Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

15 March 2008

Venerable local institution #1

Embassy Restaurant:
Even if you aren't familiar with Shimla, the location is not hard to find. Let us assume you are on the Mall. Say, somewhere opposite the Town Hall. Now turn to your left. Yes, that road which leads towards Gaiety Theatre & further onward. Walk past Trishul Bakery. (No, you mustn't look in - after all, your destination is Embassy!). Past Gaindamull. Past Sher-E-Punjab (another local institution now sadly gone to seed). Ignore the turn-off for Lower Bazaar. Keep walking! Keep walking! You are now near Combermere.
A little beyond, lies Embassy.
This little restaurant makes possibly the best mutton chops in India (naturally, in my humble opinion!). Actually, the owner calls them mutton chops, but they are more like deep-fried mutton cutlets with a crispy coating of some sort. Most likely of corn-flakes. Whatever be the combination, there's nothing like sharing a hot, crispy chop with a friend on a nippy evening!
I also like their tomato soup. It's thick, but not too thick. It's slightly sweet, a little sour, moderately peppery (by Indian standards) and piping hot. As soups go, it's nearly perfect in its consistency, flavour, fragrance and colour.
Embassy also sells amazing cakes. None of your machine-made, chemically-enhanced stuff. Good old-fashioned cakes, almost the way Mother makes them! Walnut & banana, Dundee, vanilla, chocolate..... Their almond cake is a slice of heaven.
For those home-sick for ghar ka khaana, or just desirous of sampling Indian food, cooked home style, then Embassy's the place. I particularly recommend their parathas & baingan ka bharta. The last dish especially so, for I'm really fusy about the way brinjals are cooked. They must have been roasted to a fine turn, firstly, Secondly, the tempering (the "tadkaa", as it's known in Indian cuisine) should be just so, with the onions brown, but not burnt, the tomatoes cooked until their skins peel & the spices a hint, but no more. They do this really well at Embassy.
But this is not all. Going to Embassy is not just about food. This little eatery has a lovely view of Shimla's tumbledown rooftops. The sight may not be very inspiring during the day, but defies description at l'heure magique. Go there.
See it for yourself, if you wish to understand what I mean.


puchoo said...

loved the write up , Embassy was a focal point in my childhood as well as many other acquaintances and friends - good food, cheap food , our own small haven where we could hang out , have a few smokes , listen in to the town gossip , chat up a few girls , one of the best retreats we had over the weekend from BCS.

I love the town and its people. Staying in Delhi now , i get few chances to come up (even though my parents are there) but every opportunity is relished and maximized..

Looks like a blog right up my alley , will i am sure be spending considerable time here over the next few days!

Dreamer said...

I spent my childhood in Simla and I must say this post has taken me back into time. Double coloured icecreams of embassy is the first thing which comes to my mind in name of Embassy :-)

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