Experimenting with food is the new strategy brands are adopting with people opting to expand their taste palates.
For example sushi bars and bento boxes has made film-going experience more exotic at PVR cinema’s multiplexes.
"Movies and food go hand-in-hand and food and beverages (F & B) are a great attraction for the audience. Today’s generation is independent and is keen to experiment with food while watching movies. Thus F&B in cinemas provides a huge support to multiplexes," says Renaud Palliere, the movie chain’s CEO – International Development.
‘Simply Sushi’ a brainchild of Palliere has turned into a crowd puller by offering gourmet Japanese cuisine.
Due to the popularity of this selection of Japanese food, it has been extended to Gold Class in Select Citywalk and Ambience, Gurgaon, and a restaurant attached to a PVR outlet in Mumbai is on the drawing board.
"Rather than just putting Japanese food on the menu, we put it out as a brand, growing out of Director’s Cut," Palliere says.
Moving away from the conventional popcorn and coke diet of movie watching, a selection of Japanese dishes from varieties of sushi to the very popular linguine is offered along with other authentic dishes created under the tutelage of renowned Japanese chef Yutaka Saito.
Saito has set up celebrated restaurants like Megu at The Leela, the Taihachi Japanese Restaurant and the Chiba and Fujiya at Tacoma in Washington.
His years of experience working in India has made it easy to identify flavours suited to the Indian market, without compromising on the traditional Japanese flavour.
"The new in-house creation, the ‘Japadog’, is something we are introducing for the first time," Saito says. .Hot dogs sourced from India along with garnishes and sauces like Japanese mayo, grated daikon (a mild radish), soya sauce, wasabi from Japan will go into this new dish, he says.
The ‘bento boxes’ which are delivered into the theatre halls in the Director’s cut has been very popular according to Palliere. These boxes can be ordered by cinegoers and is made in live kitchens right in the cinemas.
These bento boxes are "hygienic as they come in closed boxes and reduce chances of any contamination, they are easy to set up and easy to consume."
The bite-size portions and minimal use of cutlery in a dark environment doesn’t take away attention from the movie and so, this box format makes it easy to serve and eat Palliere says.
The main reason behind choosing Japanese food has been that it is ‘cold food’.
"Serving cold food does not require an elaborate kitchen set up or and is easy to put together and is easy to implement. However it is not easy from a skill set point of view," Palliere says.
With health fads coming into the India consumer’s demands, the fresh ingredients and minimum use of oil and spices has only boosted the popularity of Japanese food, Palliere says.
"The uniqueness of these dishes is the simplicity, exoticness and the hard work that goes into it," says Mayank Tiwari, Executive chef under Saito.
"Aburi style sushi, which is flamed sushi with different marinates that bring out a smoky flavour as the flame enhances the taste of the fish, is one of our most exotic and quirky dishes made at the sushi bar and we serve white tuna that is sliced and served with simple garnishes like radish and sauces. The texture of the tuna along with the simple garnishes has made it popular too," he says.
"When a new cuisine comes in, it becomes fashionable but then it wears out. But offering customised services and meals will sustain the product," says Paulliere.