Restaurants in the city are planning to give a representation to the South MCD to reverse its order on ‘halal or jhatka’ meat, which they have to now mandatorily mention, as patrons hardly care about this aspect.
Priyank Sukhija, founder of First Fiddle F&B Pvt Ltd, which owns restaurants brands like Lord Of The Drinks, Warehouse Cafe, Dragonfly and Lazeez Affaire, said, “Not more than 10% of our patrons care if the meat being served to them is halal or jhatka, what they care about is whether it has been procured through hygienic places. Those who care ask us, and we always tell them so they can make an informed choice.”
With seven of his restaurants falling under the SDMC’s jurisdiction, Sukhija said the timing of the circular is wrong: “We are just trying to look up after the pandemic and lockdown-related setbacks. Only last week, we were arguing with the SDMC over the poultry ban issue, which they eventually took back. And now, this crops up.”
He added: “At a time when the Delhi government is supporting us by formulating a more liberal excise policy, SDMC is trying to enforce more stringent rules. This kind of order is going to hamper our business. Through NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India), we are going to send a representation to the SDMC to take back this order before it comes into effect.”
According to the SDMC order, appropriate action will be taken against those found violating the rules. “There are thousands of restaurants in 104 wards of four zones falling under South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Out of these, meat is served in about 90% of restaurants but it is not mentioned whether the meat being served by the restaurants is ‘halal’ or ‘jhatka’,” said the resolution passed by the SDMC house.
Amit Bagga, who owns Daryaganj at Aerocity, said the order is very confusing for chain restaurants like his. “These things could lead to unnecessary logistical issues for business owners. It will be very difficult for us to keep two kinds of stock or get easy supply of both types of meat. People are free to ask this question from servers, and restaurants are obliged to answer,” he said, adding that if it is indeed mandatory, they have no qualms mentioning that they are serving halal meat.
But he argued that there should be a uniform order for all of Delhi-NCR rather than different civic bodies coming up with zone-specific orders: “While this applies to our Aerocity outlet, it doesn’t apply to other outlets in Delhi.”
Most restaurants and deliveries across Delhi-NCR are serving halal meat for various operational reasons. Sukhija said, “Our vendor serves the best quality meat and that is what we are concerned about. Most butchers are Muslims, hence, we are getting halal meat.”
Bagga added, “Halal is universally accepted, we have never had a consumer refuse an order because it’s halal meat. Also, it is most widely available, it won’t be possible to source good quality jhatka meat, if need be.”
Chefs also said halal meat goes better with the Indian style of cooking. Chef Harangad Singh, who has helmed the kitchen at several fine-diners across Delhi-NCR and now runs his own cloud kitchen called Parat, said, “Indian dishes requires meat to be cooked at high temperatures, above 100 degrees, which halal can endure. Jhatka meat, on the other hand, should be cooked within two hours, and its taste changes at high temperatures.”