LLF in NYC spotlights national debates
LLF in NYC spotlights national debates
LLF in NYC spotlights national debates * Pakistan’s literary talent has become stymied from regimental government oversight Muna Habib May 12, 2019
The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) usually involves professional writers and experts sitting and talking to one another in public, sometimes a debate, to provide a form of lively entertainment that highlights key issues in Pakistan.
Therefore, the recent Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) that concluded in New York was not too dissimilar from previous years and raised a number of key points ranging from politics, food and culture to the environmental impact of China’s billion-dollar investments. Here is a summary of the key takeaways from the thought-provoking sessions.
Pakistan’s literary talent has become stymied from regimental government oversight.
As Pakistan’s journalists and opposition leaders bemoan the crack-down by state and non-state actors on journalists on freedom of expression, Pakistan’s literary talent has also become stymied from regimental government oversight.
During a session titled Lahore & Literary Icons, Salima Hashmi, a prominent artist lamented the demise of celebrated icons in Pakistan by saying, “The desire for Pakistani society for regimentation in certain ways has stamped out the eccentricities – and the diversity has been stamped out before you can build someone up to be an icon.”
Author Khaled Ahmed agreed, “If you look at Lahore today it is not very much like what it used to be when it was more creative. I think when the LLF started – an aspect was a revivalist effort – so that we can go back when Urdu ruled Lahore – when there were great masterpieces,” he said to an almost full auditorium.
India and Pakistan use food as a political tool used to define identity and roots.
It is an interesting experience learning about identity and roots through food. The unique characteristics of Pakistani and Indian cuisine through recipes developed through the history of South Asia, were discussed in the session titled Writing Stories for Food, Indian culinary queen Madhur Jaffrey said, “We keep stumbling over India or Pakistani food, but the roots of our cooking is the same – we need someone to combine the two names to the food in one word – but not South Asia that’s so boring.”
On discussing the difference in dishes between rural and urban cooking, Sameen Rushdie said, “Food has become a class indicator.”
Moderator Ali Ahmed Akbar concluded the event by suggesting people who are unable to afford cooking for a community can share their recipes and culinary skills through video. He encouraged journalists to undertake this endeavour.
“As journalists, we can go out to the areas and use video to share their stories,” he said.
Writer Sumayya Usmani recalled her inspiration for her book.
“Food is our life – it is present at every gathering; we don’t celebrate our culture enough. So this inspired me to write my book,” she said.
During a session titled Lahore & Literary Icons, Salima Hashmi, a prominent artist lamented the demise of celebrated icons in Pakistan by saying, ‘The desire for Pakistani society for regimentation in certain ways has stamped out the eccentricities and diversity has been stamped out before you can build someone up to be an icon’
United States (US) President Donald Trump’s Tweet of 2018 was viewed by Pakistanis as scathing – in it, US President Donald Trump criticised Pakistan for the aid it had received while accusing it of only giving “lies and deceit” in return. The relationship hit a new low as the Trump administration suspended military and security assistance to Pakistan. But now according to former US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard G Olson, “the relationship is on the up again”, he said, while discussing US-Pakistan relations: however, Shuja Nawaz, former director of the South Asia Centre at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, warned, given the current US administration’s policy on foreign aid, “this administration probably won’t give so much civilian assistance, because that is how they operate all over the world” and reminded the delegates of the US Pakistan history, “in Pakistan history runs very deep – that’s what I explain to my American friends. But in America, the future begins today and we don’t remember the history.”
Writer Madiha Afzal agreed with his assessment, “America does not acknowledge how the 1980s has impacted Pakistan,” she said. All participants agreed there was now an opportunity for the Prime Minister Imran Khan to reset the bilateral relationship.
The potential impact of the development of new roads and industrialization on Pakistan’s glaciers, rivers and ecosystems is being ignored according to experts in a session titled, ‘Impact of Belt Road Initiative on Pakistan’s Environmental Ecology.
According to Marc-André Franche, former Country Director UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan, where he oversaw governance and climate change adaptation said, “CPEC is the biggest investment in Pakistan but not one word about the environmental impact on the Pakistan government website.”
He added despite Pakistan’s much-needed investment from China on CPEC, as it will “help produce new job for the new generation of Pakistan. The Pakistan CPEC decisions need to be open and transparent.”
He explained Pakistan continues to have strategic and governance issues that need to be addressed.
“There is a huge gap between civil society and parliamentarians,” he said. Erum Sattar agreed that on the importance of all Pakistanis to be involved in the decision-making process. Aban Marker Kabraji, IUCN Asia Regional Director, highlighted how Pakistani civilians are now more active in holding the government to account, “Beauracrats are now being held accountable through social media for tree planting corruption,” she said.
“China’s BRI is over a billion in investment, the largest foreign investment in Pakistan to date,” said Erum Sattar, Professor of Law, Pace University. She added Pakistan is the 10th most vulnerable country in the world for climate change and the government need to address issues to combat climate change.
LLF has also showcased three editions in London in collaboration with the British library. The LLF New York 2019, presented seven sessions aimed to celebrate the diverse and pluralistic literary culture of Lahore. Delegates included poets, students, academics, artists and diplomats and a large majority of the Pakistani Diaspora; including a significant majority from diverse ethnic backgrounds outside Pakistan who were, “curious to learn about Pakistan’s literature and culture,” said Claire Holt, 19, a US college student attending.
A packed auditorium was the order of the day for almost all the sessions.
And whether a debutant or festival regular, one message applied to all by the organiser Razi Ahmed that “All are welcome!”
LLF is an international literary festival held annually in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. The festival is considered to be one of South Asia’s premier cultural events.
LLF 2015 drew over 75,000 visitors to the halls and grounds of Alhamra Arts Centre to hear various Punjabi, Pakistani and international speakers including Romila Thapar, Abdullah Hussein, Ayesha Jalal, Asma Jahangir, Eve Ensler, Roger Cohen, Mohsin Hamid, Laurent Gayer, Rahul Singh, Hameed Haroon, Yasmine El Rashidi, Naseeruddin Shah, Joe Sacco, Romesh Gunesekera, Ziauddin Sardar, Osman Samiuddin, Mushtaq Soofi and Aminatta Forna. Submit a Comment
‘Pride, Prejudice, And Other Flavors’ Is More Than Just Reheated Austen
‘Pride, Prejudice, And Other Flavors’ Is More Than Just Reheated Austen By editor • 5 hours ago
Bollywood meets Jane Austen — in San Francisco! — in Sonali Dev’s Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors . Neurosurgeon Trisha Raje’s family is Indian American royalty: Not only is her father is an actual prince in India, but her mother is a former Bollywood star and her brother’s running for governor of California.
Trisha’s estranged from her family, but she’s trying to reconnect — and at one of her brother’s fundraisers, she runs into (almost literally) chef DJ Caine, who’s there to cater the event. It’s a fiery meeting, full of anger fueled by misplaced pride, so you can imagine Trisha’s shock when she realizes that DJ is also the protective older brother of one of her patients.
Born in London to Anglo-Indian and Rwandan parents, DJ turned to cooking to cope with the poverty and racism of his childhood. Trisha’s not-so-white privilege gets his defenses up, and their ongoing battle of wills forces them to examine their own positions in society and their biases against each other.
Their story is reminiscent of Austen’s classic novel — both pride and prejudice abound –but calling it a retelling of Pride and Prejudice would do it an injustice. Dev’s sharp voice cuts through the tension to take a sensitive look at class strife and parlay it into a bigger examination of race and privilege from a diverse perspective.
By juxtaposing a first-generation wealthy Indian American against a struggling multiracial Brit, Dev widens our perception of privilege, and shows Trisha coming to terms with her own. It’s important to note the power dynamic between Trisha and DJ: He works for her family, and she holds his sister’s life in her hands. As readers, we can’t help but empathize with DJ’s circumstances — but Trisha’s drive to protect her family and career from a manipulative ex-friend, and the way she goes above and beyond to save DJ’s sister illuminates the true core of her character.
Though the buildup to Trisha and DJ’s happily-ever-after is paved with contentious encounters, the journey feels emotionally fulfilling — it almost seems like Dev’s main concern is tracking her characters’ personal growth, rather than the romance itself. And she uses their slow-burn bond to launch necessary conversations around race and class. ‘Pride’ feels more like a love story about family, redemption, and acceptance than a traditional romance — with food as a running motif. –
In fact, Pride feels more like a love story about family, redemption, and acceptance than a traditional romance — with food as a running motif. Trisha’s improved relationship with her family allows her to open herself up to DJ, and Dev depicts this transformation through DJ’s skills in the kitchen. By fusing different cuisines and pairing complementary spices, DJ — and in turn Dev — shows us that people can come together just as well as DJ’s luscious Arabica bean gelato with dark caramel sauce.
Vivid and deliciously enticing, Dev’s storytelling is layered with emotional depth as she draws us into Trisha and DJ’s story and endears us to the rest of the Rajes — even Trisha’s seemingly awful father. Much like DJ’s dishes, Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors is a flavorful harmony of cross-cultural unions, familial love, and an entertaining ensemble of characters that will leave readers with a serious craving for more.
