With the new bar the brothers aim to invoke the taste of 1940s India, offering a number of traditional Indian teas and coffees alongside an extensive cocktail menu for later in the day. The Imperial Durbar will also offer a range of locally baked goods and Indian dishes. BigHospitality talked to Nicholas Heathcote about the bar’s theme and his plans for the venture.
Location and feel
Having spent a few years living in India himself, Heathcote was interested in introducing some of his memories from there to the UK, and believes Tooting is the perfect location from which to do so.
He said: “Tooting is a wonderful place and very Indian by trade. Alastair and I spent five or six years living in Pakistan and India, and some of the smells and hit of spices around Tooting bring my nasal memory back to Pakistan. We’re also both big fans of the old curry houses round here, I feel Tooting has some of the most authentic curry houses. We thought we’d keep in with the area with our theme, but add some fun too.
“We hadn’t considered this location initially, but then we came to realise there are a lot of young professionals around here, and families. Also I didn’t think there were any fantastic, artisan coffees being served in the area, only coffee chains in Balham and further down, so we could offer something different.”
The brothers have spent months renovating and decorating the restaurant, aiming for a relaxing, yet fun and quirky feel. The site aims for a Victorian warehouse feel, featuring wrought iron, distressed old wood and a bar top made of old Georgian floorboards that have been sanded down. Old Indian coins and rupees are stuck in the bar, and the brothers have also tried to introduce the ‘fun and vibrant colours’ of India in the décor.
Drinks and food offering
The main focus of the Imperial Durbar will be their specially chosen coffee blends and cocktails. Food is offered as an extra, though the venue does not have its own kitchen so the owners have been creative.
The Imperial Durbar will serve breakfast food such as muffins and croissants in the morning, and their own range of paninis made with naan bread for lunch. They are also working with the Cardamom Club to offer an Indian tapas selection at night, as the bar has a telephone with a direct line to the restaurant customers can use to order. The tapas will be delivered to their table in tiffin boxes from the Cardamom Club.
Heathcote said: “I think our coffee will be amazing, the flat white we’ve chosen stood out as being one of the best coffees I’ve had for a while. On the evening front we have some great mixologists working with us, we were very lucky to find them. The fun range of cocktails will definitely make us stand out, and we have some interesting twists to do with the names and backgrounds of the drinks. We also have a large gin and tonic menu so customers can choose from ten different gins and different tonics too.”
The Imperial Durbar is located at 14 Trinity Road, Tooting Bec and opens 9 June.