Maybe you made reservations, maybe you didn’t, maybe you ate at the chef’s table, maybe you turned chef yourself. It’s been a full plate for diners this year.
Mumbai’s The White Owl, The Barking Deer and others poured their first craft beers this year. In Gurgaon, Pint Room, Vapour et al kept the good times going.
Cheers To Tea:
Tea lounges opened, tastings got popular. Imported teas came home. Even Lipton and Tata launched new ranges.
Raise your flutes to a new-found confidence among winemakers after years of grappling with the economy, bad crop and terror attacks. New wines, new collaborations and labels and lots of new imports to toast to.
Science Served Up:
Spice Klub in Mumbai and Indian Food Lab in Delhi served Indian takes on molecular cuisine: Coriander foam, deconstructed vada pao and pav bhaji fondue!
In Delhi, Elefheria, in Mumbai, Spotted Cow Fromagerie. Both offered handcrafted, gourmet cheese. We will not say ‘artisanal’.
Delhi’s Guppy by ai and Diva did a pop up in Mumbai, art galleries and home stores got converted into short-term restaurants. Delhi even had a secret pop-up dessert tasting for sweet-toothed priviliged people.
Chefs and experts predicted 2014 to be the year of health food. Instead, food just got more indulgent with bigger servings and dessert mash-ups, like, eww, cronuts.
Basa Be Gone:
2013’s buttery discovery became 2014’s most overused fish.
The FSSAI’s new labelling requirements for imported food held up consignments worth `25,000 crore at ports. One bitter result? Lindt pulled out of India.
Finally, chefs took on bloggers and critics on social media, pointing out how little their diners knew (and who the freeloaders were) – just like
, the movie.
Munching In Mumbai:
Burma Burma for vegetarian Burmese, Heng Bok for Korean cuisine, Sai Zen and Yukka for Japanese,
Byblos for Greek and Terttulia if you miss Pune.
Dining in Delhi:
Two new places for Parsi delicacies, an Indigo Deli (at last), a Pizza Express, Royce, Natural’s Ice Cream. Plus a Fatburger, and two Mexican restaurants. Oh, and Cyberhub gave Gurgaon a place to chill.
Work and Play:
Social opened in Mumbai and Delhi, offering a place for long chats, freelancers and work meetings. Yes, yes, the public calls it ‘Sho-Shull’ in both cities.
Going Off the Menu:
Restaurants and food enterprises sent chefs to cook in home kitchens, organised chef’s tables, let you eat at a stranger’s home, orchestrated cook-and eat classes, food hunts, meat marathons and gourmet food fairs.
Food for Thought:
At least 25 food-themed (non-cookbook) books came out this year. When are you writing yours?
Note: All items can be made veg on request; even Masterchef India. In Ahmedabad, a 21-course meal launched this year, all veg.
Multicuisine is so over. Regional cuisines, both Indian and foreign, may just make it to regular menus. And may we dare hope for North-Eastern food in Mumbai?
Look out for modern versions of cuisines. Think Asian-inspired salads (not som tam), flavoured rice (not kadhi-chawal), and stir-fries without goopy schezwan sauce.
Drinking places are getting cheaper and cheaper (and funner). There’s no reason they’ll stop in 2015. Isn’t that good news? Cheers!
From HT Brunch, December 28
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