Nothing is more important than family – work, the people you meet, or the people you call friends. So when it is family dinner time, you go to a place selected by the collective hive-mind hoping better judgement will prevail next time. Nonetheless, dinner time is only about the food and the company. Within these parameters, while the company is something one can make do with, below average food is not something to settle for. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where Twenty9 by Piccadily loses the plot.
It’s All About the Location
Situated next to Janakpuri District Center, the location of the hotel is quite convenient by twenty-year-old standards when traffic congestion used to be perhaps one-tenth of what it is today. However, that is not something that the hotel can be faulted for, just their luck. The seating, layout, the decor, etc. are all quite nice and spacious. However, a lack of clear focus on the menu style is quite evident. North Indian, Mediterranean and the ubiquitous “Continental” words appear in the description of the menu. Fortunately, Piccadily has refrained from going for a dimly lit space, as is the norm at most fine-dine restaurants in city hotels today.
With the surroundings surveyed, twenty of us (yes, that’s a big family) placed ourselves around the dinner table. A less appreciated, nice thing about Twenty9 is that the staff doesn’t hassle you much. To some, it may seem like they (the staff) couldn’t care less and are laggard in servicing the guests. But give those guys a little break, people, they work really hard all day for meagre pay.
The Food at Twenty9
Moving on to the food. The well laid out Indian buffet (1399++ per head) at Twenty9 has starters and soups occupying a corner, of which the chicken soup wasn’t ethereal, but fairly balanced in flavours as compared to the vegetarian option. There’s a certain amount of emphasis on paneer in the menu, which is probably a deference to the patrons, most of whom seem to hail from the sometimes overwhelming Punjabi neighbourhood in Janakpuri. Keeping that same point in mind, there is a golgappa counter as well which seemed to draw a lot of attention from local as well as foreign guests of the hotel. Grilled non-vegetarian fare, however, isn’t the kitchen’s strong point. The fish was overdone and squishy, while the Chicken Tikkas were dried out, both dishes devoid of any real flavours of the meat or the spices.
The mains offer a decent amount of choice between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, however, the fixation with paneer continues in the vegetarian options. Dal Makhni, Dal Dhaba, Chicken Korma and one more paneer dish (the name of which I can’t recall) were just about average with underwhelming flavours. Hyderabadi Biryani and Mutton Curry raised a few hopes to rescue the evening, but alas, nothing to write home about there either. However, surprisingly enough, the mutton was cooked to perfection, a feat which is rarely seen even at some of the most celebrated restaurants.
A Disappointing Affair
Other than the well-cooked mutton, the only other interesting thing is the name Twenty9. The restaurant derives that name due to the copper lined ceiling and 29 is the atomic number of copper in the periodic table. Apart from that factoid, when it comes to the food, the overall score for Twenty9 is a dismal 2.5 out of 5 for the lack of flavours. However, if one were to consider the simple finding perfectly cooked mutton, that score gets bumped up to 3 out of 5 for the sheer rarity of such an event.
If you are in the neighbourhood of Janakpuri, and want to spend a rather hassle-free evening with the family over some very average food, Twenty9 may prove to be a good choice. However, there are many more (and better) options a little further down the same road in Rajouri Garden.