Fine With Utilitarian Dining

Last night I was treated by my partner to dinner at Cara and Co – a place where I can call ‘fine dining’. The food was incredible. The textures and flavours were modern and refined; complex yet tastes clean at the same time. One can observe the obvious thought and deliberation that went into each dish. It was brilliant.

We woke up this afternoon to a previously-frequented Indian place for lunch. We had visited often in the past year  but not so often this year.  I had my usual lamb kottu and she had her usual thali. We frequented this place because well, it had good Indian food. As we were eating, we discussed the juxtaposition between lunch and our last meal at Cara and Co. We talked about the Indian curries were extremely well-balanced in flavour, and that the presentation in thali forms are surprisingly modern. However it couldn’t command the same fine-dining feel as Cara and Co. Here was something that is passable as modern food (the owners were in the biotech field before opening the restaurant), but yet wasn’t often considered so.

The difference, we concluded, that one was fine dining, designed solely for the enjoyment of food, while the other, whilst using fairly modern techniques in food preparation, did so in a utilitarian fashion, designed to serve the masses.

While there is a large difference in business models, I often wonder if they could switch around instead. What if the Indian restaurant did fine dining, and the modern modern restaurant did masses instead? I often wonder such things, and I think a good business case can be made for switching (though the process might not transfer completely).

It’s definitely cute to think about, but this also links a lot of my current thoughts regarding entrepreneurship and startups. I like to explore the solution space in my head and daydream about the possibilities and challenges. But for now, this blog is just to get me back in the working mood.


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