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Of molecular cocktails and music

Niladri Kumar shares the blueprint of his new restaurant, Zitar, which will open next month at Oshiwara. A far cry from
its Powai version, this zany hub will pack in live music performances, a flea market and of course, interesting food and drink options

  When Niladri Kumar is not making music, the artiste is busy honing his other passion, food, by chalking out the details of his new diner, Zitar.

Taking off from the name of the five-stringed electric sitar, a one-of-a-kind instrument created by Kumar, the restaurant will open its doors to patrons sometime next month at Oshiwara, Andheri (W).

Niladri Kumar
Niladri Kumar

While Zitar first sprung up in Powai three years ago, Kumar’s role was restricted to just lending the name.

However, along with his partner Ricky Punwani and a few investors, Kumar has taken on a hands-on approach for the new restaurant, with keen interest in each element.

Currently under construction, the restaurant’s rustic interior recently served as the backdrop for Kumar and Rashid Ali’s new single, Head To The Heart. “However, the restaurant will look completely opposite of what we have shot. We wanted to capture the rustic, grungy element in the video,” elaborates the artiste. Excerpts:

The video of Niladri Kumar and Rashid Ali’s new single, Head To The Heart, was shot at Zitar, currently under construction
The video of Niladri Kumar and Rashid Ali’s new single, Head To The Heart, was shot at Zitar, currently under construction

Q. Was food always your passion?
A. I was always interested in food but the interest levels went further once I started travelling, as a musician, to different parts of the world and trying different cuisines.

Q. Why did Zitar at Powai shut down? What’s the idea behind starting another one at Oshiwara?
A. We shut down Powai’s outlet last year due to the heavy rent. While that was only an eatery, Oshiwara’s Zitar will have a very different vibe. I wanted to combine two of my interests — music and food — for this restaurant. This will be a hub for different artistes to come together under one roof. It is a 180-seater restaurant with a separate bar section, an open-air dining area, a video screen, and a stage for live performances. We are also planning to hold flea markets here for artistes to showcase their talent.

Q. What’s the menu likely to be?
A. Frankly, we are still working on the menu. The name, Zitar, commands following one’s passion and we are going to involve a chef who follows a similar ideology. Plus, the menu will have an authentic Indian touch and we won’t just go over-the-top in the world cuisine space. We will be serving molecular cocktails at the bar. The presentation and visual elements of the food will also play a very big role.

Q. Could you tell us more about the music?
A. We will definitely have live performances. I endorse AKG (audio brand) and their parent company, Harman, has come on board and they will be rigging up the place. We will have one of the finest sound systems in the city.

Q. When is it expected to open?
A. We are in the process of procuring a few licences and so, we should open up after a month. We are also looking at opening different outlets across the country, starting with Pune since they don’t have a restaurant of this nature. However, it’s not necessary that they will have the same cuisine.

Q. Talking about cuisine, what’s your personal favourite?
A. I love the (Awadhi) dum pukht style where food is slow-cooked with vapour. Even the Moroccan style of cooking Tagine is similar and I love that. It doesn’t require much oil and the aroma of all spices remain intact. Once in a while, I also indulge in deep-fried unhealthy Indian food.

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