It’s been a great year for epicureans, thanks to a slew of new restaurants and food concepts. We list some of the game-changing places that have opened across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Goa and Kolkata.
After a long hiatus, restaurateur, Rahul Akerkar, returned with his labour of love – Qualia. You can look forward to a sensory experience, thanks to an open kitchen that lets you watch the chefs prepare your dishes, and a cuisine-agnostic menu featuring local, seasonal ingredients. Think, cheese from Gujarat, rice from Assam, fish from Cochin, etc. Choose from a selection of eclectic pizzas, mains, and vintage cocktails.
Where: Ground Floor, Lodha World Crest, 402 Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Tel: +91 73045 86862
At first glance, Ishaara might be like any other contemporary Indian restaurant. But what makes it special is the service staff here, who are differently-abled. A collaboration between Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah of Stratix Hospitality, along with Impresario Handmade Restaurants, Ishaara offers a well-curated experience of food and hospitality, where you’re encouraged to communicate with the staff using sign language. Order off the regional-inspired menu with plates like the duck galouti, Amritsari fish tikka, and besan laddoo ice cream.
Where: 3rd Floor, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Tulsi Pipe Rd, Lower Parel.
Tel: +91 8657531988
Dubai’s critically-acclaimed restaurant, paying homage to Indian cuisine, made its way over to Mumbai’s BKC this year. Translating to mean ‘very Indian’, the food aims to change the traditional notions of Indian cuisine, combining avant-garde techniques and local flavours, all in a luxe setting. The sophisticated menu has dishes like the vegan carpaccio, Rajashtani cucumber curry, Allepy lobster and more.
Where: Ground Floor, Inspire BKC, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex.
Tel: +91 89280 00057
Chef Alex Sanchez who previously helmed the kitchen at The Table, returned to India after a sabbatical, with his casual, yet, chic neighbourhood resto-bar in the bylanes of Fort. There’s Italian-American fare on offer, with traditional pizzas made with fermented dough, small plates and pastas, and a vibe that makes it an ‘it’ place this side of town.
Where: Nagindas Master Rd, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
Tel: 022 2264 7700
This progressive Indian restaurant with outposts in San Francisco and Chicago, made its India foray this year. The cuisine reinterprets traditional Indian flavours with a contemporary lens. The setting is a refurbished 150-year-old haveli with views of the iconic Qutub Minar. The menu, helmed by Chef Sujan Sarkar, offers signatures like the duck shami with a charcoal biscuit, kokum-cured salmon, and avocado bhel, among others.
Where: Ambawatta One complex, H-5/1, Kalkadas Marg, Mehrauli.
Tel: +91 7303600299
The new kid on the block is this slick Asian resto-bar that transports you to a glamorous era- from the plush velvet chairs, to the ‘call for champagne’ buzzers on each table, with butlers providing your choice of bubbly. The cuisine is modern Asian, with signatures like the soft shell crab, sous vide duck, and avocado carpaccio, along with a list of oriental-inspired cocktails.
Where: LG, DLF Chanakya Mall, Chanakyapuri.
Tel: +91 99107 82198
Chefs Jamsheed Bhote and Hanisha Singh, are the creative minds behind Plats, one of the latest entrants to Delhi’s culinary scene. Here, you’ll find refined plates that showcase the duo’s flair for globally-inspired, technique-driven dishes; like the shrimp and chicken stuffed wings, shroom buns, fried chicken katsu sandwich, and more.
Where: C-51, Shivalik Main Road, Malviya Nagar.
Tel: +91 8882155809
Together at 12th
This stand-alone restaurant at the Le Meredien is a nouveau concept, offering freestyle cuisine that’s largely inspired by local, seasonal ingredients available. There’s a curated list of craft cocktails and dishes like the duck pasta, yam gnocchi, Meghalayan rice risotto, etc.
Where: 12th Floor, Le Meridien Hotel, Sector 26, Gurugram
Tel: +91 7303811277
Black Market Goa
The sister concern of the popular Black Sheep Bistro, Black Market, is all about easy, contemporary fare in a cozy ambience. Choose from favourites like the confit duck fry, spiced chicken bao, and parmesan churros. Sit back and unwind with a cocktail (or several), as you soak in Goa’s laidback vibe.
Where: First Floor, above Fab India, Campal, Panaji.
Tel: +91 832 246 5901
Located in Anjuna in North Goa, Mahé is all about modern coastal cuisine, set in a charming century-old Portuguese villa. We love how the villa is sectioned out into a bar and separate dining rooms (including an al-fresco section), with a breezy flow. There’s freshly caught seafood paired with homemade sauces, several regional plates, and craft cocktails using native ingredients.
Where: House 1111, Anjuna Arpora Road, Mazal Waddo, Anjuna.
Tel: +91 97658 74858
Coming from the Olive Group stable, Cantan has found a sweet spot with patrons, thanks to Chef Manu Chandra’s innovative menu comprising traditional Chinese barbecues, dim sums, regional Chinese fare, and eclectic cocktails. The two-storey restaurant is quintessentially oriental– complete with lanterns and Chinese dragons.
Where: 1st and 2nd Floor, Opp. Harley Davidson, Lavelle Road, Ashok Nagar.
Tel: +91 8048669269
Another new addition in Bengaluru is this vintage-inspired restaurant. Punkah House offers contemporary fare with a signature twist, like the Foxnut jhalmoori, jamun ceviche, Kashmiri morels, and a selection of wood-fired flatbreads, among others. The setting is rustic with several sections to choose from. We especially like the vintage-references in the form of cane furniture, old gramophones, etc.
Where: 1st & 2nd Floor, 12th Main Road, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar.
Tel: +91 9331635306
Kolkata has much to rejoice with its growing culinary scene, and Saz complements this with its swanky vibe, artisanal cocktails and classic American plates, like the lobster marinara, scampi benedict and truffle mushrooms. There’s also a boozy Sunday brunch that’s perfect for a lazy weekend.
Where: 9th Floor, 901A, 6, Camac Street Area.
Tel: 080 49653253
All images: Courtesy restaurants