Restaurant business

Bollywood stars taste success in the restaurant business

A host of Bollywood stars are foraying into the restaurant business and launching fancy restaurants offering exotic dishes.

Award-winning chef Diwas Wadhera says celebrities are more likely to succeed in the food business than others. “More than the tangibles like food, it’s the intangibles like a celebrity connection, ordering what they’re likely to eat, and a chance to meet them at the point of sale that drive footfall.” , explains Wadhera, who is the chief executive of Eros. Hotel in New Delhi.

“Also, in a world obsessed with social media, it has become fashionable to associate with celebrities and visit places [owned by] that they acquire bragging rights.

Wadhera cites the example of when he ran a popular five-star outlet frequented by Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. “Dozens of fans were crowding around and asking what Sachin had ordered that day and placing the exact same order. Such was the excitement that with dozens of fans asking for the same dishes – usually Thai noodles and tandoori pomfret – the kitchen would soon run out of ingredients for these.

It’s not just fans who benefit from visiting celebrity restaurants. “The company also helps famous entrepreneurs become closer,” says Wadhera.

If you’re heading to India or the US this summer (or even if you’re staying in the UAE), here are six celebrity-owned restaurants to check out.

Neuma by Karan Johar

Filmmaker and Coffee with Karan host Karan Johar became the latest to join the celebrity restaurant bandwagon when he launched Neuma on his 50th birthday in June. The modern European restaurant is nestled in a restored colonial-era Portuguese villa in Colaba, an upmarket area of ​​Mumbai.

Neuma bases its offerings on a “mood board,” and diners can choose from a section of the menu that best reflects their mood on a particular day. Options include Sun Porch, Garden Cafe, The Courtyard, White, Verde, Nautica Room, and Rose Bar. The menu offers ingredient-driven dishes, featuring sticky soybeans, purple sweet potatoes, crackers, watermelon radish, caramelized celeriac croquettes, remoulade, poached salmon and more.

Neuma has hosted high profile stars including Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor.

Bastien by Shilpa Shetty

No stranger to entrepreneurship, with a number of fitness and fashion-related ventures under her thin belt, Shilpa Shetty, 47, turned her attention to food when she launched Bastian in 2019. 8,000-square-foot seafront — with gargantuan chandeliers, a vaulted ceiling, and boho-chic furnishings — exudes an opulent vibe and often has a long waiting list.

A few months after its launch, the place was buzzing with glitter, as Bollywood actors such as Tiger Shroff, Alia Bhatt, Tara Sutaria and Madhuri Dixit Nene gathered to savor Bastian’s signature dishes, such as jalapeno salmon, tuna poke, soft shell crab. and creme brulee cheesecake.

Sona by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka Chopra Jonas has teamed up with chef Hari Nayak to launch what is perhaps the most high-profile of all Bollywood outlets. Sona opened in New York in 2021. Offering modern cuisine in an ethnic setting, Sona (which translates to gold from Hindi), “reinvents the wonders of Indian cuisine in a space that evokes a bygone era of ‘a noisy but elegant country’, boasts its website.

The restaurant’s decor is dominated by a hand-plastered wall that pays homage to Indian women, while the menu features dishes such as kofta korma (ricotta balls in cashew sauce), chili cheese naan and Thalssery biryani made from kalma rice, grown in the south. Indian state of Kerala.

Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal dined at Sona, among other celebrities.

Rue du Liban by Juhi Chawla

Restaurant actress Juhi Chawla and her businessman, Jay Mehta, had a bite in 2018 when the duo launched the lavish Rue Du Liban in Mumbai. Art Deco-inspired interiors and burgundy banquettes characterize the 3,200-square-foot space, which is dotted with antique lamps and brass bric-a-brac, and hand-painted olive leaves on walls greens.

It serves Middle Eastern cuisine in a contemporary avatar “capturing the spirit of the souk, the hearts of the people and the zest of ingredients synonymous with the sunny Levant,” reads the menu. Besides hot and cold mezze, signature dishes include kharouf shank (simmered bmaharat-spiced lamb ham served with yogurt tahini, moghrabieh and biwaz), allspice grilled chicken shish touk and kastaleta (Australian lamb cutlets marinated in toum).

Asha by Asha Bhonsle

Queen of Melody Asha Bhonsle, an avowed foodie, has channeled her love for Indian cuisine by starting a restaurant chain called Asha’s. Starting with Dubai in 2002, the legendary singer’s culinary empire has grown impressively. The Dubai outpost won Restaurant of the Year at the Middle East Hospitality Excellence Awards in 2016.

Currently, Asha’s has a presence in Kuwait, London and Birmingham, with plans underway to open more outlets across the Middle East. The Birmingham branch often makes headlines for hosting Hollywood stars. Last year Tom Cruise had an authentic Indian meal here.

A delighted Bhonsle, 86, took to Twitter and wrote: “I was very pleased to hear that Mr Tom Cruise enjoyed his fine dining experience at Asha’s and can’t wait for him to return to us soon.”

Garam Dharam Dhaba by Dharmenda

Another octogenarian actor turned restaurateur, Dharmendra – the original “He-Man of Bollywood” – often posts photos and videos of food growing on his farm on Instagram, where he has more than a million followers. Combining her love for food and movies, the star launched a chain of Bollywood-themed restaurants across New Delhi in 2015. Garam Dharam Dhaba serves rich North Indian cuisine, similar to the food served in highway restaurants or dhabas. Fans of the actor can also admire the set, which is dotted with memorabilia from over 100 Dharmendra films.

Updated: July 24, 2022, 10:26 a.m.