Set in the midst of the beautiful campus of Jesus and Mary College, lies the major crowd attracting, jam packed place, full of sounds of hustle bustle coming from ladies of different streams as they ogle at the gigantic Coke menu display of the “College Canteen”.
Yes, this is the place where it’s hard to step foot in during the lunch break time, which lasts less than 25 minutes, and generally stays comparatively full to accommodate a good set of about 100 approx seating. The only food resort at such economic prices gives the girls a good munch or two, as they shuffle between lectures, free time and a hungry tummy!
The place got a makeover last year, seeing a change in the core management and an installed Coke sponsorship, which is easily visible as the new food display board boasts of numerous options of both food and beverage to attract a larger audience.
However, most of the items displayed on the board are either not available or sold out. Out of the available options, the hot favorite among students are the Honey chilli Cauliflower and noodles, which to my taste buds are a bit too much on the chilli side, making them necessary to top up this order with a cup of Nestle Iced tea or Cold coffee. For a sumptuous meal, the top picks are Pao Bhaji, Chole Bhature, Rajma Chawal and Dosa. Rajma Chawal can definitely be starred as a constant winner, for it never disappoints, however Pao Bhaji has mixed reviews, and Dosa’s chutney could surely be improved. But for a price ranging between Rs 35-40, these options aren’t a bad deal at all. The biggest disappointment that I tasted was Pasta with Garlic Bread. I ordered the same, hoping to get something worthwhile, but to my shock it wasn’t pasta at all but macaroni combined with two pieces of roasted “pao” buns. Now, really?! That’s what I kept asking myself as I tried to gulp a few bites of this supposedly good dish. Apart from these usual food items, there have been new additions of packed burgers and pizzas, where both are edible, only if you’re really hungry. Else you can give it a miss.
The magic trick that everyone loves to indulge in are the fun flip chips and other packed junk which costs merely 5-10 bucks. The unconventionally different beverage which was recently introduced is fruit beer, which is a popular option to get a hand on, especially in the head burning heat. The other favorite is the Bhelpuri stall, which is set up on the opposite side of the cash counter, serving Bhelpuri, Sev puri and other mouth watering chaat options. I totally loved the Sev puri, and would love to go back again and again for the same, even though it is priced in equivalence of major food items, in the category of Rs 35-40, which is a bit strange to understand.
Overall, the canteen has pushed itself above its prior standards and raised the bar, but still lacks on major grounds of variety in both food as well as beverages. The place could be painted with lighter colors to remove the “dingy” look, and the service speed could be improved to serve all and avoid an unnecessary large crowd which includes pushing people and getting agitated for not getting food and waiting forever. Also, to add to the basic option of aerated drinks and packaged drinks, there can be an inclusion of a fresh juice and milk shake stall, providing economic healthy options to the students. However, keeping these few things in mind, the canteen surely surpasses the level that generally University college canteens maintain, and is a liked option by the neighboring college students of Maitreyi, as compared to their own canteen. Thus, by adding little yard steps, the college canteen can surely become self sufficient to provide a happy shelter to students as they recharge themselves for the remaining part of the day.
By-Ayushi Teotia, Foodie Correspondent