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Soupy makeover! Millennials are slurping on bowlfulls for a wholesome meal

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BENGALURU: Souping is the new fad in the city. What it means is that you slurp on just a bowl of wholesome soup for lunch or dinner. The soup is no more an opening act of a meal but the meal itself. So, restaurants are dishing out millennium soups that go beyond routine creamy tomato and Oriental chicken. Menus are dotted with new names like strawberry gazpacho, Tuscan style seafood broth, braised lamb with barley and goat cheese.

The growing demand for convenience food packed with protein and vegetables in a bowl is a key driving factor for its popularity in this smart city.

Soup fan Sahana Das, a media studies professor at Mount Carmel College, says, “As one is constantly worried about expanding waistline, the pleasure of fine-dining was perpetually marred by guilt. However, these new-age soups have got me into a playful habit of closing my eyes and guessing at the ingredients from the riot of flavours. It can’t be duplicated at home and this makes each dinner outing exciting.”

A recent report said the global soup market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.7% during the period 2016-2022. Restaurants are clearly realising the potential of this genre.

Chirag Makwana, sous chef at Toast & Tonic, says, “A lot of labour goes into making soups. We serve a bone broth soup with house-smoked chicken, udon noodles and sambal chili sauce. It takes two days to prepare. A Vietnamese broth uses beef stock that is stewed for nine hours.”This winter, he claims to have sold at least 15 portions of soup per day.

Over the last quarter of 2017, The Oberoi-Bengaluru revamped its menus. A dedicated soup menu was part of this update where one can team it with DIY salads, smoothies and healthy detox drinks. Eateries like Café Felix and Hotel Royal Orchid are going desi with soups like roasted corn and crispy curry leaves, to bottle guard soup.

According to experts, Bengaluru tops soup sales with its pleasant weather and ideal demographic. The city was the test market for Farzi Café’s new soup menu which serves avacado and jaljeera gazpacho and ginger beetroot rasam. Interesting to note that a bar too is paying emphasis to a soup menu. “We see a rising number of women between 28-40 years getting on liquid diet these days. 7-10% of our sales come from soups and salads,” says outlet chef Sombir Chaudary.

Also, Bengaluru’s young and well-travelled guests come with a different level of awareness when it comes to eating well.

According to Anupam Banerjee, executive chef at Ritz Carlton Bengaluru, “Bengalureans like mindful eating. At dinner, wanton soup is in demand. Many top it up with dimsums.”

To which chef Vikas Seth from Mexican eatery Sanchez, which serves a chicken soup with Mexican rice to a tortilla soup, adds, “Interestingly, we are seeing more youngsters between 20-30 years souping. The trend kicked off in the last one year and gave us a 10% rise in soup sales.”

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