dish is named with Butter and other with Makhan, so we expect them to be rich and they WERE rich and how. One of the creamiest dal I have ever experienced, for some people it might be a turn off, but then I loved what I ate. It was rich, however had the right amount of sourness to take care of my limited palette and tasting abilities. Similarly Butter Chicken was..ummm… buttery, however you could feel the onions and tomatoes in the gravy (check the first picture). For me, it was right balance of Tomatoes and creaminess but then I have a very limited palette in the dish. Chicken was cooked well, and was melt in your mouth.
Naan and Roti both were very run of the mill, extra care could have been taken to make them better.
Quarter portion of Butter  Chicken at Mughal Mahal
Dal Makhani at Mughal Mahal
Chutney, Achar and Pyaz
The service was prompt, did not take them long to seat us and feed us. The total bill was Rs.850 with taxes, but we did not order anything to drink. The best part was that there was not Service Charge on the Bill, comes as such a pleasant respite these days.
All in all, I would not and cannot say if its the top or the best or most. Its typical Delhi food and if you are looking for subtle or exotic, this may not be the place for you. However all I can tell you is that whatever I ate there, tasted very nice, it is something I will recommend if you like rich food, and if you like rich food, this place is worth making a trek to, from any part of the town. Something I would be going back for, for sure.
Address : Mughal Mahal,
7, Sethi Bhawan, Rajendra Place, New Delhi
(Opposite East Patel Nagar’s Subway)
For more food love join us on Eatlo.
You can connect with me on Twitter : @Tweet2Shashank

Lemp Brew Pub – The Blog Post that was.

Most of us have been reading a blog post about an incident that happened at one of the microbreweries in Gurgaon. The original post was available at this following URL – http://lempexperience.blogspot.in/

However now the post is no longer live and I had to track it down from Google’s webcache.

Below is a as it is regeneration of the post.

The post got some responses, one from the owners on Zomato and other written by someone claiming to be a patron of Lemp. Have taken a screenshot and posted it below just in case they remove it. The link to that post : http://peopleforlemp.blogspot.in/.

Blogpost supporting Lemp
And here is a screen shot of a response the management gave to a review on Zomato,  probably the poster was one of the members of the group that experienced this incident at Lemp.
Lemp’s response on Zomato

Personally I felt lot of arrogance and high handedness in the way Lemp’s Management has responded  to the poster talking about police and parents and their brand in the same breath. Both the responses showed what kind of attitude the management has, they definitely have mark of someone who is drunk on power.Now I am wondering what is happening to the people who dared to complain against the restaurant despite being arm twisted?

I am actually waiting for the management to come and arm twist me, dekhe to sahi kitna dum hai unke arm me.. 😛

For more views and discussion on this connect with us on : Eatlo : www.facebook.com/Eatlo

Connect with me on Twitter : @tweet2shashank

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How a lunch at Lemp Brewpub Gurgaon turned out to be the most horrid experience ever.
For a lot of reasons, we have thought a lot before writing this. It is a very detailed account and we suggest you read it with patience. There is a lot to learn for us customers and a lot to be learnt by the restaurant owners community also.
A few of us friends (young, 25-year old, working, well educated, aware, well traveled, well spoken) were searching for a place to go to for Sunday brunch and on Zomato.com we came across a “Hawaiian Sunday Brunch” at Lemp Brewpub, Gurgaon. We decided to try out the Hawaiian brunch. As you can see from the image below, the cost is Rs. 999 all inclusive of taxes, and the same was also confirmed to us by the manager, Mr. Robin.

 

To put it out there, it wasn’t the first time we were going to Lemp.

 

 

The Zomato screenshot of the “Hawaiian Sunday Brunch” at Lemp Brewpub

 

 

From the above image you can read the promises:

 

 

Hawaiian food – NONE to be found.

 

Tiki bar serving exotic cocktails – there was no such bar.

 

Live music and dancing – There was no music playing at all. After we asked they switched on the speakers and regular music played in the background. For the dancing, there were never any plans for dancers. On a serious note we were told by the manager, Robin, that customers were the ones supposed to dance.

 

On asking why there was nothing Hawaiin about the brunch, Robin tells us that suddenly on Saturday night the chef had to go home in an emergency so hence the problem. Yet, see below a picture of the entrance of Lemp with multiple boards advertising the Hawaiian Sunday brunch that day. In spite of all this we still go ahead with the brunch.

