Indian food and date night? Nay? Indian food and dada-dadi’s anniversary? Yay! This perception troubled celebrated chef Jigs Kalra’s son Zorawar Kalra, Founder and Managing director of Farzi Cafe and Masala Library. A staunch supporter and propagator of desi khana the suave businessman wanted to introduce a product that’s Indian, exciting, exotic and drive the younger crowd to think of Indian food when they want to hang out with friends or plan a special date.
This was the thought behind the birth of Farzi cafe. The concept of Farzi cafe as the Hindi meaning suggest is ‘fake’. But the cafe isn’t doing or cooking anything fake. It is about the drama and the surprise. The food comes with cutting-edge technique in a cafe format, and offers post molecular and post modern techniques of fine dining Michelin star restaurant in a cafe. It adds a global twist to Indian food and an Indian twist to global food with a lot of drama. It plays homage to the original food. This, in the language of Farzi menu planning, is called ‘Farzified’. For instance, ‘haleem risotto’ and ‘shawarma biryani’.
The sentiment to bring about a change in the perception of Indian food is visible. “We wanted to bring a high energy vibe and cutting edge technology to Indian food and make it not only attractive but equally high on taste,” says Zorawar who was in the city for the launch of Farzi café in the city.
However, Zorawar only takes credit for the idea. He says, “An idea without execution is just an idea. I was fortunate enough to find an energetic, enthusiastic Chef Saurabh Udinia who was as excited about the café and the idea as I was.”
The food, as Zorawar and Saurav explain, is packed with playfulness. Zorawar reiterates: “Though Indian food is great, we were in the 1920, this is an attempt to reignite passion for Indian food, make it hip and cool and bring it to 2020 and take the idea globally,” he says announcing that the brand has signed up to open a restaurant in London.
It is to the credit of the restaurateur that Farzi as a brand has been able to reignite that passion for Indian food amongst the youth.
His passion for Indian food notwithstanding, Zorawar does not hesitate to say that Indian food is never considered exotic in the West. “Indian food is not exotic, frankly speaking Indian food is considered nothing more than greasy take away,” he points out.
Really? Then why are there so many plush restaurants in the UK and US? “Limited pockets of US and UK have a good perception of Indian food because many Michelin star chefs in the UK are of Indian origin but globally Indian food is struggling to be considered for a fine dining option,” he responds.
Describing their interesting journey learning to play with the stuff that goes to create drama and theatre in your food, Kalra junior says it was like a classroom situation with his team. The team put their thoughts together and also taught each other to create everything that is a part of the menu. He believes the brand is so well accepted because the birth of the idea and the dishes were all packed with love and attention to detail.