Pan-Indian and regional Indian restaurants have significantly risen in number over the last decade. This reminds us that while our myriad cuisines are beautifully unique and individual, they are still part of a whole. It’s almost a historic time for Indian food where people are finally acknowledging and celebrating our country’s food diversity and broadening the definition of Indian food to make it inclusive.

After taking a plethora of rounds of global cuisine, people are coming back to local flavours and regional tastes and choosing it over other world-inspired trends and cuisines. With an influx of international chefs who have embraced trends, flavours and ingredients, diners have now begun to enjoy a fair share of delightful meals, including sushi, dim sums, shakshuka, empanadas, ravioli and more. But in recent past, food aficionados have started valuing the taste of our own humble dishes, like Vada Pao, Dal Bhaati, Medhu Vada and more. From home kitchens to street food stalls, these regional dishes have found a place in the menus of popular fine-dining restaurants.

A few years back, the only favourites to come out of regional cuisine were Amritsari Kulchas and Masala Dosas. Now an Indian restaurant no longer has to be categorised as North Indian or South Indian. Chefs and restaurateurs are bringing different cuisines from Bengal, Andhra, Kashmir, Kerala, Goa, Bihar, Rajasthan, Awadh, Bhopal, Nagaland and more on the plate.

All thanks to inventive chefs and passionate restaurateurs hungry for the flavours of their homes, India is witnessing an impressive revival of long-forgotten recipes. As chefs are looking back at their roots and deprived diners are craving home flavours, this nostalgia has started an “inward movement”, with more and more people exploring, cooking and eating regional dishes. This change is being loved by diners who also want to experiment and are spending more on eating out than ever before.

Restaurants today are being designed in a manner that brings a touch of Indian regional elements. This is evidenced by famous restaurants at five-star hotels as well as standalone cafés, thanks to diners making regional cuisine the talk of the town. Traditional cuisines have a unique taste, interesting histories and authentic flavours passed down generations. Heavily influenced by history, stories of conquerors, trade partners, religious and cultural practices, our regional cuisines speak volumes about India’s diverse population. However, the cuisines can be highly region-specific. This is why as restaurateurs, we are trying to find a few common threads that unite the cuisines as one.

Even with all the experimentation, the truth is that Indian cuisine is beautiful in its simplicity. Lost authentic recipes with originality and stories of nostalgia are in demand more than ever. So retaining original flavours is important. However, there is a certain appeal of dishes having regional influences as well. They have a value of their own. Kitchens with flavourful dishes from across  the country are becoming a popular trend.

With more and more people leaving their hometowns to migrate to metropolitans cities for livelihood, the cities are welcoming them with eateries serving regional cuisines. After going Western and Italian to pan-Asian, even Delhi is witnessing a time and trend of authentic regional cuisines. One no longer has to travel to a particular state to savour the best of its food offerings. Most of it is available right here.

When I conceived the idea for Dhansoo Café, the vision was to have its heart attached to Indian heritage. Taking diners on a journey of original flavours was the goal. From the Podi Idli served without any tweaks to the original taste of smoked tomato chutney, we have tried to keep the taste authentic. After much research we landed on regional delicacies like Koliwada Fried Bhetki with Chilli Thecha and homemade chips, Ema Datchi (a Bhutanese Chilli Cheese Broth), Sindhi Dal Pakwan and more that can remind the people of Delhi of their respective hometowns.

Finally, regional and pan-Indian cuisines are getting their rightful place, which were previously shadowed by several other Indian and global cuisines. It’s time for us to dive into and relish the intricacies of less-explored cuisines of India.

The author is founder and director, Batra Bros and Hospitality Pvt Ltd; his stand-alone ventures are restaurants Café Delhi Heights, Nueva and Dhansoo Café