Anthropologist Reveals Why He Visits New Eateries After 3 Months

With tens of cafes, restaurants, pubs and bakeries cropping up every month, in every major city, it’s hard to keep track of what’s worth your time and what isn’t. With most brands relying on social media for promotion and local publicity, the hype around a new eatery can be misleading for customers. The first few months are also quite crucial for restaurants in terms of garnering engagement. However, historian, archaeologist and culinary anthropologist Kurush F Dalal recently revealed why he avoids new restaurants for the first 3 months.

“Every new restaurant opening today is investing an enormous fund in just starting operations, but the need to be commensurate, and food needs to be up to date. The food is usually very very good in the first three months, after which it takes a tremendous beating. This is perhaps why we see a huge attrition rate among restaurants,” he said in an interview with Indian Express.

“I don’t go to a restaurant in the first three months of its opening. I wait for the hype around it to die down, and then go and check out the food. To me, if the food is not great, there is absolutely no point,” he added later.

It’s important to note that the first three months is significant for upscale restaurants or cafes in terms of setting a benchmark since most influences, food writers, bloggers or food personalities are more likely to frequent a restaurant while it’s still new. Once the hype subsides restaurants may not live up to the standard they’ve set, especially if they’re not getting enough footfall.

Dalal addressed another point which happens quite often; the historian talked about modest eateries or hideaways which are more likely to deliver more consistently even if they don’t enjoy the same hype as a big brand.

“On the other hand, smaller eateries, usually dubbed ‘hole-in-the-wall’ are delivering superior food. It is diners who must decide between culinary excellence and luxurious dining experiences, because in the contemporary restaurant scene, they are distinct segments,” he said.

Dalal who’s based in Mumbai also opened up about the cuisines he feels are overlooked in the city. “I advocate for more specialised restaurants, like Seefah by chef Seefah Ketchaiyo and chef Karan Bane, who offer very authentic Thai food. I would like to see more Spanish, Greek, Tuscan and African restaurants. We had a couple of small Nigerian restaurants in South Bombay, but they died. I would love to see somebody showcasing African food from different parts of the continent,” he said.