Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Central Court Hotel Delhi - Nirulas Potpourri

Central Court Hotel, New Delhi - Nirulas Potpourri

central court hotel new delhi nirulas potpourri connaught circus placeRecently, I went for dinner with friends at the newly opened Nirulas Potpourri Restaurant in N-Block, Connaught Circus. It is situated on the 1st floor where the previous Safari, Kohinoor and Shangrila restaurant of Central Court Hotel once existed. The evening turned out to be a major trip down memory lane as I reminisced about the wonderful times I had spent there with my grandfather.

The Safari restaurant used to be decorated with large murals of horses and hunting trips while the other restaurants were dimly lit and mysterious. There were huge pillars and the staircase turned anti clockwise. We used to sit at a table at the stage in front and order ice cream or Campa Cola. My grandfather used to tell me stories of the good old days when Central Court Hotel was a residence for British officers.

central court hotel new delhi nirulas potpourri connaught circus placeNirulas Potpourri is by contrast a newly renovated brightly lit modern restaurant. I noticed that some of the pictures at the other Nirulas Restaurant in Connaught Place have been transported here. The pillars and paintings of horses were gone. Arches separate the three old restaurants that have been merged together. The old winding staircase has been broken down and made to turn clockwise while the windows now offer a great view of Connaught Place. Lucky bamboo plants have been placed around in true Feng Shui style.

We ordered some Tandoori food - Rotis, Naans, Rogan Josh and some other dishes. The food was good but not as good as the food I had tasted in the old Central Court Hotel decades ago. The waiter at Nirulas Potpourri told me that after the old owner died, the place had been leased out to Nirulas. Nirulas has also changed hands. A Malaysian guy bought it from the original Indian owners. He is paying Rs. 850,000 per month as rent for the place.

Life can either be accepted or changed. If it is not accepted, it must be changed. If it cannot be changed, then it must be accepted. "

Sometimes, I wish things never have to change. But they do and most of the time it is for the better. Have you ever visited places or eating joints that you frequented in the past ? How has the experience been?


  1. Hi CK!Long break ,huh?:))
    Good old days = British officers were around!!!Hmm..!;D
    Nah can't tell you.I haven't been to India in a long time.One restaurant I would like to visit again is the revolving restaurant in Matterhorn,Switzerland.Loved it.May be one day:))

  2. My first job as a Food and Beverage Supervisor after graduating in 1990 was @ Nirula's @ CP (opposite super bazzar). It is sad to know that since the Jr. Nirula's did not take interest in the venture, it had to be sold. Deepak and Lalit (Nirula) had their blood sweat out in bringing up the chain. It will be almost a yr now that the take over took place. I'll visit (on my next trip to India) to see what is the quality of food served there now, after take over.

  3. The Taj Mahal Hotel in Secunderabad for its thali that used to cost a princely sum of 9 rupees then. It still costs Rs. 30 or so.
    Suprisingly, the ambience has changed, and its not as clean as it used to be, but the warmth remains, and i soo hope it remains that way!

  4. Hi Asha - Was really busy with work plus my home internet connection went kaput.

    The hotel was popular and did brisk business in pre and post independent India - hence the 'good old days'. Later on it became a quiet joint where journalists working in CP used to hang out for lunch.

    Sifar - I had no idea it had been a year. The quality of food and service is pretty much the same as most of the staff from the previous Nirulas has been retained.

    How do we know - Wish to visit Secunderabad sometime.

  5. I think I should visit there.But I wont eat with fork or knives ,I will eat with my hands only.Using of Forks and knives dont give me satisfaction of eating :)

  6. hmmm malaysian?? looking awesome!!
    i want u to take me to that restaurant when i visit Delhi aqgain :)))
    kitty-chan that quote means sooo much to me :)
    thank u veery much!!

  7. Ate @ Nirula's @ East of Kailash in 2000 (on a visit to India) and the quality was not even close to what I used to manage in 1990. Hopefully it didnot fall any further....

  8. Change for the sake of change is not a good thing, I believe.

    Somehow, it is only here in Indian sub-continent that we like not to preserve old buildings and decor, it seems.

    In Europe, they preserve their heritage over hundreds of years.

  9. Ah, the Central Court Hotel, this "old India hand"'s favorite haunt! Who can forget the "old west" mural in the Central Court's version of a coffee shop, with the large horse buttock facing the slurping diners! The hotel had a nice, slightly run-down feel to it, but it was one of the very good New Delhi cheapies that travelers love, and return to time and again. I know. I did!

  10. Ah . . . the good ol' Central Court Hotel, with its mural of a large horse's buttock facing the slurping diners in the hotel's version of a coffee shop with a faux western theme! What a nice, seedy ol' hotel to give the parsimonious traveler a place to lay the head in the heart of New Delhi. I stayed there many-a-time from 1974 through the 90's, when I shifted to the Imperial or Nirula's (to be nearby "Kake Da Hotel" and the "21 Flavors" ice cream parlor and the New Delhi fast crowd.) But the Central Court was a real gem! I miss it!

  11. u know they have got the bar liscense now.... last time we went no drinks were served wht boring food... anyway now its cool we can go again...


We'd love to hear from you. Please post a comment below to let us know what you think!