Of meals, deals and wheels

Published: 29 December, 2013 08:25 IST | Waleed Hussain |

We see it! Authentic cuisine will beat the Chicken Tikka Pizza and Sushi Paratha, Mumbai's restaurants will be ranked among the best in Asia and BEST buses will open snack shops on board. Will the Vada Pav conquer America? Hello, do you think we are fortune tellers?

Swayamvar on a plate
Several actresses have gone on television and wooed suitors in a televised swayamvar giving a new twist to reality shows. Wannabe grooms are made to perform various tasks/stunts in a competition that leads to one lucky winner. For a change, we would like to see a show that would conduct a swayamvar via a cooking test. The bride-to-be does not get to see the suitors. Instead she gets to sample a series of dishes made by the suitors behind the curtain. The dish that tastes the best wins!

We hope BEST buses get inspired by The Moving Cart, Mumbai’s mobile bus restaurant

Special restaurants for diabetics
In a city that offers diverse assortments of cuisine to dine and order away, we would like to see special restaurants that cater to only customers who are diabetic or having a kidney ailment and cannot consume spicy food. We have seen pure vegetarian, pure Jain, pure Punjabi and pure Mughlai restaurants mushrooming and minting money in the city. So how about an eatery where diabetics can walk in and order anything off the menu without worrying about the sugar count or the calories? Low-salt, low-sodium, oil-free dishes that are usually prepared at home can be served at the speciality restaurant. Given that diabetes is a widespread ailment that affects nearly 30 per cent of the population, it’s high time someone launched Restaurant D.

The year of the authentic
The chefs and restaurateurs are finally standing up for their rights. For years and years, even the best in business have been forced to ‘adapt’ their dishes to ‘Indian palates’ and ‘Indianise’ everything from Paneer Tikka Pizzas and Sheek Kebab Subs toginger-laced Chindian food. The Japanese invasion put a stop to that. Imagine Sushi parathas! But 2014 will clearly be the year when at least self-respecting restaurants and chefs will make sure that while Punjabi food tastes like well, Punjabi food and Konkan cuisine remains absolutely authentic, so does the pepperoni pizza and the Hunan duck. If some patrons do not like the sweetness of a sauce or the fruity gravy of an Iranian dish, so be it. But at least Mumbai’s foodies will walk into a Chinese restaurant knowing that the place only serves Hunan and Szechuan cuisine and sit at a Pizza joint safe in the knowledge that a meat pizza will have pepperoni (and not chicken), will be thin crust and come out of a wood-fired oven.

Ranked with the best
Our best restaurants have fans across the globe and everyone from former presidents and spiritual leaders to sporting icons and film stars will vouch that India’s best restaurants are comparable with the world’s best. Yet, none of our fancy outlets rank in the global top 100 nor are they ever awarded Michelin stars. Of course, the criterion that Michelin has for awarding a star will mean it will take us some more time to get there, but surely some of the city’s top restaurants can make it to Asia’s and the World’s best restaurants list? If Noma, Vendome and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal are great places to dine in, so are Masala Library, Indigo, Olive, Salt Water, Wasabi and so many more. Mark our words, at least one restaurant from India will find itself on Asia’s 50 best restaurant list in 2014. And soon, very soon, they will creep into the world’s best list as well. Amen.

Mobile meals
The BEST bus service that was once considered the lifeline of Mumbai has for years been reeling under heavy losses. A really good idea to bring back the moolah to the Red Fleet would be to introduce food counters inside BEST buses. Fresh buns baked in the BEST depots and loaded on to the buses at the start of the route. Just the smell of freshly baked goodies will lure commuters to skip cabs and autos and take the bus. And different routes can have separate menus, as per the commuter profile. Croissants, doughnuts, cookies or even a live pasta counter at depots will help the BEST rejuvenate its sagging fortunes. The BEST way to a commuter’s wallet is indeed through thestomach! 

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