Every day, the doors on a new restaurant open up in Bangalore, but what is even more exciting to see are the evolving trends in cuisine as well as in the dining experience. The city has a penchant for welcoming every culinary experiment with open arms - from the molecular gastronomy on offer at Caperberry, to the overnight-cooked laham mandi at the basement restaurant of Ta'aam. Food is not only for thought here, but quite literally, the only thought. Here are some exciting new trends in cooking and eating that diners can look forward to in 2015.
Innovative Asian cuisine: Innovative Asian cuisine seemed to be a highlight in 2014, what with the beef cheeks bao and chasu ramen at The Fatty Bao setting a delicious pace. Mamagoto with its "laksa tributes" and teriyaki meals in a bowl gave us several reasons to return several times. Of course, now that we are in the second month of the New Year, I do feel that the potential of Asian cuisine is going to reach new heights. What a treat for us all!
The Teriyaki Meal in a Bowl At Mamagoto
Sophisticated beers: What's a good meal without a quality tipple? For a city that loves its beers, the sudden growth spurt in breweries seemed natural. Toit and Biere Club, besides a host of others, hold the city in their sway. Of late, District 6 has given me enough of choice in brews and food to keep me coming back for more. From seasonal brews, to service in steins to breakfast with beers, there is a lot brewing in this sphere.
The Dark Wheat Beer at District 6
Regional Indian fare: Indian cuisine, specific to states and communities, rather than generic, also saw a gained prominence in 2014. And it is about time. The demand is only growing.
The "experience" of eating: I believe experiencing food will be a trend in 2015. It is no longer about just trying a new restaurant, but rather experiencing food in what is perhaps an original/close-to-original setting. Food walks are gaining traction and I think they will really take off this year. Personal experience with the Oota Walks makes me truly believe this - after all, who doesn't love a good story with their food.
Kachoris for Breakfast - One of the treats on a food walk with Oota Walks
Thanks to social media, lovers of food are getting together in smaller gatherings for an experience. From a Kashmiri wazwan to an Andhra seafood special, a lot of experiences are being curated for groups.
Customised menus: The trend described above paves the way for customised menus and lots of restaurants are offering opportunities to tweak menus to personal preferences, which allows for a unique experience and helps chefs innovate.
Wine pairings: With wine now being integral to most meals, formal, multi-course feasts paired with reds, whites and roses will also be something to look forward to in 2015, with several restaurants offering the option.
Fresh, seasonal produce: Many restaurants are now dishing out the farm-to-fork experience to promote seasonal and local produce. Tiffin Room at Alila with their beetroot carpaccio spiked with a pomegranate emulsion and topped off with goat cheese and pickled shallots is worth braving any amount of traffic. With Red Fork reinventing itself recently, their blackboard menu is something I really look forward to savouring sometime soon.
And of course there is ITC Gardenia's Ottimo for Chef Vittorio's amazing innovation with classic Italian cuisine -just enough to wow you, yet staying true to flavours and ingredients. His parmigiana di melanzane will play mind games with you.
The Parmigiani Di Melanzane at Ottimo
Trends I'd like to see: With all of this, there are a few things I would like to see restaurants do this year. For one, innovation in children's menus is something I really look for. With so many families dining out in the city, it would be nice to have something apart from the staid mac n' cheese and its ilk for kids.
A sushi train would be another great experience to have in the city considering we love our Japanese. It would also be lovely to see restaurants experiment with a larger variety of vegetables. Pop-ups by popular restaurants from other cities could also add a dash of spice to Bangalore's culinary repertoire.