A Movable Feast

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Your dining room is the restaurant and the crockery doesn't always match. But the chef in the kitchen is one of the best in town. The pop-up restaurant is surfacing in metropolitan India, from Bangalore to Mumbai and Delhi.

They call her the Wicked Witch of the Feast. A food blogger and consultant, her reputation in Bangalore's culinary firmament has never been in peril. For over half a year now, she is also the custodian of one of its best-kept secrets, a small underground supper club called [HUSH], where, about once a month, a chef is invited to cook a six-course meal for 14 to16 guests gathered at one of their homes. "I am a bully," says the Witch, with a toss of her curls. "I decide the theme and give the chef a couple of days to draw up a menu of his choice, which is then sent out to my mailing list." Should you somehow manage to get invited, bring your own wine and expect to pay about Rs 1,500-2,000 for a gourmet meal typically anchored by a theme, often a single ingredient, none of which is your choice to make. "If you don't like it, don't come. If you are allergic to something or vegetarian or vegan, we may not be able to cater to you," says the Witch, who has done five dinners so far and worked with four chefs of repute.

Bangalore's only underground restaurant, where the chefs don't wear white and the crockery doesn't always match, served its first dinner in the cosy dining room of the Witch, who had tasked the chef, Gautam Krishnankutty of Cafe Thulp!, a burger restaurant he also ran an Asian restaurant for a while, called Tai Tai with a pork theme. He dreamed up spicy pork broth shots and pan-seared pork fillet with crispy vermicelli rice noodles and caramelised alphonso mango, among other dishes. Dinner was served on two tables joined as one by the Witch's teenage son, who, she jokes, "plonked plates on the table". And conversation ranged from food to voting to Indian law. "It was my first time at a pop-up restaurant and the experience of dining with a mix of friends and strangers, in an intimate setting, was part of the whole charm. It is rare that you get to enjoy such a well-laid-out meal in good company," says Saugata Chatterjee, a 46-year-old entrepreneur, one of the guests.

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