 

 

In spite of the management knowing of no Hawaiian Brunch inside, the board was still on full display outside  to mislead and attract customers. There was only 1 other table that was occuppied when we left.

 

 

After waiting 10 minutes, we are served starters on the table which are absolutely stale, inedible, cold and uncooked. We immediately called back Robin and request him to taste the food so he can understand our plight. Even though a buffet includes unlimited ordering, Robin tells us he’ll do us a favour and ‘replace’ the dishes. By then we try the other dishes served on our table and they are equally ill-prepared. The replaced dishes come back absolutely the same quality, just heated this time around.

 

 

The drinks included in the package were their 6 home-brewed beers and any vodka-based cocktails. 6 of us ordered a glass of beer each and we asked for 2 vodka-based Mojitos. The beers came in good time but the 2 Mojito’s never came. There were 4 reminders given to various staff including the manager, Robin. Robin told us that the confusion resulted because the staff who took our order suddenly left for a break without informing anyone. To our surprise each of the staff members we had told for the Mojitos were very much inside the place and had been continuously serving our table!

 

 

Mr. Robin – The Manager who ‘chose’ 3 different prices for the Sunday brunch during this incident. This photo was clicked secretly from one of our phones.

 

 

By now, after all the fiasco, we decided that we would leave since nothing in the package was as promised and even the service was getting worse by the minute. We asked the manager to call the owners so we could speak to them. He said they are too busy to be called, even on the phone. In plain words we were told they are inaccessible for us. We simply informed Robin that we would be leaving. Robin tells us that is ok with him as long as we pay for what we consumed. Despite of all the poor incidents and not getting anything as promised, we tell him we will pay full rate for the beer we have had (a total of 6 glasses). Even though beer as part of an unlimited buffet should be calculated at subsidised rates.

 

 

We keep waiting another 15 minutes for the bill, which never comes. We ask the waiter and he tell us it will still take more time. At this point we tell the manager that we are leaving. He tells us we cannot do so and must pay the bill. To our shock, we are presented with a bill of Rs. 12,000! Reminder: The buffet costs Rs. 999 inclusive of all taxes and we were only 8 people there! We are told that the food we sent back will also be charged and other dishes prepared for the buffet which were still to come to us will also be charged!

 

 

Not wanting to waste anymore time, we walk out towards the elevator and 4 of us get in (3 guys and a girl). Suddenly there are bouncers blocking the tiny entrance of the elevator and intimidating and threatening us against leaving. The waiters and the other staff of Lemp had all surrounded us by then. We do what came to our mind 1st in a panic, raise noise so we can get out of the elevator into an open area. Having lived in Gurgaon for the last 10 years, that was the most scared we’ve felt ever. It was absolutely not safe inside (whether the girl had been with us or not).

 

 

We immediately called the police on 100.

 

 

By then a senior manager, Kapil Singh Thapa, comes to the scene. He walks in with so much arrogance that there was no point discussing anything with him. All he said was that you must pay for what you have consumed. Before the police come, the bill is corrected to approx. Rs. 6,700. Obviously, 6 glasses of home-brewed beer cannot cost Rs. 1100+ a glass.

 

 

Mr. Kapil Singh Thapa – The Senior Manager who is mentioned on many many reviews on the internet for his misbehaviour towards customers. This photo was also clicked secretly from one of our phones.

 

 

We still told the staff to call the owners, hoping they would have the sense to reverse such a poor customer experience that kept getting worse. We were repeatedly told that they cannot be reached for such an issue. In the meanwhile, even the mall management, run by Jones Lang LaSalle, decided to come by. We politely requested for help and were instead told to sort out the issue inside Lemp and not spoil the decorum of the place. They all knew the Lemp staff very well.

 

 

Senior person from Jones Lang LaSalle from the mall management at DT Star Mall. He refused to help us.  By standing was a better option.
Making calls to arrange for more men. Mall management and Lemp managers together.
From L-R: Mr. Kapil Singh Thapa (Senior Manager), Mr. Robin (Manager), Mall Management from Jones Lang LaSalle who refused to help  (in a red tie), Lemp staff (in jeans).
This photo was also clicked secretly from one of our phones.

 

 

Guess what happens next? The police arrives. With the ‘owner’ of the place. Very clearly they came together. We are in an even more helpless situation.

