Monday, 19 May 2014

QUICK BYTES: DLF to Turn Building Next to Cyber Hub Into Virtual Gaming Hub & Live Comedy Zone

By Sourish Bhattacharyya

THE Cyber Hub is all sold out. Seeing the success of the country's first food mall, however, DLF has kicked off an ambitious plan to convert the ground floor of the neighbouring Building 8 in the DLF Cyber City into the Delhi-NCR's most vibrant entertainment destination. It will have three major attractions:
* An eight-lane bowling alley promoted by Underdoggs Sports Bar & Grill, which has acquired a dedicated following ever since it opened at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, some years back.
Mumbai's hugely success live comedy venture is
coming to DLF Cyber City's busy Building No. 8
* Delhi-NCR's first virtual cricket hotspot, Smaash, which has had a great innings thus far at the Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Its famed cricket arena allows you to select the bowler you'd want to face, set the difficulty level and actually have a cricket legend 'bowl' at you in a simulated stadium. If you're not into cricket, you could check out the F1 experience or relive your fantasies at the video games arcade that promises to take some of us back to our college days, when the one at the Chanakya theatre would draw us like flies to a magnet. The old Chanakya, incidentally, will soon return as a DLF multiplex and restaurant complex.
* Another first for Delhi-NCR would be a space dedicated to live comedy acts, brought by another Mumbai success story, Canvas Laugh Factory, which is unrelated to the Laugh Factory chain of comedy clubs in the US. The Horseshoe Entertainment & Hospitality subsidiary will have an amphitheatre with an attached restaurant and bar, because people are going to feel both hungry and thirsty after laughing their lungs out.
Of course, the Cyber Hub will see a slew of openings in the days ahead, starting with the Gurgaon favourite, Cafe Delhi Heights, followed by Amici; Benihana; Zorawar Kalra's Farzi Cafe; Boston-headquartered bakery franchise Au Bon Pain, which is being operated in India by the RPG subsidiary, Spencer's Retail; the burger-and-hot-dog place Smokey's; and Fat Boy's: The Burger Bar, the first Indian outlet of the 'build-your-burger' chain with a substantial following in Malaysia and Singapore.
That's quite an eclectic mix. Will the new additions ensure higher footfalls to the popular food and beverage destination? By the looks of it, the Cyber Hub success story, despite gas supply snafus and parking woes, shows no signs of cooling down.

Former La Tagliatella CEO Takes Charge of Hakkasan and Yauatcha
MANY of us will remember Snehal Kulshreshtha's highly visible efforts to promote the doomed Italian restaurant, La Tagliatella. Owned by AmRest Holdings SE, the largest restaurant operator of chains such as Starbucks, Applebee, KFC and Burger King in Central and Eastern Europe, La Tagliatella opened with an ambitious €2 million-(Rs 16 crore at the current exchange rate)-per-outlet investment by AmRest, but despite being my personal favourite, it performed disastrously at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj. I don't know how it did at Indiranagar, Bangalore, but obviously it did not do well enough, making AmRest withdraw from the venture and give up its plans to bring Italian fine-dining to India.
Snehal Kulshreshtha (centre, in striped T-shirt),
with Gaurav Malik (to his right), La Tagliatella's
training manager, in the happier days of the
Italian fine-dining restaurant
Kulshreshtha, a product of the Oberoi School of Hotel Management (now known as the Oberoi Centre for Leadership Development), is back at the helm, this time of KA Hospitality, the company that runs Hakkasan and Yauatcha, and has launched its own brand, the Italian restaurant Otto Infinito. Named after the ancient Egyptian concept of 'vital essence' sustained by food and drink, KA Hospitality is headed by Kishor Bajaj, founder of the Badasaab Group, which is in the business of bespoke clothing and corporate attire, and Kulshreshtha is its newly appointed CEO.
Interestingly, Kulshreshtha had gone to the KA Hospitality corporate leadership to get funding for La Tagliatella after AmRest's exit. He came back with a job offer and the immediate mandate to get Otto Infinito the traction that it badly needs. I wish Kulshreshtha good luck. He's a competent and committed hospitality professional, and he deserves a chance to show his mettle.