India's Favourite Carnival: The Grub Fest

As October rolled around, The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium once again transformed into the perfect foodie mecca for another grand edition of the Grub Fest from the 27th to the 29th as part of its autumn tour de force. With over 120+ food brands and some of the best Delhi F&B venues displaying their signature delicacies, an outstanding (as ever) line-up of musicians for fans of live music, the Grub Theatre showcasing live demos by celebrity chefs, and even a kids’ play area called mini Grub just for children — there literally was something to float everyone’s boat!

As always, the humble and gracious founders of Grub Fest had a lot to add as to what made this particular edition even more special. Arjun Jain (one of the co-founder’s) said “The Grub Fest, Delhi has raised the bar for events in the city and for ourselves in the years to come. We are truly grateful to our associates including Budweiser Experiences for creating the buzzing beer garden. We had great support from Yes Bank, our ‘powered by’ partner for the festival for the 3rd year running. Big Boy Toyz (BBT) added oomph and glamour to the show by showcasing two of their premium luxury cars. The cherry on the cake and the star highlight of the show though was Madame Tussauds!”

As per official numbers, the return of Grub Fest had a turnout of more than 75,000 visitors and the three-day extravaganza had everything for the discerning food lover - chefs sharing unique cooking techniques, food entrepreneurs revealing trade secrets at panel discussions, and screenings of food-related movies and documentaries. Chaitanya Mathur - another co-founder of Grub - in conversation with FNL, told us that they were absolutely overwhelmed by this edition’s response and that Delhi had supported them in big numbers yet again. For Chaitanya, it was F&B powerhouses like Molecule, MOB, Auro, Unplugged Courtyard, Villa Del, CJ’s Fresh, Wilde, Nukkad Cafe, that were the show stoppers in terms of exceptional design, decor, and food. 

So what’s next for Grub Fest? Mani Singh Chema (the 3rd of 4 co-founders) says, that Grub is looking at expanding internationally as well as launching new event IP’s in the Indian Sub Continent with their teams busy prepping and doing the necessary R&D to target the announcement of a new property by 2018. Aman Kumar, as the other co-founder, added that the next few editions include Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Bangalore this year, and Mumbai, Pune, Gurgaon in 2018. That means a packed calendar with 7 events in 8 cities.

Day 1: As we entered the Fest, the first thing that caught our attention was a seemingly infinite array of stalls including ones with tea, coffee, momos, sushi, and even organic cigarettes! One of the main attractions was the display of premium sports cars by the lads at Big Boy Toyz and we could see a lot of ladies getting impatient with their better halves here! Also making their presence felt were smaller, but in-every-way-as-good outlets such as Potet and Patiala Tigers. Friday being a working day, the majority of visitors were from a younger demo graph.

Day 2: Saturday saw a huge turnout as the hugely popular Guru Randhawa performed in front of a big crowd and immediately set the bar high. Grub TV - the best of which was in the first half of the day — was an aspiring restaurateur/chef’s dream with local industry experts and prominent Chefs having panel discussions, live demos, and even workshops. The Absolut Cocktail bar and their mixological concoctions were a smashing hit but had stiff competition in terms of footfalls from Molecule, MOB, Social - all of which had extensive seating and even a second floor in the case of the former two.

Day 3: The last day of the Fest, Sunday, saw the largest turnout in terms of numbers with both youngsters and families coming out to enjoy their day offs. The average age for visitors was anywhere between 16-60 years, such was the diversity and the vibe of the Grub Fest on a whole. Madame Tussauds with wax statues of the like of Justin Beiber and Hrithik Roshan attracted a lot of visitors. Food Stalls as diverse as the likes of Enokhi, Belgian Fries, and Between Buns were among the most popular choices of food. Off The Grills - a concept Hot Dog brand that source and cure their own meats had many mouths drooling. All in all the three days at the Grub Fest were pure bliss and absolutely amazing whether in terms of food or entertainment. 

The main attraction at the Grub Fest apart from the food stalls was the array of live music that it had to offer. As you would've noticed that any popular or good bar, pub, or restaurant always has some sort of live act going on so, it is safe to say that music goes hand-in-hand with food and beverage. So naturally, the favourite and biggest food carnival in the country had to have some discerning acts while the visitors were trying out different cuisines, filling their baskets with unique gourmet products, or indulging in scrumptious desserts. A hand-picked line-up of artists on the stage which was set right in the middle of the Grub arena who complimented the food and the vibe of the fest included Guru Randhawa, Harrdy Sandhu, The Local Train, Tatva K, DJ Sumit Sethi, Hari & Sukhmani, Akhil Sachdeva, Sartek and more. 

FNL Picks - We know you’ve been burned by food festivals lately, but the Grub Fest is the real deal. The three-day shebang celebrated food with a frenzy of sushi and dim sums as well as mouth-watering desserts. There were all kinds of stuff on a stick, fries, butter chicken momos, good cocktails, and a variety of cuisines to pick from. Here are team FNL’s picks from the memorable fest:

  1. House of Candy, a place where you could satiate your sweet tooth
  2. Absolut Bar, this is where all the Grubbers headed for snazzy concoctions
  3.  Enoki, the favourite sushi haunt in the Grub arena 
  4.  CJ’s Fresh, the go-to place for healthy munchies
  5.  Imperfecto - Ruin Pub, this is where every food-fad obsessed Grubber could be seen
  6.  Molecule, anyone who wanted to enjoy a good meal and get a good view of the stage, this was the place to be at
  7.  Ministry of Beer, a two storey stall with delicious food and a great vibe
  8. Madame Tussauds, a sneak-peak into the celebrated museum all set to open its doors in Delhi
  9.  Potet, for everything potatoes 
  10. Bombay Brunch, for the street food fanatics 
  11. Nukkad, for the best sheesha and good music to compliment it
  12. Fat Lulu’s, pizza, pizza, and more pizza

At its best and at its worst, the Grub Fest is an excuse to overindulge.

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