Vis­it­ing an old favourite in the city

Mail Today - - SPOTLIGHT -

BASIL & THYME is one of the bless­ings we can count on our fin­ger­tips in a city that is fast los­ing whatever it had rea­sons to be proud of. For 25 years, the restau­rant, started by Delhi’s grande dame of fine food, Bhickoo Manek­shaw, and her son-in-law Su­nil Chan­dra (ex-Oberoi) at the old San­tushti Shop­ping Ar­cade in the neigh­bour­hood of the Prime Min­is­ter’s Res­i­dence, has been serv­ing tra­di­tional ‘Con­ti­nen­tal’ fare tweaked slightly to suit the Delhi palate. It was the only restau­rant that did not open for din­ner be­cause Chan­dra wanted to turn his back on a typ­i­cal hote­lier's non-stop work­ing day. Field Mar­shal Sam Manek­shaw's sis­ter Bhickoo Manek­shaw was a favourite of Indira Gandhi and also of gen­er­a­tions of din­ers who re­lated to her un­der­stand­ing of that mys­te­ri­ous uni­verse known as ‘Con­ti­nen­tal’ food. Chan­dra, mean­while, brought with him the high ser­vice stan­dards of

The Oberoi that his staff ef­fort­lessly in­ter­nalised.

Basil & Thyme, as a re­sult, be­came fa­mous for its con­sis­tently good food and warmth of ser­vice.

Cir­cum­stances forced the restau­rant to re­lo­cate to Sun­der Na­gar Mar­ket, but I was de­lighted to see that not only has it re­tained its core clien­tele — old bu­reau­crats and em­bassy of­fi­cials — but also kept up the stan­dards that have de­fined it over the years.

The sump­tu­ous Chicken Crois­sant is one of the old favourites at Basil & Thyme.

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