CURRY FLAVOUR IN THE ALPS
Shah Rukh Khan winks from the wall as you bite into your chicken curry and wash it down with champagne, your eyes glued to the latest Bollywood blockbuster. You’re at Bollywood, the Indian restaurant in the Alps, 3,500 metres above sea level.
Urs Zumbrunn Perren is such a Bollywood fan that he didn’t even think of another name when he opened his Indian restaurant in this playground of the world’s rich and famous seven years ago. “I have tried to create a mini-Bollywood in my restaurant with posters of Bollywood movies, Bollywood music and films. We serve pure Indian food here,” Perren said.
So now you can sample the steamed rice, dal, vegetable and chicken curries, with champagne and Swiss chocolate, as your eyes roam around the 100-odd posters from Bollywood and regional Indian cinema before settling on the giant screen that is showing tonight’s Hindi movie.
All the time, strains of Bollywood music are haunting you. Do look up at the film reels hanging from the ceiling to give you a feel of a film studio. “It is my tribute to Bollywood cinema and great Indian food,” said Perren. There are plenty of others ready to worship at the same shrine.
The restaurant hosts about 1,000 foodies and Bollywood fans every day.
“Not only among Indians, the restaurant is also popular with tourists coming to Jungfraujoch from across the world,” said Perren. The staff of around 50 seem to be getting worked off their feet. “Be it an Indian, Chinese, Japanese or American, everyone loves Indian food,” head chef Saheb Singh Chauhan said. “I feel good to serve Indian food to the visitors. Here we try to serve authentic Indian food and are trying to popularize Indian cuisines among tourists.” The native of Dehradun has been working in the restaurant for around seven years.
His colleague Rajinder from Punjab, who does part of the cooking, said: “I love to entertain people with Indian food, especially in a restaurant at this great height. It gives me a sense of being patriotic to my motherland.” Honeymoon couple Priya and Abhijit Banerjee were pleasantly surprised to find Indian food at Jungfraujoch. “It was a delight to eat Indian food, along with Bollywood cinema all around us. The food is great and so is the ambience,” said Priya.
Surrounded by snow-covered peaks of the Alps, Jungfraujoch is one of Europe’s most attractive excursion destinations. Around 5,000 visitors travel every day to this place, known as the “Top of Europe”. They go up the famous funicular Jungfrau Railway, a true masterpiece of technology built between 1896 and 1912 by Swiss rail pioneer Adolf Guyer-Zeller.