A celebration of food, and how! Ten star restaurants of Kolkata are participating from September 11 in Restaurant Week India (RWI), a ten-day-long fiesta for the epicure at heart.
The event is being held in five cities – Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, with Kolkata being the latest to join the feast. Two more cities – Pune and Hyderabad – are going to be added from the next time.
The idea is to allow food enthusiasts to enjoy meals at top-of-the-line restaurants without making it prohibitively expensive; the meals come at rates that are 30% to 50% lower than the normal a-la-carte rates at each restaurant.
The meals at the fine-dining restaurants for those participating in RWI are three-course affairs – appetiser, main course and dessert. Each course again has a choice of four vegetarian and four non-vegetarian dishes.
The 10 participating restaurants in Kolkata are:
- Baan Thai (The Oberoi Grand)
- Durbari (Swissotel Kolkata)
- La Cucina (Hyatt Regency Kolkata)
- Pan Asian (ITC Sonar)
- Peshawri (ITC Sonar)
- Souk (Taj Bengal)
- The Legacy Grill (The Lalit Great Eastern)
- Zen (The Park Hotel)
- Yauatcha (Quest Mall)
- Serafina (Quest Mall)
The selection of these restaurants was on the basis of feedback. The organisers looked at the top restaurant ratings website, Zomato to see what the ratings were and what people were saying about them. They also physically sat down at each of them to look at the a la carte prices.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
To participate in Restaurant Week India, one
has to make a reservation online (CLICK HERE
) after checking the
three-course menu and pay Rs 100 as reservation.
Zen, The Park, one of the participating restaurants (tripadvisor.com)
How it all began
Restaurant Week was created by Tim Zagat and the late Joseph (Joe) Baum in 1992. Tim Zagat is an American lawyer who, along with his wife, Nina Zagat, created the Zagat Guide for restaurants worldwide in 1982. Joe Baum was also an American, a restaurateur and innovator responsible for creating the country's first themed restaurants, including masterpieces such as The Four Seasons Restaurant and Windows on the World.
The culinary extravaganza has since then expanded in participation by both consumers and restaurants alike, and has gone international over the years, covering Europe, Latin America and South-East Asia. The immediate impetus was a gesture of goodwill from the New York restaurant industry as it hosted the 15,000 reporters who came in from around the country to cover the Democratic National Convention. In New York, the event has expanded from a week-long celebration to a four-day one to now, about a month-long festivity, from mid-July.
The equation is simple. The customers love them because they offer a chance to experience many of their city's best restaurants for a modest price. The restaurants gain because they attract thousands of new diners, principally younger people and retirees who might hesitate to try such restaurants without the assurance of an affordable bill.
Tim Zagat (left); Joe Baum (suggestkeyword.com; library.fora.tv)
Restaurant Week India
Restaurant Week India, the Indian version of Restaurant Week, is the brainchild of Nachiket Shetye and Mangal Dalal, a professional chef and a food writer, respectively. They started the event in 2010 in Mumbai, with the participation of seven restaurants, and it went on for seven days. Later they founded Desi Restaurant Week Events Pvt Ltd to make it a formally organised affair. With time, it has been extended to 10 days.
Mangal Dalal (left) and Nachiket Shetye (mid-day.com)
A bright gastronomic future
Restaurant Week India did 11,500 covers in four metros at the last round this April. With Kolkata now on board, RWI expect 13,000 diners at the 105 restaurants in the five metros during this edition of RWI from September 11 to 20.
According to Shetye, in Kolkata, 30% of the capacity of the participating restaurants are reserved for RWI. With time, they expect that number to grow. In Mumbai and Delhi, 70% of the restaurants are now reserved for RWI, and in three-four years, they expect entire restaurants to be booked for RWI.
Shetye and Dalal have high expectations for Kolkata, being the food-loving city that it is. They expect the number of restaurants in Kolkata to grow from 10 to 15 the next time RWI is held in April 2016.
Written by Anushtup Haldar for team M3.tv
Lead image: La Cucina restaurant in Hyatt Regency, Kolkata (kolkata.regency.hyatt.com)