There are 3 food fests that I know of that are happening in NCR this weekend and I have been to two of both. Here are my two cents on them.
- The Ten Heads Festival
Named such because of Ravana- the fictional demon who had ten heads. Remember? No? Ok. Doesn’t matter. It is at Dhanchiri Camp just near the erstwhile toll. I rushed to the fest on Thursday afternoon because my company or rather I, on behalf of my company, tied up with a brand to sample our new launch at the fest. It is on from 22nd-25th Oct from 12 noon to 10 pm. It has food stalls and bands playing in the evening. Sounds perfect, right? Except, it isn’t. I remember how barren Haryana is at such moments and what makes it different from Delhi. The whole area is sandy and not very convenient to walk on in heels (ok, ok, my bad. I shouldn’t have donned my highest pair of heels). On Thursday at 2 pm, the stalls were still setting up which is very odd because we paid 300 bucks/person for entry. Why are you charging people for entry when everything is not even set up? Needless to say, we left without eating anything. The bands playing were/are Lucky Ali, Badshah and Indian Ocean. Apart from Badshah (because this is NCR), I don’t see anyone else being able to pull crowds.
The outlets that I saw were Beer Cafe, Bottoms Up, Costa Coffee etc. I don’t think there were too many premium food places.
I am avoiding this fest next time it happens. Not worth it.
- The Grub Fest
This is at Ambience Lawns, 1.2 km from Ambience Mall, next to the golf course. We took an Uber because parking can be a mess in Gurgaon.
First problem- being asked to pay 50 bucks for getting dropped off at the entrance. Very strange because we came across many boards pointing to an Uber drop off/pick up point. I don’t mind paying 10 bucks for a drop off and only because my new office building has this weird rule but 50 bucks? What is wrong with organisers? Being a Sindhi, I refused to pay and the parking guy had no option but to let us go. His point was that the cab driver would park without paying which is so stupid. It is an Uber, it does not wait or park.
Second problem- We booked tickets online on some site called near buy because Grub Fest has tied up with them. I got a message with the order ID. Instead of being let in basis the order ID, I had to go to the tickets counter, stand in a queue and show them the email that I had not received from near buy. Whatever happened to technology and going paperless? And why has Grub Fest tied up with near buy instead of bookmyshow? To cut a long story short, it took the guys 10 mins to figure out how to give my booked ticket. 10 minutes despite booking online!!! Sad.
The Grub Fest is definitely better than The Ten Heads and with better restaurants participating. I came across Leela, Sodabottleopenerwala, Olive, Mamagoto, Karim’s, Fat Lulu’s etc. The only question is – why would I eat at Sodabottleopenerwala or Olive or Mamagoto at the fest when I can just go their outlets in Gurgaon? I would rather try the places which are not in Gurgaon.
They have Nikhil Chinapa and Vir Das’s Alien Chutney playing among others.
We went to Social which has an outlet at Hauz Khas and it was quite quirky. I had the kala khatta loaded goli banta which had vodka. They had run out of the non alcoholic one, KC had LIT and we ordered the hash brown chaat.
We went looking for Chinese and had dumplings at Mamagoto. I have eaten plenty of times here and I don’t know what they were smoking last night because the dumplings were terrible. So terrible that we didn’t even eat a piece. To cheer ourselves up, we headed to Leela for a dessert and had the citrus pana cotta which was decent.
All in all, we were underwhelmed by Grub Fest. Though it is a good place to hangout in the open (very sandy and brown grass) with drinks and friends as long as you are not there for the food. And I am always there for the food. I will definitely skip this fest next year. The crowd was decent though and we didn’t face any safety issues.
The 3rd fest is Asian Hawkers’ fest at Selectcitywalk mall which I have to miss because KC is grumpy (more grumpy than his usual self) after the above experiences.
I am still working on convincing him so all is not lost. Hang out peeps
I loved The Palate Festival last year at Nehru Park and none of these fests match up to it. Nehru Park is green and non-sandy. It did not have an entry fee and there was a good mix of 5 star restaurants and the 3 star ones. If you haven’t been to Palate Fest, you will like Grub Fest.