L’Opera, Burma Burma and Cafe Delhi Heights: These mothers made their sons’ dream a reality

Tete-a-tete with three mothers who run few of Delhi’s prominent eateries in partnership with their sons.

Published: 12th May 2019 09:58 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2019 09:53 AM   |  A+A-

Christine Samandari with son Laurent, founders of L’Opera.

Christine Samandari with son Laurent, founders of L’Opera.

Express News Service

‘...over one conference call we decided to set up L’Opera here’

It is never easy to settle in a new country, where the culture and language is completely different. But it was the love for her son and to see his dreams turn into reality that saw Christine migrate from France and make India her home. Christine lent unconditional support to her son, Laurent, who was on an internship in India, when expressed his wish to open L’Opera, a chain of French Boulangerie-Pâtisserie and Salon de Thé (tea room), as he missed French flavours in New Delhi.

“It was over one conference call we decided to set up L’Opera here. We overcame innumerable challenges – the challenge of learning the language, finding manpower, creating a product line and setting up a store. But we did it together,” says the co-founder of L’Opera. Christine served as the Director of the Office of Public Information of the Baha’i International Community in Paris. “But I left everything behind in Paris. I cannot be happy if my children are not.”

‘Work has to be lived and life has to be worked at’
IF there is one reason Café Delhi Heights is so successful, it is because of our mother and her legendary recipes,” says Sharad about his mother, Usha, who he claims is the first woman to open a banquet hall by herself – Batra Banquets.

After 6,000 weddings and entertaining over 2.5 million guests for about two decades, Usha decided to open the venture Café Delhi Heights with her sons, Sharad and Vikrant, in 2011.

“When they came forward with this new concept of a cafe, I thought it was time to change and move forward,” reminisces the culinary director of Café Delhi Heights – a quirky hangout that’s always buzzing. Usha believes in serving simple, yet tasty food. Even today, she moves around her brand’s kitchens and cafés with a sense of involvement and compassion towards her vision. “Work has to be lived and life has to be worked at,” she says.

‘Believing in them along with the respect they bestow on me’
Trusting my children and believing in them along with the respect they bestow on me is the key to our family’s happiness,” says Urmila, mother of Ankit, co-owner of Burma Burma – a contemporary Burmese restaurant with handpicked selection of teas in the capital.

After having spent over two decades in Myanmar Urmila had to migrate to India in the 1970s when the military forcibly took control. But during these years, she acquired detailed knowledge on Burmese food and culture. Now Tea Leaf Salad, Kowni Mow and Durian Ice Cream are her favourite dishes. “The dawn of Burma Burma comes from my Burmese roots. My mother has had a great influence expanding the food platter with heady flavours of the Burmese cuisine. Burma is a powerful amalgamation of the two largest forces in my life – my father’s lineage of hoteliers and restaurateurs and the delicious home recipes from my mother’s heritage,” says Ankit.

But it’s his mother’s guidance, says Ankit, that has helped pave the way for Burma Burma.


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