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HEART OF THE MATTER Davut Birgul finds Delhi receptive to Turkish cuisine
HEART OF THE MATTER Davut Birgul finds Delhi receptive to Turkish cuisine

No spirituality, no exotica, just plain business opportunities tied Turkish restaurateur Davut Birgul to the Indian soil

The risk Davut Birgul took five years ago seems to be paying off. Sensing a business opportunity, Birgul —who had come to India from Turkey just to study — decided to stay on.

A vibrant economy, lack of a Turkish restaurant and business acumen, all colluded to propel Birgul to start Anatolia, a small eatery in Lajpat Nagar offering Turkish delicacies. Five years on, Birgul is busy scouring the city for other locations from where he can run branches of the restaurant.

“In business you always have to see how much profit and how much risk. In Turkey, the risk of doing something like this is low, but the profit is also low, whereas here in India, the risk is high but the profits too are more. Because it's not easy to do something like this here, which means not many people take it up. And when you are among the few doing the job, then you earn more,” says Birgul who plans to bring his wife to India, which is now his second home.

Armed with an M.A. in Economics from Jamia Millia Islamia, Birgul claims he is probably the first person from Turkey to have done his/her Masters in Economics in India. Prior to his post graduation, Birgul also attended an English language course at the British Council in Delhi.

Since it had become difficult to obtain the U.S. and U.K. visa after 9/11, Birgul chose India to study English. One year into his Masters, Birgul woke up to the business propositions available here. He zeroed in on India as there already were good Turkish restaurants in America, the U.K., etc.

He introduced to Delhiites the true flavours of Turkish cuisine. A variety of kababs which are the mainstay of Turkish food form an integral part of Anatolia's menu.

Delicious kababs

“There is Turkish doner kabab known as Arabic korma here, but slightly different, and also urfa kabab, beyti kabab and many others. Actually a lot of people think that it is just the same as Mughlai food and yes, the origin of Mughlai and Turkish food is the same, but they do vary. Over the years, I have got regular customers,” relates Birgul, naming the retention of natural flavours of the food item while cooking as the biggest USP of his country's food.

Sighting differences between his home and India, he says, “Turkey is more organised and professional. It's easy to work there, but I didn't expect the same conditions here and adjusted.”

Looks like it was one of the ingredients in his recipe for success.

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI

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