Chandigarh on a new gourmet high

By Mannat Mundi, Chandigarh, Sep 25 : For a city that survived on the traditional tandoori and butter chicken for years, digging into choicest variety of dimsums and sushi sitting in an eatery crafted on a Japanese temple, enjoying Asian fare from near and far, enjoying the best of American yoghurt or relishing sizzlers from a leading chain from Mumbai : Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, seems to be on a real gourmet course.

In the last few months, Chandigarh is getting a taste, literally, of newer things in the food business as eating joints are opening almost every other day. Bigger and better brands are bringing in the best of foods from around the world.

You may never have taken a trip to Japan, but you don't bother now because 'Plum' at Elante Mall, Chandigarh's latest happening place and the biggest mall in the region, takes you on a ride there. Built like a Japanese temple, following the 'house in a box concept', it has a wooden hut-like structure.

The brain behind the concept, entrepreneur Ankit Juneja, says that people are lapping up the new joints.

"There was a gap in the market for an authentic Asian restaurant. People travel and are now becoming more and more aware. Besides, it's healthier, and there was a subtle demand for the same," Juneja, whose joint specialises in dimsums, told IANS.

"We take pride in having the largest dimsum menu in the city. We have over 15 kinds of dimsums and they are our crowd pullers," he added.

Caption: The Japanese Temple style 'Plum' restaurant in Chandigarh's Elante Mall.

"Oriental food enthusiasts can enjoy a multi-Asian cuisine like Thai, Burmese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Singaporean and Vietnamese food," Plum's executive chef Sunil Rana, who has worked as chef in Hilton-Abu Dhabi for five years, told IANS.

International yoghurt chain Red Mango from the United States is targeting the city's youth.

Rahul Kumar, CEO and managing director of Red Mango in India, said: "The idea of Red Mango yoghurt is hip and trendy and I am sure that youngsters would love to walk in our store, press the lever and fill a cup with their favourite flavour."

India's oldest sizzler restaurant chain from Mumbai, Kobe Sizzlers is offering oriental sizzlers for those who don't mind the steam.

Sachin Suri, managing director of Kobe Sizzlers, told IANS: "Chandigarh is a huge upcoming market. After doing a survey, we thought this will prove fruitful."

Claiming that the variety at Kobe was a "guilt-free treat", Suri lists the lamb and sea food sizzlers and a whole range of pizzas, pastas and salads that the place offers.

'Girl In The Cafe' (GITC), is wired up with young and middle-aged crowd. "Our authentic wood fired pizzas and British sandwiches are delectable and a must have," Neha Singh, the young entrepreneur behind GITC, told IANS.

American chain 'Chillis', 'Nando's', ice cream giant 'Haagen Dazs' and many more international names are competing with several desi eating joints and most of them are doing good.

Gourmet lovers, who used to have limited options in markets in Sector 17, 26 and 35 earlier, now have a wide variety to take a pick from.

(Mannat Mundi can be contacted at mannatrules@yahoo.com)

--IANS (Posted on 26-09-2013)

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