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No reinventions, no pretence: Few Bengalurean eateries survive explosive F&B tide

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BENGALURU: Amidst the cosmopolitan cauldron of fusion food, masterchef plating, upscale décor and timely reinventions, stand some restaurants that cracked the success formula back in the days and do not feel the need to change. Ebony, Coconut Grove, Tandoor and Koshy’s, to name a few, have stuck to their guns and survived over decades against the explosive F&B tide here.

No reinventions. No pretensions. Time stands still when you enter these restaurants. Familiarity breathes in a wave of utmost comfort. PK Mohankumar, consultant at Turnstone Hospitality, says, “Some restaurants have the DNA for long-term sustainability.” Nostalgically recalling Coconut Grove on Church Street, he says that his Sundays in the early 90s meant appam and fish curry with draught beer. Visits may have lessened but the experience pulls him to the restaurant even now.

“Coconut Grove was quintessentially home food served in a restaurant space. The brand name too is emotional as it resonates with the food, décor and traditionally-dressed staff. It is a showcase of culture,” he notes.

F&B expert Aslam Gafoor lists his favourites, including Ebony for Parsi food, Tandoor for butter chicken and Queen’s for sarson ka saag. Calling them steadfast, Gafoor observes that their success lies in their clarity about deliverables. “They have a certain time-walk. They reflect what Bengaluru stood for. They have an X factor that is undefinable. It’s a break from the fancy routine at most dining destinations today,” says Gafoor.

No reinventions, no pretence: Few Bengalurean eateries survive explosive F&B tide


Ebony at Barton Centre (www.ebony.ebonywithaview.com)

It’s all about cracking the formula of success and maximising it, say these restaurant owners. North Indian eatery Queen’s on Church Street is 44 years old. It received a minor tweak 25 years ago. Almost 70% of its staff has remained with it for two decades. Its clients included cricketers Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Harbhajan Singh.

Owner Anshul Choda says, “There is no reason to fool with comfort. So, we did not want unwanted experimentation. When foodies visit our restaurant, they interact with my parents and the familiar staff. Eating at Queen’s becomes part of their story.”

Another North Indian eatery, Tandoor on MG Road, has been a tough player for the past 30 years. Their recipes, portion sizes and even the staff remain pretty much the same. They easily sell about 100 portions of butter chicken every day. CEO Deepan Anand says, “We can’t be constantly reinventing. I am not an advocate of fusion food and do not like to join the herd.”

No reinventions, no pretence: Few Bengalurean eateries survive explosive F&B tide

Ebony at Barton Centre (www.ebony.ebonywithaview.com)

Dedication is another reason highlighted in bold. Rajesh Rajaram, of the 24- year-old skyline-view restaurant Ebony at Barton Centre, explains, “Back in 1994, when my chef could not get the tomato soup right, I would personally try the preparation every day for a year till he got it right. Even today, I eat my lunch at the restaurant and ensure corrections are constantly being made.”

Almost 60% of its menu has been the same since 1993. They have no plans of opening branches. “If you or your business partner are not trained chefs, don’t open a restaurant. It is crucial for the owner to be the soul of the place,” adds Rajaram.

TIME STANDS STILL

No reinventions. No pretensions. Time stands sti when you enter these restaurants

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