The odd timings of the cricket World Cup have severely dampened the mood of Indian fans with matches commencing in the wee hours. With just a day to the start of the showpiece event, unfazed restaurant and pub owners around the country are, however, sparing no effort to attract cricket lovers.
Whether it’s exotic mocktails and cocktails like Dhoni’s Slammer or Malinga’s Yorker, or arranging restaurant service at home – restaurants are going all out to serve up a morning treat for cricket aficionados.
The World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, starts Saturday with the opener to be played in Christchurch between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at 3.30 a.m. (IST), and the second match on the same day between Australia and England in Melbourne (9 a.m).
Waking up at unearthly hours to catch non-India matches will be onerous even for the most avid of cricket fans. But good news for some is that the earliest India group stage matches start at 6:30 a.m.
It is the matches in New Zealand that will prove to be the most troublesome for Indian fans.
Thirteen of the 24 matches, starting with the inaugural game at the Hagley Oval ground in Christchurch will start at 3.30 a.m.
"Footfall in restaurants and pubs will certainly be affected. But to counter that we will try to start services as early as possible," Rohit Sharma, co-owner of The Liquor Warehouse, Delhi, told IANS.
Co-owner of A State of Music in Delhi, Ishan Grover is hopeful that both India and Pakistan will reach the final stages of the World Cup so that there can be two matches between the arch-rivals.
India open their World Cup campaign against Pakistan Sunday with the match beginning 9 a.m.
"We have got a projection screen, LED wall, and our decor theme will be completely based around cricket. I hope India and Pakistan reach the later stages so that we can cash in on two of these fixtures rather than one," said Grover.
Fans, though, will be relieved that two of India’s group matches start at 12 noon – against the UAE (Feb 28) and the West Indies (March 6).
In Bengaluru, Mbar in Marriott Whitefield have arranged giant screens with lip-smacking appetisers and thirst quenching beverages to shake off the morning blues.
Cricket fans can buy any two beverages and will get the third one free. Also, unlimited foods and an array of international starters will be available.
SBX, sports and music cafe in Bengaluru have introduced the unlimited feast offer along with unlimited chilled drought beer available from Rs. 1,199 + tax
For all those who want to catch the live telecast from their bedroom but want restaurant service at home, Kitchen Kraft Co. in Delhi has come up with an innovative idea of bringing piping hot food and beverages to your doorstep.
"We are launching World Cup package where a team of butlers and chefs can come to your house and serve piping hot food with cold beverages. It doesn’t only avoid the early morning hassle of going out and matches can be enjoyed equally with a tongue tickling treat," said managing director Karan Talwar.
Gurgaon’s Club Rhino has planned for breakfast World Cup party packages from dawn to dusk, wherein guests can savour world cuisine breakfast from different countries and while the second innings kicks up they can wash them down with beverages, as alcohol will be served at Club Rhino after 12 noon.
For most restaurants, having innovative cricket menus is the easiest way to coax a fan to their place.
In Mumbai, The White Owl will screening all the 9 a.m. matches on an incredible 200-inch High-Definition screen with commentary.
Fans will be able to ‘Supersize Your Brew’, meaning they can order any of their regular 330 milliliters in-house brew jar and recieve a 550ml jar instead.
The White Owl Brewry and Bistro is also introducing a new, freshly brewed beer specially for the World Cup, called the – ‘COCO’ – a Dark Chocolate Porter.
Cafe Delhi Heights will bowl you over with special treats like Time out with Tomato Bruschetta, Powerplay with Pizza slice and All-Out Jalapeno Poppers.
The Hiatus in Delhi will be doing a special promotion in which they are giving discount equal to the boundaries (fours) hit by the Indian team for enthusiastic fans.
"We will have to rely on replays and repeat telecasts of matches and our special dishes will be relevant to that. People who missed out on the live matches will be our main customers," Rajeev Bajaj, vice-president of The Hiatus, said.
1 Oak cafe and bar in Delhi will open at 9 a.m. Sunday for the India-Pakistan match where enthusiasts will enjoy happy hours throughout the game.
Rodeo’s cricket-themed menu for Delhiites features quirky appetisers ranging from Hat Trick Fish Finger, Clean Bold Wings Molletes Leg Slip, and Sixer Tandoori Murg Nawabi to name a few.
For the the thirsty, exotic mocktails and cocktails like Gully, Silly Point, First Slip, Dhoni’s Slammer, Dilshan’s Scoop, Virat Se Takkar, Malinga’s Yorker, and All-rounder’s margarita, will be served.