Holiday tables from Goa — with Srimoyi Bhattacharya’s TableCode by Sri

PR maven Srimoyi Bhattacharya has design solutions for culinary feasts on her new Instagram sourcebook

Early this year, Srimoyi Bhattacharya changed both her pin code and her lifestyle. The PR professional, and founder of Peepul Consulting, shifted her base from Delhi to a tiny, sleepy village in North Goa called Olaulim — “which even Goans don’t know about”.

Work didn’t come to a grinding halt, but everything slowed down in the village that boasts winding lanes, lush fields and a solitary cafe. It also gave Bhattacharya, 48, an opportunity to look beyond meetings, power lunches, and parties (and to write her newly-published book, Pitch Perfect). A year and a half of entertaining her family (and bringing out the tableware she’s been collecting over the years) made her realise that there’s something beautiful about setting up a special ritual for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Also read | Srimoyi Bhattacharya’s Pitch Perfect is a playbook for entrepreneurs

As she began befriending local tastemakers, ceramists and artists in Goa, she decided to give form to an idea that’s been germinating for a while — to create a sourcebook for curated tablescapes. “I am a proud Bengali born and brought up in Paris. France has a legacy of decorative arts and the pleasure of the table, as I like to call it, is an art of living. In India, we talk about treating a guest like a god. So, to me, it was about bringing these double roots together,” she says.

Handcrafted and handpainted pieces from @suitenumbereight | Photo Credit: @tablecodebysri

Small batch designs

Bhattacharya launched TableCode by Sri on Instagram a couple of months ago, which “from an aesthetic standpoint, is about my journey of travelling to many places, and picking up products for the table”. She is teaming up with both known and unknown creators to showcase small batch designs. Currently, her feed is alive with festive creations from Suite Nº8 — red-and-blue chevron dinner plates teamed with polka dot quarter plates with gold-gilded edges, on a pretty red gingham tablecloth.

Another festive must-have: plates from artist Erté, with a bold Art Deco vibe, that she picked up a decade ago. They are available for order now. As are curated linens from the “legendary, but very elusive, Ranjit Ahuja, who always makes me laugh because he says ‘PR is not required’. And he is right; he doesn’t need PR”.

Lace and kansa collabs

  • Bhattacharya is rediscovering India through her passion project — from kunbi textile to handmade ceramics to tatting lace. “We have this incredible tradition of lace made by nuns across the country, from Kerala to West Bengal. When I was growing up in Calcutta, I’d see a lot of this at my mother’s friends’ parties. Little did I realise that today this makes complete sense on a table. These are collectors’ pieces.” Then there is an “old gentleman based in Kolkata, who is trying to keep kansa work alive”. She is in talks with him to see how they can pair kansa with Madras checks for the table. “The idea is also to bring the North and the South together in some interesting ways,” she says. Of course, putting up the pieces she sources for sale is difficult. “My friends tease me that, essentially, I have found yet another pretext to shop. When I sold my first piece — a round tatting lace table cover — I had a really hard time parting with it. I had to say out loud, ‘Yes, I am letting this go’.”

Kunbi table covers | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“I’m not here to give lessons in table styling because I think that is very personal. What I will do is share how you can really mix things up. You don’t need to have everything from one source to put a table together,” she says. “When I go to Sri Lanka, I visit one of my favourite stores, Paradise Road, with their minimalistic design approach. In Goa, I found these cabbage leaf plates from an unbranded Portuguese creator that are just beautiful. I have pieces from everywhere.”

The local advantage

At a personal level, she also wanted to do something rooted in Goa, where the changing seasons bring varied inspirations. “As I’m speaking to you, it’s all neon green around me,” she laughs. One of her favourite spots in her 110-year-old home (renovated by Goa-based architect Ini Chatterji) is the al fresco terrace, which faces a sparkling blue pool and green fields; it features in many of her photographs.

Collectible fish plates and cabbage leaf plates on a tatting lace tablecloth | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

She quickly brings the conversation back to her local collaborations. “I have been working with this lovely potter, Neela, who lives in the neighbouring village of Carona. I am also working with an incredibly talented textile designer, Poonam Pandit, who used to work with [the late] Wendell Rodricks to develop the kunbi sari for him. So I challenged her: ‘Can we use this dying textile to make table covers’. There’s only one loom remaining now, and she is working with the weavers.”

If TableCode picks up, Bhattacharya would love to open a small space close to home. “It is so much about experience — a travelling experience. So whether it is through pop-ups or working with people in design, food, etc… it is going to be a very collaborative platform. And that’s going to be the fun of it.”

Shop what you see on @tablecodebysri (DM for pricing), or commission Bhattacharya to put a table together.

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