Sustainability practices, tasting menus and more… Rupali Dean revisits all that tickled our palate this year
These food trends echo the soul of the new Indian, who anticipates international standards of hospitality; in a setting that is as refined as it is sumptuously decadent.
The afternoon tea tradition is about companionship, although this is often associated as a European attraction. The growth in health food has given tea huge potential, especially with the release of numerous research studies highlighting tea’s status in the antioxidant elite and as a fashion statement too! Mister Chai at Shangri-La New Delhi, The Lounge at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai, Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Jaipur, offer a great local take on the afternoon tea experience. For example, Mister Chai entails an engaging Masala Chai action station as well.
Comfort food is back
In a gastronomic world smitten by new food trends, comfort food flew out of the menus, but nowadays a few chefs are altering and hauling a twist to typical choices and aiding to mark comfort food out of its zone, by using ritzy ingredients; while some chefs like Abhishek Basu of The Park Hotel Delhi are re-forming a ‘Home Menu’ for their in-house guests. Unplugged Courtyard Gurgaon, for example, sets a yardstick for its inventive food and often-irreverent take on the idea of traditional dishes. Corporate Chef Akshay Bhardwaj shares his brilliant take on modern day comfort food combining ingredients that marry his progressive approach to world cuisine.
Eat, drink, shop
There have been malls everywhere with restaurants for a long time now; this year saw the Scandinavian furniture and furnishing brand IKEA which houses its own restaurant opening its doors in Hyderabad which was quite the rage. Plum Café by Bent chair, alliance between First Fiddle Restaurants by Priyank Sukhija and Bent Chair, an e-tailor home decor brand by Natasha Jain and Neeraj Jain, is redefining experiential dining with an alluring Pan Asian cuisine for the menu. It first opened in Mumbai and now has a larger outlet in Delhi’s Aerocity.
Going native and creative
In India, chefs today discover tastes and blends using honest Indian flavours in a reformist menu; all is on the plate for a reason. The unification is the vital that creates a factor of miracle by combining together varied prerequisites that brace elegantly on a plate. For example even an all you can eat restaurant like Pirates of Grill is going that extra mile by incorporating regional cuisine with native chefs.
Party boxes at home
The Trial Box, a boxed catering and online delivery platform pretty much changed the dynamics of a house party. They have on offer boxes which can be had individually, at a house party, a business meeting or even if you have unexpected guests at home. Here the boxes are the star – designed extremely practically, they are easy to use and the best part is you do not require any cutlery, crockery or any post party clean up.
A key tenet of Masque in Mumbai is seasonal cooking, which goes hand-in-hand with sustainability. Menus revolve with the seasons, using produce that is at its peak, following natural production cycles and delivering high on taste. In keeping with ITC Hotels’ character of Responsible Luxury, the menu at Dum Pukht Begum’s at Hyderabad has undertaken years of study to bring to the front the overlooked cuisine and realm of the missing recipes of Nizams, by means of local ingredients.
Tasting menus are back
They are small plates, but there are a lot of them. The latest food trend to sweep India is the tasting menu. The tasting menu the world over best showcases the philosophy and the vision of the chef and the restaurant and consists of smaller portioned but multi-tiered courses, which present an astounding variety of taste, flavor and aroma. Hongkong club at Andaz by Hyatt and Indian Accent in Delhi, Masque at Mumbai are just a few examples of superlative tasting menus our country has to offer.
Two for joy
Restaurants offered two favourite cuisines on menus that made it a delight for food lovers. Integrating two of the most popular choices of dining, PraPraPrank at Gurgaon’s DLF cyber hub debuted this year with a Modern Indian and Modern Asian cuisine menu. Their aim was to surprise guests with double the fun especially for their increasingly discerning senses… and they succeeded for sure.
Vegetarianism – the latest fad
The latest trend now is a vegetarian food diet and there are vegetarian-only restaurants opening by the dozen. There is also a focus on a 50 percent well thought out vegetarian offering on most menus. Transition to vegetarianism is on the rise and more and more people are worried about what they are eating and soon enough vegetarian food consumption will boom worldwide. Sofitel Luxury Hotel at BKC Mumbai has always been the pioneer with Tuskers, a Vegetarian Dining Bar especially for the selective eaters, but this year saw the likes of Swad that serves the most scrumptious vegetarian street food platters ever as well as places like Unplugged Courtyard Gurgaon offering dishes like the paneer and fig kulchas that can give the duck variety a run for their money.
World’s top chef restaurant pop ups
Chef Daniel Humm made headlines as the 3 Michelin star Eleven Madison Park ranked No 1 on the world’s 50 best restaurants list in 2017. Humm was in India for two dinners hosted by The World Series by American Express in Mumbai and Delhi at The St Regis Mumbai and The Leela Palace New Delhi respectively. The German National Tourist Office, India had invited a few people to savour the mouth-watering flavours of Progressive German Cuisine inspired by traditional German family recipes over a delectable 12 course menu, designed and prepared especially for the evening at Varq at The Taj Mahal, New Delhi by Award winning Michelin star Chefs Mathias and Thomas Sühring, of the celebrated Restaurant Sühring from Bangkok. November saw Chef Andoni Aduriz of Mugaritz cooking up a storm at the ITC Maurya.
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