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A Matter Of Great Taste!
Curated meals, experimental chefs and pop up restaurants are adding to exciting food choices across India's major cities
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Indians love food. Goes without saying. With restaurants mushrooming all over the place and the increasing trend of people eating out, the uber luxurious have been presented with a new problem - where do they go that’s relatively unseen, unheard or that they can call a customised experience. Something different to a refurbished 5 star hotel restaurant where service standards have probably started dropping anyway.
Enter a whole new world of specially curated meals, experimental chefs and pop up restaurants. Let me start off with Esca Brahma, an exclusive word of mouth only catering company by former management consultant Sandeep Sreedharan. He describes his food as "the marriage of the physical with the emotional and mental experiences: to merge and blend them into a singular entity that is delicious and divine." He already has the who's who of the corporate world hooked to his creations, "many of them know some of my dishes by heart and want the same thing every time but I insist on new creations" and given the time he personally devotes to creating these unique flavours (seafood is his specialty) its no wonder that he commands a price.
Mumbai's recently got its first high end farm-to-fork restaurant, Masque. Honestly, it's still hurting my wallet. A set 3/6/8 course menu that keeps changing every time you go. It's a beautiful space once again in a redecorated old mill, 2 floors, extensive wine list, sommelier and a chef that comes out and explains each ingredient to you . We got to taste some special berries from Himachal that had to be served fresh (and wouldn’t be on the menu next time we went) there was cheese from Andhra Pradesh, fish from the Andamans and from the foothills of the Himalayas, buckwheat and quinoa, and the ingredient to one of their most popular creations, rye. You can pick a wine pairing or cocktail pairing with your menu and surprisingly enough, time flies over the courses.
Given that these meals tend to be heavy and long drawn out, not to forget expensive, I was even more surprised to find it really hard to get seats for one of 3 such curated sit down meals in the city last week. Cellar Door Kitchen organised a 9 course pop up dinner with award winning chef Himanshu Saini of Dubai’s leading modern Indian restaurant, Tresind, a molecular gastronomy delight. Sonal Holland’s SoHo Wine Club, a membership only club, had a wine pairing event at Magazine Street Kitchen, a popular venue for curated events like these.
Another boutique offering by Sarita Pereira, thelovefools.com, describes itself as, ‘we’re fools for cooking meat 6 ways until it literally drips off the bone, for caramelising onions for 18 long hours… for 8 course meals that stun, surprise and stir atleast thrice a sitting’. Its really become all about who is in the know about where the next experience is going to be, who is invited and the fact that it makes for great conversation at the next party or event. After all, my dear, a la carte has become oh so passe!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.