Monday, August 21, 2006

More Totalitarianism With Your Tikka Masala, Sir?

Set your faces to stunned: Reuters reports on the latest theme restaurant in Mumbai, India.

"We wanted to be different. This is one name that will stay in people's minds," owner Punit Shablok told Reuters."

"We are not promoting Hitler. But we want to tell people we are different in the way he was different."

Sage words from Mr. Shablok, proprietor of "Hitler's Cross", a new nightspot where locals are saluting the culinary powers of a crack team of uberchefs.

"This place is not about wars or crimes, but where people come to relax and enjoy a meal," said restaurant manager Fatima Kabani, a woman with the ultimate PR nightmare on her hands.

Thankfully, many locals are outraged by the Nazi-themed restaurant, no matter how Aryan' spacious it is -

Actor Murli Sharma, who has featured in films like Apharan and Teesri Ankh, was one of the guests present at the inauguration. "I found the huge posters of Hitler at the restaurant amusing. That's all I can say," he told TOI over phone.

When asked if he felt disturbed by the name of the restaurant, Sharma said: "I am not really agitated as I have not read much about the man (Hitler). However, from what I know about Hitler, I find this name rather amusing."

The Indian sense of humour may well be an acquired taste, although one wonders what the waiters are like, and whether they are good at taking orders.

All of which made me wonder, what other totalitarian tidbits could one pick up around the world? Well, those hungry to dine under the jackboot of fascism could do worse than try the Cafe Mao in Glasgow or enjoy "rice water" and ground corn mixed with leaves at the Pol Pot Restaurant in Phnom Penh.

Finally, for an open air eating experience with entirely more lebensraum, the Hitler Cafe in Danshui, Taiwan was infamous in its day. Now defunct, for some unfathomable reason.

Thankfully, I was unable to find an Idi Amin theme restaurant.

Update!: While we're talking about the worst monsters in history, you may be surprised to learn who was directly responsible for the rise of Hitler.

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