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Resurrected, the kathi roll - Face-off resolved, Nizam?s set to open with food court

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  • Published 18.01.06

The good ol? kathi rolls and kebab-parathas, hot and crisp, or the firnis, sweet and refrigerated, but served by bearers in starched livery, coloured caps and nagras, with a computerised bill to boot ?not to mention a world-cuisine food court next door.

Nizam?s, which gave Calcutta its trademark ?roll?, is set to simmer its giant tawa again after a 29-month closure. The vintage kebab-paratha outlet, set up by Sheikh Hassan Raza in 1932, and named after son Sheikh Nizamuddin, was shut down on August 11, 2003, following a wildcat strike by a section of workers over payment of wages.

Then, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation locked up the premises, citing pile-up of civic dues. ?We have settled the matter out of court, thanks to the support of the mayor and his colleagues, and we hope to reopen the restaurant in two weeks? time,? Mehboob Bobby Irshad, eldest son of owner Irshad Alam, told Metro from Jamshedpur on Tuesday.

The management has deposited a sum of Rs 5 lakh with the civic body against arrears, obtaining permission to ?renovate and reopen the establishment?.

The face-off with the staff union, now owing allegiance mostly to Citu, has also been ?amicably resolved?, according to the owners. ?Of the 125-odd old employees, we will retrench some and absorb the rest,? says Bobby, great grandson of founder Hassan Raza.

While the seating capacity of the resurrected Nizam?s will be whittled down from 350 to 300 for ?extra comfort?, the management is planning to introduce LAN connectivity on the premises for accounting, billing and stocktaking. The staff will get attractive uniforms and the kitchen will be completely overhauled with a live food counter.

?We will also set up a food court on a 1,000-sq-ft space we have adjacent to the restaurant, opposite Chaplin theatre. The 40 to 50-seater food court will serve Lebanese, Turkish, Mexican and Kashmiri delicacies, with a stress on vegetarian fare, in a nice clean ambience at pocket-friendly rates,? promises Bobby, who had ventured into outdoor catering during the idle window.