Timmy Narang speaks of his new Med eatery, and turning to his more celebrated restaurateur brother
Dressed in denims, a white tee and a sky blue linen jacket, Rohit Narang, better known to Mumbai as Timmy, is fit at 48.
Restaurateur Nicky Bedi of Yellow Tree Hospitality and chef Davide Cananzi, are his partners in a brand new café, Yellow Bar All Day which opened doors on Friday. They are also buddies, it appears, leaving no opportunity to tease him. "He eats the most boring food. It’s either grilled chicken or boiled vegetables," says Cananzi, who ended his three-year-stint at Mezzo Mezzo for this gig.
Little is known about Timmy, unlike his celebrated restaurateur cousin, Sanjay Narang of Mars Hospitality. "It is not a conscious effort to dodge the limelight. I do what I have to do, and if it’s picked up, it’s fine," he says with a smile.
Narang studied at Woodstock school, Mussoori, followed by undergrad education in Switzerland and a degree in international business from the US. "I returned in 1991 and joined the family company, Ambassador Hotels. It was founded by my father, Rama Narang and his brother Manu (Sanjay’s father). I did not have any experience in the airline catering business, but, you learn on the job. While that was taken care of, another hurdle faced him — an absence of competent gyms.
"I had got used to working out abroad. I ended up launching my own gym at home," says Narang, whose independent hospitality debut was the opening of Lush Lounge at Phoenix Mills in 2002.
"It did pretty well. After it ran its course, we opened Ra, which runs as Tryst today. But all along, I was sure I wanted to join the Mars group," says Narang, who made the move as director in 2008."
Chef Davide Cananzi. Pics/Swarali Purohit
Now, he juggles independent projects with the family business at Mars group. And, he has one more role to play — that of father to 16-month-old daughter Rianna. This means weekends are always spent at home with Riana and wife Isha Koppikar.
Family is important to Narang. It’s evident when he discusses Sanjay. "There are good people, there are great people and then there is Sanjay. He instills passion into all of us. He’s always the one telling me, go, give it a shot," says Narang. "I turn to him for advice often. My father, too, is an inspiration and keeps me grounded."
Bar all day
With Yellow, he intends to bring back the focus to food like it was back in the ’80s and ’90s. "By that, I mean simplicity. Our Mediterranean cuisine will be authentic and home-style," Cananzi pitches in. "Fried eggs will be served in cast iron pan and lasagna, straight from the oven."
"With my tiramisu," he adds, "I am going to put out a warning. ‘Don’t look at me when you eat it. You might fall in love with me’."
Pizzas are off the menu. Panicking? Don’t. Cananzi says, "Just ask for them."