This week when I received the invite for a Zomato meet up, I decided not to miss it. I planned my day in a manner that I would reach Nehru Place before 7 pm. The meet was at Benihana which is a Japanese Teppanyaki place. I haven’t tried Japanese cuisine because I live with someone who cringes at the thought of sushi or raw fish and has a lot of misconceptions about it. So, I was very, very glad that the invite was only for me and I was not allowed to bring anyone else. I also wondered what am supposed to do at this food meetup without my companion and driver/bodyguard (though he may or may not drive and don’t know how good he is in the guarding-the-body department). I mean, am I actually supposed to TALK to the other people there? Really? Seriously? Talk to strangers? Who does THAT?
I ended up having a pretty good time with some amazing food, awesome chefs, very nice people from Zomato and lots of fun people. Now, I know why am un-social, it isn’t me at all… it is the people around me. I am just not hanging out with the right crowd.
Kidding. The 2 friends that I have- don’t leave me, please
Benihana is unlike any place I have been to. You sit around a table and the chef cooks the main course in front of you and he/she entertains you with jugglery, jokes, magic and what not. How cool is that!!!
I do realize that the pictures are terrible and I promise to use the DSLR for pictures from today onwards. I also promise to hone (learn) my non-existent DSLR skills. Please bear with me.
The interiors are amazing. I couldn’t even imagine that such a great place could be right next to the crowded Nehru Place metro station.
That is a whole lot of food and I couldn’t do justice to it. The white wine went perfectly with the food and I kept drinking till I had a nice buzz in my head. Which equals to 2 glasses for me. Anymore and I can become a social embarrassment- more than regular, I mean.
We had lots and lots and lots of different kinds of sushi- veg as well as non veg. But all of them had cooked meat/fish, so no worries.
That looks like a lot of effort went into making it.
Thai vegetables crispy cup
Deep fried crispy sake marinated river fish
That is our super cute chef. At this stage my phone was on low battery and I needed it to book a cab so I don’t have too many pictures of the funnest part of the evening.
Dessert- banana tempure and cheesecake dumplings with ice cream
Akanksha- community manager at Zomato, told me that the objective of these meets is to get people to interact with each other and create a Zomato community. I am too cynical to believe this makes a difference but when I was thinking about it last night and wondering why I write reviews on Zomato and not anywhere else… I realised that maybe that makes sense.
Tripadvisor offers free Jet miles for every review but I hardly write reviews there. Why? Because I don’t like their cluttered layout and for me, it is just a website to write reviews which people may or may not read. With Zomato, I get points which makes me move to higher levels. That is a big motivation. It isn’t about how many people follow me or like a review or picture. I want to be considered an “expert” in certain areas of Delhi NCR when it comes to food. Not because I know food but because I do eat out a lot.
Also, getting recommendations on Zomato is easier. I only follow people who live and hence, eat in areas I would go to. I would never follow someone who only tries places in East Delhi just to get a follow back. I know why am using Zomato and nothing is going to make me follow a popular foodie in Noida. Unless he/she works in Gurgaon and hence, reviews places in my city.
But yes, Zomato has been a slow mover and not yet grabbed opportunities to get people to check in and start online ordering. The good news is that other apps/websites like foursquare; now swarm and food panda are struggling. Like, I can never understand why you don’t get freebies or even a call from a restaurant when you become a mayor on swarm at a certain place.
Mayor is when you have visited the restaurant maximum number of times compared to anyone else. Meaning- you are a regular and loyal customer.
If I was running a restaurant, I would want to know who my regulars are. This is one thing missing in Zomato. You cannot find out who the regulars are because you just write a review once. And edit it a few months later incase the experience is different.
Ok… so, this is becoming a 1000 words wala post and I should shut up now. But I have to say this- it was great coming across people who understand, love and use social media. Those who are in between the I-am-too-cool-to-use and understand-social-media or I-use-facebook-to-whitewash my sad life-and show people am happy and spamming-people-with-sponsored posts-on-facebook. I think the first ones are like old people who scorn at new technology but secretly want to learn it, wish the second kind would drop dead and hope the third kind would use a different account to make money out of social media.
I am looking forward to my next invite.
And yes… I am going to drag KC along to Benihana for the awesome and different food experience.
Yes… the food was free…. Yes… the liquor was free flowing…. And Yes… the views are still mine and unbiased. I can’t lie even if I tried to. And Yes… I am going back to Benihana and paying for a meal there… soon