Buffalo meat was on Wednesday back on the Kerala House menu and was lapped up by the lunch-time crowd as the items that were briefly discontinued following a row that saw police carry out a raid at the canteen here were sold out within "45 minutes".
The "sold out" tag quietly came up on the menu board much to the dismay of many who had thronged the eatery, a day after the state-run guest house had removed "buff", or buffalo meat" amidst a political row.
Interestingly, an English menu board placed at the counter of the restaurant announced that ‘Meat Fry’ and ‘Meat Curry’, with ‘Buffalo’ mentioned in brackets, was available today.
The message was put up seemingly in a bid to clear the air over the controversy and emphasise that only buffalo meat is being served here and not cow meat as alleged by a member of a fringe right-wing group.
"We are serving buffalo meat today and we have been offering only buffalo meat in the past as well. There is no truth in allegations that cow meat is served here," said Sudeesh, a member of the Staff Canteen Managing Committee.
A canteen staffer, who did not want to be named, said that buffalo meat fry and curry was served between 12.45 PM and 1.30 PM. "Our prepared stock was enough to serve 150 persons during the lunch hours," he said.
The eatery, ‘Samridhi’, mainly caters to the office crowd of Central Delhi. But, interestingly, today’s crowd profile suggested that the controversy had drawn a large number of youths to the eatery.
Another Canteen Managing Committee member said that they stopped serving buffalo meat after the controversy on Monday evening, but the item made a re-entry today following clearance from Kerala government.
Restaurant sources said that, on an average, anywhere between 60 and 70 plates of buffalo meat are sold daily at Rs 50 each.
Controversy had erupted over Delhi police personnel entering Kerala House on October 26 following a complaint that cow meat was being served there.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal had condemned the "raid" even as buffalo meat was taken off the state-run guest house’s menu on Tuesday.
However, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said police did not raid the canteen and were merely taking preventive measures based on a PCR call.
Police has also detained Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta for allegedly making a false complaint in this regard.