‘Epicurean delights’ Palates meet prestige at Jammu Press Club’s ‘Vyanjan’ restaurant

Sunny Dua
Nestled on the banks of the picturesque river Tavi and overlooking Bahu fort, Press Club of Jammu is not just a hub for journalists but also a hidden gem for food enthusiasts. Its restaurant, ‘Vyanjan’ is a delightful culinary haven that offers a unique dining experience. From its exquisite interiors to delectable food and warm ambience, Press Club of Jammu stands out as a premier institution in town that has come a long way ever since its establishment in 1997.
Entering the club, you are greeted by a small yet well-designed lobby, adorned with an artistic wall that serves the purpose of a selfie point. The interiors of ‘Vyanjan’ restaurant exude sophistication, with a seating capacity of almost eighty guests and an exclusive family cabin accommodating twenty people. The lush green lawn of Jammu Press Club, separated with a line of Ashoka trees acts like a green wall and is an apt place for dining or having lunch depending upon the weather conditions but the level of calmness at the place is appreciated by all.
The Club has witnessed a massive transformation ever since senior journalist working with Daily Excelsior, Sanjeev Pargal took over the reins in 2022. Taking very good care of children’s taste buds, the president in consultation with management committee ordered fresh tendering and completely changed the menu by adding fast food including pizzas, burgers, momos, pasta and other such food items. This change after a span of 29 years not only brought in an enthusiasm in the staff but also made the guests to choose from a varied range of dishes added to the new list.
Sanjeev Pargal in an exclusive interview to this writer said, “more is in offing as we intend to add mocktails, change the cutlery for fine dining, start home delivery services and also add some art works or installations at different places to make the club look aesthetically more beautiful. He informed that prices of food items in the Press Club are far lower than other clubs, better chairs bought for comfortable seatings, live music performances for Sunday evenings introduced and a suggestion box installed to get the right feedback from members.
He added that ever since Press Club of Jammu came into existence in 1993 it has witnessed many changes for good.
When it comes to food, Vyanjan offers a diverse menu that caters to different palates. The kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment and stainless-steel counters for utmost hygiene, is a testament to their commitment to quality. The Restaurant has been serving delectable dishes since 2005, ensuring consistent flavors and culinary expertise. The menu boasts a wide range of dishes, including hot-selling favorites like Butter Chicken, Garlic Mushroom, Chilli Cheese, Rogan Josh, Khatta Meat and Kabuli Meat. For those craving Chinese cuisine, the restaurant’s Chinese dishes like Manchurian, Vegetable Fried Rice and Chilly Chicken are a treat for the taste buds.
For seafood lovers, the restaurant offers tantalizing dishes like Fish Tikka, Grilled Fish and Amritsari Fish. The bar, named Madhushala, is a separate zone within the club, with a capacity of about one hundred guests and both smoking and non-smoking areas. It offers a wide variety of drinks to complement your dining experience. Pawan Gupta, a leading businessman of Jammu who is member of all three clubs of Jammu while sharing his experience about Press Club of Jammu said, “Snacks, soups and main courses of Club are at par with any other fine dining restaurant in the city and the place offers a space where one learns from colleagues and exchange ideas on current affairs as well. Its becomes a double-treat, he asserted.
Sanjeev Pargal who took over the reins on April 9, 2022 said, “What sets Jammu Press Club apart from other clubs in town is its exclusivity in membership. With a total of 1400 members divided into three categories -Press, Associate, and Corporate – this club is a prestigious institution that brings together journalists, artists, intellectuals, lawyers, officers, sportsmen, writers and professionals from various fields. The club serves as a platform for knowledge-sharing, networking and fostering camaraderie among its members”.
The staff at Vyanjan and the entire Jammu Press Club are trained and courteous, providing personalized service to their esteemed members. It is worth mentioning that many staff members have gained years of experience at the club and are known for their exceptional services. They remember members by their names and membership numbers, making every visit a warm and welcoming experience.
The club’s rich history, from its conception in 1992 to its inauguration in 1995 and subsequent expansions, is a testament to its growth and success. Despite facing financial challenges, Jammu Press Club has thrived with the dedicated contributions of its members. It has become an integral part of the journalistic community, offering not only recreational facilities but also a space for intellectual exchange and professional development.
Press Club of Jammu’s Vyanjan restaurant with its elegant interiors, diverse menu, and warm ambience stands out as a premier institution in town. One of the highlights of Press Club of Jammu is its stunning open lawn, which can accommodate up to 500 guests during special functions. The Club also offers a range of amenities to cater to the diverse needs of its members. The club features a well-equipped gymnasium, allowing members to stay fit and maintain their well-being. The banquet hall, with a capacity of 120+, serves as a versatile space for hosting conferences, seminars, and press conferences, making it a hub for intellectual and professional gatherings.
Looking towards the future, Jammu Press Club is planning to construct rooms for guests, allowing members to enjoy a comfortable stay within the premises. This expansion will further enhance the club’s offerings and provide a holistic experience for members and their guests, said Sanjeev Pargal.
The arc shaped club earlier housed India Coffee House and the building was handed over to Club in November 12, 1997 by the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah. The Club stays jam packed on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Anil Kumar, General Manager has been overseeing the operations since 2006, ensuring smooth functioning of the restaurant, bar, and banquet hall. The administrative operations are handled by Amrit Lal Vaid, who has been the overall in-charge since 2004, ensuring efficient coordination and organization within the club.
The club’s management is constantly striving to enhance the facilities and services provided to its members.
An idea to establish a Press Club in Jammu was conceived way back in January, 1992, by Jammu based working Journalists. The veteran journalists of the state supported their cause and came forward to guide the young journalists. Hence, to seek the guidance, a meeting of the stalwarts of the journalistic field like, Mr S D Rohmetra, Mr Ved Bhasin, Mr S P Sahni, Mr Balraj Puri, Mr. Shyam Koul, Mr. M. L. Kak, Mr. R. C. Ganjoo, Mr. Mr. M. L. Koul, Mr. O. N. Koul, Ashwani Kumar, Mr. Ashok Handoo Mr. Sanjeev Pargal and Mr. Ashok Sodhi was held in the Tourist Reception Centre, Jammu on January, 09, 1992. The then Chief Secretary Sheikh Ghulam Rasool had sanctioned Press Club of Jammu. K B Jandial, retired Director information had played a key role in setting up the Press Club of Jammu. The new building of Press Club of Jammu was inaugurated by the then Governor Gen K V Krishna Rao on May, 22, 1995.