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Entrepreneur 2017-01-07

Creating a rustic charm with contemporary culinary experience

In an interview to Restaurant India, Manik Kapoor, ED- Claridges Hospitality talks about starting a north Indian restaurant in a fun-filled environment.

By Deputy Features Editor
Creating a rustic charm with contemporary culinary experience

The brand

It all began with the success of ‘Dhaba at The Claridges’. Dhaba has been satiating its diners and patrons from the last three decades with its signature North Indian fare in a typical Dhaba-style eatery with an unbeatably authentic décor as far as the Delhi food trail is concerned. It was in early 2013 that we decided to give it a retail form.

                                                                                                                                  

The journey began with some simple questions we asked ourselves. “Why can’t we have a North Indian meal in a fun setting”? Can engaging in North Indian Food be fun?

This eventually led us to Dhaba by Claridges in an all new avatar that blends the trademark rustic charm of the original Dhaba with a contemporary, more casual culinary ambience. We have extended the service philosophy of the legendary Dhaba, which is already an established brand. Unlike, any other north Indian eatery, which is normally very traditional in ambience and service, Dhaba by Claridges brings in a fusion of delicacies tinged with an authentic flavor, colorful server garbs combined with a cool and contemporary décor to create modern epicurean delight. The idea was to tap the pulse of the youth who seek innovative and fun dining spaces at pocket-friendly rates.

Menu designing

The menu has been designed keeping in mind the key elements found at a Dhaba; the Tawa, Tandoor and Patila. We have tried to do full justice to the vibrant north Indian cuisine by combining our signature dishes like Balti Meat, Tawa Mutton, Tandoori Raan, Tiffin Chicken, Kanastari Baingan, succulent Tandoori kebabs amongst others with all time favorites like Butter Chicken, Kadhi Chawal,Rajma Chawal, Dal Tadka to name a few.

The beverage menu comprises of our signature tharras (cocktails) like Paan Mojito, Gulaabo, Somras, and also non alcoholic delights like Ruhani Lassi, Gaane ka sa ras to name a few at the bar christened ‘Theka’.

Challenges involved

Dhaba at The Claridges has been an iconic landmark of the city’s food scene since its inception in the 1980’s. The idea behind the restaurant was to recreate the quintessential Dhaba experience in a five-star setting. The Dhaba successfully emulated the ambience of the archetypical rustic highway eatery and continued to regale loyal patrons and foodaholics over the years.

Taking the iconic brand, which has had a long-standing legacy into retail format and recreating it was a challenging task. The expectations were very high and several comparisons were made. Meeting those expectations successfully has been the most challenging part of this journey.

Looking back at what we have achieved, in these 3 years, it gives me a great sense of pride and satisfaction as Dhaba by Claridges thrives in its new Identity.

Raising a toast

Our bar which is called “theka” is an extremely important element of our restaurant that enables us to enhance the overall culinary experience. When it come to the legalities, we have had no issues at all, as most of our customers concentrated on food and our signature Tharras (cocktails) or beer, spirits and whisky compliment it perfectly.

Merging the brand

The Founders of Azure hospitality have been really good friends for a long time, and also share the same passion to grow the brand. Therefore, we felt merging with them would be ideal at this stage, as it would enable the Dhaba brand to achieve even greater heights. We are in the process of further opening our branches in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai which would be operational by the end of the year. Next year, we will open another 5 to 7 outlets across India and globally.

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