The meal-in-a-bowl concept is transcending its south-east Asian origins
It was 2015 when the ‘meal-in-a-bowl’ concept flooded the tables of restaurants and hotels across the country. And two years later, the trend is still going strong. Usually a healthy and nutritious mix of proteins, roughage and calories, meals in a bowl are especially popular among the health-conscious. The concept is also a perfect fit for urban on-the-go lifestyles, as it offers convenient and quick meals. Now, the concept is transcending its south-east Asian origins and embracing all types of cuisines. Monkey Bar’s ongoing One Bowl Winter festival pays ode to this food trend. The festival offers diners two types of bowls: Hearty Bowl and Soulful Bowl. “The Hearty Bowl consists of an aromatic broth with flat noodles, bok choy, bean sprouts, carrots and mushroom with chilli oil and chopped scallions—non-vegetarians can have variants ranging from grilled chicken to pork and prawns,” says head chef Manu Chandra, adding, “Soulful Bowl, which is our signature bowl meal, comes with a choice of vegetarian and non-vegetarian toppings.” You can expect piping hot kadhi with fragrant basmati rice and crisp fried bhindi; creamy rajma with pickled onions; kasundi-marinated fish; spicy chicken Xacuti, etc.
“This is our way of holding on to what’s important… reimagining pub food within a context as rich and complex as Indian cuisine, but with a few innovations, making the creation on your plate a clever and sometimes irreverent rendition of the conventional,” Chandra says. The appeal of ‘meal-in-a-bowl’ is understandable—it offers comfort food packed with delicious flavours. “People opt for it because it’s comfort food. Take, for instance, the ease of eating rajma-chawal in a bowl… it’s a comfort for customers. A piping hot bowl meal is perfect for winters too,” he says.