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The Small Plate Revolution

Got enough on your plate? These are all about quality not quantity.

Small plates are the meeting point of appetizers and main course and are meant to be shared with everyone on the table and ordered in multiples. It focuses on the craftsmanship of the chef and guests are relieved from choosing what they want to eat and have a little of everything. Instead of ordering one main course you can order a bit of everything and enjoy the variety.

Chef Rohan Belliappa from I & Monkey feels it gives the chef a chance to be more creative. It is like a tasting menu but in an informal setting. “It is interesting but also challenging for a chef because you have to pack more of a punch in a smaller dish,” chef told Explocity. The small plates at I & Monkey include the Tea Smoked Pork Belly and Minced Veg Dolma.

Chef and restaurateur Manu Chandra says, “The concept of small plates is fun and is perfect in a gastropub concept like Monkey Bar, which puts equal emphasis on food and drinks.” The response has been great. “Diners want to eat healthy but they still want to indulge, so small plates are a real hit. Less food is wasted because smaller pieces of meat, poultry and seafood are used in each dish.” The small plate model also works out economically for the restaurants.

Chandra’s The Fatty Bao, which also started doing small plates a long time ago has increased the number of them on their recently launched new menu. Chef Prasanth, the executive chef told Explocity, “We focused a lot on the small plates because people want to try different things and share their food with each other. More room for adventure.”

Small plates exist in a variety of cultures. Most famously Tapas from Spain and Mezze from West Asia. Even in India we have Farsaan, meant for sharing. Restaurants like The Humming Tree do dishes like Louisiana Crab Cakes and Belled Potato. The Black Rabbit does dishes like Tofu Yakitori and Grilled Grouper.

One thing about Bangalore diners is that they love to drink along with their food. The restaurant culture focuses on hanging out and relaxing. In this context small plates work out perfectly. Chef Saurabh of Church Street Social says it is all about the assortment of dishes you can get. “Guests can order many small dishes and they get to taste so many different things.” The small plates at Social feature the snacky Chakna ‘biting’ Tiffin and their own unique recipe of Chilli Chicken.

These dishes give space for conversation and are all about sharing with friends. Give em a try, after all good things come in small packages.