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Bespoke dinners a growing trend

Specialist caterers are offering unusual venues, customised menus, and end-to-end services
Last Updated : 14 March 2023, 19:33 IST

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Dining out in Bengaluru can be an adventure — ranging from gourmet meals at luxury hotels to quirky and offbeat options such as Platform 65 (where one’s food arrives on a mini railway track) and Ishaara (manned by differently abled individuals). However, despite the surge in the number of eateries, a growing section is looking for bespoke dinners in intimate settings, often in their own homes.

Sanjiv Shanmugam, who runs a commercial real estate business, frequently hosts sit-down dinners for gatherings of eight to 12 people. He owns a couple of properties which serve as venues. Shanmugam’s caterer of choice is Amiel Guerin, whose venture, Amiel Gourmet, has been around for about five years. “What you get from a service like this is impossible to get at a restaurant. You have control over what you are served, without the hassle of unpacking the food, serving it up, and plating it,” says Shanmugam.

Guerin’s menu is focused on European cuisines, the most popular being Italian. The canapes are crowd pleasers, says the chef. Think fig and goat’s cheese tartlets, and tuna and wasabi mayo toast. “We decide on the menu after discussing the profile of the guests and the host’s preferences. My team first visits the venue for a recce,” says Guerin, a French national who moved to Bengaluru
in 2010.

Sitting in a quarry

Well-known chef Manu Chandra’s Single Thread Catering has taken on the challenge of working with some unusual venues. The latest was a quarry in Chikkamagaluru. “The logistics are quite a challenge. When you’re working in a quarry, you have no running water. Then
you have to ensure the kitchen is on level ground,” he says.

An event the company recently created was a sit-down dinner inspired by the iconic eateries of the city. Favourites from restaurants like Koshy’s and Fanoos were given a ‘Single Thread’ spin for nostalgia value. Chandra’s team takes care of everything from cutlery to glassware, crockery and decor. “In the past decade-and-a-half, lots of people have taken pains to set up their dream homes and now they want to showcase them, so they prefer to entertain at their residence,” he says. Single Thread does about 10-12 events per month. Last year, it was in the news for its food at the India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival.

Picnic on a farm

It’s not just fancy dinners and exotic venues that Bengalureans are looking for. The Picnic Company, started by Bhawna Rao and Shwetha Gupta, offers curated picnics for small groups at partner farms. “It was purely due to the

pandemic. People were looking for places to go, but afraid to step into restaurants. But now, it continues to be popular,” says Bhawna.

The team sets up rustic tables at picturesque locations. “We avoid single-use plastic for our table decor and stick to more natural elements like flowers and wooden boards,” she reveals. The company offers five-course menus with cuisines spanning Mediterranean, Indian and Oriental.

“The Mediterranean menu is the most popular because I think it suits the
outdoor setting. But often, customers ask for a mix of all three cuisines,” she says.

Currently, The Picnic Company’s partner farms are located in Kanakapura, Kolar and Hosur, but more farms will be added once they reopen for business in May. “Because it’s getting hot right now, we decided to take a two-month summer break,” says Bhawna.

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Published 14 March 2023, 19:22 IST

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