Fine dining at a fair price

42 restaurants will feature menus with a seriously reduced right-hand column

August 11, 2016 01:22 pm | Updated 01:22 pm IST

The bi-annual 10-day culinary fiesta, DineFest, is back. This time 42 restaurants across Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru will be dishing out set menus with food at a fraction of the à la carte prices. Here’s what you can expect:

Why DineFest?

Nachiket Shetye, co-founder of Cellar Door Hospitality, which food events such as Restaurant Week India, Chef’s Table, Food With Benefits, and Small Plates Week, says, “DineFest is the casual dining version of Restaurant Week India, which was launched five years ago to showcase India’s fine dining establishments at affordable prices. He says in the past two years the market has changed and now there is one casual dining space opening every three days. “How does the consumer know which are the nice ones? So for DineFest we curate a list of places that we recommend you try out and see for yourself whether you like them.”

Which are the participating restaurants?

You can pick between 15 casual dining restaurants across Mumbai. These include British Brewing Co. (Lower Parel), Café Zoe (Lower Parel), Chemistry 101 (Lower Parel), Diva Maharashtracha (Mahim), Goa Portuguesa (Mahim), Indigo Deli (Colaba), Mamagoto (Andheri West), Mirchi & Mime (Powai), Mockingbird Café Bar (Churchgate), Nom Nom (Bandra West), Silver Beach Café (Fort), SodaBottleOpenerWala (BKC), Soho Tapas Bar (Andheri West), The Good Wife (BKC), and Tuskers at Sofitel Mumbai (BKC). The restaurants were chosen based on their Zomato ratings (Zomato is a partner of DineFest) and opinions of food writers and bloggers in the city.

What you can expect?

Each restaurant has come up with a three-course selection from their menus. You can choose between several dishes for each course. There’s a good balance of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Shetye says, “Some menus also have new dishes that the chef might be experimenting with for their next menu, and would like to get customer feedback on.”

What’s new and exciting?

Some additions this year include Nom Nom, Silver Beach Café and Mirchi & Mime. Shetye says, “One of the most interesting menus this year is from SodaBottleOpenerWala. It’s an all-vegetarian menu. Since it’s Navroze [on Aug 17] the restaurant was working on a menu that would feature vegetarian dishes. Plus it’s Shravan so people are more open to the idea of going out and trying something vegetarian.” On offer for the vegetarian bhonu is doodhi nu pattice, a drumstick and brinjal curry, veg pulao, falooda and more. Shetye also picks Goa Portuguesa and Café Zoe as restaurants to watch out for. “You can never go wrong with Chef Viraf Patel’s [of Café Zoe] menu. He has such a great understanding of food and current market trends, and he always gives us an excellent menu.” Café Zoe’s menu is extensive and choices include beetroot or tenderloin carpaccio, quinoa risotto, and roast lamb cous cous.

When is it happening?

DineFest will be held between August 12 and 21. On offer is a set lunch and dinner menu at Rs. 600 per person (exclusive of taxes and service charges). There’s one lunch and two dinner seatings (at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m.) every day. Registration are open at dinefest.in. A non-refundable booking fee of R.s 50 will be charged.

The author is a Mumbai-based travel and food writer

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