Kamrun Nesa is a freelance writer based in New York. Her work has been featured in Bustle, HelloGiggles, PopSugar, BookBub, RT Book Reviews , and Alloy . Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org. © 2019 WVAS
London’s Best New Bar & Restaurant Openings: May 2019
London’s best new bars and restaurants in May, from a theatrical restaurant near Waterloo’s Old Vic to an Instagrammable floral offering in South Kensington and a new Stork-themed restaurant in Mayfair
Lead image: Iddu
1 Iddu, South Kensington Iddu restaurant in South Kensington is reinventing itself for the Instagram generation. Fusing its established offering of authentic Italian cuisine with high-end floristry, the project will reveal a restaurant that looks as good as the food tastes. Iddu restaurant is partnering with luxury florist Floral Couturier on the project, opening on 21 May to coincide with Chelsea Flower Show 2019. The new design of Iddu will have an authentic floral feel inspired by Milan’s opulence and its latest fashion trends. The refreshing floral menu full of signature cocktails and seasonal dishes made of organic ingredients, decorated with edible flowers to impress both food connoisseur and photo aesthetes. The restaurant will also host exclusive floral masterclasses, children’s workshops and cocktail-making classes using botanical ingredients. 44 Harrington Road, South Kensington SW7 3ND; iddulondon.com
2 The Alchemist, Shoreditch Immersive cocktail bar and all-day dining experience, The Alchemist, is set to cast its spell on Shoreditch when it opens its latest venue at TechCity on 24 May. The northern powerhouse, founded in 2010 in Manchester, has two London venues already: St Martin’s Lane and Bevis Marks. More than 20 molecular mixologists will be creating mystical concoctions such as the signature Colour Changing One, the Bubblebath and the exclusive augmented reality cocktail collection. A tantalising all-day menu includes broken eggs, tempura prawn lollipops, the grilled mac ‘n’ cheese stack and The Alchemist’s infamous cotton candy baked Alaska. The cocktail bar is also planning an opening at Battersea’s Embassy gardens in 2020. 145 City Road EC1V 1LP; thealchemist.uk.com
3 Hello Darling, Waterloo From the brilliant imaginations of theatrical set designers Darling and Edge, arts venue The Vaults, and 2013 Masterchef winner Natalie Coleman comes Hello Darling, a beguiling new space in Waterloo where you’ll feel like you’re drinking and dining inside a work of art. The playful restaurant and botanical bar has been designed to excite and oozes character with a labyrinthine collection of tiny rooms designed to resemble a house where you can sit on the kitchen worktops, lounge in the bedroom or sip cocktails in the bathtub. Natalie Coleman’s sharing dishes celebrate the noble vegetable, pairing colours as well as flavours – a floral tapas, if you will. Highlights of the menu include Miso-glazed Tuna Carpaccio with Wasabi, Watermelon and Radish, and Slow-Braised Lamb with Butterbean and Nettle Pesto. The botanical cocktail menu features the likes of Rosemary and Apricot Caipirinhas and Honeysuckle Gin Fizzes. Located just behind the iconic Old Vic theatre. 131 Waterloo Road SE1 8UR; hellodarling.london The Alchemist creates some pretty spectacular cocktails Iddu, South Kensington, has undergone a floral makeover
4 The Grand Duchess, Paddington London Shell Co. launches its second restaurant, The Grand Duchess, on 7 June – but bookings launch on 14 May and if you get in there quick you can enjoy some great soft launch offers for the first two weeks of June: get 50% off food from 7-13 June and 25% off food from 14-16 June. Moored adjacent to their cruising restaurant boat, The Prince Regent, The Grand Duchess will be a 40-capacity barge specialising in supreme British fish, delivered daily from independent Cornish fishermen, with a drinks list that focuses on sparkling wines. Highlights include Beer Battered Lobster & Fried Curry Leaves, Monkfish & Wild Garlic Kiev and Surf ‘n’ Turf with 500g Dexter Rib and grilled Langoustines. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, The Grand Duchess will remain permanently docked on the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Central, while The Prince Regent continues to offer cruising lunches and dinner. The Grand Duchess will also offer a relaxed setting to enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by bar sacks, as well as additional outside seating in the summer. Sheldon Square, Paddington W2 6EP; londonshellco.com
5 Stork London, Mayfair A new restaurant has taken flight in Mayfair, with the very recent opening of Stork, a fresh concept that puts the spotlight on modern British cuisine infused with the essence of West Africa and Eastern Europe. The concept follows the flight of the namesake stork on its journey from Eastern Europe to Western Africa, and the menu’s global influences are collected along this journey. Michael Adjovi Kalu and Nadina Grigoras, the couple behind the restaurant, have taken inspiration from their own backgrounds, as Michael felt London was missing the authentic west African cuisine he knows and loves. Chef Adebola Adeshina, who has worked with Gordon Ramsey and Marcus Wareing, focuses on seasonality and top produce. The restaurant, located just around the corner from Burlington Arcade, has seating for 120 spread across two floors complete with a quirky stork-themed interior design scheme. Both floors are available for private hire for up to 60 guests with the top floor hosting weekly DJ sets. 13-14 Cork Street, Mayfair W1S 3NS; storkrestaurant.com
6 Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar reopens on 10 May to reveal an informal side to the food of Eneko Atxa, chef and founder of three Michelin-starred Azurmendi in the Basque Country. The restaurant has been closed since January 2019 due to the refurbishment of One Aldwych hotel. Alongside Head Chef Javi Blanco, Eneko will reopen his London restaurant with a new menu that is firmly embedded in the classical Basque cooking of his home region. Small sharing plates include Txipirones (squid tempura with caramelised onion), Arroz con almejas (rice with clams, garlic, chives and parsley) and Beef tartare with anchovy and pickled mushrooms. Larger sharing dishes include Txuleta, a dry-aged rib of beef finished in the Josper grill, grilled octopus with coriander and chilli, and roasted aubergine with burnt aubergine puree and pepper sauce. The Txoko tasting menu, priced at £80pp, is designed for two or more to share and offers a selection of 10 different dishes including breads, snacks, fish, meat, vegetables and desserts. 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden WC2B 4BZ; eneko.london Stork London brings an exciting new concept to Mayfair Eneko Atxa is back in Covent Garden with an overhauled offering The Grand Duchess is the latest offering from London Shell Co.
7 Haxells Restaurant & Bar, the Strand The launch of Haxells, the brand-new art deco restaurant and bar at Strand Palace, marks a new era in dining for one of London’s most iconic hotels. The 240 cover restaurant is an all-day dining affair, serving guests breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as an afternoon tearoom and a private dining room. New Executive Chef Alfonso Salvaggio, whose CV includes roles at Radisson Blu London and Crowne Plaza Dubai, has curated a brand-new menu with an emphasis on top quality ingredients. The menu will showcase modern British cuisine dishes, including sharing platters of British charcuterie and cheeseboards, alongside mains such as Grilled Marinated Tuna, Superfood Salad and Asparagus Risotto. Inspired by the hotel’s Roaring Twenties design, Haxells combines art deco glitz and gilded age elegance with a contemporary twist. New cocktail serves include the Spicy Vanilla Sidecar, Black Forest Mojito and Lychee Spritz. Open now, with afternoon tea launching on 14 May. 372 Strand WC2R 0JJ; strandpalacehotel.co.uk
8 Baba G’s, Camden After over a decade of trading at London’s top street food markets, Baba G’s, recent winners on TV’s Million Pound Menu, will open its first permanent sit-down restaurant on Friday 24 May. Following their success on Million Pound Menu, co-founders Alec Owen and Liz Selway will take over a 50-seater restaurant unit next to the iconic statue of Amy Winehouse in Camden Market’s North Yard. Inspired by the overflowing spice cupboards of his childhood, head chef Alec’s dishes at Baba G’s have always focussed on bold Indian flavours with a modern twist. The all-new menu brings together Baba G’s favourite Indian-inspired classics from their past 10 years of street food trading, including the signature Pacho’s (poppadom nachos), Chicken Tikka nuggets and Bhangra burgers, as well as a more refined menu of small plates such as Raan Lamb and Achaar Croquettes. Soft launch offer: 50% off food from 24-27 May (walk-ins only). 726-727 Camden Market’s North Yard,Camden NW1 8AH; bhangraburger.com
9 Sloane Place, Chelsea The recently opened Sloane Place is a new restaurant and hotel in Chelsea backed by award-winning Executive Chef Bernhard Mayer, who has worked at The Savoy and the Four Seasons Park Lane Hotel, and Matt Hobbs, former Managing Director of The Groucho Club. Chef Bernhard’s Sloane Place menu focuses on modern European dishes with an Asian twist, and both the breakfast menu and the all-day dining menu celebrate quality ingredients showcased in healthy dishes. Highlights of the all-day dining menu include rare grilled yellow fin tuna with pickled cucumber and olive peperonata, a baked tofu red curry with tender stem broccoli, black mushrooms and Jasmine rice, and a lobster and prawn burger with mango-chilli relish and avocado in a brioche bun. The private roof terrace located on the first floor offers a full all-day dining menu and cocktails, alongside beautiful views of Chelsea. There’s also a cocktail bar on the lower ground floor. Sloane Place is dog friendly. 62 Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea SW1W 8BP; sloaneplace.com Sloane Place is a new hotel, restaurant and bar in Chelsea Haxells Restaurant & Bar is a brand-new art deco offering at Strand Palace Baba G opens up its first permanent seated restaurant in Camden
10 BAO Borough Cult Taiwanese favourite BAO is opening its third permanent site, BAO Borough, compete with BAO’s first karaoke room. Launching on 9 May 2019, the culinary style will differ from its other venues with three new BAOs and a menu inspired by the late-night grill establishments often populated by commuters across Asia. Dishes include the Chicken Nugget BAO, Beef Meatballs with fried egg, and the Borough Curry. For those on the go, there will be a grab-and-go service from the hatch at the front of the restaurant. BAO KTV, the karaoke room, is bookable for up to 12 guests, with each session accompanied by an array of drinks including large cocktail pitchers and beer buckets for sharing, served alongside Fried and Grill Karaoke Platters. BAO Borough will also have one of the few Suntory Hi-Ball machines in the UK, pouring whisky and sodas designed to have the same bubbles as a champagne. 13 Stoney Street, Borough SE1 9AD; baolondon.com
11 Top Of The Pop, Tooting Top Of The Pop opens in the hugely popular Tooting Market on 10 May. Located upstairs at Poptata, the aptly named sister bar Top Of The Pop will be an all-day hangout offering playful cocktails, craft beers and wines to accompany Poptata’s signature premium street fries. The cocktail bar will offer a creative selection of drinks including cocktails on tap (espresso martinis and Aperol spritz all the way!), as well as a Gin & Tonic trolley and signature cocktails featuring botanical twists on classic cocktails. An extensive selection of wines and craft beers is also available. Located on the large mezzanine floor of Poptata, Top Of The Pop will incorporate elements of cool urban design with vibrant splashes of colour, high tables and copper-finish stools. Upstairs at Poptata, Unit 4 ground floor market, 20 Totterdown Street, Tooting SW17 8TA; poptata.com
12 The Great Southern, Gipsy Hill The Great Southern pub and kitchen, neighbouring Gipsy Hill train station, will open its doors on 28 May. As well as good pub grub, fizz on tap and an extensive cocktail menu, there’ll be a south-facing garden that’s perfect for spring/summer. Not shying away from the traditional pub favourites, diners can expect pizza, burgers, pies and sharing boards with home-cooked Sunday roasts, as well as an extensive cocktail menu and wines on tap from Frizzante to rose. Interiors take a sustainable approach with recycled furniture and floor tiles, locally sourced memorabilia and images of the area telling the story of old and new Gipsy Hill. The Great Southern will provide plenty of excuses to get together with pals including Monday Quiz nights, bottomless Frizzante on Sundays and a roster of live music from local bands and DJs. Soft launch offer: Get 50% off food when you book a table quoting GSSO or sign up at thegreatsouthernpub.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning one of 100 pizzas, 100 burgers and 100 pies from 28 May to 2 June. 79 Gipsy Hill SE19 1QH; thegreatsouthernpub.co.uk
13 Louie’s, Hoxton There’s fried chicken, and there is Nashville Red-Hot Chicken. Louie’s, the first London restaurant to dedicate its menu to this local speciality of Tennessee, will open in Hoxton on 23 May. Louie’s is the new concept from Red Dog Saloon, the Austin-style BBQ and dive bar, also located in Hoxton. Unlike its lightly seasoned brothers and sisters from Louisiana or New Orleans, Nashville fried chicken is served blazing; coated in buttermilk and seasoned with paprika, garlic and brown sugar then fried in cayenne-infused hot oil, Louie’s chicken has distinctive deep red colour and a fiery, crispy coating. If you’re not into lip-numbing spiciness, then you can choose a milder spice level. It’s all served with traditional Southern sides from slaw to pickles. 37 Hoxton Square, Shoreditch N1 6NN; louieshotchicken.com Top of the Pop is a new bar above Poptata in Tooting Market BAO Borough is an Asian-late-night-grill style diner in Borough (it also has a karaoke room!) The Great Southern is a new local for Gipsy Hill serving up good pub food and quiz nights Read more
I live in Australia. It’s pretty straightforward. This may reassure you:
Australian restaurants* won’t know about fodmaps but they are usually accommodating for gluten free and allergy requirements. It’s usually easy to find fodmap friendly food in restaurants.
