Tarun Seth of The Claridges says customer perception of food presentation is higher than ever.
They say you first eat with your eyes. In in this age of diverse dining experience, visual impact is everything. From interior design to presentation of the tabletop, diners expect a lot more than food.
Tableware is a huge investment and it pays to make an intelligent buy say hoteliers. Fine dining restaurants and casual eateries alike have embraced the idea of mixing and matching innovative tabletop platters. The idea is to be versatile, exclusive and coordinated.
“The customer perception of food presentation is higher than ever before and chefs are looking for more innovative presentation materials and style,” says Tarun Seth, Director F&B at The Claridges, New Delhi.
“From music to lighting to aesthetics on the table, creating a holistic dining atmosphere is about details. Crockery and cutlery is significant to this,” adds Seth.
Kama, the Indian restaurant at Radisson Blu Ghaziabad is a case in point. Everything from the gold plated ceiling to tables adorned with mother of pearl mats scream the wow factor.
“Kama means pleasure of the senses, the aesthetic enjoyment of life. We have worked on every detail to enhance the dining experience,” says Mohit Khanna, Executive Chef. “Our amuse platter is a showstopper with its mix of slate and porcelain. The green and blue of our crockery look fabulous when empty, but when combined with food, it's visual appeal at another level,” adds Nikhil Rastogi, Executive Sous Chef.
A riot of colours on the table is trendy and delightful. Prego at The Westin Gurgaon, is a perfect example to showcase a cheerful, whimsical synergy between colours and shapes.
Amit Kumar, Food and Beverage Manager says, “Prego stands for fun, casual and untailored. The cutlery and ceramics have been chosen to depict a synergy in the theme. You will not find the same design of napkins on an individual table. Same for plates. As shape and size of tableware differ, so does colour. With oranges, greens and yellows, you will find blues and reds. This adds to the impact of the décor on the guest. It serves as an aid to Prego’s aim to convey the message of Come As You Are.”
Today, round is boring. Square or oblong are a hit. Demand for contemporary flatware with sleek lines and occasional sculpted accent is at a peak. The handle of the tablespoon could well be triangular or cylindrical instead of the typical flat.
While whimsical graphics adds humour and interest, green tableware reinforces the ‘Go Green’ mantra. Vibrant ethnic prints promote a more urban, chic look.
At Monkey Bar, Bangalore, India's first gastropub, there is a unique spin to everything. Says Chef Manu Chandra, Partner, “Our tableware is eclectic and irreverent. It refuses to conform to any norm and the crockery is a cheerful mismatch and, somehow, perfectly complements the honest wholesomeness of the food. Aunt Maise from Saligao parted with her recipe of Pork Sorpotel for us and on her instructions is served in a jam pot with warm pav; our Pickled Beef comes in a traditional bharani, while our pot-stickers are served in muffin trays. Mismatched crockery in exciting colours reflect the vibrant, quirky, irreverent yet warm and spirited nature of the gastropub. Happy spring foam cake tins carrying an assortment of hot sauces will keep the most hardened chilli freaks satisfied both visually as well as in flavour."
The tabletop saga thus reflects trendy lifestyle and an appetite for change—in food, as in cars and clothes.