Bhatia's former right hand man to helm new Southern Indian restaurant

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ooty Baker Street Indian Manmeet Singh Bali

Related tags: Indian cuisine, Chefs, Marylebone

Former Rasoi and Vineet Bhatia London (VBL) head chef Manmeet Singh Bali is to helm a new Southern Indian restaurant in Marylebone.

Named after a small town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Ooty will open next month in the former site of Galvin Bistro de Luxe on Baker Street and is the inaugural restaurant venture of Indian friends and entrepreneurs Pooja Nayak and Aseela Goenka.

Ooty comprises three distinct spaces; an 80-cover fine dining restaurant, ‘Ooty Club’ - a colonial-style basement bar and ‘Ooty station’ - an all day casual dining space and cocktail bar (set to open ahead of the summer).

The interiors in the main restaurant will be characterised by natural materials and a statement faux-foliage wall. Botanical wallpaper will complement the deep wooden floor whilst the whole look will be softened with dusky pink chairs and deep green banquets.

In homage to its namesake - an Indian station town in the mountains known for its tea gardens, cardamom and rose-bushes - Ooty’s menu will offer “a modern take on the refined, aromatic cuisine of southern India, with its abundance of spice and pulses, as well as fresh fish and vegetable-based dishes.”

Dishes in the fine dining restaurant will include Tellicherry crab fry with zesty coconut crab relish and tomato chutney; Goan chicken cafreal with cucumber rolls, baby corn shoots & tomato dust corall and Keralan lime lobster with shellfish charu, squid ink idli and chutney spoon.

Reflecting its more casual ‘drop in’ feel, the menu in Ooty Station will focus on light snacks and hearty bowls, served from breakfast through to late when it opens later this year. Ooty Club will serve cocktails inspired by railway journeys through India.

Nayak and Goenka have both worked extensively in the charity sector. Pooja is currently the chairwoman of the WIAUK (Women in India Association UK), a charity dedicated to supporting women and children both in the UK and India, where Goenka is the vice chair.

Goenka has professional experience in the hospitality world having previously worked for DB Hospitality, the owner of Hilton Hotel Mumbai, and Grand Hyatt Goa.

Singh Bali started his career with the Taj group of hotels in southern India before working for Vineet Bhatia at Rasoi and later VBL (both held Michelin stars).

Late 2018 and 2019 has seen a flurry of ambitious Indians open in London including Kutir,Kahani​and Farzi Café.

Related topics: Venues

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