We recently visited Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar at Jaipur (or LMB) after it was recommended by several people both online and off of it.
We were terribly hungry when we went in, so we planned to dive right into the main course and have some roti and curry. We sat down in the restaurant and looked at the menu. One look at the prices and we left immediately. We wouldn’t ever want to pay Rs.300 for a curry and Rs.80 for a (basic) paratha (ever!). And specially not, given the ambience (or lack of it) of the place. This restaurant was a noisy and closely packed place with the looks of a casual restaurant. The thaali (platter) was Rs.540 per person! The restaurant, however, was packed, so people of Jaipur are either too rich or have very little choice when it comes to food.
We stepped out into the LMB snacks and sweets area, and decided to have some snacks / light food and continue our shopping. The snacks area is a big mess with pamphlets and printouts of “special snacks” and “LMB special sweets” plastered all over the wall. Stacks of sweets and boxes piled in every possible place. I’ve never seen a messier eatery before. It is not enough for the owner to understand what he offers, if the customer doesn’t get it, it’s a fail. There was also a lot of confusion among new customers over ordering food items as there was no visible “cash counter” anywhere. After asking, we were pointed to a small area walled with pre-packed sweet boxes that was supposedly the token counter.
There’s a menu card tucked in at this counter where we could finally figure out what was on offer.
Most of the items on this card, as you can see, are still quite overpriced. We ordered a Raj Kachori, a samosa, a Mirchi Bada and a Laccha Rabdi (sweet). The Raj Kachori (Rs.90) is a huge pani puri filled with alu + moong dal (cooked) and curd – it tasted alright. The Mirchi Bada (Rs.25) was filled with alu masala and was tasty. The samosa (Rs.20) was a major disappointment as its taste lacked any character – we left half of it. The Laccha Rabdi (Rs.40) was delicious and we savoured it all, leaving nothing.
Later that evening, we ordered a veg cheese sandwich (for our train journey) and packed some sweets for back home. However, when we opened the sandwich for eating later that night, we were shocked to see how thin it really was. And when we bite into it, we realize that there are no veggies in there! Just cheese and bread (for Rs.90!!). The sandwich was a horrible joke, so we then went and ordered more food from the train’s pantry service. We were left feeling ripped off.
The packed sweet box (petha with sugar syrup) didn’t have a tight seal either and started leaking as soon as we left LMB ( we noticed it later and had to do some cleanup of our luggage).
It looks like LMB is one of those places that continues to rake in money and pull in customers based on nothing but the fact that it was established ages ago. The owner of this place has tried to transform the sweet shop into a all-you-can-think-of eatery, serving items from sweets, ice-creams, burgers, pizzas, thaalis, roti-subji, and everything under the sun. When you step in, you can feel right away that this place doesn’t have a heart, that the owner doesn’t care- it is rather very disconnecting from the “person” and only seems to crave the person’s money.
This probably still would have been a value-for-money place had everything on the menu been HALF its price. However, at these horrendously insane prices (and severe lack of quantity for the price), the Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar is a place best avoided.