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Laser focused on boundary breaking cocktail mixology to orchestrating traditional vibes within the perimeters populated with cross cultural designs is what their forte lies within. His establishments have gotten specialised in introducing bold party hotspots perfect for raving night outs in the city while catering to a class for an executive getaway. Shining a light on his past, present and future, he gets candid with us on how life for him has been so far.
- What does a typical day in your life look like?
People think that owning a restaurant is all about flamboyancy — partying overnight and stuff like that. But, my life isn’t like that at all. I reach office by 10.30 am and work till 8.30 or 9 pm. Then, if I don’t have anything after that, I go home, watch Netflix and go to sleep. Quite ordinary, nothing too exciting to be honest.
- After successful ventures like PDA, PCO, ATM Bistro and Ping’s Café Orient, what inspired you to come up with the idea of Jamun?
What was missing from our portfolio was an Indian offering. We had everything from PDA with its whole aperitif concept, the fantastic PCO, ATM is fine dine continental, and Ping’s is your South East Asian cuisine. But, I wanted something that would celebrate the diversity of India, hence, we got in Jamun.
- Explain the idea of — “Mood Cocktails” to our readers.
If you go to any noteworthy bars abroad, there they will concoct a drink based purely on your want and mood at that particular time. We took forward that concept that hadn’t been done anywhere in India — because in India, everything needs to be punched on a POS system, then it tells you exactly what amount of liquor has been used, and when people care so much about their strict backend, it loses the flamboyancy of your front end and we started PCO out of pure passion. We wanted to set up a place where you could get the best cocktails that India has to offer. So basically, the idea of the “mood cocktails” was to enhance customer experience as much as possible.
- How “Speakeasy” concept as a service appeals to the urban segments in India?
If you go by with what we have accomplished at PCO, I mean, we have been tremendously successful but if you look at some other ones, they’re not at all successful. I mean, it all depends on how well you pull it off, if you’re not true to what a speakeasy is, I don’t think you’ll be successful and you know, it all comes down to your execution, I believe.
- What would you rather be, if you weren’t a restaurateur?
I have thought about many different career paths — from consulting to banking. In the end, I realised, I love what I do and I can’t ever imagine doing anything else.
- Favourite restaurant [besides your ventures]?
- What’s that one thing that makes you return back to a restaurant?
Consistency — you like one particular dish from a particular place, if you go back there again and it’s different, you’ll not go back to that place again.
- Favourite dish?
The Hainanese Chicken Rice from Pings Café Orient! It’s healthy, flavourful, and bang on with what I was brought up with in Singapore.
- Favourite vacation destination?
It really depends on what I am in the mood for. My current favourite destination is New York, purely because I haven’t gone there in like two to three years now, so I really look forward to going back there.
- Do you cook? If yes, what do you cook best?
Not well but, I could rustle up some nice gourmet pasta. I could pick up some handmade pasta from ATM and then, I could cook that. So, may be that…
I love what I do and I can’t ever imagine doing anything else. - Rakshay Dhariwal Click To Tweet
- You have had significant strides in the hospitality and wellness industry with Worship Salon, Gentlemen’s Tonic and Kerala Ayurveda, how do you integrate the two sectors complimenting your F&B ventures alongside? Or is it a diversification?
It’s just diversification. I actually began with Kerala Ayurveda and I still run it. I’m good friends with the owner of Worship Salon and Gentlemen’s Tonic, and he was very keen on launching in India and I told him I’ll take the franchise and hence, I got these two here.
- What do you think are some of the hottest food trends in India?
Currently, nothing’s hotter than Farm to Table!
- What was your learning from the cruise line business idea you had back in the day?
I’m actually in talks with someone now to do a restaurant on a massive yacht in Mumbai and haven’t given up on that idea at all. Getting back — what cruise line taught me was how to make a proper business plan and how to analyse them through the entire planning. I never ended up working on this idea so the only learning I could have taken out of it was how important a business plan is to your idea.
- What’s next for Rakshay Dhariwal this 2018?
Catering is next. We’re actually working on setting up massive commissary and central kitchen. After that, we’re going to start getting into the 1000-2000 person weddings. We have got our expertise in Indian, Oriental and Continental food, so it’s just the natural progression for us at Passcode hospitality right now
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