Visiting an old favourite in the city
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.