The restaurants at the end of the universe
If the past, present and future of every civilization are characterized by the how, why and where; R would be borderline where. While most afternoons here are spent pondering ‘Where to have lunch today?’, a few are also spent wondering ‘Why we even bother to check the mess food?’. However, the ultimate question for almost every inhabitant here still remains ‘Which book to use as an icebreaker in parties when trying to chat with the opposite sex?’
The sole purpose of this guide’s existence is to serve as an answer to this question. For reasons not limited to establishing authority, we shall also make an attempt to cover the other, more trivial, things.
By now, we have already established that IIT R is big. No, not space- big. Not even KGP-big. We are probably peanuts to either. But we are big enough. What this means is that we can afford to spend ludicrous amounts of land to serve as vast green spaces (stepping on which might get you shot), to start endless construction projects promising inhabitants the juicy insides of a McChicken, or to serve as offering to the winning team of the annual Inter IIT.
While life goes on inside, it thrives outside the campus. We began with the dilemma students face to decide which restaurant to have lunch in. This is not because we have a lot of options, but mainly because there is very little differentiating either. If you want to have, say, Italian or Continental or Mongolian-African-American -extra-spicy, well, forget it. However, if you wish to treat yourself with a little paneer or chana-masala, well, here you go…
The restaurants that exist outside the campus to serve as places to eat other than the mess and
the canteens, offer very little for too much. In all this, perhaps the tea point by the side of the bus stand would be your second best option. The best, of course, would be the guy you think you know who just came back from home with a really heavy backpack.
So, you can try the following places, just for a change:
The ultimate destination for nearly all of IITR junta seeking plain-vegetarian, budget-friendly meals. Their recipe of Paneer Butter Masala is a well-guarded secret. Legend says that once a dog discovered their recipe by accident. A few eyebrows were raised when soon after hot dogs were included in their menu.
When people can’t get into Prakash, they go to Sagar. Period.
(PS: Sagar does serve a really good Club Sandwich, which tastes even better after its depressingly slow service.).
RP (Royal Palace)
Situated near Century Gate, Royal Palace is yet another Chapo point for IITR junta. Known for its dim ambience and excess oil in anything with gravy, RP is one of those places where you go when you are large in number. The place hardly looks like a palace, but it surely costs like one. The food is good, but the bill burns a hole in most pockets.
It is an ideal place for potential love birds. You can eat here without the fear of finding your single friends around, partly because they are single and partly because it’s so damn expensive. But if you’re someone who doesn’t care much about materialistic things like money, Olive is where you can gorge on some good quality paneer, chicken and pasta around Roorkee.
Another potential snuggling spot. A longish walk from the campus, CCD is the go to place when you have had too many dates at Olive or when you have loads of money to burn. Although whatever Nescafe may say, a lot does not happen over coffee.
It was only last year that Pizza Hut realized the growing stature of Roorkee and decided that they could no longer ignore it the way McDonalds does. The result of this epiphany is an occasionally crammed Pizza Hut Delivery outlet located near Olive. Turning Dominos’ pizza joint monopoly into a duopoly, Pizza Hut is another place that makes you grateful for having that worn out IITR Icard which guarantees you magical discounts all around Roorkee.
The person hired for writing restaurant reviews was fired at this point, when it was learnt that
he was - no disrespect intended - a lowly, lifeless geek. The reviews after this were continued by
stoner follower of Lord Shiva, who like most followers of Lord Shiva, is perennially broke. It
isn’t a coincidence that Lord Shiva dressed in animal skin while other Gods had more jewelry on
than a Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri model. Anyway, these will help you a lot on days when your
wallet has more air than a packet of Lays.
Jain Uncle ki dukaan
This small shack is barely visible amidst all the smoke of the (unofficially
dubbed) Sutta Point. But if you do find it, it is going to help your broke ass a lot in the next 4
years. It dishes out hot and edible food starting from Rs. 12 for a dish (with unlimited refills)
and Rs. 3 for a roti. This is the place you eat at after you give that hot chick a chapo at Olive.
Downside - You’ll have rickshaw- wallahs and manual labourers as other patrons. That doesn’t do much for ambience.
Upside - Jain uncle, being the noble soul that he is, will probably let you eat on credit. This humble writer has had a balance of almost a 1000 bucks at the place, without once hearing a complaint.
Finding Tintin by yourself is a mammoth task, even Christopher Columbus couldn’t find it.
Located in an unassuming house in a remote corner of the remote place that Roorkee is, no one
even remotely beats Tintin’s mushroom burger. What it lacks in the form of ambience it makes
up for with its reasonable prices.
This one lies at the end of a long narrow lane in Civil Lines (which will remind you of the
Mombasa chase sequence in Inception) which is ingeniously utilised by the Roorkee junta for
guess what? Yeah, smoking again. Anyway, this is another low cost option you’ll explore when
it’s the end of the month and you’re on your last few rupees. The price range is similar to
hostel canteens though the preparation is better. Especially the Alloo Parathas with fresh
Downside - Getting through the narrow lane.
Upside - Cheap food.
Sardarji ki dukaan (aka Bus-T, the T being for terminal it is presumed)
The fact that this is the only place open at 3 am in the morning should be enough to make this
your favourite place in Roorkee. On top of that, it serves what is probably the best Maggi in Roorkee, complete with butter floating on top.
Downside - Dragging your stoned self all the way to the bus stand since there are no rickshaws that late at night.
Upside - Munchies.
This one is the Mona Lisa of Chicken shacks in Roorkee. No one really loves it but everyone
visits it for the historical value. Don’t get us wrong. The chicken there is good but not very
different from what you’ll get at Food Point or New Food Point (which your seniors will know
as Sizzlers) without having to go into the smelly streets of Old Roorkee.
Downside - A 100 rupee rickshaw fare.
Upside - An Afghani Chicken that is so loaded with cream that you’ll smell of it for the next 5 days.
The many Kathi Roll shacks just outside the Century Gate of IITR are outnumbered only by the plethora of options they have on their menu. A quick fix to your hunger, these rolls have the most succulent bites of paneer, veggies and chicken, with some delightful sauces. Take your pick!
It would be a misnomer to call Desi Tadka a restaurant, thanks to food being served out of a van to eager diners sitting out in the open, driven to angst by a long wait for their turn, ridden with mosquitos and hunger. However, with generous portions of the best chicken and paneer dishes in town and a free bottle of your favourite cold drink, all you can say is ‘worth it!’ while you lick your fingers to get the hit of that brilliant gravy one last time.