Everyone penned down their wish lists, forecasters made their predictions and now, the Mumbai foodie hopes to be in for a treat.
2014 can be a make or break year for Mumbai to put its best foot forward as far as restaurants are concerned. Sure, there were ripples and pleasant surprises in the form of new-age restaurants, definitive menus and attempts to make authentic, regional Indian food more accessible to all. The connoisseur to the common man was pleased. But, of course, we would’ve liked to see more of it.
The New Year must better the previous — what with younger, dynamic chefs entering the fray, opening up new restaurants and with it, new ideas, rejuvenating existing ones even, while the veterans show their mettle throwing in that bit of extra spice into the flavours of their kitchens. We can’t wait. While all seems on course for this trend to take off in a good way, we’d like to see more of this spreading to the rest of the city. As of now, most of these experiential developments are concentrated in SoBo, central Mumbai (Worli-Lower Parel) or the Western suburbs (Bandra-Andheri belt) with diehard foodies from the rest of the city and its suburbs having to make the trek to these parts, to savour the spread. From French menus to delish winter goodies from the fields of the Punjab, the invitations appear tempting.
One hopes that this food map is re-drawn in this year, and that restaurateurs see light and business sense in setting shop in a more staggered manner. Food appeals to most people, and who better than the commuter-strangled Mumbaiite to bite the bait — any excuse to avoid cooking up a meal after a long day in the office, an arduous drive at the wheel or in a crowded local train, right?
Few have taken the plunge with specialty, big-ticket restaurants opening their branches in Ghatkopar, Thane and Malad’s ever-buzzing malls. It’s a good sign, no doubt and a godsend for people residing in these suburbs who needn’t have to spend hours (again!) on a weekend to indulge in their favourite cuisine restaurants.
What the city would like to see is more spaces offering a mix of the regional and the global — from Andhra and Chettinad’s fiery menus to the North East’s unknown cuisines, from Vietnamese and Polynesian dishes to Spanish, South American and the rarely documented flavours of the African continent.
The knives are out!
— The writer is Features Editor, MiD DAY