City Landmark – Standard Restaurant, Regal Cinema Building
A New Delhi souvenir.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The empty ground floor used to be its pastry counter. The Delhi Walla is at Standard restaurant, a place that no longer exists.
Opened in 1957, Standard was in the Regal Cinema Building, a still-surviving Colonial-era landmark in central Delhi’s Connaught Place.
The restaurant was a comfort zone for Delhi’s privileged people. Its seating area was on the first landing. The walls of the staircase were framed with sheets of mirror.
The mirrors are still there.
A blue board continues to hang upstairs, beside a tall window. It is partly covered with spider’s web and has the following words written in white:
Next to the blue board is a notice:
Dogs Not Allowed
Some sort of mechanical equipment has been left to rust in front of the restaurant’s door. The door is locked. A chain is wound around its disfigured handle. An American Express card is pasted on the door’s dusty glass pane.
Everything looks yellow inside, like in a dust storm. There appears to be a wide corridor; perhaps here the hostess greeted guests. The yellow paint is peeling off the walls of the passageway. There is a series of windows on one side. Their glass panes are still unbroken. The bare floor looks naked without a carpet.
The passageway has a grand door opening into what seems to be a large hall — this must be the restaurant’s seating section. A tall window is letting daylight stream in through the musty darkness.
The Standard was alive as late as 2006. A guidebook of that year (Not Just A Good Food Guide: New Delhi) informed its readers that the restaurant specialized in both North Indian and South Indian cuisines. According to the guidebook, one reason for the Standard’s continuing success was because of “its location above the landmark Regal Theater, where you get a panoramic view of the perennially busy Connaught Place.”
Indeed, the tall window by the locked entrance provides a cinematic view of Connaught Place.
Yet, at Standard, the ball is over.
Where 44, Regal Building, Connaught Place Nearest Metro Station Rajiv Chowk
Years later, at Standard