Big Bandha takes it up a few notches
Big Bandha takes it up a few notches with their exclusive pop-up fine dining experience, where the focus is on fusion cuisine
When Manoj Padmanaban’s stall at the International Food Carnival in February sold out nearly 500 dishes in a couple of hours, people could not stop talking about the lasagna-like baked dish made with parotta and salna, topped with cheese. It was clearly time to take his ‘creative cooking’ style and his newly minted brand, Big Bandha, to the next level. A self-confessed foodie, Manoj’s passion for cooking was noticed outside his home when the 37-year-old bagged the Super Chef title four years back in the city. Roping in husband-wife duo, Samir and Gunit Singla of Uncle Sam’s Kitchen, Manoj is now all set to host and curate The Closed Door, an exclusive eight course sit-down dinner for select 30 guests on April 21, at a private venue. The evening will also see M J Shriram belting out Tamil and Hindi numbers to keep the mood upbeat.
An active Round Tabler, Manoj tells us, “All my parties were always catered by Uncle Sam’s Kitchen. In fact, Samir understands and executes my recipes perfectly!” With 16 years of catering experience under their belt, the Singlas bring valuable expertise, infrastructure and kitchen technology to the table. “My passion is creating original recipes and designing visual drama on the plate — but the logistics of it is not my forte,” admits Manoj, CEO of The Mayavaram Financial Chit Corp, talking to us from the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad, where he is doing a course on entrepreneurship. Having pursued amateur cooking classes in Thailand and Italy, Manoj shares, “I have been to Michelin-starred restaurants — and always craved familiar flavours, but with all the strappings of fine dining.”
Behind the door
While he doesn’t want to give away the entire menu, Manoj gives us a sneak peek into the eight-course dinner that begins with nibbles on the table like arugula with fig vinaigrette among others. And if you are wondering why the crunch and tang of the contents in the stemmed glass is familiar — it is deconstructed pani poori with raagi murukku. A promising dish, the Golti Kebab is a chicken dish that puns on the galouti kebab but has buffalo sauce and gongura glaze, hence the deliberate slang for Telugu. Blue crab taco with wasabi mayo finds place among other creations like avocado and sun-dried tomato spring rolls. The meal ends with a beeda, the quintessential roll of betel leaves and sweet meats; although at The Closed Door it is in liquid form and has to be gulped like a shot. While the dinner at `3,000 per person is a closed door event, and the seats are already sold-out, Manoj advises us to keep tabs on his Facebook page (facebook.com/bigbandha) for posts on the next pop-up.