 

 

This ‘owner’, Shashank, was even more arrogant than the previous two managers, rather tending towards the likes of a goon. He even said, “Mera naam kisi se bhi Gurgaon mein check kar lena.” (“You can ask anyone my name in Gurgaon and they will know.”) He further declares (in Hindi) he will not hear a word against his food or his place or he will get us put behind bars. He goes on to declare that his managers have been running this place for more than a year and they are absolutely right.

 

 

The ‘owner’ Shashank (L) and the senior manager, Kapil Thapa (R), from a public photo found on Facebook.
The ‘owner’ Shashank (L) and the senior manager, Kapil Thapa (R), from another public photo found on Facebook.

 

 

And we had completely depended on the owner to come in and solve the situation amicably. After all, no owner would want customers leaving with such an experience.

 

 

When asked to explain how the bill of Rs. 12,000 could be presented, the same managers, Robin and Kapil, state that the buffet costs Rs. 1,199 per head + taxes. We showed everyone the screenshot of the Zomato page. Unfortunately, the police could not understand what the internet was and the Lemp management disowned the page. Instead an order is sent inside to instantly get rid of any paper/board where the price of the buffet maybe written. Suddenly realising that even then the calculation doesn’t add up for 8 buffets @ Rs. 1199, a friend raises the point. Now the buffet in an instant costs Rs. 1,299! When we told the policemen that this is exactly the kind of experience we have had, the police tell us they didn’t hear the manager changing the price of the buffet. Unbelievable. Most of all – HELPLESSNESS.

 

 

Finally, the owner adjusts the bill to Rs. 4,463 from the last revised Rs. 6,700. Out of no other option we agree to pay so that we can get out of the situation safe and sound.

 

 

We pay the amount and are returned the change. Of course, we ask for the bill which we are told will take some time. We wait another 15-20 mins for the bill. In the meanwhile, the cops ask us to put down the incident on paper and say that a compromise had been reached. We write the incident in detail and hand it over after taking a picture. We are ordered by the cops that we cannot keep proof of the letter or they will not take accept it from us. And we cannot click any pictures at that point. We were just stripped of our right of free speech and expression?

 

 

Next, when the manager of Lemp is asked to sign it he calls the owner and explains to him that we have written that we were cheated of our money. The owner throws an angry fit and orders the police to take us to the police station and present us to the SHO. He says there will be cases filed against us. We are returned our money that we paid 15-20 mins back.

 

 

Note – all this being said in Hindi/Haryanvi doesn’t sound half as pleasant as it may read in English.

 

 

Not wanting to drag this further, the tables have completely turned and we plead the cops and the owner to keep the money, throw away the letter and let us go. But the owner is adamant that we will not only pay the full bill of Rs. 12,000 but he also wants us behind bars.

 

 

We are dragged out of the mall by the police into their van. On the way, we were further scared by the police that we will be alcohol tested and what not. As you would have realised from our entire bill of 6 beer glasses amongst 8 people, we were perfectly sober.

 

 

By now, all of us who lived in Gurgaon immediately call our parents and ask them to come to the police station. After our parents reached AND they were forced to drop a few names, the situation turned on its head and the police staff started explaining how they have been trying to help us kids since the beginning and we kids had only requested the police to bring the Lemp manager to the station so that the issue could be solved!

 

 

The owner was now ‘too busy’ to come to the police station (which was barely 200-300m away from Lemp) but already had control over the cops. The SHO was called to the station and in the end we still paid the Rs. 4,463 to the manager there. We were told there was no need of any letter stating the issue was resolved with a compromise from our side. Finally, thats when this horrid ‘brunch’ ended.

 

 

On a separate note, I wanted to cover a small incident that the girl with us faced. She was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The Lemp waiters/staff were leching on her and kept staring at her legs. When one of us told one of their staff members “Aap apni aankhein please oopar rakhiye” (“Please keep your eyes up”) he replies, “Kya karoon neeche hi chali jaati hain.” (What can I do, my sight goes downwards automatically.” This happened while the cops were there. This happened while we were surrounded by the Lemp staff and their bouncer + mall management bouncers. This is why the only thing on our minds throughout was to get out of the situation safely at that point.

 

 

We have tried to keep this incident as factual as possible without mixing emotional biases or the hate we have for this place today. We have not touched on the fact that in my own country, we do not have basic rights of speech and that the law is bent at the convenience of those who dictate power at that point.

