Dining out takes a different meaning in Pune,with restaurants bringing together food and art
As a diner at the Italian restaurant Pesto Pesto,it is hard to miss the paintings that compliment the theme of the restaurant and are inspired by the life and food of Italy. As a rule,the restaurant in Koregaon Park only showcases art that is inspired by the European nation. Around three months ago,we displayed artist Shola Carletti’s paintings that were themed on Italy,its culture and food. We have a lot of expats coming in and they love the art on our walls. We encourage budding artists,the only criteria is that they must stick to the Italian theme, says John Evangelos,manager at Pesto Pesto.
The eatery that opened in January this year,is not the sole promoter of art in the city. Numerous restaurateurs are out scouting for talent that they are willing to showcase on their walls. If Out of the Blue at E-square has dedicated a part of the restaurant to artwork by budding Pune-based artists,Grubshup on Law College Road,has become a meeting point for artists and art enthusiasts. Out of the Blue,Mumbai,is known for its association with art for over a decade. We have just ventured in Pune and have realised it has so much artistic talent that needs to be recognised, says Sartaj Bedi,general manager of Out of the Blue that launched last month. While he is currently showcasing charcoal sketches by artist Ramesh Panch Pandey,these will be replaced with another set of works in a few weeks. Also lined up are art-related events from September,including live painting sessions and painting competitions.
Three years since its inception,Grubshup has hosted innumerable celebrated exhibitions. When we started out,our focus wasn’t really on promoting art. Since the restaurant is community-driven,we wanted to use it as a space to discuss social issues. We didn’t want it to be a drab,so we decided we must celebrate the good things in society as well and that’s how the idea of organising art exhibitions emerged, says Anil Paranjpe,owner of Grubshup,which regularly organises talks,seminars and workshops on art. Art has become as important as the food at this restaurant now, adds Paranjpe,pointing out that the place is a regular hangout for The Pune Pencil Club,a group of sketch artists.
The beginning of this art drive perhaps was made by Malaka Spice,a restaurant in Koregaon Park which opened 15 years ago. It was among the first in the city to bring together art and food,building on its aim to provide a place where diners could be in an environment where art is fully functional. The restaurant’s indulgence in art enables our guests to realise that we are creative people even in the kitchen. Food and art are at the same platform,the only difference is that paintings can be appreciated on the walls and food can be relished on a plate, states Praful Chandawarkar,managing director of Malaka Spice.