Run of The Mill

The Food Mill is on the second floor of the Powerhouse Building in Hauz Khas village, home to several other eateries. The glass doors lead you into a medium space, done up in an industrial manner complete with work signs, walls done up in cement blocks and bricks, and the servers dressed in boiler suits. One side is dominated by the open (albeit glass-enclosed) kitchen, the other by a bar counter. The one jarring note literally is the music, unless of course you like Peter Andre and other anomalies best left in the '90s.

The menu is indeed industrial, in that it's all over the place. The restaurant seems to suffer from the same affliction that plagues so many others of its ilk, that of multiple personality disorder. So you have everything from sandwiches to pasta to pizza to sizzlers to alarmingly schizophrenic starters and main course sections. To avoid flying over the cuckoo's nest, we decide to skip starters and just stick to the main course. So that no one in the multi-cultural farmyard feels left out, we order an Italian Piri Piri chicken, Northeastern Pork with Bamboo Shoot, Steamed Rice, Sauce and Salad (a rather uninformative alliteration) and a generic Tenderloin Sizzler. The chicken comes first, we don't know what happened to the egg; a desi murga if there ever was one. The spiciness of the dish is characteristic of deghi mirch rather than piri piri, the African Bird's eye chili. Though the breast and the leg are both off the fowl, as it were, both are different kinds of meat, each requiring individualised treatment, which they usually don't get. As a result the flesh is overdone to varying degrees, the leg beating the breast in rubberiness. However, one can't fault the restaurant of inconsistency as the other two dishes are equally strenuous exercises in mastication. The pork is flavored with akhuni (fermented soy bean paste) and accompanied by a fiery chutney and steamed rice. Despite its apparently inherent chewiness, the pork is well flavoured, though its pungent flavour might not be to everyone's taste which is something the restaurant should clarify, instead of employing simplistic literary devices. The beef is just unfortunate, the fully flavourless fried rice accompanying it even more so. Ultimately, the food is a lesson in the dangers of superficiality. Though well-plated with a fair visual appeal, the paucity of flavours and the generosity of heat, result in all the dishes going back half-eaten, making us feel guilty for loading the dishwashers. The recession in taste makes us unwilling to invest in dessert and pull out our resources and selves out of the restaurant. This particular industrial unit is in need of some major culinary overhaul.

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