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Not by food alone: Restaurants now try the design hook



After the popularity of pub crawls, Bengaluru witnessed a one-of-its-kind food trail on Sunday. Crawlers visited chosen bars and restaurants like the Toast & Tonic, Sly Granny and The Permit Room — this time not to sample their F&B but to learn about their design philosophy.

Called Dine-and-Design, the crawl was organised as an offshoot to the rising popularity of experiential dining that has led to the spurt of design-conscious restaurants. Designers behind the eateries enlightened foodies, aspiring designers and restaurateurs on the growing importance of décor in running a successful F&B space.

“Restaurants today are synergetic spaces that promote drama. Thus, both the food and the space in which it is served narrate creative stories,” says Sandeep Sridhar, who organised the crawl. “Bengalureans were once influenced by designs of hotels. Now they are inspired by restaurants. The idea is to acquaint them with spaces where they spend maximum leisure time these days. ”

Sandeep Khosla of Khosla Associates Architecture & interior Design hosted the crawlers at 1Q1 Kitchen and Bar, which was once a printing press. Khosla gave them a tour of the handcrafted resto-bar that has been constructed using local materials like Kadapa stone, green oxide and red oxide.

“Eateries across India look like clones these days. Some restaurateurs thus want to bring a distinct character to their space that reflects care for its interior philosophy,” says Khosla.

Restaurant owners agree that good food alone cannot get their business rolling in the millennial times. Strong décor philosophy is imperative to make a mark and increase brand recall in the aggressive food hub of Bengaluru.

Keeping with the times, the Sotally Tober bar chain has created imaginary characters to tell its design tale. Its Koramangala chapter is themed around a drunken painter reflected in abstract expressionist walls, upturned couch and tilted windows. The story progresses by a drunken writer theme at its new branch on Residency Road which shows off a whimsical bookshelf as its façade.

“It is important to be seen on the high-street,” says partner Karthik Shankar, adding, “Bengalureans know their food well. We need to surprise them now and décor plays an effective role in achieving brand recall.”

Restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani has also made canvases out of his Social chain to narrate different design stories. While the Church Street chapter took on art and the Koramangala branch embraced a botanical theme, its new establishment in Sarjapur will narrate the beauty of a decaying penthouse.

“Dining-out is a mood-based social experience today. Restaurateurs have to create mood spaces for people to enjoy a romantic date, a cocktail night with friends, a boys’ night out or a quiet dinner with family. Food cannot do a solo-show anymore,” says Amlani.US warship sails near South China Sea area claimed by Beijing

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