Independence Day on a platter even in COVID-19 times  

To keep the Independence Day spirit flying high, several eateries are dishing out special features such as a buffet served at your table and specially curated home delivery meals

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PTI

Undeterred by the pandemic and determined to keep the Independence Day spirit flying high, several eateries are dishing out special features such as a buffet served at your table, a six-course spread in a private room all your own and specially curated home delivery meals.

It's freedom day and restaurateurs are recalibrating their menus and spaces in accordance with social distancing norms, hoping desperately that customers will overcome their corona fears to get back to dining out or ordering in as the holiday comes up.

The flourishing eating out business has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic with many restaurants closing down and insiders say the Independence Day weekend is one more opportunity to recover customer confidence.

From small eateries to five-stars, the effort is to put every safeguard in place and craft culinary treats for a first-of-its-kind socially distant feast celebrating India's 74th Independence Day. From tiranga meals' to hefty discounts, the platter is pretty full.

Caf G, at Gurgaon's Crowne Plaza, for instance, has curated a special brunch titled "Flavours of India" that includes traditional delicacies from all states such as meen moilee' (a fish delicacy from Kerala) and dhabe wali dal' (the old favourite from the villages of Punjab).

"In India, traditional food is a quintessential part of any major celebration or occasion. With Flavours of India -- our Independence Day special brunch -- our kitchen team will showcase the culinary richness that our country has to offer. It is a buffet of unity, an ode to the culinary diversity of our country, Chef Nishesh Seth, executive chef, Crowne Plaza, told PTI.

"We have picked up popular dishes from various states of the country. From the spiciest and richest of dishes to the most humble preparations, every state has something different to offer," he added.

To ensure safety for visitors, the restaurant has redefined the buffet concept. So, from delicious soups and scrumptious starters to lip smacking main courses and Instagrammable mocktails, everything is served on your placemat.

Innovating in keeping with the corona times, ITC Maurya, New Delhi, has rolled out a special offer. It is home-delivering special biryani hampers -- serving two people -- at a special price of Rs 1,947.

At ITC Maurya, we are committed to delivering world-class cuisine experiences that address the needs of well-being through responsible practices. We will leave no stone unturned to make special occasions a memorable one for you and your family by presenting culinary delights in the comfort of your home," said Rajdeep Kapoor, executive chef, ITC Maurya.

EEST at Westin Gurgaon is using its five private dining rooms and individual cubicles for an exclusive afternoon or evening out. The six-course pan-Asian spread on offer features mapo tofu, crispy Sichuan chicken, cumin lamb, classic Peking duck, avocado sushi rolls and dimsums.

Smaller joints such Oishii Wok and Mr and Mitts are dishing up a 'tiranga storm' with dimsums, dhoklas, cupcakes and macaroons dressed up in saffron, white and green

"Created with colours taken from natural ingredients, like carrots and spinach , Oishii Wok is geared up to celebrate nationalism with our new innovation tricolour momos this Independence Day," said Rohit Kumar, owner of Oshii Wok, a pan-Asian restaurant in Gurgaon.

The discounts are pouring in too.

Momo King, the well-known Himalayan momo chain, is offering 74 per cent off on momos, noodles and rice to celebrate 74 years of independence. And is going patriotic too with saffron momos and mint green dips.

And Roseate Hotels and Resorts, for instance, is giving a 20 per cent discount on popular dishes across all its restaurants

Aiming to entice customers, Select City Mall in Saket has a complimentary food voucher of Rs 500 and a laundry list of offers in store like a complimentary dessert at Punjab Grill, 20 percent off on a minimum billing of Rs 600 at Starbucks and buy one get one free at at Chicago Pizza and Krispy Kreme.

But will all this be enough for customers, some wary of going into a restaurant and some even a little scared to order in?

"Life must go on and what makes life beautiful are these occasions. I won't hold back this time and will celebrate Independence Day with the true sense of freedom. We -- a group of four -- have planned to meet for lunch on Saturday. Precautions are must, and I expect the big restaurants to have that in place. We won't be heading out without wearing our shields" said Garima Chawla, 31, a Delhi-based IT-professional

Vandana Thapa, a homemaker in her 40s, is less enthusiastic.

Going out for meals is completely out of question -- discount or no discount. I understand Independence Day is a big occasion and we all must celebrate it but in the confines of our home only. However, this time I will make an exception and get something sweet -- ice-cream or even cake -- home delivered for my children's sake. I can't muster up enough courage to order a full-fledged main course from outside yet," she said.

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