Mumbai’s first full-blown food festival, Bombay Local, helmed by Small Fry Co. took place this Saturday, with an unparalleled variance in offer! The Sherp was obviously there to give you a lowdown on it.
Small Fry Co., the food curating company led by Insia Lacewalla and Paresh Chhabria, can be credited with assimilating food into the Indian pop culture scene in a ‘cool’ manner. Having organised One-of-a-kind food pop-up events around the city, involving home and gourmet chefs alike, Bombay Local is their premier homegrown food festival, involving several small and big names from Mumbai’s food industry. An entire festival dedicated to food smells like a delectable fare right? Wait till you find out how it went down!
1. The variety
First off, we cannot stop raving about the variety that they had in store. Packing in foods of various kinds, it felt amazing to know of so many homegrown chefs following the spirit of cooking with unwavering passion. There was a company solely dedicated to pickles, while there were multiple bakers churning out dessert delights, there was a juicer tucked in a corner, and a gourmet tea company in another, along with multiple enticing live food stations, and there was the bar serving alcohol with gusto. It filled us with pride watching what Mumbai’s independent chefs and F&B gourmet companied have in offer.
Now obviously we couldn’t eat everything at Bombay Local (with a day extra, we’d have managed the feat), but from what we chose, we have some picks of the lot.
a) Pack-A- Pav
This company has constantly followed us at most festivals and events we’ve attended the past few months in Mumbai, and has stood out for the long line awaiting its station every single time. Having been raved to about it by several individuals, we were a bit apprehensive going into this one. Fear of being oversold and all that. But this utterly delectable bun-ed goodness did not disappoint. Right proportions of meat (or paneer and cheese, based on your preference), fried, crispy onions and that incredible sauce that holds everything in the bun together render Pack-A-Pav worth the hype.
b) Crisps and Dip
This Home-Chefs arrangement provided us with the most satiating crisps with an assortment of dips at mercy. Garlic Mayo, Pesto Mayo, Yoghurt and Mint, you name it, and they had them all. The beer-saturated mushroom crisps we ordered were delightfully scrumptious, and we were left overwhelmed with the strong gust of taste hitting our buds.
c) Fat is Flavour
These bakers celebrate the ultimate goodness in life – chocolate. Of their items, their cute chocolate pots are delightful. Coming in a variety of flavours, like chocolate fudge, nutella with peanut butter, coffee with dark chocolate, these students of the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu know how to tickle our chocolate fantasies just right.
d) F&B Chefs
A huge shout-out to the F&B chefs, most of them channeling their old-age family secrets into dishes, with a contemporary twist, while some going original all the way! We’d suggest that all of you look into what they have in offer, and encourage them enough to enable our own grand homegrown industry.
3. Seating Arrangements:
Due to a good turnout, not many seats were vacant, but the arrangement was done impeccably. With chairs as well as comfortable cushioned seating on the ground – with tables, so you could sit and enjoy your food without the awkward phone-food-drink juggling you have to go through at festivals. Points for the careful foresight.
4. Bazaars galore
Along with food, Bombay Local packed in a variance of art that made looking around a lot more pleasant. There was handmade jewellery and local couture to indulge expenses in, and there were artists displaying work that could be bought at the stalls. A special attraction was the artist Deeganto Joardar at the art stall by Digital Dubba, live-painting a 4×4 canvas at the event, who invited quite a few onlookers. The painting could be won by any lucky buyer, contributing to the Nepal Relief Fund. A noble idea by the team, we must say!
1. The Workshops
We, at FS, were stoked by the prospect of attending a culinary workshop at the festival. Not only would we eat the food, we’d get a chance to be experimental with it. Not. It may have been presumptuous of us to assume that the workshops would include spontaneous cooking, since it turned out to be more of a watch-and-learn tutorial sort of thing. Held in one corner of the ground, the workshops required attendance fee separate from that of the festival and consisted of watching esteemed chefs cook their exclusive recipes in an honestly cramped up space. Needless to say, we were a bit disappointed.
2. The Heat
Not essentially a miss on the organisers’ part, but either way, the Saturday afternoon heat was nearly crippling. Even when it struck evening, the heat was exhausting to withstand. The fans were not much consolation, and even though the essence of a food festival is in the outdoors – providing a rustic, carnival-like atmosphere, the weather deemed it impossible to go without a drink for over twenty minutes. Maybe it was the wrong time of the year for the festival? We’d love to have another go at the food when the weather doesn’t distract us so.
(words and images courtesy: Meher Manda and Anupama Khedkar | Festival Sherpa)