Inside Gauri Khan’s recently opened Asian diner Torii

Torii in Mumbai, Gauri Khan’s first restaurant, serves Asian-inspired global cuisine and cocktails to glamorous diners in a luxurious indoor-outdoor space

March 18, 2024 04:58 pm | Updated 09:20 pm IST

  • Restaurant Torii 
  • Cuisine Asian
  • Cost ₹₹₹
  • Address SEE MAP
The interiors of Torii

The interiors of Torii | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The corner plot on 21 Pali Hill Road, Mumbai, where the recently launched progressive Asian diner Torii — part-owned by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri Khan — now stands, has seen the rise and fall of several restaurants over the last decade.

Gauri Khan

Gauri Khan | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

In 2016, European restaurant Nido became The Korner House, which, in turn, made way for the celebrated Mexican joint, Sancho’s, in 2018 (also designed by Gauri at the time). It was replaced by Tori (then, with a single ‘i’) in 2021. With an additional letter and two more investors — interior designer and Bollywood film producer, Gauri and entrepreneur Tanaaz Bhatia, along with the original restaurateur-owner Abhayraj Kohli — the establishment opened last month to the city’s haute crowd. 

When we arrive at the plush and re-done space on a balmy Saturday afternoon, tables are beginning to fill up and Gauri’s touch is palpable in more than just the interiors. “Having designed many restaurants, opening my own felt like a natural next step,” she tells us.

(L-R) Abhayraj Kohli, Gauri Khan and Tanaaz Bhatia

(L-R) Abhayraj Kohli, Gauri Khan and Tanaaz Bhatia | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

If the glamour quotient of the ambience is “restrained” in hues of gold, black and white, with accents of red and green — that of its diners is less understated. Gaggles of Bandra mondaines pass around sushi or pose with their luxury handbags in front of strategically placed mirrors that help the indoor-outdoor space seem roomier than it is. 

The 85-seater restaurant, with its statement dark-green door, back-lit onyx floors, brass accents, quaint al fresco courtyard, and cushy, indoor banquettes draped in red houndstooth, is as much a nod to the establishment’s Asian roots as it is to Gauri’s personal brand.

Sashimi Platter at Torii

Sashimi Platter at Torii | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

But Torii is hardly the multi-hyphenate celebrity’s first foray into the world of restaurants: Gauri did the interiors for restaurants like Arth, Mumbai, which downed its shutters in 2020, and the aforementioned Sancho’s. It is, however, her first out-take as a co-restaurateur. “The idea of creating an inviting space got me excited. It [this restaurant] is a seamless blend of my love for aesthetics, the joy of crafting immersive experiences, and my fondness for progressive Asian cuisine,” she shares.

Dirty Torii sushi at the restaurant 

Dirty Torii sushi at the restaurant  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

The menu, designed by Chef Stefan Gadit, is an expansive, albeit a slightly befuddled collection of dishes. Out-and-out Japanese classics, like a resplendent salmon tataki drenched in a citrus ponzu share space with more experimental preparations such as, a ‘jacket potato’, which curiously comes sans the skin and instead features a heap of mash topped with truffle, crisps and shiso butter.

Jacket Potato at Torii

Jacket Potato at Torii | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Ramen and donburi bowls — seemingly lifted straight from the pages of a Manga comic — coexist with chimichurri steaks! “The idea is to offer Asian-inspired but global cuisine,” Stefan justifies, adding, “I don’t believe in borders and with the supply chain getting better over the years, ingredients are more easily available to us. I want to showcase that… some of the local ingredients, and build a contemporary menu without rules.”

The cocktail menu is a mishmash, too, with libations inspired by matcha, mango sticky rice and tom yum soup. Think of it as a blend of traditional flavours with modern techniques that try making a big splash with mixology processes, like clarification, fat-washing and distilling.

Magic Mush Cocktail at Torii

Magic Mush Cocktail at Torii | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Gauri, who has played an active role in both, designing and conceptualising the restaurant, while partaking in endless trials, swears by the black cod, green Thai curry, fleet of dim sum and sushi, but says that her “ultimate favourite has to be the Dirty Torii maki roll.”

Her influence is felt in the luxuriousness that the establishment imbues, but most chiefly in the cohort it is already drawing in: affluent ladies who love lunching to the sound of clinking cutlery and canards. It is like a scene out of the popular Netflix reality drama Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, in which Gauri has interestingly made an appearance or two. 

Torii is at 21, Pali Hill Road, Union Park, Khar (West), Mumbai. A meal for two is approx. ₹2,000.

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