There we were, sitting and eating and eating. It had been an hour since we started doing this and the end wasn’t in sight. It was 10:30pm. It had to be made worthwhile after having waited 45 minutes for a table for two. This eat-a-thon was to go on for another hour and little did I know that at the end of it I would find simply walking to the car a Herculean task!Barbeque Nation on a weekend is a riot. I had heard tales of this glorious place for champions of appetite, but there is nothing quite like experiencing one yourself. My brother-in-law and I were in Poona and we were about to find out what makes this place tick. The idea of Barbeque Nation is simple. A Rs.600 per person all-you-can-eat. Five non-veg, five veg grilled starters brought to your table on skewers. They keep doing this till you lower a tiny ‘flag’ that is kept on your table. One almost never want to admit that defeat! Then, an all-you-can-eat buffet with mains, followed by all-you-can-eat dessert. At least five varieties. Since everything on the menu is barbecued, it isn’t as heavy on the stomach as food cooked any other way would be. Eat without the bloat! Heaven – Canjun Spicy Potato. Crab. Malwani Prawns. Tangdi Kebab. Mushrooms. Fish Tikka. Chicken Something-Tasty. Dessert had Angoori Gulab Jamun, Butterscotch Mousse, Chocolate Walnut Brownie, Something-in-Tiny-Earthen-Pots. If only we had tanks for stomachs!
Anyway, it was 10:30pm. At this point the buttons of our jeans and part of the zipper had come undone – any lower and we would be in violation of public decency. The jaws had started to tire and the surface tension of our bellies was at a dangerous tautness. The forks kept working…
Then, out of nowhere the entire serving staff lined up, music flared and everyone broke into a perfectly choreographed dance! They were jumping, twirling, sliding in perfect tandem to the music. It was such a welcome break from the food. All the diners started clapping, those who could get up even joined the waiters. The whole thing lasted about 5 full minutes, after which everyone went back to serving amid a hearty applause. The gloomy mood had swung and how!
Rejuvenated, we dug in deep into our animal reserves and chugged on for another half hour. The end left us delirious with happiness, incapable of walking, and with a halo of unspoken glory at being the gluttons that we were. The walk to the car was trial by fire, the ride home an ode to the car’s suspension and walk around the building later the thing that saved us from being crushed under our own weight.
Now in Bombay, I look back to that time. And forward to the many beautiful meals to come. This city has more to offer than one man could eat in a lifetime. But the weather isn’t conducive to gluttony. There’s a vile heaviness to the air. Heavy food needs light, crisp air – the kind that isn’t so burdened with its own guilt as not to absorb your indulgence. Poona is only a bus ride away when I need indulgent weather. One day… some day soon.