The FLEA Bazaar Café will open its doors on 7 April.
The FLEA Bazaar Café will open its doors on 7 April.

Great spots to grab a quick bite

A new hub in Mumbai served by 14 eateries opens this weekend; and in its third year, a food festival looks to liven up things in New Delhi, with cookery demos and music

Mumbai

How many times have you wished for food that could liven up your workday? Chances are, however, that the options available are limited or expensive, or both.

No longer perhaps.

“I decided to see if we could make something where anyone would be able to find a variety of choices, which is also easy on the pocket," says Riyaaz Amlani, managing director, Impresario Entertainment Hospitality, the brand behind Mumbai’s newest eating spot, FLEA Bazaar Café, which opens this Saturday.

You could look upon FLEA Bazaar Café as a permanent food festival in the city’s Lower Parel business district. There will be a variety of food and drinks—from butter chicken, mutton samosas, kebabs and sushi to cocktails and juices—served by 14 new or upcoming restaurants. A meal for one can range from Rs100-350.

“There is a lot of young talent in the food space doing interesting stuff. FLEA Bazaar Café is a collaborative platform," says Amlani. Impresario’s popular chain, Social, will serve cocktails on tap—making it quite different from a mall’s food court. There will even be a “gig space" for new musicians.

Some of the youngsters Amlani talks about have already made a mark for their brand—including Saransh Goila, who will bring his brand Goila’s Butter Chicken, so far only an online and takeaway place, to FLEA Bazaar Café. Goila’s will offer Naan Bombs (chopped chicken or mushroom tikka encased in a nando ball and charred), Sindhi mutton inspired by family recipes, and ghee roast (a Karnataka speciality), along with the signature butter chicken.

“Our main clientele has been the young millennials. We wanted to make Indian food ‘cool’ again for them, remove the idea of it being extra greasy, and relatively more clean," explains Goila.

Another name that stands out is that of Munaf Kapadia of The Bohri Kitchen, which serves traditional Bohri cuisine through a delivery, catering and home-dining set-up. TBK, as it is known, will serve smoked mutton keema samosas, Russian cutlets, and smoked dal patti samosas, among others.

“Customers will also have the option of booking in advance for a Bohri Thaal where we can serve them on a single big shared plate, the way traditionally Bohris eat at home, or for celebrations," explains Kapadia.

More than the food, FLEA Bazaar Café might just become the new hangout spot for millennials, hopes Amlani.

The FLEA Bazaar Café will open its doors on 7 April, 5pm, at Oasis City Complex, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel (24970740).

Delhi

Grub Fest, the popular food festival, is back in a bigger avatar. Since debuting in April 2015 in the capital, the festival has also done the rounds of cities such as Chandigarh, Mumbai, Pune and Jaipur.

The brainchild of Chaitanya Mathur, Aman Kumar, Arjun Jain and Mani Singh Cheema, Grub Fest will host pop-up stalls of restaurants such as CJ’s Fresh, Ministry of Beer, Pretty Baked, The Funnel Hill Creamery, iHOP, Wok to Walk and Big Yellow Door.

“Each year, we try to bring in something new. Something which makes us more than just a food festival," says Mathur.

This year, there will also be, for the first time, an ice skating rink to beat the summer heat and a club arena with musicians such as UK-born DJ Frenzy, Mankirt Aulakh, B. Praak, Guru Randhawa and Tatva K. taking the stage.

“We have realized there is a demand for Punjabi-Bollywood music in these festivals, so the artist line-up reflects that. But we also have a Grub Jukebox where those who are just bursting on to the music scene will be performing," adds Mathur.

Visitors to Grub Fest tend to be more experimental when it comes to food, says Chaahat Jain, founder of Delhi-based CJ’s Fresh, which delivers burgers, pizzas and pasta, and has been involved with Grub Fest for some time. “People tend to try out various dishes since they can share or have smaller portions," adds Jain.

This year, Grub Fest is also introducing Grub Star—a VIP access ticket that entitles you to prime seats at the music performances. The other new attraction is Grub Theatre, which will host live cooking demonstrations and sampling sessions.

“Last edition (October, in Delhi), we had over 50,000 people coming in for three days. It isn’t just for the food, but the experience of it all. We are sure this time it will only be bigger and better," adds Mathur.

Grub Fest will be held from 6-8 April, noon- midnight, at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Pragati Vihar. Tickets, Rs399 and Rs999, available on Bookmyshow.com.

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