Upmarket vegetarian restaurants in the city register a boomVegetarian restaurants are the in-thing in the city. And the testimony to this is the crowd of patrons waiting patiently for a seat at these joints, especially on weekends. According to the restaurateurs, the rise in heath consciousness has led to this new trend. "Vegetarian food is rich in energy and low in cholesterol," says Manoj Kumar, manager Ariya Nivas, Aristo Junction. Emphasising the benefits of vegetarian food is Navaneethan V, manager Arul Jyothi, Bakery Junction, "Vegetarian food is good for the body and the mind."
Accent on qualityBut more than health reasons, what draws customers to these restaurants is the variety of cuisines, piping hot food, and efficient and friendly waiters. A wide variety of vegetarian dishes ensure that customers keep returning for a all kinds of dosas and a fusion of Indo-Chinese dishes. While Arul Jyothi has nearly 150 items on the menu covering South Indian, North Indian and Chinese cuisines, Ariya Nivas offers about 200 kinds of delicacies in these three cuisines. Swagath has on offer more than 100 kinds of South Indian, North Indian, Gujarati (sans garlic) and Chinese dishes. "We also serve chat varieties and vegetarian Chinese food in our other restaurants," says Abeyson who is also the chef of `The Buddha's Delight' and `City 24x7.' `The Buddha's Delight' is, perhaps, the only Chinese restaurant that offers vegetarian food alone. `Ariya Jyothi' at Pattom has nearly 200 varieties of South Indian and Chinese dishes and also serves North Indian lunch. Although the dishes offered sound and sometimes taste the same (a dosa is a dosa is a dosa), regulars have their favourites in each place. A quick survey seems to suggest that customers of `Ariya Nivaas' and `Arul Jyothi' prefer South Indian food while `Ariya Jyothi' finds more takers for Chinese dishes. It is North Indian cuisine in the case of `Swagath,' since many of its guests are North Indians. "However, lovers of non-vegetarian food need not fret. We have a vegetarian equivalent for many popular non-vegetarian dishes," says Manoj citing Goby 65 as an example. "It tastes similar to Chicken 65," he adds.As prompt service plays an important role in ensuring a loyal clientele, most restaurants ensure that the food ordered is placed hot on the table in record time. Says Navaneethan, "The dish is prepared only after the customer makes his choice and is delivered to the table within five to 25 minutes, depending on the type of cuisine chosen."
Pleasing ambienceSince families constitute the bulk of the customers, the restaurants ensure that the ambience is neat and family-friendly. "We strive to create a familial bond with our customers. Our waiters and staff treat our customers with utmost respect and humility. We also help families in selecting the right portions," says Manoj. While rates would depend on the type of cuisine chosen, on an average a family of four can enjoy eating out for Rs.200-Rs.250.