Fortune Cookie

Casual dining is leading to the death of fine-dining culture and nachos might have played a role in it

The end of the fine dining culture is near and nachos could be responsible for the same.

 |  Fortune Cookie  |  3-minute read |   07-07-2019
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I have just come back from Bengaluru, where, to my surprise, I discovered that food critics cannot seem to get nachos off their troubled minds. I wondered what had caused this collective hand wringing about nachos — this precipitous decline in the standard of foodie conversations. Was the right corn not being used, or, was there not enough cheese and jalapeno peppers to go along with the nachos being served in Bengaluru? Fried tortilla chips, melted cheese and sliced jalapeno peppers are the three ingredients of nachos, the recipe of which has remained unchanged since 1943, when Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya, the maitre d’ of a popular restaurant at Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Mexico, invented it for the wives of American soldiers posted across the border.

Well, it seems that the city of the Mavalli Tiffin Room (MTR), the venerable and obstinately shabby pilgrimage centre of all Udupi fanatics on Lalbagh Road, Malleswaram dosas and Mysore pak, as well as of brilliant chefs such as Karavalli’s Naren Thimmaiah, and his younger compatriots Manu Chandra, Abhijit Saha and Avijit Ghosh, is squirming at the sight of its fairly upwardly, and outwardly, mobile youngsters gorging on nachos as they knock back pints at the city’s brewpubs. It was the Indira Nagar brewpub named Toit that first put nachos on the city’s food map.

fine690_070719025018.jpg For the millennial generation of big spenders, food has become secondary to the music and the indefinable ‘vibe’ in restaurants, defining the end of fine dining. (Source: Mail Today)

An overnight sensation, it became the Bengaluru youngster’s go-to restaurant, but nachos was the only food it seemed to be selling in vast quantities. If the industry grapevine is to be believed, Toit makes a crore a month just on its home-made nachos. The formula was replicated at Byg Brewski Brewing Company, the brewpub behemoth at Sarjapur on Hennur Road in South Bengaluru. And, again, nachos and the kurkure roti keep its cash registers ringing overtime. Byg Brewsky, ironically, has 200 items on its menu curated by the talented Chef Sabyasachi ‘Saby’ Gorai, but it’s raining nachos! If I am going on and on about nachos, it is because the Toit and Byg Brewsky stories indicate the big shift that is taking place in the dining out preferences of millennials, who drive the restaurant business across the country.

This generation of mostly single men and women in their mid- to late-20s, up to the mid-30s, who live in big cities and work in the sunrise sectors of the economy, is moving away from fine dining to a format now known as “affordable casual dining,” which is a combination of comfort food, contemporary music, cheap alcohol, and the company of friends. The days when people would drool over ‘Continental’ food, flaunt their elite club memberships, patronise posh restaurants such as Orient Express and Zodiac Grill, if only for celebratory occasions, and consider foie gras and Angus to be food to aspire for, seem like the oh-so distant past.

hangingout690_070719025353.jpgMillennials in the city Bengaluru, prefer to ‘hang out’ at brewery and snack on nachos, instead of trying the carefully curated dishes on offer. (Source: India Today)

Today, dining out is all about ‘hanging out’ at places with the right ‘vibe’ and ‘dining in’ is fast becoming the norm, which is evident from the booming home delivery business of portals such as Zomato, Swiggy and their challengers, as cooking gets sidelined into a weekend activity in double-income homes. The future clearly belongs to ‘cloud kitchens’ — an increasing number of restaurants will now drive their home delivery business at cheaper price points. That is, till the millennial generation grows up and starts discovering the finer aspects of life.

Courtesy of Mail Today

Also Read: As the economy struggles, the casual dining and home delivery services are prospering — all thanks to millennials

Writer

Sourish Bhattacharyya Sourish Bhattacharyya @sourishb1963

The writer is a columnist for Mail Today, blogger at Indian Restaurant Spy and a founder member of the Delhi Gourmet Club.

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