Sunday, 25 August 2013

Riyaz Amlani and Zorawar Kalra team up for global tandoor restaurant

By Sourish Bhattacharyya

THE hospitality world is abuzz with talk about the new projects that are to be unveiled in the next couple of months and the whispers are loudest about the grand alliance of restaurant operator Riyaz Amlani, CEO and Managing Director of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality (, and Zorawar Kalra, who sold his Punjab Grill stake to Amit Burman to be able to roll out new cuisine concepts.

With the blessings of strategic investor and brand builder Gaurav Goenka of Mirah Hospitality (, Amlani, creator of the successful Smoke House Deli and Mocha franchises, and Kalra are working together to turn the top floor and rooftop of what used to be Suresh Kalmadi’s Village Bistro Restaurant Complex at Hauz Khas Village into a global tandoor restaurant. The restaurant overlooks the 13th-century Hauz Khas reservoir, whose water has turned green because of evident lack of care, and the well-maintained madrasa built by the mid-14th century Delhi Sultanate ruler, Firuz Shah Tughlaq.

The view from the rooftop of the Village Bistro Restaurant Complex, where the global tandoor restaurant of Riyaz Amlani and Zorawar Kalra is set to come up within months. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The buzz is that the restaurant will be named Tinur, after the Akkadian word for tandoor (Akkadian, incidentally, is an extinct language) found in the ancient Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, and it will trace the journey of the clay oven from our sub-continent to Iran and Central Asia, and thereafter to the rest of the world. Of course, the restaurant is at present a scooped-out shell and before it takes off, Kalra will open the Masala Library, a new concept restaurant offering a cutting-edge pan-Indian menu with touches of molecular gastronomy, at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the workplace of over 400,000 people.

After Mumbai, Kalra will open the second Masala Library in Bangalore, and the more value-for-money Made in Punjab at The Hub, India’s first restaurant mall in the DLF Cyber Park in Gurgaon. Amlani, who started life as a shoe salesman and studied entertainment management in America, is launching three more Smoke House Delis in the months ahead, which will lift the number of this accessible fine-dining brand to seven. These are busy days for successful restaurateurs.

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