This was a hosted dinner
There’s a reason why I try to avoid food blogger event invites these days.
The entire idea of my blog has been to share food experiences that excites one. There’s a certain spontaneity to it. I like to write about things which happen in my life and are anchored around food.
Going to event invites, taking part in artificial scenarios one wouldn’t be privy to ordinarily wouldn’t be to stuff to write about in my book. Plus you would have a whole lot of blogs writing about the same event and there’s only so much, I am sure, readers of food blogs would want to know about the same event.
I like to keep things transparent with PR folks who call or contact me for events. I do tell them that there is no guarantee that one will write about an event which one attends, There has to be something that interests one. For example when I went to the Wazwan dinner at Taj recently or the earlier meals with international chefs at Arola and Botticcino. There, at the end of the event one did feel like writing as I fond the experiences (learning about Spanish, Italian and Kashmiri food) quite insightful. There are other times when one has been to a meal which one hasn’t find anything interesting to write about…like a commentator trying hard to get excited about a Kenya Canada cricket match. One stays quiet then.
I tell PR folks that if they are not fine with this then I would understand and would be happy to give their event a miss. The problem is that if you go to an event you have had a free meal and the expectation from PR is that you will write, promote, market their brands which is understandable in a way even though you have spent your time and petrol money going to the even. Some PR folks are muted on their expectations while others call you back saying ‘do you want pictures’, “when are you planning to write about it’…etc etc
Which is why the best thing in my opinion is to stay away from events such as these.
I had attended a couple of these in the last few months. One was a South African buffet event at J W Mariott. The other, most recent one the buffet at Shangri-La.
The JW Mariott one was a seasonal one and the South African theme is over.
The Shangri-La buffet is still there. We started with the first floor when we went there where we had some cheese and wine. The cheese was good. We then went up for the main buffet. I don’t remember what the buffet costs but it had quite a few live stations with diverse themes. Could get a bit confusing but you would do well to choose a few stations of your choice and stick to them. I am not a buffet person and prefer to order a few dishes and focus on them. Too many diverse flavours confuse me. I quite liked the laksa in the buffet and they had some nice sushi but only three options in non veg. There was pastas, curries and barbeques which I didn’t try. we did have a chorizo and goat cheese pizza made for us which had some pretty good flavours but the crust was a tad crisp. The had a molecular gastronomy station where an ice smoked salmon was really cool and a parmesan. Really interesting concentrated flavours there. On asking I was told it was specially arranged for ‘special folks’. That’s my other problem with hosted reviews. You get an experience that regular paying customers would not get and writing about these doesn’t make sense for reader. The dessert counter was quite wide but as I was in a hurry to leave I just tried the chocolate crepe was truly outstanding.
So if you are the sort that likes elaborate buffets and are in Central Mumbai then Shangri-La would work for you.