There is plenty of gluten free and sourdough bread around. You can ask restaurants for some dishes to be made without onions (e.g. salads, burgers), you can ask for salad dressings on the side, and you can ask to substitute breads (often for a slight price increase).
You can look up most menus online ahead of going to the restaurant. A typical pub would usually have a few mains where you can see pretty much all the ingredients, e.g. steak, fish, salad, chips, eggs/tomatoes/spinach/hash brown breakfasts. Try a kangaroo steak while you’re here!
Supermarket foods tend to be a bit higher quality (perhaps “purer”) than USA Walmart food. That means there are few or no processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, yoghurt contains less additives and sugar etc. Even our cookies, ice cream and candies don’t contain HFCS.
Sourdough bread is around if you look for it, including at the two major supermarket chains, although they sometimes run out of stock. There are always bananas, grapes and citrus fruits in stock (my go-to low fodmap fruits). Try vegemite on sourdough toast while you’re here!
When you get to Australia use this website to find public toilets (there is an app too): https://toiletmap.gov.au/
It’s a great website for planning road trips.
If you’re heading out to the bush you may find toilets with no running water (“long drop” toilets), so pack a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitiser. Toilets at the beach tend to be pretty filthy and may have no paper, although they do all have running water provided they’re near populated areas.
Pharmacists are always very informed and helpful. You can walk into any pharmacy and tell them you have IBS (pharmacy workers might not know about “fodmaps” specifically), and they’ll be able to provide you over-the-counter supplements and medications to suit your symptoms.
*The restaurant advice above: your milage may vary with non-western cuisines like chinese or indian food.
Where to Eat Now
By Northern Express Staff & Contributors | May 11, 2019
Wren Suttons Bay (pictured above) opened on August 1, 2018. But this Wren is completely different from chef Adam McMarlin’s earlier eatery, Wren the Butcher, at State Street Marketplace in Traverse City. Though there is still meat on the menu, it is not the main event. Wren Suttons Bar is wholly focused on being a reflection of place.
“I believe that your menu should represent where you are and when, so to me, what makes sense is cooking with ingredients that you can acquire from sources nearby at various times of the year,” said McMarlin. In northern Michigan, that means proteins like trout, walleye, chicken, and rabbit. Lately for him, it has also meant sourcing foraged wild rice, beets, quail eggs, cultivated mushrooms, parsnips, and maple syrup from his many suppliers.
On the Menu: Wren has a relatively small menu that changes often. “It starts with what is available,” he said. “If you asked me to just sit down and write a menu, I probably couldn’t do it. But if you gave me an ingredient, I could go from there. It’s fun to work that way. Based on that model, one can also play a fun guessing game about the key ingredients that inspired other items on the current menu: Starters like the parsnip soup (with apples and gastrique), mixed green salad (with carrot, fennel and daikon radish), and spinach salad (with quail eggs, smoked walleye and currants); or entreés like chicken (with poached turnips, beurre blanc and radish), walleye (with foraged rice and roasted parsnips), and fettucine (with trumpet royale mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and sage). A recent dessert list included a butterscotch pot de creme (with bourbon maple syrup and Scottish shortbread) and chocolate cake (with pear, hazelnut and chocolate syrup).
“As far as ingredients go, there’s nothing that’s off limits or permanent for me — anything can change at any time,” said, McMarlin, adding however, that Wren’s menu will always include a steak dish, a pasta dish, and one or more fish dishes on the menu, albeit with varying preparations. “When people come here, I hope and I want it to be because they are looking for the experience that we’re going to give them, and they can kind of let go of the reins a little bit and know it’s probably going to be different every time. That thing they liked so much the last time they were here might not be on the menu anymore, but I think they will also really like what we’re doing now. For me, it makes the menu feel almost like a living thing. It’s always evolving. It keeps everybody on the staff interested, too. We have a couple of really good customers who have been in about seven times since we opened, and they told us recently, ‘It’s better every time.’ And it should be — if it’s not, then I’m not doing my job.”
Find It: Wren is located at 303 N. St. Joseph St., in Suttons Bay. (231) 271-1175, www.wrensuttonsbay.com .
PAPER STATION BISTRO HARBOR SPRINGS Paper Station Bistro, a petite brasserie, opened its doors in July of 2015. Nestled among the pastel awnings and storefronts of Harbor Springs’ tourist-driven downtown, the building’s raw wood and cut metal immediately suggest a little extra seasoning. And the difference is delicious.
“[The building] was a diner called Mary Ellen’s Place [before it was ours],” said Mike Naturkas, co-owner of Paper Station Bistro with wife Tawna Naturkas. “When it was Mary Ellen’s, it also carried newspapers: the Detroit Free Press, The Washington Post, the Petoskey News-Review, [and the like]. At one time, they also carried tons of magazines and comic books and stuff like that, so people [would come in] for a cup of coffee and the paper, and then leave. In New York, [the little stalls] where you go to buy the paper are called ‘paper stations,’ so our name just kind of rolled into that.”Needless to say, the Paper Station Bistro is far from its former days as a grab-and-go joint for the news and a cup of joe. “[Our background] is in fine dining,” says Mike, “so, when people ask, I tell them it’s a high-end burger joint.” On the Menu: “Our beef is all wagyu, from Fairway Packing Company in Detroit — we don’t sell anything but that,” Mike says. The eponymous “Station Burger,” an eight-ounce patty piled with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and house-made Thousand Island dressing, is the most popular pick, followed closely by the ooey-gooey Hudson Burger, a masterpiece of mushroom and Swiss, and the classic, crumbly Bleu Burger. But burgers are just the start. In addition to pumped-up pub fare — think hand-dipped onion rings and truffle-parmesan French fries — Paper Station Bistro adds a little countercultural kick to Harbor Springs’ old school Americana with flavor-packed fusions like Asian sesame wings, Mediterranean naan wraps, and Korean-style spicy fries with Bulgogi beef and sriracha mayonnaise.In fact, the No. 1 foodie fave is the ABC Chicken. “Almond boneless chicken,” says Mike. “It’s a Detroit dish.” Featuring a tempura-battered chicken breast served over basmati rice, a house-made soy glaze and a sliced almond garnish, the ABC Chicken is quickly becoming a cult classic. “People summering from New York and California stop here first [just] to get it,” he says. “Sometimes, simple is the best.” Find It: Paper Station Bistro is located at 145 E. Main St., in Harbor Springs. (231) 242-4680, www.paperstationbistro.com . TRATTORIA STELLA Traverse City Without a lot of vision and a big leap of faith, this well-loved and highly respected Traverse City eatery would never have come to be. Opening back in 2004, it was the first and only business in Building 50, part of the former State Hospital — also known as the Northern Michigan Asylum. Although the whole property was under redevelopment at the time, many windows on the floors above the restaurant were still broken, and caged porches loomed above its front door. Detroit natives Amanda Danielson and her husband, Paul, knew they had to create a total experience that would enable guests to suspend reality once they sat down and allow themselves to be transported to a cozy trattoria in Italy.“Each menu — food and beverage — serves as a navigational tool,” said Amanda Danielson. “The staff finds out from the guests where they’d like to go, and using the familiar ‘maps’ as references,” guides them toward an exceptional experience that suits them, whether by the straightest route or exploring the back roads.” On the Menu: In the kitchen, Chef Myles Anton formulates an ever-changing menu based on what is fresh and available. He believes in incorporating foods and techniques from other regions, especially Europe. Several trips to Italy, Germany, and Austria have allowed him to work alongside and learn from renowned butchers in those countries, and multiple stages in Italian kitchens in Palermo, Rome, and Florence have been instrumental in the inspiration and refining of his cuisine, in which 95% of the menu is produced from scratch. Anton has also practiced a continuous whole-animal butchery program for the last nine years, and the menu features a special Chef’s Taste of offal and a Chef’s Cut of meat every day. A sampling of items from a recent dinner menu bore testament to Anton’s omnivorous and local/global approach to cooking in every category. Antipasti Caldi(hot appetizers): char-grilled Spanish octopus with house-made Calabrese sausage, smoked shallots, rice, beans and tomato; Antipasti Freddi(cold appetizers): house-made charcuterie platter with massafegati, cacciatore, Calabrian ham, duck liver pâte, rabbit galantina, giardiniera, hard-boiled egg, Italian parsley, date and onion puree, tart cherry mostarda and crostini; Zuppa e Insalate(soup and salad): oven-roasted and chilled beets with house-made fresh mozzarella, candied hazelnuts, red onions and strawberry vinaigrette; Paste(pasta): hand-rolled tortelli with butternut squash and amaretti cookie filling, spiced pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, sage butter and grated Parmigiano Reggiano; Pietanze(main dishes): seared organic breast of chicken saltimbocca with Prosciutto di Parma ham and Fontina Fontal cheese stuffing, golden potatoes, celery root, broccoli florets, thyme and lemon. (Don’t worry, Stella’s servers are willing and able to demystify any unfamiliar ingredients!) Bruschetta and the white and red pizzas are especially popular in the bar area, but can be ordered anywhere in the restaurant. Find It:Trattoria Stella is located at 1200 West 11thSt., in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. (231) 929 – 8989, www.stellatc.com . Harwood Gold Café Charlevoix Two sisters, sharing a commitment to family, an appreciation for the land, and some serious entrepreneurial chops are making their mark on a prominent corner in downtown Charlevoix. Harwood Gold, their café and retail destination is an extension of Parsons Centennial Farm, south of Charlevoix, where four generations of family have produced maple syrup and other maple products. Amber Parsons Munday and Katie Parsons Untalan are the fifth generation to take up the business, and with the opening of Harwood Gold, in 2016, they have made it their own, with a 75-product lineup that elevates pure maple syrup to another realm. Harwood Gold has the vibe of a country general store — if that general store were in a hip urban neighborhood. “Rustic contemporary,” is how Munday describes the setting. Shelving and tables are fashioned from wood repurposed from the family farm. Counter-height tables are topped with the marble slabs originally used by Murdick’s Famous Fudge — the previous tenant, for more than five decades — and above, a restored tin ceiling speaks to the building’s history. Generous windows frame views of East Park and the marina. On the Menu: Hawrwood Gold’s maple syrup infusions (currently numbering 16) include roasted hazelnuts, saffron and apricot, and Madagascar vanilla. Spreads and sauces range from black fig and maple paste, and horseradish maple mustard, to farm-style catsup, maple BBQ, and maple Sriracha. Harwood Gold preserves pair sweet maple sugar with a variety of local fruits, from blueberry lemongrass to strawberry rhubarb. All Harwood Gold products are rigorously tested and then produced in small batches by chef Christina Yost in the farm’s state-of-the-art kitchen. And, three versions of Harwood Gold maple syrup represent the brief sugaring season in its entirety: delicate Golden, rich Amber, and robust Dark.While the promise of taste-testing draws is reason enough to draw guests, the café offers reason aplenty to stay. Its salads, soups, and wraps are generous, inventive, and healthful, but it is particularly well known for its gourmet version of Aussie hand pies, the ubiquitous Down Under convenience food. Fillings include braised beef brisket, chicken and portobello mushrooms, and braised lamb shank, all encased in a rich, buttery crust that achieves both firmness and flakiness. More than a dozen coffees and teas, plus a half-dozen smoothie choices are also available. Find It: Harwood Gold Café is located at 230 Bridge St., in Charlevoix. Learn more: (231) 437-3900, www.harwoodgold.com . THE COOKS’ HOUSE Traverse City Jen Blakeslee and Eric Patterson opened the first iteration of The Cooks’ House in 2008 in a tiny building on East Front Street in Traverse City that has served as an incubator for several successful local restaurants.
