When you’re greeted by the manager and the founder of a restaurant himself, nothing can go wrong in the place. Elegant Dining is a small place where everything comes together – the music, the ambiance, the food and the service – to craft a perfect meal, no, a perfect experience for you.
This week we had the chance to have a tet-a-tet with Mr. Kallol Dutta, the founder of the beautiful fine dine off Banerghatta Road, Bangalore, Elegant Dining. He was modest in his responses, and a nice person to talk to, and always emphasized on keeping everyone happy and smiling. Below are some excerpts from the talk we had with him.
Q. The ambiance of Restaurant is really a stress buster. How did you come to think about this fine dine ambiance?
Its a small place, so I had to make the best use of it, We wanted to target family and family groups so we thought about fine dine. Even the name, intentionally kept simple, suggests that. We selected the ambiance and the music in order to keep a piece of India’s rich heritage and tradition. Our main aim is that families come here, have a good time, and not just good food. Even the kitchen can be seen by all, which is meant to portray hygiene and transparency.
Q. Describe a typical work day for you.
I’m a person who believes in proper planning and calculated steps. Even for any particular day a lot of thinking goes into it.
I do my morning walk and yoga to keep myself calm and fresh. Everyday I make it a point to jot down minute points of my work. This helps me a lot to make sure everything progresses well in the restaurant.
Q. What made you enter the restaurant business? How did you start?
I am in the restaurant business since the last 15 years. From the childhood I had a lot of interest in food, and cooking and finding out good places to eat. Coming from a place where food is very famous, you’ve got to have interest in this field.
Before this I have worked in JW Marriot Goa, Hyderabad, Lalit Ashok Bangalore and many other places. All the experience helped me in crafting the idea for a standalone fine dine restaurant.
Even my wife is passionate about food. She has supported me a lot in building up this dream of mine.
Q. What is your best dish from Elegant Dining that you personally like?
There’s the Chicken Shahjahani, which is a version of Mughlai Chicken, with a thick yoghurt based curry and generous amounts of almonds in it.
There’s also Gosht Rogan Josh, tendered lamb pieces marinated and simmered with herbs and spices.
A bit of a foodie, he is!
Q. Are there more outlets in the pipeline?
I am planning to start two more outlets soon, in better locations, around JP Nagar or Banerghatta Road, Bangalore. I want to provide niche fine dine to families and couples, and this dream is here to stay.
Q. What is the most interesting or fun experience you’ve had with this restaurant?
I remember an occasion, just after a few days of our restaurant launch, a couple had visited here for consecutively five days – and had both lunch and dinner everyday. We had almost become friends with them. We knew their favorite dishes, and they loved our preparations and ambiance. I was very happy we got loyal customers from the very start.
There was another incidence, parents had visited our place once, that too in the first month of our launch. They were so impressed by our ambiance, service and food, they brought their kid along the next day, and twenty-five odd guests for celebrating their kids’ birthday. This is what we revered the most – customers loving us and our offerings.
Q. What do you do after you’ve gone through a work day?
I am not much outgoing. I love to spend time with my family. When there’s some cricket tournament going on, I love to see India playing and winning. We also watch movies almost every week.
Q. Is there any favorite eatery of yours, apart from Elegant Dining?
There is this 3 Quarter Chinese, where I love the way they prepare the Kung Pao Prawns. There’s also Nagarjuna, where I love the Andhra Chilli Chicken. I love food, but don’t miss home food too much(he is from West Bengal). Because its more than ten years I am in Bangalore, and now Bangalore is almost a part of me.
But I’ve added a few special Bengali dishes to the menu, for example the Bengali Fish Curry and the Jhinga Malai Curry. There are a lot of people from East India here in Bangalore and they love our food.
Q. How do you keep the staff motivated in crunch situations?
For me, “We” comes before “I”. I believe in a highly motivated team. I am a fun-loving, active person, so I like to keep the team on similar levels. At the end of a busy day, I do small things like patting on the back of my team members. I believe that until the staff is not happy and motivated, the customer can never be happy.
Q. Is there any secret for a successful restaurant/restaurant chain?
There is no success recipe for a particular restaurant or food chain. Sometimes it clicks but most of the times it requires proper planning and in-depth analysis – even before you start the ground work. Plus, I feel that getting loyal, happy customers is a priority rather than heavy promotion and weekend events. When one customer is happy, he spreads the word to 2 more people. That’s why I want everything to come in place in making the experience lovely and memorable for the customers.
Q. Finally, happiness to you is -
Happiness to me is doing something new, creating something which offers a good experience to the end-users or customers. When my services make people happy and satisfied, I become happy.
Such was the modesty of this man, we could keep on shooting questions and he went on answering each one, without any air of frustration or show. He did not let us go without having a meal, and it was sure delicious. Every bite tasted wonderful. And we probably had the best Chicken Tikka in the town. We’d definitely remember this visit for a long time.