Chef Aristoteles Brena Jaime (left) & Chef Dominique Beens (right)
From March 19th to 24th Krave took diners on a culinary tour of Peru as it hosted its 2nd Peruvian Food Festival featuring Chef Aristoteles Brena Jaime of the Nazca 21 restaurant. Last year I did the Sunday Brunch on the last day of the festival so I was glad I had the opportunity to get a different part of the Krave experience, sampling items off the dinner menu for the Lobster Dinner. Now anyone who knows me personally and reading this might be like “Baidawi what you really telling yourself?” because I can’t eat shellfish so attending a Lobster Dinner may be “wasted” on me, but my inability to taste particular items off the menu didn’t restrict my ability to have an appreciation for the other aspects of the Krave dining experience. It most certainly did not stop me from taking photos and writing this blog post.
It’s no secret that the food at Krave is good, generally speaking, most people describe their experience across a spectrum of “it was good yuh know” to “omg I love Krave!” and if the saying that “we eat with our eyes” is true then hopefully the photos I took will not only highlight the visual appeal of the dishes but will also help to convey that deeper connection between presentation and taste. However, this was not what stuck with me at the end of the evening. Our dining experience at “the bloggers’ table” is communal, we talk about the food and the drinks but we also share stories and we laugh a lot, the conversation is never dull and it was somewhere in that moment between getting picong from Leslie with the smooth sounds of Mr. Ancil Valley adding that satisfying sonic element to the experience and sipping on my first (or second) cocktail that it really dawned on me that this is about way more than just eating.
In a time where other restaurants might be feeling the effects of our current economic climate, Krave has somehow managed to maintain a steady flow of patronage and my observation and analysis of the how and why behind that goes back to our very first interview with owner Damion Persad where he promised that the Krave experience would be focused on service. The truth is there are many options where someone can enjoy a good meal or have a decent drink but how many places offer great food, a vibrant bar culture, great ambiance and welcoming service? Krave’s ability to execute each of these components well and package them with different branded dining experiences is what keeps their regulars coming back as well as what attracts new business.