Indian restaurants bring Easter meals to people’s homes this lockdown

Bengaluru couple Uttham and Radhica Muthappa are busy preparing Easter special dishes for their Curly Sue takeaway joint. “This year families cannot get together for Easter and celebrate. We wanted to spread some cheer. Our portion sizes take into consideration those stranded alone,” says Radhica, who specialises in a variety of Coorg-style pork preparations.

The couple are not alone: from humble setups to leading hotels, many in a variety of cities are doing their limited bit to spread some Easter cheer to their guests under lockdown, away from their hometowns and loved ones. Taj Mahal hotel in Delhi, for instance, is at the other end of the spectrum, offering a package including treats like hot cross buns, Easter eggs, assorted cookies, chocolate muffins, cranberry sauce, a pack of pasta and more at ₹4,000 per hamper.

For Easter, their menu has Oriental style sticky ribs, pork burger patty, traditional Coorg Pandi (pork) curry, pulled pork and chilli pork. Curly Sue has partnered with Dunzo and Swiggy and can deliver all over Bengaluru. “We cook through the week and have a sufficient stock of products. During the lockdown, we prefer the fresh frozen format as people are ordering huge portions, and moreover it travels well and stores brilliantly,” says Radhica.

Keeping it classic

In Hyderabad, Park Hyatt is keeping its offering minimal but traditional. The menu — for pickup as well as close-vicinity delivery — includes “whole roast chickens made both in our classic way and in a mustard marination, stuffed with onion, bread, spinach and nutmeg,” says Executive Chef Yogender Pal, adding, “They are being offered with variations of sauce options and served with roasted potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, and honey glazed carrot. The menu also includes traditional coconut carrot cake, another of our classics.”

Prices begin at ₹2,000 for a full chicken along with sides. The menu is based on local produce that the kitchen already has access to, and of course, the limitations of a small team. Says the chef, We have most of the ingredients required for the limited menu that is being curated… A small team of chefs and other members are in-house taking care of the home delivery menu and the special Easter menu.”

For concerns of safety and hygiene, the hotel is offering this to a limited group. “Currently we are managing with our internal logistics, adhering to all norms and regulations, and ensuring our delivery protocols follow all regulations. The objective is to reach out to our regular guests and not go into bulk deliveries via third party aggregators.”

He explains, “We are currently not looking to call in more colleagues to travel and come in to the hotel and are encouraging most of them to stay home, stay safe and work from home when required. The hotel is still operational with limited in-house guests and we have our kitchens open to ensure they are comfortable. This allows us the opportunity to deliver some of our signature dishes and comfort food to those ordering food at home.”

Chef Abhishek Basu of JW Marriott Juhu, Mumbai, had begun planning his Easter menu over a month ago, “when this whole thing [COVID-19] had not happened in such a big scale, but then everyone had to eventually close operations around the city,” he says. “In the last few days, we had just begun our home delivery and that’s when people began asking if we are doing anything for Easter.”

Choices, choices

The menu comprises creamy tagliatelle mushroom and spinach, spinach and vegetable lasagna, grilled New Zealand lamb chops, smoked chicken pasta, roast chicken, and desserts like carrot cake, bunny Swiss roll (family size), Easter brownie bar and Easter apple strudel, delivered within a five kilometre radius.

The chef, used to a kitchen team of over 100 personnel, is now working with a handful of cooks. “It’s not like anyone is holding large celebrations this year.” So naturally, the portions reflect this. The menu has been available since April 8, and will be till April 12.

The Park in Chennai, which usually offers an elaborate menu, has curated a small but functional menu suitable for the current situation, and is even providing door delivery. It includes roast chicken, lamb lasagna with mushrooms, spinach and ricotta cheese lasagna and Easter chocolate truffle cake (₹1,600 per kilo).

Orders above ₹5,000, are given by door delivery, and there is the option of self-pick up as well. Executive chef Ashutosh Nerlekar has taken into consideration the response over the past few years, identified the favourites of guests and ensured that only those popular dishes found their way to his Easter menu.