Ethnic eats, decor transport urban diners into hinterlands
New Delhi: Nestled amidst the hustle bustle of cities, a host of restaurants seem to be wooing the urban crowd in India with decor and eats, aimed at providing an ethnic rustic feel.
In order to satiate the nostalgic cravings of foodies turning up at their restaurants, managers are churning out ideas that range from making interiors resemble a village to serving native fare from across the country.
"In this materialistic society, people have lost touch with their native places. With the idea of bringing them back to the villages, the restaurant was set up," says Ranjay Singh, General Manager, Pind Balluchi, chain of restaurants which has become a brand name in and around Delhi.
With the hues of sunset reflected off mustard fields, clusters of glass bangles and `phulkari` embroidery cladding, ?mud coated? rustic walls, a water mill, a well and mannequins of rural folk have been designed to recreate a typical village in Punjab.
With a special seating arrangements and traditional Kashimir cuisine, Kong Posh, one of the rare Kashmiri restaurants in Mumbai, has been designed to give a feel of being inside Kashmir.
"We have recreated a Kashmiri set up and we have shikaras to dine in," says proprietor Sunil Mattoo.
Some other restaurants have taken the concept of going back to the roots to another level by transporting diners to another region or perhaps another era!
When 21 Gun Salute, a fine dining restaurant opened recently in Gurgaon it was accompanied by, what else, a caravan rally of over 50 marquees of the bygone era and 15 vintage motorcycles designed to pay tribute to royalty.
"We hope to make diners experience the bygone era with a contemporary touch. They will get to relive the royal and aristocratic history of India in the classic ambiance," says Madan Mohan, the man behind the new restaurant.
Apart from the ambiance food definitely remains a drawing factor for urban dwellers who are looking beyond the regular pizzas, sandwiches and burgers.
"I always prefer to go for a lunch or dinner to places that remind me of my village in Punjab" says Tanveer Kaur, an engineering student from Delhi`s IP University.
Restaurant owners are also advertising the influences of ethnic cooking methods adopted by them on local ones.
"We serve typical Kashmiri food as the idea was to bring the food all the way from the valleys of Kashmir to Mumbai", says Mattoo.
Madan Mohan gave a similar response,"We have collected very ethnic and rare dishes from the Maharajas of Jaipur and Kohlapur. We are also serving liquor exclusively meant for Maharajas made from various herbs."
At Bangalore-based Tandoori Hippie which dishes out north Indian cuisine, Manager Raj Shekhar says, "People liked the concept very much from the beginning itself."
Apart from the ambiance the fare at these ethnic restaurants located in big cities are also priced moderately.
"We have a cost friendly menu. The range of our visitors varies from a middle class family to a person in a BMW," says Ranjay Singh of Pind Balluchi.
Driven by various motives, students, families and even the elderly seem to be quite taken in by the rustic surroundings of eateries.
"The urban crowd spends the entire day in a modern mechanised world. For a break from the busyness, they tend to seek retreat in a mystic environment," Prabha, who is a lecturer in Agra points out.
"The youngsters are always asking for something different which makes them come back again", adds Raj Shekhar.