“People think I’m joking when I say this, but honestly, at the time, we didn’t know anything about the rise of the local food movement in this country,” Patterson said. “For us, using local, seasonal ingredients just made perfect sense.” Though it was difficult at first, over time, the two built up a long list of farmers in the region who now deliver to them on a regular basis. In October 2010, they moved to their present location just around the corner — a two-story, white clapboard house that was formerly home to the House of Doggs.
“It needed a lot of renovation,” said Blakeslee. They started with $25,000, and by the time the remodel and everything else was done, they had less than $2,000 in the bank — less than a day’s worth of revenue. “Which is nothow you want to open a restaurant,” Patterson noted. Nevertheless, it thrived. “When we opened The Cooks’ House, we really wanted to make sure that it was casual and approachable enough for everybody,” said Blakeslee. Although they both take their cooking seriously, neither she nor Patterson take themselves too seriously. On their website, they describe the restaurant as having a “comfortable, come-as-you are approach to enlightened food.” For the dress code, they suggest only: “clothes.”
On the Menu: While elements of their favorite culinary influences — French for Patterson; Italian (closely followed by Indian, Asian, and Mexican) for Blakeslee — might show up on The Cooks’ House menu at any time, Blakeslee’s and Patterson’s food defies any particular definition. What comes out on the plates that are brought to the tables is elevated cuisine, artfully presented, but never predictable, and definitely not fussy. Seasonality is about the only the common denominator. The menu posted on the restaurant’s website is just a sample of what you may encounter on any given night, but it offers a very good idea of the infinite variety and flavor combinations guests have to choose from, any season of the year. Each item is listed succinctly, with only its ingredients; clever names have no place here. Thus, under Salads & Appetizers, one might find Roasted Beets-Red Cabbage-Dukkah-Olive Oil-Fresh Chevre. Or Warm Mushrooms-Asian Seasoned Pig Ears-Horse Gram Lentils, or Gemelli Pasta-Braised Rabbit-Milkweed Pods-Parmesan Cheese. Main Plates could include Hay Smoked Striped Bass-Carrots-Radish-Pea Shoots-Sesame Seeds; or Slow Roasted Brisket-Wild Ramp Chimichurri-Potato Subji-Swiss Chard; or Sautéed Chicken Breast and Leg Confit-Baby Kale-Whole Roasted Garlic-Curry. Five- and Seven-course menus are another option, with or without suggested wine pairings. Dessert may be something like Parsnip Cake-Spiced Honey Yogurt.
Find It: The Cooks’ House is located at 115 Wellington St., in Traverse City. (231) 946-8700, www.cookshousetc.com . THE ROADHOUSE Mexican Bar & Grill Like most restaurants in Northern Michigan, summer is high season for the Roadhouse Mexican Bar & Grill in Benzonia. But it’s worth a drive from outlying regions at other times of the of year as well, with the added advantage of having a much better chance of scoring a seat inside or — at least in spring and fall — on the inviting outdoor deck. Roadhouse owner Gretchen Bookeloo-Nahnsen grew up in the hospitality industry, but one Friday evening in 2001 when she found herself sitting at the bar talking to then proprietor, Jim Barnes, she was a little surprised about her reaction to his confession that he was looking to sell the restaurant.
“I didn’t know anything about Mexican food,” she said, “but I liked the Roadhouse, and I just decided on the spot to buy it. We pretty much struck a deal right then and there. I just took the ball and ran, and it has been quite a good little business for me.” Chef Miguel Roman, originally from Northern Mexico, “came with the package,” she joked. “He was already here when I took over, and that was such good luck for me. He had started as a dishwasher, but Jim had been teaching him how to cook, so I encouraged that further, and he has just gotten better and better. He’s amazing. His wife does kitchen prep, and one of his sons is also coming up through the ranks. His brother works for us now, too — he’s been here at least 10 years.” Much of the rest of the year-round staff has been with the restaurant for more than a dozen years. On the Menu: The Roadhouse describes its food as “fresh, not fast — hand-prepared daily.” Bookeloo-Nahnsen elaborated: “Our prep list is huge. We marinate every meat, and cook our beans, rice, vegetables, and sauces in-house — almost everything is from scratch — using fresh herbs and spices. We also fry our own chips and make three different kinds of salsa — roasted tomato, peach, and fresh tomato.”First time at the Roadhouse? Bookeloo-Nahnsen suggests starting with the house guacamole and then trying the enchiladas (three corn tortillas with either seasoned ground beef, chicken, shredded pork, or cheese, plus mild green chile sauce, onions, refried beans, cheese, and sour cream, all topped with a sunny-side-up egg upon request). Other hot options are the crab enchiladas (three corn tortillas stuffed with crab, onions, and cheese, topped with house-made jalapeño queso sauce and served with sour cream) or vegetarian enchiladas (three corn tortillas filled with black beans, corn, red peppers, onions, jalapeños, cilantro, and cheese, topped with house-made mild green chile sauce and served with sour cream). No. 2 on the entrée favorites list is the Roadhouse Skillet, which is kind of like a deconstructed fajita (tequila-marinated steak and jerk chicken, grilled peppers and onions, and Monterey Jack, all baked golden brown and served with sour cream). Customers also love Chef Miguel’s chile rellenos, which are part of two dishes: the Combination Azteca (one each chile relleno, chicken enchilada, and hard-shell ground beef taco) or the Combination Maya (one Chile relleno, one chicken tamale, and two empanadas). Not surprisingly, the Roadhouse bar menu boasts 70 kinds of tequila; an enticing array of margaritas; Mexican, local craft, domestic and imported beers; and red and white house wines and a few nice Spanish labels (among them a tempranillo rosé and an albariño) available by the glass or by the bottle. Find It: The Roadhouse Mexican Bar & Grill is located at 1058 Michigan Ave/U.S. 31 South (“at the top of the hill”) in Benzonia. (231) 882-9631, www.roadhousesalsa.com . COUSIN JENNY’S Cornish Pasties Traverse City Pasties — the ubiquitous self-contained, hand-held pastry (usually filled with meat and vegetables) favored by Cornish miners, and later, Upper Peninsula miners — have a longstanding tradition in Jerilyn De Boer’s family. Her parents operated Jean Kay’s Pasties, named for her mother, Jean Kathleen Kay Harsch, in Iron Mountain for years. Her brother, Brian, who helped establish that original restaurant, now has his own Jean Kay’s in Marquette. And building on that heritage, DeBoer brought pasties to the Lower Peninsula, building her own legacy over the past 40 years in Traverse City. “I went home for a couple of months before we opened and trained with my dad, and he and my mom passed on their recipe for the classic Cornish pastie, which is filled with steak, rutabaga, potato, onion, salt, and pepper,” said Jerilyn De Boer of Cousin Jenny’s.“For the first few years, our clientele consisted mainly of transplants from the UP,” said De Boer. “For the rest, it took education and perseverance on our part — a lot of the customers who came in didn’t even know how to pronounce pastie.” [Ed. note: It’s pass-tee, not pays-tee.] On the Menu: Cousin Jenny’s makes several kinds of pasties because, De Boer explained, “This is a different market from the UP.” De Boer’s first “expansion” was the veggie pastie (with seven different vegetables, cream, and cheddar cheese); followed by the chicken pastie (with peas, carrots, potatoes, corn, cream of chicken soup, and cheddar cheese). Those two, along with the original steak version, are served daily at Cousin Jenny’s. Two additional varieties bring the selection up to five on a rotating basis during the week, and might include the French potato pastie (with ham, green onion, Monterey Jack, cheddar cheese, and sour cream], the German pastie (with Swiss cheese, ham, and sauerkraut in a rye crust), the Italian pastie (with pizza sauce, pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, and mozzarella cheese — a hit with kids), or the steak’n’cheddar pastie (like the traditional steak pastie, but with the addition of cheddar cheese]. Pasties are offered in two sizes: 10 ounces or 16 ounces.While a lot of pastie shops fully bake their pasties, De Boer said one of the keys to Cousin Jenny’s success is that after the make their pasties, they only partially bake them: “We never take them to the fully-baked stage until right before serving time. That preserves the quality and guarantees that you get a hot, fresh pastie every time.” Customers can also buy partially baked pasties to go and either take them home and bake them right away, or freeze them for later.Pasties are the No. 1 seller at Cousin Jenny’s, but the restaurant’s beautifully composed salads are a close second. The menu features 17(!) of them, as well as several sandwiches and wraps, and two to three varying kinds of soup. Find It: Cousin Jenny’s is located at 129 South Union St., in Traverse City. (231) 941-7821, www.cousinjenniespasties.com
I’m an American who grew up in big, cosmopolitan cities (and then moved to more–DC/NY/SF/LA/Houston) eating cuisine from all over the world.
