Monday, January 4, 2010

The food funda !

Today, I met few of my friends for lunch at Ohris, 70 mm on Necklace Road. It was a buffet and I thought the food was bad. We ended up paying around Rs 350 for each of us. A year or 2 ago I would have been very ok with it (the ‘chalta hain’ attitude). But now I need to vent out my feelings through this post.

Let's forget about  the quality of food for a moment. Me and most of my friends are in the age group of 26-28. Most of us have been working for more than 5 years now. The kind of josh that we had for food say 4-5 years ago is not there at all. I think the way we used to look at buffets like today's as college going kids was quite different.

Staying in a college hostel where the food varies from the pathetic to the ok, we used to crave for good food.  Being away from home, we were all missing the ‘maa ka haath ka khana.’ A limited weekly pocket money and the fact you end up paying the mess  guy even for food that you don’t eat meant that we ate in the mess most of the times. (Or quite often in case of foodies like me)

I was one of the biggest foodies on campus and so I always looked for the slightest opportunity to eat out.  And when your batch mate landed with a job, it was a PARTY for his/her entire friend circle. So when we had the chance to eat unlimited food in a buffet, it was an all out ATTACK.

Most of us used to eat so much that the restaurant team would feel sorry for having introduced the buffet there. I even remember one of the occasions when we got into a tiff with those guys when he denied us unlimited ice cream. ‘Unlimited boleto itna bhi Unlimited nahi hain!!!’, said the awestruck hotel manager then.

Things change once you start working. You have the money and have more such eat-outs. With the IT crowd, you keep going out at least once every week. And then, when we college mates used to meet on weekends, it was eating out again. So after around 1.5-2 years, the charm of eating out (however unlimited it might be) slowly fades away.  ‘Any place will do' would be the default expression for most of us.

Things change even more as years roll by. Some of your friends are no longer single and are very conscious about what they eat.  The singles are apprehensive about still being single and so consciously eat less. More importantly, most of them now booze and naturally drink more and eat less. In fact they don’t eat much even when there is no booze. Fat starts accumulating on your paunch and soon you release that you have a pot belly or a potential pot belly.  So all in all, the average appetite of your peer group drops drastically.

And in such circumstances, paying Rs 350 for the kind of meal we had today is bad. I know most of my friends earn a lot. Par phir bhi! You can’t just donate money to restaurants.

I seriously think there is a space for food outlets that also serve as hang out zones. The CCDs and the Baristas of the world do this to some extent but then you can’t have lunch or dinner there.

These food outlets should primarily be hang out zones which serve food because people like to meet over a lunch or dinner.

I would like to have interesting food varieties but in limited quantities.  In fact one can have a wide range of items on the menu but in served in quantities that would go with the appetite of the target audience (The 26 + ones like me) and priced accordingly. If healthier options can be included in the menu, then nothing like it.

I believe these hang out zones should have themes that are about friends meeting after some time.   I can’t exactly explain these themes right now… but you know themes centered around the things like your work, your status-single or committed or married, your recent hobbies. May be you could have rooms, sections for start up ideas and for bachelor parties.

Finally, one shouldn’t be paying more than Rs 150-200 per head for the food that is served in limited quantities. I believe people wouldn’t mind paying another Rs 150-200 for the ambiance or the themes. Isn’t MEETING friends the most important thing? So why eat more, waste on food and then feel unhealthy and guilty about the whole thing.

What say? I know it is just a random thought and has n number of flaws but I already feel like meeting some friend who can put up with this endless rant :P

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