 

Here are a few reviews of Lemp on Zomato we wish we had taken seriously. One thing that is common is the arrogance and misbehaviour of the staff and being overcharged wrongly. Even the names of the managers are the same in these reviews:

2 must read reviews:

 

By a certain Nitin Bhatia who had a similar horrendous experience as ours. He was also promised things, then commitment wasn’t delivered and finally he was at the receiving of end of the staff – http://www.zoma.to/review/32812

 

By a certain Sanjiv Tyagi who left his card there, only to find out the next morning that it had been swiped at not only Lemp but other establishments too (such as the liquor store) – http://www.zoma.to/review/34265

 

A few other reviews. Click on the link to go to the full reviews:

 

 

Poor staff:

 

 

 

 

Being overcharged:

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Gurgaon Victims

Chili’s – finally some Mexican in Delhi

I’ve been thinking of writing food reviews for quite a while now & considering how much I eat, it’s not a bad idea at all! So here goes my first food review blog.
Ever since Sanchos shut down (first from south ex & then CP), Delhi is officially devoid of any good Mexican food restaurant. No, Rodeo does not qualify because it serves Dal & Paneer in it’s buffet. And as for Amigo, well a bad experience there (let’s not get into details but it involved an insect) would ensure I never go there again!
So my long wait for cheesy Tacos, Burritos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas finally ended when the American chain Chillis opened it’s shutter at the Ambience Mall in Vasant Kunj.
Firstly, the ambiance: I’d give it a high rating of 8/10 because I felt extremely comfortable there. Plenty of seating space, despite which I’m guessing they are gonna have waiting soon.
Now the Food : The Menu is well focused. In appetizers, go for their Classic Nachos- not as messy as the ones at Hard Rock Cafe(which I think are superb) but tasty in their own way. And dare not forget the Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper stack (they were almost over by the time I remembered to take the pic), the yummiest big basket of fried vegetarian appetizer I’ve had.
Classic Nachos Platter
Onion Rings & Jalapeno Pepper Stack
The drinks menu is pretty good too, they serve 4 chilled Beers in a basket for just Rs.500 & for just Rs.100 you get unlimited refills of any soft drink (diet coke, sprite etc)! That’s pretty neat i say, but forget all that & go for their Minty Melon, a mocktail that will blow your mind away, it’s so refreshing & comes in a big martini glass that looks like it belongs to a clown. Very cute :D.
Minty Melon
Now the main course, it is kind of difficult to decide but I chose the classics – Cheese & Mushroom Tacos, the Vegetable Quesadillas, Chicken Fajitas & the Crispy Honey – Chipotle Chicken Crispers. Quite a big order eh? Yes, we were 4 people and we all eat like Monsters. By the way, they give you an option of choosing your tacos Crisp or non-Crisp, I always go for the crisp ones cos, even thought it makes the food messy, it just tastes better!

The tacos were messy and delicious, they don’t go stingy on the cheese or the vegetables inside & I like that. The Quesadillas too, were made to perfection & boy, were they cheesy. Both of these dishes were served with rice & black-beans on the side, true Mexican way. The chicken, OMG the CHICKEN, it was awesome! so crispy and flavorful on the outside & juicy on the inside. The chicken is served with fries and corn-on-cob on the side. I’d actually go back there just for the chicken, no wait, actually i’d go back for a lot of things. Oh & the Fajitas were good too, I can’t write too much about them coz i just had a bite or two & I’m not a big Fajita fan. Over all, I’d give the food a high 8.5/10

Cheese & Mushroom Tacos (Crisp)
Veggie Quesadillas
The service at the place was quick & efficient, most dishes came within 10 minutes of ordering. The portions are BIG & the prices are not. The staff is well informed and makes good suggestions, I personally find that a very good thing.
One extremely wonderful thing about this restaurant is that despite having a full Bar, it still seems like a family restaurant & is very child-friendly. My second visit here was with my 3yr-old niece and the waitress was kind enough to get a baby chair along with an activity kit that contained child-safe crayons & coloring book to keep them entertained. Excellent way to attract families I say!
After visiting the place thrice, I’d strongly recommend this place. Be it for a couple of drinks with buddies, or a fulfilling meal with family after shopping, A good place to unwind!