Indulge 14th Anniversary Special: Parties in Chennai get smaller, albeit boast gourmet meals, exciting grazing table hampers and pre-mixes
Intimate groups and cosy gatherings in Chennai have discovered the concept of fuss-free partying with exotic grazing table options, pre-mixes and pre-plated gourmet food just a click away
With the various pandemic regulations and restrictions ensuring that dining spaces and restobars were some of the last establishments to open, barring theatres — one would think that folks in the city might have lost their spirit to party. Wrong! Despite reduced staff at homes, limited ingredients in the market and dwindling energy — often, we found ourselves sipping on a gin with elderflower flavoured tonic, munching on crackers and blue cheese, vibing with a deep house playlist. In fact, the trend of small groups and intimate gatherings seems to be here for the long haul.
Though Delhi and Mumbai got into the grazing table trend way before us, we have got into the game with gorgeous centerpiece food platters stuffed with exquisite bites of cheese, cold cuts, fruits and even chocolate. Earlier this year we had featured Amrita Goenka’s Chop Chop by Amrita where we had dug into exotic vegetarian gourmet food like Truffle Edamame Crostini, Soba Noodles and Strawberry Burrata Panzanella, besides her platters of cheese. Last week, we chatted with Shubhi Jain who has her Insta-kitchen Beyond Binge offering interesting homely vegetarian spreads. “Though I started by offering homely food, it was only a matter of time before I realised there was a demand for pre-plated platters for formal dining for small groups,” says Shubhi who is known for her Jaipuri food like Aloo Payaz Ki Kachori and Kabuli Channa Rice. With home chefs like Shubhi in the fray we can start partying from morning onward as she also offers breakfast platters. with customised food options, right from pesto croissants to poha and sandwiches, the variety is immense (customised platters from INR 2,500 onward).
For the non-vegetarians who are waiting politely, we have the perfect grazing table option that will bring back the glee to your countenance. Cold cuts and smoked meats are tucked into the charcuterie platters designed by Plattermiamor (from INR 3,000 onward). Naashitha Nasser’s brainchild, Plattermiamor, the brand offers gourmet ingredients and an exciting range of imported cheese and some indigenous brands too. What has got us excited about her menu is the Chocolate & Cheese grazing table options. “It is not just for parties, but even for casual social evenings I find that people prefer a grazing table spread,” informs Naashitha who also has an interesting mezze platter in her menu.
Talking about cheese and short eats for a party, leads us to the next obvious query. What is your poison? Well, we were surprised to find that the most exotic cocktails and premixes were up for grabs — and all at your doorstep. Pre-pandemic we had greedily downed many glasses of Sonal Malhotra’s homemade sangrias at her house parties. During lockdown much to our delight she started Serendipity73bysona, an Insta-kitchen, where her homely menu also included jars of pre-soaked fruits for your sangrias, that comes with easy instructions. At INR 350 per portion, you will find juicy bits of orange, apple and kiwi, all finely chopped. It is impossible to not scoop it all up and savour it at the end of every round — and going by the number of orders, the rounds are many.
Mix & match
Earlier, in passing we had mentioned elderflower tonic water and it was a euphemism for elderflower tonic water! A surprising find that surfaced in our local supermarkets during lockdown, the Sepoy brand was a delight for gin and tonic fans. Meanwhile, Drink Deli, the firm that brought that tonic water range down here has also introduced into the market options like Jimmy’s Cocktails, Gunsberg Ginger Beer and Happy Booch kombucha. And if that doesn’t raise your spirits — then we h ave Sw i z z l e w i t h cocktail kit gift sets that include a peg measurer, premixed fresh cocktails, wine glasses, ice tongs and some Diwali party favours (INR 1,299 onward). Some of their packs have chocolates too. For those who do want to step out but not into public spaces, Suneethi Raj of Local XO has a great option. She offers dining space for up to 40 people at Bungalow 12 and what is thrilling is that she will set it up exactly how you like it. Low tables with cushions, flower decorations, table settings or grazing tables with floating guests — Suneethi can also set up some eclectic food options. From chef collaborations to tie ups with popular kitchens in town, her sit down multi-course lunch and dinner options have a strong following today. What’s more, she will get valet service, photography and themes organised for your party