Growing up as a child in 1990s in North India, I was addicted to comic books. Diamond comic’s brand of wisecracks were my favorite. While entertaining us, the comics also ensured there was something for the kids to take back as a lesson. Pran, the most famous comic legend was a universal favorite. Who could forget that everytime Sabu gets angry, a volcano exploded somewhere far. And of course, Chacha Chowdhury’s brain always worked faster than a computer in an age when most didn’t even know what a computer was. I always wondered how Billu managed to see the world with all the excess hair hiding his eyes. And Pinki’s cool escapades always made you feel bad about your own childhood. Dhruv, Bankelal and Nagraj would make the boys want to grow up and be like them.
So popular the comic culture was in the good old 90s that I opened a summer library for the kids in my colonies! I put up posters in our club to advertise and charged 50 paise to ‘not so close friends’ and 25 paise to ‘very close friends’. I meant serious business and my first earning was Rs. 21 in that season.
Something changed in between. I grew up, the idea of a volcano exploding somewhere triggered by someone’s anger seemed ridiculous. I didn’t even try to eat enough almonds to make my mind work faster than a computer (I like being average). And though I did grow my hair long, but I never grew it so long that it covers my eyes and touches my nose. And then I almost forgot all of it until I stepped into the restaurant creatively christened – ‘What A Comic Show’ at S.D.A. market near I.I.T. Delhi gate.
The restaurant owner, perhaps driven by nostalgia of Indian and international comics, came up with a comic themed restaurant. As you take stairs for the 2nd floor restaurant, the collage of comic characters welcome you setting the tone for rest of the evening. You can’t help but stop and admire and lose yourself in plethora of comic book memories, almost forgetting the purpose of your visit until you realize you are blocking the passage of other patrons.
As I entered the restaurant, the comic posters and graffiti grew in size and became larger than life. It is every kid’s (And an overgrown kid’s) dream come true. It’s fun to spot one’s favourite comic characters amongst the mélange of visuals which screamed ‘nostalgia’ from the walls.
Once my childlike excitement settled down, I ordered a plate of basil steamed momo, Veg Shabalay, Veg steamed momo and savoured it over some chilled beer and later green tea. The basil flavoured momo was lightly flavoured with basil and was innovative. Veg Shabalay was a clear winner though. A lightly spicy filling stuffed in a fried patty was served with sauces. I had never before heard it’s name or tasted anything like this. Though I wish there were more variety in momo for vegetarians.
I particularly loved the presentation of the way they served tea. A ceramic kettle arrived, sitting over a cup and saucer. They looked like a single piece until I realized that it’s a ‘two-in-one.’ By the way, their menu also had comic book motifs and designs. In fact one of the menu was shaped like Bat man.
I sat with other friends in a corner on Sofas instead of table and chair. The setting made me feel like home and yet exotic. I am sure when I visit it next I would choose the same seat.
I have been told the place decks up during the festival of Halloween, what with Halloween characters giving you surprises every now and then and making your evening fun. Seems like a must visit place on 31stth October. The place also holds screening of sports matches. In fact a screen was playing a match when I was sitting there. There is a balcony with flower planters where smokers can smoke in peace. Even if you are not a smoker it’s a pleasant place to have a conversation over a cuppa, especially during rains, and I am imagining winters. They also have a sit out area in the balcony.
A casual dining space, with cool interiors and good food, it’s a perfect place to meet friends, date, hold casual business meetings, talk events etc. Just in case you are around on Friday and Saturday, check out the live acoustic musical nights. You can check about their contact, address, menu, events etc here
Note : I was invited by the restaurant for the ongoing momo festival.
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