Walk in to a — insert dining establishment of choice, from bars to cafes to fine-dines — these days and you’re likely to see a table or two tackling a dish as if they were children with a Rubik’s cube. From tossing up your salads to finishing your meats a la gueridon to preparing entire meals (with a little help from your chefs), restaurants and bars are customising er customisation.
The Caesar’s Salad Jar at The Backyard in Delhi comes in a jar, with all the ingredients layered like a trifle pudding. “Just give it a toss” the description reads and that is exactly what you are supposed to do to have your salad as you like it, as the bard would have said. This salad mason jar medley is a format being adopted by a slew of other restaurants to much glee on the part of experimental diners.
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It is not just healthy snacks getting a DIY makeover; several nitrogen ice-cream bars let you whip up confections of your choice. Hokey Pokey in Mumbai and Delhi and Niice Cream outlets across Delhi even let you play around the colour of the ’cream. Niice Cream’s Aakriti Gupta says, “ We are living in a moment of instant delights. Everyone wants customisation, their personal favorite flavours, toppings or colours, and that is exactly what our brand tries to give them.”
The trend also applies to bars. Saunter into a Social in Delhi, Bangalore or Mumbai and you can bottle your own poison. The Coke and Cane and the Cosmo Explosion come with their various elements separated, to be mixed as per your own volition. The former requires you to muddle the cane sugar mixture into your drink while the latter features a flamed candy floss which you douse with a Cosmopolitan punch. Sugar high?
It is not just standalones — five-star hotels are also getting a piece of the pie. At 1911, the all-day dining venue at Delhi’s iconic Imperial Hotel, you can be the executive chef of your own meal this month and curate all the ingredients, from meats to vegetables to sauces, choose the style of preparation and even share recipes with the chefs.
Rare Eastern Dining (R.E.D.) the contemporary Oriental at the Radisson Blu, MBD Hotel, Noida, has set up induction tables, armed with woks, for guests to either indulge their little chef in (no, we are not talking about Remy the rat from Ratatouille) or simply have the meal cooked for them in situ. “While our older guests prefer to sit back and relax and be served a prepared meal, we also get groups of younger people who enjoy tossing up their meals while tossing back a few drinks,” says Rajesh Variyath, Executive Chef at the hotel.