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Whacky serve-ware: From tiffin box to hollowed hammers at upscale eateries


When luxury marketing professional Aditi Belani received her dining bill at Farzi Café in UB City, it came in a box with paan-shaped cotton candy as aftermeal refreshment. At another outing at SodaBottleOpenerWala, she was served food in a good old steel tiffin box.

An increasing number of restaurants are embracing whacky serve ware. Miniature phone booths, toy trucks, pressure cookers, hollowed hammers and iron-boxes are popular as serve-ware at many premium tables. Thin-stemmed crystal has been replaced by milk bottles, `skulls’ and bulbs to serve cocktails.

With many restaurants doing this, the novelty of it is fast wearing off.

“Fun serve-ware may work once or twice to bring me back to the restaurant. Ultimately, only good food can make me a loyal,“ says Belani.

Food blogger Nikhilesh Murthy was served phulka tacos suspended from a clothes line at Nimisserie, chicken starter in an actual iron box at Kopper Kadai and chicken and paani puri starter on a ferry wheel at G77 café. According to him, television food shows and craze for posting images on social media -that make for quick advertising -have contributed to the trend. “Even bisibele-bhaath needs to look good today,“ says Murthy . Recalling how a chicken starter served on an upturned skewer made him antsy, he explains: “Creative presentation is good but it should not interfere with or delay the actual eating part.“

Even restaurateur Amit Ahuja of The Open Box on Lavelle Road is talking about change now. When he launched 15 months ago, guests loved the idea of being served biryani in colourful pressure cookers.Not anymore. “The idea stemmed from the fact that people tend to eat with their eyes first. But recently a customer complained of feeling sick looking at a cocktail in a drip stand.Restaurants must draw the line,“ admits Ahuja, who is upgrading his brand philosophy with new serveware in March.

Celebrity chef Abhijit Saha, who prefers the classic philosophy, says, “There is a difference between quirky and OTT. Aesthetic food arrangement on a plate is my idea of creative.“ Saha is moving towards sustainable food and handmade crockery at his restaurant Fava.

Nimish Bhatia of Nimisserie says, “Fine-dine is not just about white linen and plates anymore. Fine-dine is holistic ecstasy. The idea is to make the guest engage in a unique experience and sit longer.“ While good food is available right from a dhaba to a five-star restarant one needs to give an element of surprise to keep the business selling.

Calling this trend a passing phase, blogger Murthy predicts, “Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck (UK) serves seafood as you listen to sound of sea waves on a set of earphones.4D is the next big trend.“

Source: Economic Times

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