New Delhi Palate Fest is Without Doubt the Capital’s Benchmark Food Event
WHEN I first met Ruchi Sibal and Aditi Kapoor, the organisers of the first-ever New Delhi Palate Fest, over lunch at The Imperial some weeks ago, I was impressed by their energy levels. They had come from one meeting with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and Ruchi abandoned our lunch to rush off to another meeting. I knew then that I was looking at history being made.
Delhi has had its share (more than needed, in fact!) of Facebook food groups, food blogs and food events, but it has not had an event on the scale of the New Delhi Palate Fest, which brilliantly uses the lush green topography of the city’s VIP zone (and it can’t get better than Nehru Park) as a setting for the celebration of our exploding dining scene. Delhi couldn’t have asked for a more vibrant showcase of its culinary heritage for its own residents and, more importantly, for international visitors. It is said international tourists do not spend more than a day in Delhi. Now, with events such as the New Delhi Palate Fest, they will have jolly good reasons to extend that formality of a stay.
From the city’s popular restaurants to a Spanish chef whose duck paella was an instant hit, to a market zone where micro food entrepreneurs got both exposure and selling opportunities, the Palate Fest offers a 360-degree food experience. It has also demolished the myth that you can’t have people imbibing alcohol in an enclosed space, for, despite the free flow of beer and wine, there was not a single instance of drunkenness.
The Toddy Shop (the newbie Hauz Khas Village eatery serving Keralan cuisine), without doubt, was the star of the show, followed closely by Townhall‘s sushi rolls and Farzi Cafe‘s unbeatable galawati burgers, and the busy, buzzy stalls of Soda Bottle Opener Wala, Royal China and Kylin. The waiting time at the stalls did not exceed 15 minutes, the service was friendly and fast, and most participants confirmed to me that they were coming back for next year’s event. I think we now have an annual event that the entire city will look forward to.
Complaints? Yes, there were some. Loos were too few and too far from each other. The chairs and tables were not enough for a capacity crowd. The participating restaurants should have served smaller portions and charged less so that visitors could sample more. Well, now we know what Ruchi and Aditi have to tweak at the New Delhi Palate Fest 2015.