Godrej Nature’s Basket, Defence Colony

Update 7th April 2011: Visited Godrej Nature’s Basket for a quick trip this evening. Old, withered and wrinkled vegetables priced at three times the usual didn’t really suit my fancy. The manager refused to believe me, first asking if the vegetables were organic and then stating, “We receive fresh deliveries every morning”. The little idiot could only nod when I showed her a bell pepper with more wrinkles than a prune’s great grandmother and asked her if she considers it old. Obviously if it’s related to food and expensive, it’ll be at GNB, fresh or not. It’s back to INA Market for me.

[singlepic id=1726 w=80 h=92 float=left]Godrej launched it’s flagship gourmet retail store, Nature’s Basket at D-15, Defence Colony yesterday. What we (Siddhartha Singh and I) thought would be a simple launch party, rapidly evolved into a typical Page 3 soiree. A paper plane thrown into the air would probably have floated around indefinitely, powered by turbulence created by the loads of air kisses being exchanged by all and sundry.

The only ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary evening were snatches of conversation with Bikramjit Ray (CNN IBN) and Gagan Sharma (Wi-Not) accompanied by some good hor’dourves by Olive Bar & Kitchen.

[singlepic id=1053 w=320 h=240 float=left]Personally, I don’t think Godrej Nature’s Basket is a spot on the incredible utility of INA Market. Going by the stock, Godrej Nature’s Basket seems to be targeted at people who don’t really know food, and don’t care as long as the brand is foreign… and expensive. Of course, I do not include people who do not have a better choice in the vicinity, like INA Market. I’m not sure how the inventory at Godrej Nature’s Basket was decided upon, but it does seem spreadsheets had more to do with it than food.

I found a boxed sushi making kit, but the individual components of a typical sushi platter were unavailable for purchase, high priced instant coffees were present, but no multiple (brand) choices of fresh coffee or beans. Expensive cerials included, but no Kelloggs. Is the ordinary gourmet is expected to shop at two different places to complete his/her list? In any case, since when is Weetabix considered gourmet? When asked about a certain cheese, the chap behind the counter at Godrej Nature’s Basket could only say it’s been bought from so-and-so importer and had little else to add. The bread counters were full of crusty looking breads and not one was remotely crusty in texture. Interestingly as the evening progressed, the so-called healthy breads were quickly snapped up, while nearly all the loaves of white bread remained untouched. Considering commercially available ‘brown bread’ is only a wee bit healthier than white bread, I can only conclude it’s fashionable to be seen with a loaf of brown bread sticking out of your shopping basket. Healthy or not, I don’t know why anyone would buy ‘crusty’ bread, softer than their pillows.

There were a few good choices (product and price) in a few categories, but given the bulk of products visible, I’d say they were accidental inclusions from a culinary point of view. Godrej Nature’s Basket needs to seriously rethink their inventory strategy.

Whatever. I’m sticking to INA Market and suggest you do so too.

– Sid
PS: A big thank you to Siddhartha Singh for his inputs and excellent company.
PPS: Photo is from the Godrej Nature’s Basket press kit.

Visited Godrej Nature’s Basket for a quick trip this evening. Old, withered and wrinkled vegetables priced at three times the usual didn’t really suit my fancy. The manager refused to believe me. The little idiot could only nod when I showed her a bell pepper with more wrinkles than a prune’s great grandmother. Obviously if it’s related to food and expensive, it’ll be at GNB, fresh or not.

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.