My family greatly enjoys Indian food, but then we moved to the middle of the woods, an hour from the nearest Indian restaurant. Fortunately, there is also an Indian market an hour away. Several years ago, I bought a basic Madhur Jaffrey book and got cooking.
We now cook Indian food regularly and I often text photos to an Indian friend who is complimentary and encouraging, so I think I do a decent job. I have been pretty restrictive as we mostly like the Delhi and Northern Indian dishes Jaffrey has in that book and we haven’t explored the food of a lot of other regions.
Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai
Startup Advice Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai
Do you want to start a restaurant business in Dubai? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a profitable restaurant in Dubai with no money or experience.
Starting a restaurant business in Dubai is a good business decision to make especially if you are determined to tap into the fast-rising economic growth in the country. That’s why we have prepared a sample restaurant business plan for Dubai .
Please note that the restaurant industry in Dubai is highly competitive coupled with the high cost of lease, which is why loads of restaurants close shop early in the country. Your ability to strategize and modify your service delivery will help you stay competitive.
Prior to launching this type of business, you need to carry out your due diligence as it relates to market research, economic and cost analysis and of course feasibility studies. If you get things right before launching your restaurant business in Dubai, it will not take you long before you break even and start smiling to the bank.
You can start your restaurant business from a small town in Dubai and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized especially if you go into franchising. Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai – A Complete Guide Industry Overview
The Dubai restaurant industry is a thriving industry because per capita food spend in the UAE is among the highest in the world. It was at $3,159 in 2015, 32 percent higher than in the US (excluding alcohol), and about the same as the average person’s spend in Kuwait and Qatar combined.
As spend on food eaten in restaurants move in line with the economy and population, a portion of the high value spend on food by Emiratis is explained by their high net worth — and by the fact that visiting malls and dining out are the primary sources of entertainment for many in the region.
Although at a population of 10.1 million, the UAE population is small, but with increase in tourists visit, there is always a boom in the restaurant industry. The distribution of restaurants and people, however, is not even, with a heavy concentration of foodservice establishments in Dubai causing a high saturation rate in that market. Dubai has close to 260 people per restaurant (compared to 320 people per restaurant in the US).
In spite of the economic challenges brought on by sagging oil prices, many UAE restaurant operators continue to thrive. Consumer foodservice is an industry close to $15 billion — and one with an attractive long-term outlook. Several factors besides economic and population growth will be driving its performance over the next few years.
Despite the fact that there loads of players in the restaurant industry, there’s still a lot of room for growth among UAE restaurant chains (and those looking to expand into new markets). In the UAE, the share of spend on food away from home (i.e. restaurants) is lower than that of other developed countries.
The US, for instance, is near to a 50 percent-50 percent split between restaurants and groceries. The breakdown in the UAE, meanwhile, is 46.7 percent restaurants, 53.3 percent groceries — but that split is set to weigh heavier for restaurants and at an accelerated pace, over time.
There’s also potential for the growth of certain cuisines and segments. Chained foodservice, for instance, is under-developed:
While in the US and Canada the share of chained foodservice has remained stable over the last few years (at around 54 percent of the restaurant industry), in countries like the UAE and KSA, the market potential for the expansion of chains ranges from $4.3 billion to $5.1 billion annually, were it to reach a similar share. Though independents have dominated historically, chains tend to grow faster and cannibalize the mom-and-pops over time.
In the United Arab Emirates, the full-service restaurants are fragmented in terms of cuisines, formats, and price point, with a diversity of casual and fine dining options. Chained full-service restaurant sales are growing 1.8 times as fast as independents. The share of chains is set to grow to 19 percent in 2021 (from 16 percent in 2016), while segments like pizza are dominated by chains, others — such as Asian food — will begin to see an influx in chained operators.
It might interest you to know that the UAE Restaurant industry has minimal barriers to entry, with minimal startup capital and no specific licensing requirements. On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own restaurant in Dubai. Most players in the restaurant line of business in Dubai are small – to medium – size establishments that cater to the local and international community.
The restaurant business will continue to blossom in Dubai because people will always want to eat when they are hungry and can’t afford to go home to fix meals for themselves. Despite the fact that the industry seems over-saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own restaurant businesses in Dubai.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own restaurant business in Dubai are that the business is thriving and it easily attracts tourists especially if it is strategically located.
Over and above, the restaurant line of business is a profitable industry and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur who wants to come in and establish his or her business. You can choose to start on a small scale in a street corner like the average mom and pop business or you can choose to start on a large scale with several outlets in key cities and shopping malls. Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai – Market Research and Feasibility Studies Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who eat meals from restaurants cut across all genders and age group; hence the demographic composition for a restaurant business is all encompassing. The truth is that when it comes to selling food and drinks, there is indeed a wide range of available customers.
In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but to all those that visit and reside around the locations where you have your restaurant and who have the purchasing power.
List of Niche ideas Within the Restaurant Business in Dubai That You Can Specialize in
There are several niche ideas an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards venturing into restaurant business can choose from. As a matter of fact, it is common to find restaurants majoring on a particular niche area except for large and standard restaurants who have the capacity to combine all niche areas in the industry under their roof.
There are various kinds of restaurants all over the world and you can choose to start any in Dubai. Here are a few examples; Fast food restaurants Specialized restaurants with foreign cuisines for Indians, Americans, Africans, etc
The Level of Competition in the Restaurants Industry in Dubai
The United Arab Emirates does not just have one of the most lucrative restaurant industries in the world; it is also one of the most competitive markets. The bright side to this is that since the market is saturating, service providers are coming up with more sophisticated ideas, different trends are being born and consumers have no shortage of choice. The unwelcoming side of this is that the restaurant industry in Dubai is also confronted with a lot of peculiar challenges.
To withstand this oversaturation, restaurant operators are advised to focus their efforts on building a strong brand and identifying the unique position that distinguishes them from the competition. Strategic advertisements, both physical and digital, can help attract new customers and that is the current trend in Dubai.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are good at preparing the varieties of local and intercontinental meals, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Industry
Here are some of the leading restaurants in Dubai and by extension the United Arab Emirates; Billionaire Mansion Dubai Armani/Amal Indian Restaurant
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry.
Restaurant business is not a green business in Dubai no matter the niche you settle for. As a matter of fact, you will come across several restaurant niches when you drive through town. So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey to familiarize yourself with the cost of renting a space where you are expected to build a standard restaurant, the amount required to purchase furniture and other supplies and also the cost to successfully run the business.
Lastly, you should make adequate budget for business consultants, branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the restaurant industry in Dubai. Starting Your Restaurant Business in Dubai from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
When starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful restaurant brand as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established restaurant brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run because the competition in Dubai might not favour a newcomer or brand.
But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the Restaurants industry, then you can start your restaurant business from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before launching the business.
Please note that most successful restaurant businesses around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success. Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Restaurant Business
Aside from high staff attrition and labor cost, steady increase in rent is one of our major threats you are likely going to face if you choose to start your restaurant business in Dubai. The average cost of opening a small, independent restaurant in Dubai ranges from AED 500,000 to AED 1.25 million depending on the size and the format.
Even these figures are based on restaurant space ranging from 500 sqm to 1,200 sqm only. 78 percent of money outflow of the restaurant business comprises of capital costs, rent and working capital. Thus, high rentals are the biggest and the most upfront challenge you will face in the restaurant industry in Dubai.
Unfavorable government policies and the arrival of other restaurants or eateries can also hamper the growth of your restaurant business in Dubai. Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai – Legal Matters The Best Legal Entity to Use for this Type of Business
If you are considering starting a restaurant business in Dubai, the legal entity that is open to you will be determined by your status (citizen or visitor) and the capacity of the business you intend starting. There are various options available in UAE for Investors and International companies wanting to establish business relations in this region. The Investor can opt for either Mainland License or Free Zone license.
In Dubai Mainland LLC formation falls under Commercial category and can be formed with a minimum of Two shareholders or a maximum of 50 shareholders in the license. The liability of the shareholder is limited to the shares invested in the company. In this license, the 49 percent shareholders can be an Expat and 51 percent shareholder can be a Local Emirati.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your restaurant business in Dubai; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
The truth is that if you take your time to study the various legal entities to use for your restaurant business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as a limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your restaurant business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Restaurant Business in Dubai
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. If you are considering starting your own restaurant business in Dubai, here are some catchy names that you can choose from; Al Amirah® Restaurant, Inc Khalif Chickens™ Fast Foods Restaurant, LLC Prince Emirati© Restaurant Chains, Inc. Burj Lake® Intercontinental Restaurant, Inc. Jamal & Jamila™ Family Restaurant Chains, Inc. Arab Nourishment™ Fast Foods Restaurant, Inc. Najeeb & Sons© Restaurants, Inc. Chicken Federation® Fast Foods Restaurant, LLC Caliphate© Chinese Restaurant, Inc. Al Amin© Indian Restaurant, Inc.
In the United Arab Emirates and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your restaurant business.
Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own restaurant business in Dubai; General insurance Workmen Compensation and Employers’ Liability Insurance Property and Business Interruption Insurance Public Liability Insurance Group Life Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection / Trademark
If you are considering starting your own restaurant business in Dubai, you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties. Is Professional Certification Needed to Start a Restaurant in Dubai?
Aside from preparing varieties of tasty local and intercontinental meals, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some restaurant brands stand out. If you want to make an impact in the restaurant industry in Dubai, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own restaurant company; Clean Health Certificate Food handler Certification Catering Training Certificate
Please note that you can successfully run a restaurant company in the United Arab Emirates and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications as long as you have adequate experience cum background in the restaurant industry.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Restaurant Business in Dubai
Having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in Dubai, cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in Dubai without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.
Financing Your Restaurant Business
Starting a fast food restaurant business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running the business in a street corner. Securing a well-located facility and purchasing gas cooker, deep freezer, fridge, microwave oven, bread toaster, cooking utensils and equipment, baking and food supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard restaurant business in Dubai.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your restaurant business in Dubai; Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties Raising money from investors and business partners Sell shares to interested investors Applying for loan from your bank/banks Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends. Choosing a Suitable Location for a Restaurant Business in Dubai
When it comes to choosing a location for your restaurant business in Dubai, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for food, drinks and other snacks and easy access to wholesale food supplies. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your restaurant business, it will help people to easily locate your restaurant.
It is important to note that a good location in Dubai does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing / renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your restaurant business in Dubai, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor who has a full grasp of the city.
