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World Cup served hot

Bhubaneswar, June 10: Imagine Messi or Neymar being served piping hot on your platter.

Friday, the 13th could not get any more exciting. The frenzy is already building up with football-crazy youngsters rooting for their favourite teams warming up for the FIFA World Cup with friendly matches.

But the real action begins on Friday with high-end restaurants gearing up for the mega event. They are making sure the customers have a ringside seat to the big event.

Dinner and Décor

Hotel Hindusthan International has put up a huge board near its entrance detailing the schedule of the tournament. The hotel has named sumptuous dishes after famous footballers who will be seen in action during the World Cup.

If the juicy chicken tangri kebab is called Neymar, the star Brazil is pinning its hopes on, mutton gilafi kebab has an equally exciting moniker. It’s called Messi after the Argentinian skipper who has won the golden boot more than once. Italy fans can gorge on Balotelli (pomfret dilnashi) and supporters of England can have Rooney (Bali prawn).

“We are also offering 10 per cent discount on drinks and snacks. Since the curfew time of 11pm allows screening of only the 9.30 pm game, the late night games of 12.30am, 1.30am, 3.30 am can be watched the next morning and afternoon during the repeat telecast,” said Abid, restaurant manager of HHI, Bhubaneswar.

A 4X6 feet screen has been set up at the lounge bar of the hotel. Hotel Mayfair is using the names of both present crop of soccer stars and past legends such as Maradona, Pele and Zidane to sell snacks and drinks.

“The merry-making will take place in our club, The Cellar, where our house DJ Ravi will belt out tracks like Waka Waka, Ole Ola and Wavin’ Flag. The decoration of the club will also be changed accordingly,” said Pradipta Mohapatra, general manager, sales & marketing, Mayfair Hotels and Resorts.

The a la carte snacks and drinks at both hotels will cost between Rs 250 and Rs 1,250, exclusive of taxes.

Damper

Nothing has been finalised as yet to celebrate the holy grail of football at hotels such as The Crown, Swosti Premium and its sister concern, Hotel Swosti. Satyabrata Jana, executive chef at Swosti Premium, said: “I am working on a special menu to make it a memorable event. But there are no special arrangements for the event in our hotel.”

Officials at Hotel Swosti did not appear enthused. “In the previous editions of the World Cup, we organised special food festivals but there is not much craze of football here,” said Ashwin Panda, the hotel’s food and beverage manager. Sujit Behera.

His counterpart at The New Marrion, seconded him.

Fanspeak

Irrespective of whether hotels organise screening of the matches or not, the ardent fans will not allow the month-long celebrations to go awry.

“Football is all about adrenalin rush. All the 22 players are on the move. I will be rooting for my favourite player Cristiano Ronaldo. He is simply spectacular,” said Dev Anand Ratawa, a 24-year-old IT professional.

Debi Mohanty, a 22-year-old event planner, will watch the World Cup with his friends at home. “It will be a football night out. My heart belongs to Argentina and the magician named Messi,” he said.

Expertspeak

Footballer Shradhanjali Samantaray feels Brazil would have the home advantage and thus better chance of lifting the coveted trophy. “We see big names playing for international clubs, but the World Cup is one occasion when we have the opportunity to watch them in their national colours. I am not going to miss a single game,” said the former captain of the national women’s team.

Asked about the state of the game in Odisha, she said: “It is improving and hopefully one day we will see Odia boys represent the Indian team in a FIFA World Cup.”