Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Moveable Feast - Take a bow.

This is a bit of a busy time of year for me. Lots of meetings, which chew up loads of time. Also some travelling to attend the meetings so have been unable to blog. One of the nicer fall outs of these meetings is that sometimes there are corporate dinners tagged along. These are often fun. You get to meet company guys in less formal surroundings and that can be quite revelatory.

At times these dinners can be quite a drag. If there are presentations or ceremonies attached then that gets boring. Sometimes the food is a let down. But I must tell you about the excellent, really top class food, that I have had the pleasure of eating at a few of these corporate functions.

The caterer is Moveable Feast. This is the outdoor catering division of Indigo. I am not writing this to in any way promote them or because they have paid me. Perish the thought. I just have been so impressed by them on the several times that they have catered that I thought this is something that I should write about.

If you read my previous blog you will know I have strong prejudices, ideas or notions about what is, in my jaundiced eye a good party. I can understand serving vegetarian food, people are vegetarian, I am willing to grant that. But there are some basic concepts that many people just do not seem to understand. They simply do not understand what a normal adult wants when he goes for a party. So here goes. 

These are, according to me, what is essential to have a good party.

1.  A party has to have snack and dinner. These are two separate things. A normal adult, like me, for instance, knows that Bhel Puri, Pani Puri, Chaat, Pao Bhaji and the like are not dinner. Similarly, Dosas with a multitude of fillings, Uttapams again with a multitude of toppings and a variety of Idlis are just not dinner. They are a snack. Many Jains, Khendelwas and Shahs just don’t get this. Kebabs, similarly, are not dinner, they are finger food, or appetizers that should be served with drinks. You absolutely have to serve a full meal, none of this nonsense of snacks masquerading as a meal. You may choose your cuisine, be it regular North Indian or Mexican or what have you.

2.  Parties should have alcohol. This should consist of a variety of spirits [Whiskey, Gin Vodka Rum et al] a variety of the fashionable drinks like Bacardi Breezers for the women and false drinkers, a few cocktails, the usual mixers and fruit juices. Beer is a must. Wine is increasing trendy to serve. The only compromise can be on price of drinks: for instance you may serve Indian wine or Johnny Walker Red Label or Smirnoff Vodka on the lower end of the scale. At the higher end it could be Single Malts, Belvedere Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin and imported wines and beers. It really is necessary to serve all these and not just a whisky or a gin or worse, just wine. Please do not think you can dictate peoples drinking choices just because you have invited them to a party.

3.  Music, ideally western pop is desirable, at a pinch, Bollywood at a low volume will do. No Ghazals, no K L Saigal no Bhajans and certainly no trance or as it’s called EDM (Electronic Dance Music). That is fine for 18 year olds. In fact EDM is so bad that after some time they upgrade to Bollywood.

4.  To have a fine party you should also try and have eye candy, both male and female. This is becoming more and more difficult but not yet impossible. 

5.  Clothes. You cannot, absolutely cannot have a party where men dress in Kurta Pajamas, or National Dress as it is euphemistically referred to. This may be alright for a visit to a temple or a Sangeet Sammelan but not a party. You may wear this at a political rally or at a meeting of NGO's. Not a party. 

Get these basics wrong and you have an Uthamna/Skok Sabha or prayer meeting in progress. I have stopped attending anything I don’t consider a real party.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this blog. The last party I went for had the correct booze flowing, soft jazz playing and a very good selection of appetizers that you could nibble on while drinking. Of course credit must be given to the organiser who had the same sort of idea as me on what constitutes a party. The Moveable Feast guys produced a real feast once again. Mini Galouti Kebabs served on a mini Sheermal, what a good idea. An unusual chicken kebab, grilled with a Tamarind based sauce/marinade. Delicious Tempura Prawns tossed in a sort of Thai sweet Chilly sauce. The vegetarian selection had a Paneer with some sort of Green marinade. There was also a potato, sweet corn fritter and a Samosa made with Filo pastry.

Dinner was a rather more lavish affair. There were sections serving salads and Tapas, North Indian Chaat, a Chinese stir fry section, a continental section as well as a North Indian food section. I fought my way thru the milling hordes to the North Indian section. Pausing here for a moment. The Indigo group also has an Avadhi food restaurant called Neel which is the Hindustani word for Indigo. Clever chaps these guys, credit must be given for this crafty name. Anyway, the chefs at Neel are also used to supply food to the Moveabale Feast. The result is that the North Indian food served was very good. A great Chicken Masala, wonderful Okra [Bhindi] in a Green Sauce, top class Black Daal and an aromatic Biryani. What more could one want. All the food was hot and tasty.

I was really happy. So much so that I thought that I should write about it.

Bottom line, if you ever going to have a party, a real party, please get Moveable Feast to cater the do and ensure that you have the 5 points I have written about observed. I have no idea what it would cost but I can be reasonably certain that you will be very satisfied.

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