BENGALURU: To be able to enjoy one’s own company is often an acquired skill. And yet, going to restaurants, pubs or movies alone draws attention from curious on-lookers. But the pandemic has changed much and Bengalurueans are embracing the friends in themselves. Noticing this, restaurateurs are adapting their menus to include a single portion for such diners. From small-size pizzas, half portions of pasta to high teas for one, the food selection for single diners is growing in the city.
With the work-from-home option still in place for many professionals, more and more people are heading to restaurants for a change in environment. “We have a few regulars, including a doctor, who come to the bar at least once a week and spend many hours here by themselves. They either read a book or order some food and sit by themselves,” says Krishnapriya Banerjee, marketing and events planner at URU Brewpark in JP Nagar. On their menu are several items suitable for a single diner. “The sliders, for instance, are easy to eat and aren’t messy when working. Many don’t order Indian food, but salads, pastas and seven-inch pizzas are preferred,” Banerjee says.
Most restaurants serve family portions or a largish portion size not suitable for one person. In order to control wasting and also help customers go easy on the pocket, Little Italy in Indiranagar serves half a portion of their pasta and small-sized pizza. Amrut Mehta, director of Little Italy Group of Restaurants, says, “Diners have the option to share their portion preferences with us, based on which we serve dishes accordingly. This way, they can also try more than one item and have a complete dining experience like everyone else does.”
For those not up for lunch or dinner, there’s a high-tea option that Conrad Bengaluru offers exclusively for single diners. The experience is complete with the Charlie stand comprising savoury dishes and mini desserts like sandwiches, samosas and cakes. Chef Praveen Shetty, director of culinary, says, “Even if they aren’t our in-house guests, there are single diners frequenting our restaurants . People want to try more items on the menu and sometimes the a la carte and buffet options may not be the best choice. So a set portion, and in this case, high tea in the evening, gives them a lavish experience to taste multiple items.” And the icing on the cake is the pricing which is also halved.
If there’s a major change that the pandemic has brought about, it’s the takeaway and home delivery option. Star hotels have joined this home delivery bandwagon, also taking into consideration single diners. Uchit Vohra, executive chef of ITC Gardenia Bengaluru, says, “A set menu is the most preferred. It’s almost like they can have multiple courses but in small portions. The options are varied, there are Bento boxes for those preferring Japanese meals, and small-portion thalis too.” Once upon a time, single diners opted
for starters owing to the portioning but Vohra points out that main courses, when given in smaller quantities, can be equally satiating. So the next time you step out, you needn’t worry that the portion size is “too large” for you.