The IPL season is in full swing and restaurants are upping the ante by dishing out special menus and offers to add a zing to your cricket adventures.
I am looking at my table at Monkey Bar in Bengaluru that has dishes inspired from all the IPL franchises. There is Kolkata Fried Riders, Hyderabad Capt. Kheema, Bangalore Chicken Challenger, Delhi Butter Chicken Bouncer and Chennai Kothu Super King, Rajasthan Lal Maas Royals and Punjab Murgh of the Match. And yes, there are drinks to match as well – Mangaa, Toast to Calcutta, Mad Men and Monkey Masala Soda. I am hereto experience Monkey Bar Team Spirit menu that offers dishes inspired by IPL teams from Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and New Delhi and a selection of special small plates from Hyderabad, Chennai, Rajasthan and Punjab. As I tuck into Gully Bao, a misal inspired curried white peas stuffed bao, farsan, onion and tomato salad; served with spicy rassa inspired from Mumbai, I realise quite quickly why this menu is so popular. Each dish is cooked to perfection and has an interesting twist of flavour that is the perfect accompaniment to the thrilling matches being played. Taco Indians, a crisp fried cottage cheese or chicken, with tomato salsa, green chilli and peanut chutney served in a thepla and Veggie Daredevils, a pan-seared melt in the mouth vegetarian shami kebab made from lightly spiced raw jackfruit and lentils are other winners. From Kolkata you can try Fried Riders – breaded and fried white fish fillet rolls stuffed with curried shrimp and served with a kasundi mustard spiked salad or the Pork Powerplay, the hugely popular steamed and pan-fried Kolkata style dumplings. Delhi fans must try the Butter Chicken Bouncer, a chargrilled chicken tikka and creamy makhani stuffed spring roll. The Chennai inspired Kothu Super King and 65 Not Out, Rajasthan Lal Maas Royals and Skipper Rolls and Murgh of the Match for Punjab fans all means there is never a dull moment at your table.
The customers are naturally lapping it all up and with match screenings thrown in, the IPL food juggernaut is certainly on a roll. “IPL is big in Kolkata. We have made this IPL menu keeping in mind the different teams and food attached to each of the cities these teams are from. We have popular items such as Crunchy Rasogulla (KKR), Bombay Vada Pao (Mumbai Indians), Tangri 65 (Royal Challengers Banglore), Wings BBQ (Chennai Super Kings), Seek Kebab (Delhi Capitals), Keema Samosa (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Mirchi Pakora (Rajasthan Royals) & Chola Bhautre (Kings XI Punjab). The idea behind the menu was to keep it simple and relatable to the people, that’s the reason we have things like Vada Pao (Mumbai Indians) and Crunchy Rasgulla (Kolkata Knight Riders) in our IPL Menu, some dishes I have tweaked to my creativity but things like Vada Pao have been kept as cult classic because as the caption in menu says ‘it’s not food it’s an emotion’, says Sumeet Raghuvanshi, Head Chef, White Castle Hospitality that currently owns four brands across Kolkata, M Bar Kitchen, Ozora, Mr. Mozza and The Parking Lot.
In fact apart from the food, restaurants are also coming up with offers to match IPL scores. Clement Chettiar, DGM Hotel Peninsula Red-Pine says, “to have the customers enjoy the whole IPL screening experience we have more enjoyable with our offers on drinks such as sports lovers, like the ambiance to be a mix bag of chilled golden drinks with some snacks. Also we have a ‘Predict the Sixes’ gig while the match is being played.” Pankaj Dogra, Director food and beverage, Intercontinental Marine Drive avers, “it is beneficial for both the customers and restaurant owners as it can keep the place buzzing and even the guests will be getting lot of discount offers, so it is a win-win situation for both. Promotional menu has lot of offers and all the items and brands are less expensive and are on discounted rates by the margin of around 25 percent compared to a la carte menu.
Guests are going in groups to enjoy screening along with food and drinks which is why the consumer response have been fairly good.” Nau Se Barah at Navi Mumbai is currently providing IPL Combos with Beer Bucket + Two Starters and Beer Tower + Two Starters. “There has been an increasing number of people who want to watch IPL with friends and family, as cricket has always been watched in the company of family and friends. We thought why not provide the perfect place for our customers to watch IPL along with chilled beer and delicious food. The customer response has been great as we have seen more than fifty percent of our customers going for the IPL menu,” says Monica Raju & Ms. Bhavya Raju, Founders & Directors Nau Se Barah. Contests as well as offers have been added to ensure that people interact and engage with restaurants online. This not only helps in an added word of mouth publicity but also incentivizes regular food lovers to ask for more and to visit their favourite dine outs again. Anushree Pacheriwal, Co-Founder & Creative Navigator, Gemius says, “many restaurants do IPL screenings. This helps in gathering the cricket loving community and increases the sales. Some restaurants have tried creating IPL theme viewing parties and several fans have flooded those places. Each day is a different experience based on the day’s matches and the winning teams get added benefits.” So this IPL season, it is time to hit a six on your table as well.
This story first appeared in Sakal Times dated May 4, 2019 here: