Tao – Connaught Place – New Delhi



Note: This review is from a time when I lived in Delhi (from 2003 till 2013).  It may be permanently closed now. Read only for readings sake.

Tao is owned by the same person or people who own and run Zen. The name at first glance isn’t very inspirational at all. If someone saw ‘Tao’ in CP (which is where this restaurant is) I’m sure people would link the two together. Oh and anyway the banner reads ‘Tao by Zen’ whatever that’s supposed to mean.

We walk into the restaurant now, it’s tucked inside one of those CP blocks on the inner circle as I said earlier in the Zen review I don’t know exactly which block. It looks fairly polished once you’re inside, there’s a little waiting area if there’s no seating, with a nice sofa set. The decor generally looks warm, it’s a dark magenta blended with steel from table ornaments. The waiter’s uniform goes interestingly with the decor. For instance if you let your attention waiver for just a minute, they’ll blend in so well it’s almost like they’re invisible. Nah, I’m exaggerating.

Moving on, service is extremely quick, you’ll have someone at your table the minute you raise the alarm that you want to be served. An experienced Zen goer like myself will at once notice some familiarities in the menu. IT’S EXACTLY THE SAME. Everything in the Chinese sections are the same as Zen! They’ve thrown in some Japanese stuff like Sushi, but otherwise the prices and dishes are extremely similar if not the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if Zen and Tao shared the same kitchen. Just imagine if the order goes to the wrong restaurant, that’d be quite a laugh!

So as far as prices and range goes, there’s nothing out of the ordinary here. I’ve eaten twice at Tao already, though I can’t remember exactly what I ate, it was good. Very good in fact. What isn’t very good, or remotely decent at all is the spoken English around you. The staff seem to leave their grammar at home before they venture out to their jobs and more than once you’ll find yourself struggling to cope with the waiter’s attempt to string words together. What they do say very mechanically after they serve you your food is “Enjoy your meal Sir/Madam”, but if you say something like,

“What do you recommend in the poultry section? What’s the Diced Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce like?”

Chances are he’ll answer in one of the following ways

  1. “Yes”.
  2. “No”.
  3. “Sir all good, pepper spicy, diced piece chicken”.

Imagine if one of these guys was the code talkers during a war, conveying messages across the battlefield to friendly strongholds beyond enemy lines. Even if he spoke in English, the enemy wouldn’t understand squat. The receiving party might face the same problem though.

Back to Tao now, the drinks again, seem to be priced the same as Zen. What I’m trying to say here is that there is nothing unique about this place. It’s almost like you go to whichever crosses your path sooner, Zen or Tao, and it won’t make a difference.

Now comes the punchline. The music. Dance, trance, drum and bass. Gone are the days when you walked into an Indian Chinese restaurant and heard Cantonese music, harps and high pitched squealing. Luckily this time I managed to get a suggestion card and wrote a little paragraph stating how bad it was. Let’s hope it’s different the next time I go there.