The incident has made restaurant owners more cautious about the quality of raw supplies delivered to them.
Kolkata: If you can’t eat meat, let there be fish or even vegetables.
That seems to be the mantra of foodies in Kolkata who have replaced meat-based dishes on their plates with prawn, fish and vegetarian items in view of a recent rotten meat sale racket unearthed by the police.
The city’s top restaurants have claimed that people were opting for non-meaty dishes, but clarified that there was no decline in footfalls over the weekend, though some customers approached them with queries about food quality and their source of supply.
“Roughly, there has been a 60 per cent fall in the orders of meat items across our member restaurants this week. But we cannot say that the profit margin has gone down as people are ordering fish and prawn delicacies instead of meat dishes,” Sudesh Poddar, the president of Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), said.
Earlier this week, the police busted a racket and arrested some people allegedly involved in the selling of decomposed meat collected from the city’s dumping grounds. The police seized nearly 20 tonnes of rotten meat, apparently meant to be supplied to restaurants after chemical treatment, from a cold storage in central Kolkata.
The incident has made restaurant owners more cautious about the quality of raw supplies delivered to them. Nitin Kothari, owner of the city’s two iconic restaurants — Mocambo and Peter Cat — said chefs and other employees had become more alert since the scam surfaced. “We have adopted stricter measures to check the quality of raw materials that come into our kitchens,” he said.
He, however, seemed confident that such rackets would not affect sales at his restaurants as be believed his patrons had faith in the quality of food served there.
“Our restaurants have been serving quality food for years. We do not make compromises to lure more customers,” he said, adding that their meat supplies come from established outlets.
US-based casual dining chain TGIF also said their meat was sourced from top brands.
“TGIF is a renowned brand and we would not do anything to taint our name,” said Kingshuk Das, restaurant manager.
A cashier at ‘Arsalan’ too echoed Mr Das and denied any cascading effect of the carcass episode on the biryani major’s sale.