Trendy Concepts

By Jhuma Biswas

It is a commonly known fact that burgers, pizzas and sandwiches are popular across several pockets of urban India. The significant increase in disposable incomes in select but sizeable pockets of urban Indian society during the last two decades, the growing number of nuclear families and the spread of busy life which often lead to very little time to cook two full meals a day, and the evolution in urban India’s food & beverage preferences due to the impact of globalisation are only some of the socio-economic factors fostering this trend.

The introduction and spread of multinational burger and pizza players in India’s food service industry not only addressed the demand for fast food induced by this trend but has also in turn contributed greatly towards the popularity of western fast food products like burger, pizza and sandwich, across urban India. 

Indianised Bakery Products 

Tailoring of burgers and pizzas to suit Indian tastes by McDonald’s, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut and other significant players is also a fairly old trend. However, though this trend is there for quite some time, it is still a happening trend. 

Many new players are also adopting their burgers, pizzas and sandwiches to suit Indian tastes. One of them is Le Chaat Factory Café. According to Gaurav Chauhan, Founder, LCF Café, “The LCF Cafe draws its inspiration f r o m the boisterous Indian streets exuding vibrant colours and f r o m the ever alluring Indian street food. When it comes to street food, India is a country where every state or rather every city has its specialty of street food products. LCF Café serves wide varieties of scrumptious, quick and affordable street food, which can satiate your   hunger pangs and palates.” 

Presently, LCF Café, whose first outlet was launched in June 2018 in Chhattarpur, New Delhi, has three outlets in Delhi-NCR. Besides the outlet in Chhatarpur, it has an outlet each in Saket and MG Road. At present, the brand’s presence is limited to Delhi-NCR only.

“We can say that the USP of the café chain is its premium quality of street food and definitely the ambience. The interiors are wonderfully designed, with bright hues and patterns that simulate the ancient art of India. In our cafes, the lights are encapsulated in clay pots, which make for an earthy ambience with a snazzy twist to it,” explained Chauhan.

Wonderful Culinary Fare

“The food at LCF Café comes across as a melange of exotic spices and ingredients. The menu offers quintessential street food paired lovingly with a gourmet experience,” offered the entrepreneur. Here the items on the menu can evoke nostalgia for some, while open up new gastronomic spectrum for some others.

The café chain serves lots of delectable snacks and main course dishes for street food lovers. Starters include a wide range of creamy chaats and mouth-watering gol gappas. 

One of the highlights of the gastronomic trip at LCF Café is the Matra Kulcha Sandwich, which is kulcha stuffed and grilled with assorted vegetables and served with dressings like mayonnaise and saunth. Then there is Hyderabadi Toast Chaat, which is half battered bread, deep-fried and topped with lehsun chutney and sev. If you are keen on having a Lebanese style pizza with very Indian ingredients go for Paneer Shawarma Pizza. This Lebanese style pizza can be a delight to the vegetarians. The café chain offers other types of pizza too, but this one is an apt example of using culinary fusion in fast food.

Indian snack lovers would of course, not be disappointed at LCF Café outlets. “We also serve chhole bhature and the buttery smooth bun maska with Kolkata tea. We have the special desi ghee khasta kachori with aloo ki subzi to satisfy your taste buds,” informed Chauhan. Jasmine tea with scrumptious spicy asparagus & crystal dimsums is also a worth trying snacking option at LCF Café.

The scrumptious Paneer Raunaqeen, Rara Meat, Subz Dam Biryani are some of the delectable offerings in the main course at LCF Café. Amritsari Fish Tikka with mint chutney or Bhatti Murg served with kacche aam ki chutney do have the potential to take guests to an ethereal plane. 

Especially in the summers, the lassi and shakes at LCF Café can be refreshing to savour. Among the beverages served at LCF Café, don’t miss the Kala Jamun Shake.

LCF Café’s dessert section also reflects great diversity. Here Fresh Naariyal Daab Kheer, Gulab Jamun, and Pan Kulfi happily share the space with Fererro Rocher Cake, New York Cheese Cake, Black Velvet Cake, Hot Chocolate Gooey Cake with Ice-cream among others.

Chauhan said they were garnering impressive footfalls at the LCF Café outlets. Each of the outlets can accommodate 30-40 guests at a time. “Our tables are mostly covered during weekdays, and weekends are mostly crowded,” informed Chauhan with happiness emanating f r o m his voice.

Sweet Success

Talking of desserts, the market for high-end Indian sweets is also an emerging market, which the bakery and confectionery players in India can tap into. Gaurav Chauhan is also running a chain of outlets serving very high-end sweets. It is very creatively named as Gur-Chini. The prices of the sweets at the Gur-Chini outlets start f r o m Rs.100 each!

At present there are three Gur-Chini outlets in Delhi-NCR. They are located at GK-II, Chhattarpur, and MG Road. Like LCF Café, the presence of Gur-Chini is presently within Delhi-NCR only. The first outlet of Gur-Chini was launched in GK-II, in December 2018. “We are planning to expand Gur-Chini’s presence beyond Delhi-NCR. There are few cities where we are exploring for opening Gur-Chini outlet,” informed Chauhan while pointing out, “We are coming with franchise model and are also working for corporate gifting section.”

According to him, the key ingredients of Gur-Chini’s sweets are “goodness, purity and expertise.” Gur-Chini uses stevia for sweetening their mithais. Not only that Gur-Chini also uses varied types of honey - Manuka, Buckwheat, Garcia, and Rosemary. Gur-Chini products also contain a variety of dates like khadrawi, deglet nour, medjool. This sweet story doesn't end here; enhancing the experience, the brand also uses an exclusive range of jaggery for different types of sweets, depending on their taste and flavour.

“Gur-Chini crafts each of its sweet delicacies with pure desi ghee and rich dry fruits; sourced f r o m across the globe in their finest possible form. The ingredients we use are organic and pure that makes the final products costly,” Chauhan disclosed. 

However, along with usage of top-notch ingredients and expertise, Gur-Chini has also liberally used innovation to come up with some fascinating sweets with uncommon combination of ingredients. This writer tasted some of them and found their taste lingering in his mouth.

Some of the innovative sweets offered at Gur-Chini outlets are Walnut Peda,   Kesar Modak, Afgani Pistacho Modak, Turkish Fig Burfi, etc. “I would like to mention here about three most popular sweets that are available at all the outlets of Gur-Chini, which are Mirch ka Halwa, Coffee Rasmalai and Fresh Nariyal Phirni,” Chauhan asserted. 

Despite offering such high-end sweets, Gur-Chini as a brand is getting good response f r o m the market. “We have got quite a good response since the time we have launched our first outlet in Delhi. I won’t be able to give the exact sales figures but we had launched couple of more Gur-Chini outlets in Delhi-NCR in the last four months, which shows the demand for our high-end sweets,” affirmed Chauhan.

Given the socio-economic scenario of urban India, it seems that the two trends of   Indianised burgers, pizzas and sandwiches, and that of high-end Indian sweets are expected to gather momentum in several pockets of urban India, in the near future. More and more innovative players in India’s food service industry can explore and adopt these trends to garner impressive revenues and profits. 

High-end Indian sweets can also grab the market of chocolates to some extent as far as gifting options for celebrations and in other occasions in metropolitan India are concerned.       

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