Church Street is a foodie’s paradise: from Mainland China to Indijoe, from Ruby Tuesday to Bheema, you’ll find restaurants catering to every palate. As I stood in front of Amoeba one sunny Saturday afternoon, I wondered which of the five restaurants in my line of sight I should grace with my presence. In the end, I chose 20 Ft High, right above Amoeba, because (a) it was new to me, (b) it was open air, and (c) I wanted some American khana.
A wooden staircase led to the restaurant, which was quite empty for the time of the day and week. Looking out onto Church Street, this place is tastefully done up, with comfy sofas and small wooden table fans on the ceiling (oxymoron, I know). I was promptly served with both the bar menu (which I ignored) and the food menu, shaped like a triangular road sign. 20 Ft High advertises itself as a place for steaks, sizzlers and pastas, and they have quite a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. I ordered a Monterey Jack BBQ Chicken Sizzler, and settled down to watch people passing by on the road. Yes, I was lunching alone.
Eating alone is not a big thing, not if you have a book. I, unfortunately, didn’t. Blossoms, the famed second-hand bookstore, was right opposite the restaurant, but a little birdie told me it wasn’t such a good idea to nip out to grab a book. So I resigned myself to people-watching, especially the Chinese/Japanese/Korean group lunching a table away. My gut feeling, suspicious of a nearly empty restaurant at peak hours, was slightly mollified by the large steaks and sandwiches that made their way to their table, which they seemed to enjoy. Also, the manager came up and chatted cordially for a while, dispelling some of my boredom.
A sizzling dish arrived before me half an hour later, and I enthusiastically dug into it. My enthusiasm fizzled out a bit, when I sampled the Mexican rice served with the sizzler, which felt half-cooked. The vegetables were rock hard and with the exception of the cabbage, I couldn’t eat any of them. The sauce was too sweet, too tomatoey, and the big slices of tomato on top of the chicken didn’t help either. I mentioned it to the manager, and he told me that they got a lot of foreigners, so… What a ridiculous excuse! But I was glad that he listened to my feedback, and did not launch into a diatribe on how it was the most authentic Monterey Jack I would ever have (I’ve faced such situations). To their credit, the chicken breast was well-cooked, not tough or chewy, and if you ate it with the melted cheese strip on top and minimum sauce, it tasted quite good.
I’m new to the dining scene in this city, and still haven’t gotten used to the bevy of taxes levied on your meal, so it was quite a shock to see my Rs 275 sizzler transformed into a Rs 336 bill. Having eaten at a few joints with good food and zero taxes, my wallet certainly did somersaults while paying the amount, and was pretty glad that I had chosen not to have soup or dessert. I stepped out into the warm sunlight and made my way towards Blossoms, reasonably full but not reasonably happy.
20 Ft High
Just above Amoeba