By Sourish Bhattacharyya
EARLIER in the week, Smoke House Deli at Khan Market was in the news for the front-page picture carried by the Economic Times of its regular patron, Rahul Gandhi, chilling out at the restaurant. He was having his favourite chicken burger, which he, on another occasion, even made his mother order when they came together for lunch. The Page One picture, though, is not the reason why the restaurant trade is abuzz about Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality (IEHPL), the company that owns Smoke House Deli (and a host of other brands).
|Riyaaz Amlani (left) and Shiv Karan|
Singh at the launch of Smoke House
Deli in Hauz Khas Village earlier
in the year (Photo: Courtesy of
Food and Nightlife Magazine)
The big news that’s sent the trade into a state of high excitement is that Riyaaz Amlani, founder CEO and MD of IEHPL, and his go-to man in Delhi, Shiv Karan Singh, have parted ways. As part of the separation, Singh, who’s well-known in Delhi circles and was responsible in a big way for the group’s successful expansion in the national capital, will get the much-acclaimed Smoke House Grill, the fine-dining restaurant and lounge at Masjid Moth in South Delhi that was shut down “for renovations” some time back.
Smoke House Grill will return soon in its new avatar of Smokey’s BBQ under Singh’s independent stewardship. He’s also working on rolling out a chain of restaurants named Anday Ke Funday, which sources close to the development say is an exciting idea that will ride on the national popularity of egg preparations. Will the new venture be on the lines of the Montreal-headquartered international chain, Eggspectation, which has a partnership going for nearly a decade with Jaypee Hotels? That is the question everyone in the hospitality business is asking.
Amlani, who’ll now focus on his hugely popular Smoke House Deli and Mocha brands, besides floating a couple of new concepts (which we’ll be the first to report!), is in talks, meanwhile, to sell off the location of his aborted ventures, Shroom and Smoke House BBQ at The Crescent, Lado Sarai, virtually across the road from the Qutab Minar.
With Singh’s going, Amlani will lose a very visible face in Delhi. When the well-networked Singh ended his long bachelorhood and got married to film star Reemma Sen (a Tamil cinema heroine who was last seen in Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur) in 2012, the who’s who of the national capital showed up at the Vasant Kunj farmhouse where the marriage reception took place, with a food and drinks spread to match Singh’s reputation as a restaurateur. Singh will certainly cash in on his personal equity to drive the success of his projects.
But Amlani, too, is not a stranger in Delhi. He has just been elected vice-president of the National Restaurant Association of India and his reputation as a hospitality mogul is as big in Delhi as in his home city, Mumbai. In 2011, Gaurav Goenka’s Mirah Hospitality and Beacon India PE Fund invested Rs 48 crore in IEHPL with a mandate to Amlani to expand the Smoke House Deli and Mocha brands across the country. Amlani therefore has his hands full and he seems to be revelling in it.