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Culinary tales 

With unusual cuisines and quirky interiors, restaurants in the city are trying to give diners a whole new experience 

Published: 30th September 2021 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2021 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

Khmer Kitchen, JP Nagar

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Once upon a time, dining at a restaurant was all about the food. But much has changed in recent times with restaurateurs creating a whole different vibe to go along with unusual cuisine offerings. Plating, carpets, paintings and decorative plants... all of these elements are carefully curated in order to transport diners to different parts of the world. 

The architecture of Khmer Kitchen in JP Nagar has been thought out so as to ‘match’ the menu – Cambodian cuisine. Interestingly, the 5,400 sq ft restaurant, which was earlier the residence of renowned playwright Girish Karnad, retains some elements of the previous structure. “Karnad’s writing space has been kept intact. In addition, there were trees that were growing on the property which we’ve worked around. In fact, it worked so well with our theme because that’s just how Cambodians do it. The Ta Prohm Temple has trees weaved into the building and the existing trees around it are still intact,” says co-owner Naveen Reddy, who is an architect himself.

When in Cambodia, Vietnam can’t be far behind. So Hanoi, the restaurant that offers authentic Vietnamese cuisine screams all things Asian. Co-owner Nirav Rajani says, “We start brewing the broth for the Pho (soup dish) at 6.30 am. The smell wafts through the restaurant, and the aroma transports you to the busy streets of Hanoi. The hotpot  or community table is meant to create a sharing experience exactly the way it’s done in Vietnam.” 

Long French windows separate the indoors and outdoors, and the colour themes used, yellow and green, are those predominantly used in Vietnamese homes. “Planters are a huge part of the culture, so we have bamboo and royal palms here. We want people to feel like they are in Hanoi,” Rajani adds. 

Closer home, Sarposh, a restaurant which serves Kashmiri cuisine has hues from the picturesque place. Owner Azmat Ali Mir tells us that they have used 14 different crafts from Kashmir to create the space. What takes many by surprise are the host of books written by Kashmiri authors, and the artifacts that can be purchased. “Paper mache, chali woodwork, carpet weaving and walnut wood carving... using them as part of the decor was a commitment we made to the artisans back home,” says Mir. 

The latest place to be creating a buzz for its vibe is Suzy Q by 1522 on Queen’s Road. The point of much curiosity is a red centre piece that, according to partner Anirudh Kheny, symbolises everything that the stylish bar stands for. “The lady in red symbolises a feminine, fun-loving, urban woman,” he says.  



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