Atul Kochhar, Executive Chef of Restaurant Magazine’s 50th best UK restaurant Benares and Hampshire retreat Vatika, has secretly launched a new venue in Dublin and exclusively told BigHospitality about plans to roll-out a range of mid-market restaurants in England.
Ananda has now opened in Dundrum, Dublin with a relaxed, mid-market Irish-Indian theme and is overseen by business partner Asheesh Dewan. Kochhar told BigH he opted for a soft launch of the restaurant due to health and safety restrictions, but is starting to become so busy that weekend sittings are selling out.
“It`s slightly more traditional than Benares and Vatika because I felt that Dublin needs that style more,” Kochhar enthused. “I had to gauge the pace of Dublin. By no means are they inferior or anything, it’s just that Dublin wants that style of restaurant and that kind of style will do better.
“We’ll experiment a lot with Ananda and we’ll try to push that bar up. The aim is to bring it to the level of Benares in two years and I’m sure I`ll achieve it.”
Dishes such as a spicy Irish stew may be a starting point on the menu after Kochhar has liaised with celebrated Irish chefs and friends Richard Corrigan and Kevin Duncan on the finer points of the menu in order to fuse both cuisines successfully.
As well as overseeing the smooth opening of Ananda and Vatika, which opened in Hampshire in August, Kochhar has exclusively revealed to BigHospitality that he intends to launch a chain of restaurants next year potentially under the name of Atul’s Kitchen.
“I’m toying with the idea of opening a casual dining restaurant in London which will have potential of becoming a chain, but I don’t want to jump the gun, I just want to start the first one which will be next summer.
“It’ll be a representation of modern British-Indian food, though I’m going through a very fussy place of my life at the moment, deciding what I should have and what I shouldn’t in terms of dTcor and stuff like that. I’m looking at Westfield at the moment in Shepherds Bush, and I’m hoping that’s an ideal location to start with.”
Kochhar’s Michelin-starred Benares restaurant was named as the 50th best restaurant in the UK at last night’s Top UK Restaurants awards.