Imly | Good idea gone bad!
Taking the concept of theme based restaurants to another high, we now have Imly – a train themed restaurant. Promises to serve the authentic street food of India but disappoints majorly in the food department, among others.
As a food blogger, I tend to spend a lot of time on various social media platforms, where we are constantly bombarded with inputs about exciting new eateries or various dishes/recipes etc. And off late, Imly seemed like the talk of the town.
The novel idea of creating a Food Train and taking its patrons through a gastronomical journey of India did sound very exciting. Ready to enjoy the Pan -Indian flavours, we reached Imly for an early lunch.
The train looked pretty cool and interesting from the outside. The interiors were clean and spacious, however, the standardized furniture, cutlery and the choice of music, sort of diluted my experience. The restaurant plays a dull shaky video on loop, featuring some train journeys from somewhere in European countryside. In my opinion, it would have been greatly appropriate and surely in coherence with the menu, if the video featured visuals about a journey in India and its people. But like a waiter told me, ‘India main toh sab ganda hota hai’, hence the video from abroad. And the irony being, they serve street food of India!
The staff consisted of an enthusiastic bunch of boys, who looked after each table a bit more fervently than usual (I was asked how’s the food, after each dish was served and after every first bite I took). To their credit, they replaced my drink, when I told them that it wasn’t to my liking.
To kick off the meal, we were served complementary Amouse Bouche – Sev Puri. The crunchy sev, garnished on top of a mixture of mint chutney, saunth, boiled potatoes, coriander and chilli on a puri, was really tasty. I was happy to start my meal on a yummy note and finally felt a bit at ease, with the ongoing shenanigans inside the train.
I ordered for Ragda Pattice, Mango Banta and Masala Tawa Pulao.
The Mango Banta looked very appealing, however, it tasted too sweet for my liking. The ratio of Mango syrup was so strong that it overpowered the soda and left a mango toffee like aftertaste in my mouth. When the staff realised I didn’t like the drink much, they replaced it with Kokum Banta, which was much better than the Mango Flavour. The sweetness was well balanced with soda and masala and I very well enjoyed this one. Though I really wish my original choice could have lived up to my expectation.
Then, Ragda Pattice arrived on our table. I was very excited for this dish, as the staff had told me that they have especially got their chefs from various regions of India to give the food an authentic touch. Varun Puri (the owner) also informed me that he has managed to get chefs from Mumbai, to reproduce only the best quality of food for Delhiites. But to my disappointment, the amount of Pattice in Ragda Pattice was minuscule and so were the sauces. All I could taste was matar (ragda), which also wasn’t seasoned evenly. I couldn’t even finish this dish, as I didn’t want to eat so much of bland ragda.
Masala Tawa Pulao, the popular street food dish from Mumbai, followed this. A fusion of fried rice and pav bhaji masala, the dish has been an indigenous invention of the local vendors in Mumbai. As it became hugely popular amongst college students, everyone else in Mumbai embraced this fusion food with unquestionable amount of love. At Imly, it was served with Raita. The portion was good and the presentation was neat. It tasted fine, though it lacked any extraordinary flavour, that would make me want to order this again. Perhaps this preparation of dish can be enjoyed, when you have nothing else to eat and you’re not in the mood to cook either. However, my friend who has had this dish, on the Mithibhai College road, enjoyed it and managed to finish it without much of my help.
Then the staff insisted we try the Dosa-the Imly way, their hottest selling dish. Before we could make up our mind, the dosa had already arrived. The Dosa was cut and filled with cheese, capsicum and onion with regular masala. Served along with Sambar, Coconut, tomato chutney, there was another surprising element to it. They had served Imly and Ginger chutney, which was the most innovative condiment from the entire meal. I absolutely loved the flavours of this chutney. However, the cheese filled dosa was an odd combination with sambar or coconut chutney. I enjoyed having the dosa by itself. If you’re a cheese fanatic, this is a must have. Though you may want to skip the chutney and sambar paraphernalia all together.
Right about when we were feeling drowsy, due to the onslaught of cheese, Rabri par Bundi was served. The hot dessert served in a jar (too many desserts are being served in a jar these days) was a combination of Rabri and Bundi. Both the desserts are quite sweet on their own. You combine them together and you end up with a jar full of sugar. People trying to watch their weight, stay away from this! Don’t even think about a cheat day with this, as it might take about week to get over this.
I’d be honest and say I didn’t enjoy the food much. But I liked the fact that they are doing whatever they can to make their customers happy. They have taken a challenge to host such a vast menu.
I just feel that their attention to detail in food and ambience isn’t as well thought out, as the place deserves. Little things that really count have been left unnoticed. I would have enjoyed a visual trip of Indian countryside in the video, rather than a phoney one showcasing European countryside. I would have loved to sit on a blue or maroon colour leather sofa, which would simulate the feeling of sitting in a train, than sitting on a regular chair. I would have enjoyed listening to that silly instrumental music so characteristic of Rajdhanis, than some random song. And most importantly, I would have loved to have food that wasn’t just a mere reflection of how it should be.
To conclude, I felt the whole effort to be half hearted. I would not have asked for better service or ambience if only the food was exceptional. Sadly, that didn’t happen either.
I paid my bill of Rs 371 and left, to fend for some flavoursome food, that I love eating and love going back to, again and again.