Today urban India is becoming more aware of international trends than ever before. Its also how the overworked yuppie would want to unwind after a hard days work. Besides a range of foods and beverages, lounges provide a soothing ambience. Since most lounges serve alcohol, one would see the 21-year age-limit being strictly followed. Lounges are frequented not necessarily by people in the age group of 21-40.
Whatever the cuisine, lounge cuisine is generally highly stylised. The emphasis lies in stimulating ones palate through food which is more or less in the form of appetisers, referred to as finger food. Depending on the cuisine, one can expect a range of Indian kababs, Italian anti pasti, Spanish tapas or French hors doeuvres on the menus of most lounges.
Though kababs have enjoyed huge popularity as accompaniments to alcohol over the years, the food scene has changed in the past couple of years.
International cuisine such as Japanese, Italian and the Mediterranean are fast gaining popularity in India. Kababs are popular as finger food possibly due to their time-tested acceptability among people.
Some chefs are challenging traditions and moving away from authentic recipes to produce variations like tea and herb smoked kababs and liqueur-laced tikkas. There is definitely a greater choice available for non-vegetarians but that is not to say that vegetarians would feel left out.
Lounges serve almost every imaginable kind of drink from beer to the most exotic cocktail and from innovative mocktails to the most expensive champagne. Generally, every lounge employs a mixologist who has his range of signature cocktails.
If a lounge is doing a la carte main course, then it is imperative to have a small dessert menu. But more often than not, dessert won't feature on a typical lounge menu.
Kini is sous chef of Velvet Lounge, Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Centre.
As told to Sulekha Nair