For decades, Indian hospitality brands have dreamt of tapping the international market by opening franchises overseas. But with India emerging as the next big F&B market, the tables seem to have turned. Successful global hospitality establishments are now expanding to India. And it’s not just limited to five-star properties and fast-food chains; premium clubs, bars and fine-dining restaurants are also targeting the Indian market. What has helped the growth in this sector is Indians becoming more and more open to experimentation when it comes to dining and entertainment. Delhi and Mumbai house many such franchises. Listed here are some newly-arrived international hospitality brands in India.
TOY ROOM (London)
Aloft Hotel, Aerocity, New Delhi
The global A-list nightclub, Toy Room was brought to India with a vision to provide upscale nightlife entertainment. The brand has a presence in seven other countries, with branches in London, Dubai, Rome etc. Founders and co-owners of Toy Room, Corrado Mozzillo and Gennaro Salerino, told us that over the last couple of years, they observed a rise in tourists from India at their clubs. So they studied the market and saw the love for partying among Indians. This was when they started working on introducing Toy Room to India. Now the club in Delhi has a 400-person capacity with luxe interiors and quirky décor. Akshay Anand, owner of Toy Room India hopes that the nightclub will create a new party culture in the city—with “champagne showdowns”, international DJs etc. He informed us about their expansion plans: “We will scale Toy Room pan-India. We will soon be launching a Toy Room in Mumbai and Toy Beach in Goa.”
ROOH (San Francisco)
H-5/1, Kalkadas Marg, Mehrauli, New Delhi
A progressive Indian kitchen and bar from San Francisco, Rooh recently launched its first India flagship. Helmed by Chef Sujan Sarkar, the fine-dining restaurant has won many awards. Rooh is trying to build a legacy on the sensory experience related to dining—the visual presentation, food’s aroma and the texture of the delicacies. Chef Sujan Sarkar told us that he always wanted to open a restaurant in New Delhi: “I have lived here and have always been fascinated with the monuments, stories, food etc. Hence, it was my dream to bring Rooh to the capital city.” About curating a menu here, he said, “Our cuisine philosophy is “International Indian”. Diners will get quality ingredients paired with interesting flavour combinations which is Indian yet international. The idea is to think local with a global outlook and presentation.” He feels that as the diners are well-travelled and open to new kinds of cuisines, this venture is timed perfectly.
MINISTRY OF CRAB (Sri Lanka)
Zaveri House, Khar, Mumbai
Mumbai’s F&B scene hit a high note when Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Crab, featured on “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants”, expanded to the city. A haven for seafood lovers, the restaurant is known for serving fresh lagoon crabs. Brainchild of celebrated chef Dharshan Munidasa, it is co-owned by him and popular cricketers Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Ramit Bharti Mittal, CEO of Gourmet Investments Pvt. Ltd., which brought Ministry Of Crab to Mumbai spoke about the endeavour: “We believe in bringing the international flavours and pedigree brands to the Indian market.” He pointed out that they are using the existing menu from Sri Lanka in Mumbai and no recipes have been altered. “We have only added few vegetarian dishes such as Mangalorean Ghassi, Kerala Isshtu, Goan Curry etc. Sri Lankan curries are close to the Indian palate, hence not difficult for Indians to enjoy this cuisine. When it comes to development, if anything is introduced to Sri Lankan menu it will be adapted here as well,” he said.
G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai
Dubai’s award-winning luxury restaurant, Trèsind, has opened its doors in Mumbai. The restaurant is famous for being a leading restaurant in the Middle East serving modern Indian cuisine. Bhupender Nath, Founder and Managing Director of Passion F&B, whose flagship is Trèsind, highlighted that the first leg of their international expansion naturally led them back home, to India. Over the years, Trèsind has been recognised for introducing and reviving many dining trends and techniques like the classic French guéridon service. They have brought the same experience to India. Since the brand’s ideology is of destination dining—with a single location in each country; therefore, Mumbai will be the only city to have Trèsind. Talking about Trèsind India, Nath said, “The restaurant presents a fresh approach to Indian cuisine. The menu showcases some of our revered signature dishes and drinks curated for India such as Gujarati Farsanand Gol Hatti, among others. It also introduces suburban Indian recipes as well as a fresh take on the Mumbai street food.”