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House arrest

Social supper clubs spring up in the city to woo lonely citizens looking to meet like-minded strangers.

entertainment Updated: May 15, 2011 16:38 IST
Megha Mahindru

Twenty-somethings, Mansi Poddar and Kanika Parab would make Mrs Dalloway very happy. The duo, who scout for a city-based lifestyle website Brown Paper Bag (BPB), have been playing host to the city’s hungry and curious singles for over a year now. “The idea was to work something around food and make it an avenue for conversations. We were sure we didn’t want to make it a dating event, so we thought of Turning Tables,” says Poddar of her novel idea that involves a dinner party for 20, that’s catered to by a celebrity chef. “It’s designed as a place to meet new people, eat good food, and expand on avenues.”

Last week, academician Nilima Gulrajani attended one such soiree, where the chef from popular Tex-Mex place, Sanchos, whipped up the meal. “I was new to the city and I wanted to meet new people,” says Gulrajani, who recently shifted here from London. “I’m married, so I wasn’t looking for a date, but it was fun to go alone, since it allows you to mingle with other people,” she adds. City chef Nachiket Shetya, who attended the underground supper club adds, “You realise that Mumbai has ‘one degree of separation’. Though we were all strangers sharing a meal, everyone found a common ground— food, friends’ friends or general chitter chatter— to connect with one another.”

Taking socialising into the living room, the concept works like this. A subscriber offers to host a party at home, where a celebrity chef takes over, preparing a meal that is significantly cheaper than their restaurant’s. The host can invite one friend, while the 19 others on the guest lists are people unknown to each other.

Another “invite-only” social soiree that got the city buzzing last month was French Tuesdays, a monthly social rendezvous, started by French founders Pierre Battu and Gilles Amsallem, that made its debut in the city, after having hosted parties in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, Sao Paulo and Mexico. “The idea is to get together ‘glocal’ Indians, without involving Bollywood, the press or socialites. French Tuesdays is about luxury, but affordable luxury,” says Amsallem, reitering Poddar’s claim of reaching out to “interesting,
interested people.”

A heady mix of cerebral conversations matched with flowing champagne, social soirees like French Tuesdays and Turning Tables are a quick way to get your black book updated. “It’s the people that make up this party. I’ve attended a few in New York and the Mumbai edition lived up to its counterparts,” says designer Rina Shah, who’s eagerly looking forward to attend part two of her social rendezvous in the city.