Being India’s cosmopolitan city, Mumbai has casted the culinary net globally. From owning India’s first fine dining restaurant to giving birth to the casual dining concept, the city today owns 60% of casual dining restaurants pan India.
According to a recent survey by CBRE, 60% of restaurants in Mumbai were casual dining places. The corresponding figures for Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru were 43% and 46% respectively. The survey covered 1,260 restaurants across key malls, high streets, F&B clusters, and office developments. “As India’s financial capital, Mumbai enjoys a confluence of cultures and taste palettes from across India and abroad, with about 60% of the restaurants (as per our survey) belonging to the casual dining category,” said Anshuman Magazine, Chairman, India and South East Asia, CBRE.
Not only this, Mumbai is in one sense is really the heart of anything new which starts in India; whether it is a trend, concept or any new innovation. In earlier days any new trends which used to start were born from a fine dine restaurant that would sort of experiment and make the culinary experience making those trends go mainstream into fast casual or quick service. And, now it is changing. New age, young entrepreneurs are creating an experimental ride, they understand where the customer lies and from where is he coming and what new experience he would like to take when in a restaurant.
Pooja Dhingra, popularly known as the macaron queen when returned from Paris after her education and culinary stint there she couldn’t find macaron here in India. She always had this question, “Why it isn’t that I don’t get in India, is it because people won’t like it or is it not possible to make them? She opened Le15 Patisserie soon after realizing her passion for the new kind of a bakery item. “It is a good time to be in the food industry as people are trying out new things and is open to experiments,” shares Dhingra who became an overnight sensation with Le 15 Patisserie.
Similar story draws Gauri Devidayal’s instinct to enter into the food business. A lawyer and a chartered accountant by profession when Gauri returned to India after 15 years from San Francisco she found no restaurant in comparison to the one she saw in San Francisco. In early 2008, she met her husband, Jay Yousuf and was soon persuaded to leave the tax profession and join him on his restaurant adventure. Gauri supported Jay in creating The Table, which became a global fame in no time. “We thought of starting something which we can call a ‘casual-fine dining’ experience. Since, the beginning, the duo is very keen on serving an experience than just food. “Success of a restaurant lies in knowing its concept well and then being able to deliver it without trying too hard,” smiles the content restaurateur who is now the forefront of the farm to table initiative for the restaurant by setting up The Table Farm in Alibag, from where the restaurant gets much of its fresh produce. Most recently, Gauri co-founded Magazine Street Kitchen along with Jay Yousuf and Group Executive Chef, Alex Sanchez, a culinary playground for intimate dinners, cooking workshops and more, housed in a restored heritage structure, in Byculla. The Kitchen is also the base for the newly launched bakery – Mag St Bread Co – helmed by Head Baker, Chef Rachelle Andrade.
Thus, with all the creative streaks that this city owns we are surely going to see more of food revolution in the country.