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your restaurant business in Dubai; The demography of the location as it relates to welcoming tourists and visitors The demand for food in the location The purchasing power of residents of the location Accessibility of the location and the road network The number of fast food restaurants, sandwich shops, regular restaurants, canteens and any other outlets that also sell food in the location The local laws and regulations in the community / state Traffic, parking and security Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai – Technical and Manpower Details
There are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for gas cooker, bread toaster, cooking utensils, serving wares, food service equipment (microwave, toasters, dishwasher, refrigerator, blender, etc.), Storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.), Computers and receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), and Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines).
You will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of a restaurant facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standings, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short – term rent ease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long – term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location / facility for such business.
When it comes to hiring employees for a standard restaurant business in Dubai, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Bakers / Cook / Chef, Restaurant Manager, Sales and Marketing Officers, Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small – scale but standard restaurant business in Dubai.
The Business Services Process Involved in the Restaurant Business in Dubai
When it comes to the service process of a restaurant business, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization purchase food ingredients and packaging / serving materials. They source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.
Once the restaurant business is in full operation, meals are prepared and they are listed on the menu. Meals and drinks purchased from a restaurant can be eaten in the restaurant or can be taken away. This is because the restaurant may not have the capacity to accommodate all their customers per – time.
So also, stocks are taken after the close of business every day and account are balanced. It is important to state that a restaurant business, especially as it relates to its niche, may decide to adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility. Starting a Restaurant Business in Dubai – The Marketing Plan Marketing ideas and Strategies
If you choose to launch a restaurant business in Dubai, then you must employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determines the market direction for the restaurants industry in Dubai cum the United Arab Emirates.
Businesses these days are aware of the power of the internet, which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet (videos / YouTube) to market their services and products. These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your restaurant business in Dubai; Introduce your restaurant by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to construction companies, travels and tours companies, camp grounds, corporate organizations, car owners, taxi companies, transport companies, households, sports organizations, gyms, schools, socialites, celebrities and other key stake holders throughout the city where your restaurant is located. Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence Directly market your products. Engage in road shows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your restaurant business Join local restaurant business associations for industry trends and tips Provide discount days for your customers Advertise our business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories) Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Pricing
One key factor that will help you sell your food, drinks and other snacks and beverages at rock bottom prices is to purchase your food supplies directly from farmers or from food ingredient wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from farmers, food hubs and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your food, drinks and other snacks and beverages et al at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning your Competitors
The availability of varieties of well – prepared and tasty local and intercontinental dishes in your restaurant, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.
Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and all the local and intercontinental delicacies listed on your menu can favorably compete with the some of the best in the restaurant industry in Dubai. Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be.
If your intention of starting a restaurant business in Dubai is to grow the business beyond the location where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by owning chains of restaurants and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your restaurant business in Dubai; Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food magazines) and electronic media platforms Sponsor relevant community – based events / programs Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your restaurant business Install your Bill Boards in strategic locations all around your city or state Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your restaurant business Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas List your restaurant business in local directories/yellow pages Advertise your restaurant business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site. Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where restaurant business is located. Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles, trucks and vans are well branded with your company logo et al.
Definition of hospitality epitomised in Pune- Keep it up Four Points Sheraton !
I’ve been a visitor to Pune ever since 2006, but this was my first stay at Four Points Sheraton for a period of 4 nights and their famed hospitality did impress and enthrall me.nRight from Porch, Bell Boys to Security Team, Front Office, Restaurant , F&B team and Guest Services- each underline customer centricity in their attitude and service !!.nnI’m writing this review even while I’m stay at Room No 919- at the 9th and topmost floor of hotel. nnI had requested for this floor after reading review of a fellow guest and an efficient and polite front desk team of Roshni and Malcolm did oblige me. The view from 9th floor is awesome as you see the Highway and suburbs stretched out below, from a height of approx 600-800 feet.nnRoshni from Front Desk stood out with her one step beyond approach, who checked-upon me a few times to ensure I was settled in well and comfortable.nnTheir restaurant ‘ The Grand Peshwa’ at Lobby has a remarkable staff. Right from Restaurant Managers to staff like Tejas & Monika. Nimble footed and ever observant, their hospitality pampers the soul and not just the hunger pangs.nAbout food- the breakfast spread is awesome, covering indian, asian and continenal cuisines. nThe Dinner buffet has a scope for improvement as not much spread in variety and choices.nnWifi- TFPS understands the needs of a business traveller in true terms and provides flexibility. They not limit WiFi usage to Single device, unlike many other hotels.nnAmbience: Each room has well placed lighting and even base room category of Deluxe Rooms is quite spacious. with a work desk, a spread armchair to relax/read/watch TV. nThe lobbies are pleasantly quiet and adorned with paintings that highlight Maratha ancient and royal architecture and quite informative for visiting guests.nnRecommend:nThey can probably add a ‘Executive Club’ section on a particular floor,accessible to Business travellers who can catch up over complimentary snacks/light beverages. Many Sheraton properties including in US and Asia have same.nnBeing an avid and discerning traveller,, I can vouch that I’ve become a fan and a loyal customer of FP Sheraton Pune !!
The NY Times Style Magazine article on the famous Parsi Ripon Club
A Bid to Maintain One of the World’s Oldest Culinary Traditions Home ⁄ Recipes ⁄ A Bid to Maintain One of the World’s Oldest Culinary Traditions May 8, 2019 Rita 0 Comment Recipes The New York Times on the famous Parsi Ripon Club For the ever dwindling Parsi community of western India, food is both pleasure and heritage — and a secret language in danger of dying out. TO TASTE DHANSAK at the Ripon Club in Mumbai — whose version of the slow-cooked, densely spiced lentil, vegetable and meat stew is one of the city’s greatest pleasures — you must come on a Wednesday, and you must be invited. Only members and their guests are permitted to enter, and membership is granted only to Parsis, the descendants of Persian Zoroastrians who set sail for India around 1,300 years ago. They were among the last remnants of an imperial dynasty that at its height commanded, according to some historians’ estimates, as much as 44 percent of the world’s population, reaching from the Indus Valley in the east to northern Africa in the west. Article by Ligaya Mishan | New York Times So you are reliant on the kindness of Parsis, who, as it happens, are known for their charity; their religion encourages both the creation of wealth and its righteous distribution. Last September, friends of friends in Mumbai introduced me to the gregarious Zarine Commissariat, a retired office manager, who took me one postmonsoon afternoon to this low-profile Gothic Revival building a short walk from the Bombay High Court, convenient for the many club members who are lawyers. The elevator is still equipped with its original hand crank; a sign warns passengers that they may ride it up but not down. It ascends with a shudder, and on the third floor, its door folds in like an accordion, and time stalls. The dining room is long, a stately configuration of marble floors, Burma teak sideboards and walls of peeling paint in eggshell hues. Yellow spines of National Geographics gleam from glass-paned bookcases. A garland of marigolds rings a bust of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta, who established the club in 1884 for Parsis who were “Western-cultured” and had spent time in England. The British themselves were excluded (to the consternation of the cricketer Lionel Tennyson, grandson of the poet Alfred, who visited in 1885), in part as a riposte to the colonial clubs whose infamous signs declared “No Indians and dogs allowed.” Still, the Ripon Club has always been Anglophiliac in spirit, from its name — a homage to the progressive George Frederick Samuel Robinson, First Marquess of Ripon and Viceroy of India from 1880 to ’84, who championed native Indians’ rights — to the portrait of Queen Victoria that the writer V.S. Naipaul observed still hanging in the club secretary’s office as late as 1975. To the table come bottles of Pallonji’s raspberry soda, Ferrari-red and heart-stoppingly sweet; crispy lengths of Bombay duck, the local name for lizardfish, caught in the waters off Mumbai, deep-fried whole and still succulent, not deboned and flattened as in other Indian traditions; and goat brain cutlets sheathed in prickly bread crumbs, insides creamy as custard. The dhansak awaits at the far end of the room, where a waiter stands stoically blank behind three silver-domed chafing dishes. The exterior of Britannia & Co., with its board of daily specials. Bombay duck, the local name for lizardfish, is popular among Parsis.Credit Anthony Cotsifas First on the plate is rice, a loose scoop of Basmati steamed with whole spices and a touch of sugar, caramelized, for a hint of sweetness; it is incomplete without fried onions scattered on top. Then there is the dhansak itself, here cooked with mutton, although the meat is secondary to the glorious sauce, uncompromisingly brown. It’s made of several kinds of dal (lentils) — in the 2007 cookbook “ My Bombay Kitchen ,” the American Parsi anthropologist Niloufer Ichaporia King prescribes a mix of pigeon peas, chickpeas, red lentils and mung beans — along with a meld of adu lasan (ginger-garlic paste) and three masalas, one spiked with a few chiles, the heat of which fortifies the other flavors. Adornments include rugged little kebabs and half a lime to add brightness, but what matters most is that pool of sauce. Soon the body grows leaden and you understand the purpose of the row of lounge chairs by the windows, with elongated arms over which to drape your legs as you nap. (Or otherwise: The chairs are nicknamed Bombay fornicators.) But as the room fills with calls of greeting and gentle ribbing, the talk among the Parsis at my table turns to their community’s decline. Their numbers in India have dwindled, from close to 115,000 in 1941 to just over 57,000 in 2011 (the date of the last nationwide census), with another 15,000 estimated to live in North America and a few thousand more around the world. (Measuring the population is tricky, as not all who follow Zoroastrianism, itself in decline, are Parsi, an identity that encompasses