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    In its fifth year, Citibank Restaurant Week India Kicks Off in the Bangalore today

    The brainchild of Nachiket Shetye and Mangal Dalal, this edition of Desi Restaurant Week will once again offer three-course vegetarian/non-vegetarian prix fixe lunches at Rs 900, and dinners at Rs 1,000, plus taxes. The bi-annual dining initiative, growing steadily since its inception, gives diners the chance to try out a meal at Bengaluru’s top fine-dining outlets at a fraction of regular costs. The Desi Restaurant Week concept is modelled along the lines of New York City’s twice-yearly event, where three-course lunches are available for $25 and dinners at $38 at big-name restaurants like Bar Boulud, Blue Smoke and Nobu.
    Diners have a choice of cuisine – Indian, European, Asian – in 31 well-known restaurants among whom are The Oberoi’s Szechwan Court, The Fatty Bao, Karavalli at The Gateway, ITC Windsor’s Dum Pukht, ITC Gardenia’s Ottimo and  Taj West End’s Masala Klub. In addition to the prix fixe, a special add-on this year onwards is the diner’s choice of ordering the participating restaurant’s signature dish for `200 extra or a signature appetiser for Rs 100.
    Mumbai-based directors of Desi Restaurant Week, Shetye and Dalal connected through a common love for food. Both are inspired by the excitement of a thriving culinary scene during their stints abroad – Culinary Institute of America alumnus, Shetye, with Per Se, Penang and Nobu, while Imperial College London computer science graduate Dalal at Le Cirque and Noma. They say it’s fun to watch interest in fine dining grow every year on year in India; compared to 35 per cent first-timers in the April 2014 edition, there were 49 per cent in September 2014. “Regular diners get the opportunity to experience bespoke dining through RWI’s simple, transparent system,” says Dalal.
    The duo’s other offering – the Chef’s Table Week with special tasting menus and personal interaction with chefs, is also growing steadily. They are excited about two new ones: Food With Benefits (www.foodwithbenefits.org), which looks at fundraising through bespoke culinary experiences, and Cellar Door Kitchen (www.cdhevents.com) which creates pop up kitchens with India’s best known chefs – started with Ritu Dalmia’s Diva and Gaggan Anand’s Gaggan in Mumbai and Delhi, and they are looking forward to bring pop-ups to Bangalore soon.

    The Citibank Restaurant Week India is from April 17 to 26. Book tables at restaurantweekindia.com
    —Ruma Singh


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