You don’t need to read this review if you can promise to yourself not to visit this restuarant ever. If you need to know why, you may read on… I have been to Gangtok many times, and have had my meals there in many different restuarants. I generally keep my expectation from Gangtok’s restaurants at a moderate level and except “Rasoi” Restaurant on M. G. Marg, I have not paricularly disliked any restaurant in this tourist town. But even Rasoi must be cooking at least a few good meals (other than Dosa) because they get a good number of customers.
It was for lunch that I went to Apna Dhaba (Below SBI, M. G. Marg) for my first and last time. My first time became the last for two reasons: First, they spoiled my lunch on a day when I really wanted to eat a hearty meal, and second, my expectation from Apna Dhaba was higher than moderate that added to my disappointment. I thought Apna Dhaba would be better than most other Indian restaurants on M. G. Marg. After eating there, I came to know that they are the worst.
On my first visit to a particular restaurant, I generally prefer to order a Thali (Set Meal) because that way, I can sample more of their preparations. As I already said, that day I was really hungry and readily ordered their best vegetarian Thali option (I think it cost around Rs. 250, but I do not remember the exact price now). I have included a picture of that meal in this article below so one gets to see what it included.
Prominently, there was a mixed vegetable, and another curry so badly coated in red sauce (artificial food color), that one look at it was enough to dampen one’s appetite. And there was the so called Dal Makhni. I have travelled extensively in India and this was my first experience of finding Paneer cubes in Dal Makhni in a restaurant. Even when some restaurants mix ingredients from last night’s left-over food to create dishes for next day’s lunch, they don’t put Panner cubes from a curry into Dal Makhni. But Apna Dhaba did just that. I hesitently tasted this Mix-up and immediately came to know that this was no creative dish from a master chef. It was just last night’s left-over food. Dal Makhni and the scary red curry written-off, I tasted their Raita. Too much salt. I checked the rice or Pulao or whatever it was, no flavour. The Mixed vegetable curry was somewhat edible, and the plane tandoori roti was OK. The Kala Jamun was very hard, obviously stale and on the verge of going rotten. How could they charge Rs. 250 for that meal or rather, how could they even serve such a meal for whatever price? I called for the bill and found some service charge already included. They knew that no one will give them any tip so why not take a service charge per force. I took some pictures of the place and hurried out. Nothing more seemed worth writing or caring about.