Persian ancestry and Indian origins along with the faith.) One of my dining companions was the 73-year-old Jehangir Patel, editor since 1973 of the English-language magazine Parsiana , which tracks Parsi births and deaths in India and abroad. In the Sept. 7, 2018, issue, 29 Parsis were reported to have died in August and only one was born. The Parsis do not rage over such facts. They chuckle, resigned to their doom and blame only themselves, for being both too conservative, discouraging conversion and limiting the definition of a Parsi to patrilineal descent — in effect, preferring extinction to dilution — and too liberal, believing in free will, even if it leads you away from the fold. Upstairs, on the fourth floor, the Ripon Club is empty. Sunlight slants through the windows and smokes on the green baize of the billiards table. But for the Parsis, it is already dusk. When a culture vanishes, it takes with it a singular vision of the world — a vision that for the Parsis is expressed in large part through their food and the labor and love devoted to it: its status as at once communal rite, historical record and private language. When a language is no longer spoken, we lose not just words but possibility, a sense of what we are capable of, in our power to imagine and give names to the things that surround us and, through that naming, to change them. So, too, when a cuisine is lost, erasing the ingenuity of the cooks who shaped it over centuries. An individual’s time on earth is finite, but we trust in the momentum of history and the generations that follow; we are certain we will continue. How do you live, then, knowing that your grandchildren may be the last of their kind? Who will wear the kusti , the sacred cord around the waist, and feed sandalwood and frankincense to the temple fire? Who will make dhansak? The interior of Mumbai’s Kyani & Co. features engraved wood panels dating to 1904.Credit Anthony Cotsifas Kyani & Co. is known for Irani cakes and baked goods.Credit Anthony Cotsifas ONE OF THE WORLD’S earliest monotheistic religions, Zoroastrianism arose out of a revelation to a prophet called Zarathustra in Avestan (a language now dead but still used in the recitations of Zoroastrian priests, learned by rote). He is believed to have been born in northeastern Iran or southwestern Afghanistan, and might have lived at any time between 6500 and 600 B.C.; the Roman historian Plutarch places him five millenniums before the Trojan War, while sacred texts cite a date two and a half centuries before the rise of Alexander the Great. Some scholars argue that Cyrus the Great, founder of the Achaemenid Empire in 550 B.C. — at that point the largest empire the world had ever seen — was a proto-Zoroastrian, although he did not impose the creed on those he conquered, which in retrospect may have been a mistake. Today’s small community of Iranian Zoroastrians (around 14,000 as of 2011) welcomes converts, but Parsis do not — a pity, because there’s much that appeals about the religion right now, especially its tenets of tolerance and its early recognition of women as equal to men in moral agency, with a modern corollary of championing women’s education and pursuit of career. According to Zarathustra’s teachings, there is one god, Ahura Mazda, and two forces at war in the world, light and dark; the light, of God and of the illuminated human mind, is represented by the fire tended in Zoroastrian temples, never to be extinguished. The Zoroastrian mantra is manashni , gavashni , kunashni : good thoughts, good words, good deeds. But goodness does not require typical monastic asceticism. The opposite, in fact: Adherents must commit to engagement in the here and now, which includes embracing earthly delights, however fleeting. The last of the Persian Zoroastrian empires fell to the Arab Caliphate in the seventh century A.D. Forced to choose between Islam and exile, many Zoroastrians fled, and several boats of refugees made it to the west coast of India in what is today the state of Gujarat. It is here that the story of the Parsis (the people from Pars, or Persia) begins, with food as an allegory for survival: As legend has it, the local Hindu ruler sent the newcomers a brimming cup of milk, to show that there was no room for more people in his kingdom; the Persians slipped in a spoonful of sugar, which disappeared, sweetening the milk without spilling it. This was a promise: They would assimilate and enrich India without altering its character. Adaptation was key to their perseverance, and it remains the defining feature of Parsi food today — “a real magpie cuisine,” as King says, characterized by “gleeful borrowing.” From the Hindus: warm and musky spices and fondness for the seafood abundant along the Gujarati coast. From the Muslims, who took control of Gujarat at the end of the 13th century: an embrace of meat and viscera like lungs and heart, and the many ways to cook them. From the 16th-century Portuguese colonizers: the New World’s glory of chiles, potatoes and tomatoes. And from the British, who arrived in the 17th century: custard, soufflé and a somewhat stodgy fish-in-white-sauce recipe that Parsis improved with a slosh of vinegar. The cooking also remains true to its ancient Persian roots, with liberal use of dried fruits and nuts and an emphasis on the interplay between sweet and sour. Unlike their first neighbors, the Gujaratis, who are predominantly vegetarians, Parsis are incorrigible carnivores and have no food restrictions. “We eat everything,” says Jeroo Mehta, 92, the Mumbai-based author of “ 101 Parsi Recipes ” (1973) and an advocate for offal; her cookbook presents three elegant approaches to sheep’s brain. Animal protein is so fundamental to the Parsi diet that even during the holy month of Bahman, when Zoroastrians are supposed to abstain from meat, they’re permitted fish and eggs. Vegetables, on the other hand, are almost never eaten in isolation. While dhansak is typically made with spinach, eggplant and squash, the Mumbai-born, 47-year-old chef Jehangir Mehta of the New York restaurant Graffiti Earth believes that “not being able to see the vegetables” makes Parsis more likely to eat them. “There is nothing like a vegetable dish on our menu — or if there is, there will be an egg on it,” he says. Prowess in egg eating, at least three per day, is something Parsis boast of, and the phrase per eeda (“egg on top”), can be applied to almost anything: Eggs might be whisked and poured over okra, then steamed; broken into the hollows of sautéed fenugreek leaves and briefly sizzled, so the yolks still wobble; or simply fried over a bed of crushed potato chips. The crumbling crimson and robin’s-egg-blue laminate booths of Mumbai’s Yazdani Restaurant & Bakery, which has operated out of a cement hut since 1950; its signature ladi pav (an eggless bun) and other breads made in-house line the back wall.CreditAnthony Cotsifas THE PARSIS KEPT their promise to the Gujaratis. They learned to speak the local language, stopped eating beef out of respect for the Hindus and didn’t proselytize. In the 17th century, they started settling in Mumbai (then Bombay), when it was still just seven islands mired in a network of swamps. As merchants and intermediaries, they helped the British transform the archipelago into a city and acquired what would become some of its most valuable real estate. They spearheaded the Indian industrial revolution by building the first steel mills and textile factories; they built ships and launched the country’s first airline; they used their wealth to endow hospitals, laboratories and schools. They were also the first to adopt the British game of cricket, and their extravagant musical theater productions paved the way for Bollywood. The Kolkata-born novelist Amitav Ghosh has argued that the Parsis “essentially created modern India.” Yet this enormously influential minority, which constitutes less than .05 percent of India’s population, remains largely invisible and inaccessible to the foreign visitor. In Mumbai, nonbelievers are denied admission to sacred Parsi sites, including the fortresslike Atash Behrams, holiest of the fire temples, in the seaside Marine Lines district, and the great circular Towers of Silence in Malabar Hill, the city’s poshest neighborhood, where the Parsis have historically left their dead to be stripped by vultures, an act of purification. (Like the Parsis themselves, these sites and their traditions are under threat: Orthodox Zoroastrians fear that the sanctity of the temples may be compromised by an impending subway tunnel, and local vultures are dying out, poisoned by an anti-inflammatory drug given to the cows they feed on; without a reliable flock, Parsis have had to resort to solar mirrors to hasten corpses’ decomposition — a method that takes longer and, during monsoon season, doesn’t work at all.) Nor is Parsi food widely available at the city’s restaurants. The cuisine thrives in homes and during celebrations like a child’s navjote (a Zoroastrian initiation akin to the Jewish bar and bat mitzvah) or the elaborate thousand-guest weddings that typically take place from November to March each year. The vast majority of these feasts are overseen by the indomitable Parsi caterer Tanaz Godiwalla , 49, who commands an army of day laborers 300 strong at the height of the season. She knows each by name. They are almost all men, Hindu and Muslim farmers who come down from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, inured to wielding 26-pound ladles and balancing 80-pound pots over open wood fires. Sometimes there are four or five weddings in a single night. Many take place in the banquet halls of the Parsi residential colonies known as baugs , some established by Parsi philanthropists as an affordable housing option for lower- and middle-class members of the community. Guests eat in shifts, sitting down at long tables while those waiting hover behind. Prep cooks turned waiters run back and forth with the food, spooning it onto fresh banana leaves that function as plates. (As the leaves grow warm under the food, they release oils, adding both fragrance and flavor.) There is always delicate-fleshed pomfret fish, either in the form of patra ni machhi, thickly daubed with a coconut-and-green-mango chutney, then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed; or saas ni machhi, submerged in white sauce with a dash of vinegar. Everyone wants the fish’s tail — “What to do madam, there is only one tail per fish,” a waiter says consolingly to a disappointed guest in Avan Jesia’s 2012 novel “ Tower ” — so that’s the only part that Godiwala will serve, reserving the rest for making cutlets and stock. Then comes chicken, perhaps deep-fried with a lacy crust or in a red sauce heaped with sali (matchstick potatoes that snap), or lamb in a creamy white sauce of coconut and cashews; and pulao with dal and kebabs, uncannily close to dhansak — but not quite: Dhansak, while delicious, is considered inauspicious for a wedding, since it is customarily served on the fourth day after a loved one dies, to announce that mourning is over. An egg dish might follow, or a collection of fried offal. As the wedding unfolds, there might be a few in-between bites (the more, the fancier), such as topli na paneer, soft rounds of lunar-white cheese bobbing in whey, which the Mumbai-based food writer Meher Mirza describes as “blancmange crossed with mozzarella.” Cardamom-scented lagan nu kastar, brought to a burnish in the oven, is offered as a palate cleanser; in some recipes it’s studded with fat golden raisins and charoli, indigenous to India, buttery as pine nuts but with the evanescent sweetness of pistachios. Such a feast is repeated almost every night for five months straight, yet no one tires of it. The whole point of a Parsi wedding, more than one Parsi told me, is to eat. Yazdani’s retro bread-slicing machine, for loaves sold streetside in the bakery’s front.Credit Anthony Cotsifas The counter at B. Merwan & Co., an Irani cafe opened in Mumbai in 1914, where many order mawa cakes, made from concentrated milk.Credit Anthony Cotsifas AKURI , A PARSI scramble of eggs and onions, appears on the breakfast menu at the Willingdon Sports Club in Mumbai, whose marble terrace overlooks a private golf course and whose membership rolls have been closed to new blood since 1985. Again, it’s not open to the public; a friend will have to sneak you in. More proletarian and arguably better meals may be had at the city’s Irani cafes, dingy eateries equipped with bentwood chairs, prominently posted rules (“Please do not argue with management”) and photographs of Zoroastrian bodybuilders. Some are more than a century old, like B. Merwan & Co. by Grant Road Station, where gingham shirts hang over the sink in the open kitchen and, hour after hour, cooks turn a rubble of mawa — milk boiled down until the liquids evaporate, leaving a sweet, creamy, craggy fluff — into tiny cakes, bronzed and cracked at the top and somehow dense and ephemeral at once, disintegrating instantly in the mouth, like poundcake called to a higher destiny. Note, however, the distinction between Parsi, signifying those who trace their ancestry back in India 1,300 years (and who often speak