There’s a unique nostalgia attached to dining in shiny, traditional thalis. To bring them back into modern use, graphic designer duo Surkhi Matharu and Malika Budhiraj, both 26, started a quirky hand-painted collection of old-style metal utensils — on your thali, then, you could find Kerala’s houseboats, angry blue elephants and kathakali masks.
Baarique, which was launched in 2014, offers an array of shot glasses, tumblers, plates, spoons and punch bowls, made of copper, brass or kansa. Each design is inspired by Indian motifs. For instance, the artwork is inspired by the palaces of Rajasthan, flora such as marigold and lotus, folk tales, and animals such as the camel and elephant. They are painted on by Rajasthani artisans known for miniature paintings, so the patterns are fine and detailed.
“On a trip to Leh, we fell in love with the metal chai glasses used there, and were surprised that such crockery is not as popular anymore,” says Matharu. “Our aim with Baarique is to bring back India’s unique traditions, with a modern twist.”
Baarique can customise designs too. For instance, when pastry chef Pooja Dhingra was serving a Japan-inspired dessert course, she asked Baarique to paint sakura blossoms onto the brass plates.
The products have also been used at restaurants around the country — The Bombay Canteen in Lower Parel serves a cocktail punch in an earthy brass bowl, with ‘punch’ written in Devanagri calligraphy. Made in Punjab in Gurugram serves butter chicken, curries and lassi in serving bowls and glasses with pagdi and phulkari geometric designs.
“The Bombay Canteen’s theme is a celebration of Indian culture, and the Baarique crockery fits in perfectly. We were looking for something traditional with a twist, and diners love the punch bowl,” says Sameer Seth, co-founder of The Bombay Canteen.