Gujarati), and Irani, a term for Iranians — mostly Zoroastrian but some Muslim — who left Persia in the late 19th century (and speak Dari, an ethnolect of northwestern Iran, or Farsi). As the 34-year-old historian Simin Patel , daughter of Parsiana editor Jehangir, recounts in her forthcoming book on Irani cafes, many of these more recent immigrants started selling chai from corner storefronts. (Popular lore has it that such spaces were cheaper to rent because Hindus deemed corners unlucky.) These informal canteens cater to a lower- and middle-class clientele and serve comfort foods that are part of the Parsi canon but also belong to Mumbai at large, like brun maska, crusty bread with the inner loft of a pillow, not so much buttered as sandwiched around butter; and keema pav, soupy minced lamb simmered with chiles, to be sopped up with a soft roll. Irani cafes once numbered in the hundreds and were an integral part of city life, so much so that one of the most popular, Leopold Cafe, was targeted, along with Mumbai’s main commuter train station and the five-star Taj Mahal Palace hotel (itself founded by a Parsi), by Pakistani militants in the 2008 terrorist attacks. Now only a few dozen exist; their owners — grandsons of the original founders and “alpha males, tough guys,” according to Simin — are approaching their 80s and 90s. (At B. Merwan, the septuagenarian Bomi Irani still comes to work daily at 3 a.m., as he has for more than five decades.) It’s not clear if their children will carry on the family business. Instead, people of neither Parsi nor Irani descent are trying to replicate the aesthetic of the cafes, notably at Dishoom , which opened in London in 2010 (and which has since added six locations throughout Great Britain), and at MG Road, which opened in Paris in 2014. Simin doesn’t see this as cultural appropriation — since 2013, she has consulted on Dishoom’s design, with its spotted mirrors, dangling electric wires and mood of sepia twilight — as long as the original cafes aren’t being glamorized, “because they weren’t glamorous,” she says. But even some non-Parsis have expressed reservations about the homegrown Indian chain SodaBottleOpenerWala , which opened its first outlet in 2013 in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi, and today has nine branches. (Its name is a play on the Parsi practice of taking surnames connected to professions, like Doctor, Reporter and, yes, the couriers known as Sodawaterwalas.) It’s slightly disconcerting to see a simulacrum so close to the original, the sleek, replicable model ready to push out the old and take its place. But is this the only way these traditions can survive? For dishes to last over time, must they transcend the culture of their birth, enter other kitchens and find a place on the tables of strangers? The entry hall of the Ripon Club. The portrait is of Sir Jamsetji Jejeebhoy, Baronet, who served as president there from 1910 to 1931.CreditAnthony Cotsifas THE THREAT OF EXTINCTION, however wittily parried by the Parsis who face it, is no exaggeration. Among the peoples who have disappeared from the earth, along with their culinary traditions, are the Emishi of northern Honshu, Japan, whose traces faded out about a millennium ago. Others are critically endangered today: the El Molo, who live on fish caught from the now receding Lake Turkana in Kenya, and whose population has been reported at fewer than a thousand; the Nukak Maku, who were driven out of their ancestral home in the Amazon jungle of Colombia by the country’s decades-long civil war and in 2015 numbered less than 500; and the Bo tribe of India’s Andaman Islands, with 52 members remaining as of their last counting, in 2010. Of the Shakers, an American religious community that demanded celibacy of its members and thus relied on converts to survive, only two are said to be left, and their culinary legacy — of simple, thrifty recipes that made use of nature’s bounty, and of pioneering techniques in preserving and canning produce — remains largely unknown. In a hopeful sign, however, other decimated groups have rebounded. The population of native Hawaiians was barely 24,000 as of the 1920 U.S. census but by 2013 had reached 560,000 nationwide, and traditions nearly erased under colonialism have seen a renaissance, notably in the embrace of precontact staples like poi (pounded taro root) and breadfruit. Theirs is just one of the cultures around the world that has begun resurrecting forgotten foodways in the past few decades, from indigenous North American tribes who lost their land in the 19th century and, hemmed in on reservations, became dependent on the heavily processed foods available as government rations, to young Cambodian chefs trying to salvage memories from before the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s, when an estimated 1.7 million people — around a fifth of the population — died, including many elders whose minds were repositories of unwritten recipes passed down orally through generations. Food is heritage, and cooking and eating it are daily acts of continuing, a means of preserving identity in even the most desperate and unspeakable of circumstances. During the Spanish Inquisition, “secret” Jews who had been forcibly converted to Catholicism still refrained from cooking on the Sabbath and made unleavened bread for Passover, despite the risk of being exposed by servants or neighbors; as recounted by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson in “ A Drizzle of Honey ” (1999), one woman was burned alive on the evidence of her having made a distinctly Sephardic stew of lamb, chickpeas and hard-boiled eggs, known as adafina. Later, during World War II, Jewish women in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, north of Prague in what is now the Czech Republic, recorded recipes on scraps of paper — both an act of defiance and a way of leaving a mark on the world. In the Canadian Parsi writer Rohinton Mistry’s novel “ Family Matters ” (2002), one character suggests burying a time capsule so that history will remember the contributions of the Parsis after they’re gone. First among its contents: “recipes for dhansak, patra-ni-machhi, margi-na-farcha and lagan-nu-custard.” The dishes are signs, a code that unifies, through which Parsis recognize themselves in one another. The Ripon Club’s upper floor. Established in 1884, it’s one of Mumbai’s last-standing members’ only Parsi clubs.Credit Anthony Cotsifas IN AN UNDATED Pahlavi (Middle Persian) text from the Sasanian Empire (A.D. 224-651), a young nobleman whose family has fallen on hard times applies for a role at court and must prove his worth by answering 13 questions posed by the Zoroastrian king. Nine of them concern food. When asked what makes the best meal, the aspiring page says (as translated by the writer Shahrzad Ghorashian on her Persian food website Aashpaz ), “It is the meal you eat when you are hungry and in good health, when your soul is free of fear.” Parsi food has come far from its ancient origins, and is evolving still, even as its makers grow few. Back in New York at Graffiti Earth, Mehta, who rose to acclaim 15 years ago as a provocatively cerebral pastry chef at the city’s now-shuttered Aix, has quietly introduced a few dishes that nod to the pleasures of home: a dhansak-like braise of beef ribs with brown lentils; squid or scallops in a sweet-and-sour tomato sauce; and a Persian toast that is his take on brun maska, with a sly wink at Parsis’ penchant for whisky, pairing the bread with so-called butterscotch — in fact a butter-and-Scotch emulsion. Halfway across the world, the 35-year-old Shezad Marolia, a Mumbai-born chef with a résumé that includes stints in the Merchant Navy and restaurants in London, is bringing a more straightforward update to Parsi food. He recently settled in the small, drowsy town of Udvada, Gujarat, just north of Mumbai — a holy town whose temple contains a fire believed to have been burning steadily for more than 1,300 years. Parsis make weekend pilgrimages here, some even buying second homes — modern condominiums that look jarring amid the crumbling bungalows with broken windows. Marolia and his mother, Hilla, run the Sohrabji Jamshedji Sodawaterwalla Dharamshala, one of Udvada’s rest houses for religious travelers. While accommodations are open only to believers, anyone is welcome to eat at the restaurant, Cafe Farohar. In September, I drove up with Farrokh Jijina, a Parsi journalist and the son of a part-time Zoroastrian priest. (The role of clergy is hereditary in Zoroastrianism, and not surprisingly, there’s a shortage; although Jijina was eligible to become a priest, he chose not to.) It was four hours from Mumbai, plus 30 minutes waiting for permits at the state line. As we approached the town, he gestured toward a shock of greenery by the side of the road, behind which lay a Tower of Silence. There, consignments of the dead are rare, he told me. At Cafe Farohar , the food was startlingly fresh: scrambled eggs vivid with green garlic uprooted from the backyard ; aleti paleti , an herb-strewn sauté of chicken livers, kidneys and lungs; and a glass of pristinely sour yogurt to be mixed with Sev : skinny, crunchy strands of chickpea flour * tossed with raisins and charoli, dusted in sugar and cardamom and given a flicker of rose water, scent deepening into flavor. Afterward, we walked through the empty Zoroastrian museum, turning the fans on and off in each room as we went, as I tried to absorb the stupefying amount of information crammed onto the wall placards. A paragraph on food noted that the sweetness of sev “reminds one to have a sweet nature.” I was barred from entering the temple, so while Jijina paid his respects, I wandered the narrow streets alone, past hulks of houses appearing to hold their breath. Time was a stilled pulse. On the beach at the end of town, the sea ran caramel against sand like baked ink. We returned to Cafe Farohar on the way out of town, at Marolia’s insistence. He said there was a dessert I must try: malido , a labor-intensive production of semolina and wheat flour mixed with eggs, sultanas, almonds and ghee, requiring constant, vigilant stirring until its texture approaches fudge. On its own, malido is rich enough, but here it was buried under ice cream and melted chocolate and presented seething on a cast-iron plate — a wink at a Mumbai trend from a few years back of “sizzling” brownies. It was an odd, if exuberant, punch line to the journey. But there remains something defiant about such excess. I thought of dhansak and its heavy lake of sauce, repeatedly replenished from a seemingly endless buffet, and, so, too, the ritual of consuming the stew to break the fast after a loved one’s death — as if only such a rich, torpor-inducing dish could properly stun you and let you expand, freed from the vise of grief. It struck me suddenly that eating it in the midst of sorrow, or diminishment, was an extraordinarily optimistic act. To Jehangir Mehta , food is a way to pull people back from the brink and return them to the important business of life. “We don’t believe in mourning,” he said. “We believe in happiness.” Which is to say: We are still capable of pleasure. We are still here on earth. * Note: Article has incorrect definition for the parsi sev. Sev is vermicelli made from flour. Not as quote ” sev: skinny, crunchy strands of chickpea flour ” Share & Enjoy
Most of Chaweng is OK with the loud bit being near the Ark Bar which has beach parties. Wherever you stay you are not likely to be ” pestered” unless you mean by the occassional massage person or toenail cutter on the beach. Yes, Chaweng is more city like than the other beaches and it is more developped with big resorts. Lamai has quiet and busier areas. It is smaller than Chaweng and has more bungalows and cheaper hotels instead of lots of resorts. It has loads of restaurants with Thai and other nationality cuisines. It also has a weekly Walking Street market, and a few sidestreets with streetfood( near the MacDonalds) , and a local market at the northern end of the beach near a little river. The area around Hinta Hinyai ( southern end of Lamai beach) is quiet, but you can get a songtaew for 100 baht to the center of Lamai for more life. In the center there is a square area of outdoor bars where there is a Muay Thai kickboxing show once a week next to a row of streetfood stalls selling Thai, Indian and vegetarian food from 6 pm onwards every evening. Weekender Resort is a big one near there. Aloha Resort , Mira Mar, and Bill Resort are others to try slightly further south. Almost the furthest south in Lamai just before Hinta Hinyai is Sunrise which is average priced with various styles of bungalows in a garden a few meters from the beach. The other side of Hinta Hinyai is another nice place called Rocky Resort. However the beach there is very rocky, so better to stick to the pool. If you are very hungry a good place for breakfast near the center of Lamai is Harry’ s, which is a restaurant owned by a friendly Thai lady who serves huge helpings, good for Thai food and English breakfasts, ( about 100 meters north from Weekender Resort.) Other good places for Thai food near Lamai center are Will Wait and Sri Nuan.