Cel­e­brat­ing Indi-chic

Frozen relics from the past blended with retro In­dian pop art makes this restau­rant an ex­pe­ri­ence that com­bines spa­tial with the culi­nary...

VM&RD - - INDIAN DESIGN - Nabamita Chat­ter­jee Pics: Mad­hu­mita Chat­ter­jee

Jhaal Farezi, the new themed restau­rant at 42 Cir­cus Av­enue, Kolkata, launched by Am­buja Neo­tia Group, re­vives the colo­nial charm of a city in the midst of chang­ing sky­lines. The 80 year old Bri­tish bun­ga­low has been re­pur­posed into a pe­riod piece of fine din­ing war­ren in­fused with con­tem­po­rary vi­su­als and of­fer­ing a holis­tic am­bi­ence to the food lovers. High ceil­ings, gi­ant col­umns, lat­ticed win­dows, con­i­cal ve­ran­dahs with iron balustrades and an ex­quis­ite porch, all add to­wards evok­ing nos­tal­gia at one glance. Lo­cated cen­trally right at the heart of the city, Jhaal Farezi is a spa­tial ex­pe­ri­ence for all. “For me, Jhaal Farezi has been some­what of an ex­plo­ration, giv­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­pret eclec­tic im­pres­sions and sen­si­bil­i­ties that have stayed in my mind over time,” shares, Har­shavard­han Neo­tia, Chair­man, Am­buja Neo­tia who par­ented the pro­ject. Cater­ing to a city, which is a melt­ing pot of var­i­ous cul­tures, the restau­rant of­fers mixed cui­sine, with An­glo In­dian food be­ing the high­light. Hence the name Jhaal Farezi, a typ­i­cal An­glo In­dian dish from yesteryears. Spread over an area of ap­prox­i­mately 10,000 sq.ft., Jhaal Farezi houses a Café, a fine din­ing area (both mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive), a mu­sic room and the Al­fresco ter­race gar­den with a sit-out. Channa Daswatte, Ar­chi­tect, Jhaal Farezi, said - “For me, the en­tire ex­pe­ri­ence of recre­at­ing an old bat­tered bun­ga­low into a palat­able con­tem­po­rary coun­ter­part keep­ing its soul in­tact was a chal­lenge. The driv­ing force was to pre­serve the old world charm, yet turn it around and make it rel­e­vant and sus­tain­able. The over­all look and feel con­tin­ues to be colo­nial. Hope­fully, Jhaal Farezi will be as much a spa­tial as a culi­nary ex­pe­ri­ence for the City of Joy!” The in­te­rior dé­cor of Jhaal Farezi has myr­iad shades; it is eclec­tic, ver­sa­tile and ranges from rus­tic brash to Bol­ly­wood melo­drama. Swarup Dutta – Visu­aliser & In­te­rior de­signer of Jhaal Farezi shares, “The pro­ject gave a lot of scope to in­no­vate and trans­form ev­ery as­pect of it into an ex­pe­ri­en­tial zone. Both the Cafe rooms have a dif­fer­ent theme, one has a for­mal style and the other a ca­sual one, yet they are co­he­sive. We have cre­ated a lot of in­ter­est­ing

wall arts like the sala­cious Bho­jpuri songs graph­i­cally shown by street art of old Cal­cutta which is Ka­lighat’s ‘Pat­ta­chi­tra’. An­other art form which is a great vis­ual treat to all eyes is the “fine ap­pliqué work” sourced from Barmer in Ra­jasthan framed for the walls. Fur­ther, scream­ing Bol­ly­wood di­a­logues add hues to the whole decor.” The props have been placed as ‘ frozen relics from the past’ as de­scribed by Swarup and the wall art es­pe­cially in the Cafe de­picts it uniquely. In­spired by the in­dus­trial past, there are ele­ments that are iconic of a dis­tant past: bar­ber chairs and re­vived enamel plates echo­ing ‘ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion’. The light­ing ar­range­ments in the Cafe lend a new di­men­sion with a chan­de­lier made from old glass jars of Hor­licks, jam, ‘ achar’ and such, which en­hances the vin­tage look and feel. “The whole idea is to cel­e­brate Indi-chic. We are cater­ing to the ur­ban ‘glo­cal’ clien­tele. The space thus pro­vides a glimpse of a vi­brant In­dian pop cul­ture, which is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing the new vis­ual lan­guage. Graphic art has been pre­dom­i­nantly used to es­tab­lish this con­nec­tion. It is an easy­go­ing non- stress­ful cel­e­bra­tory lan­guage of the ur­ban In­dian,” said Swarup. Thus to break the monotony of white, a dra­matic in­stal­la­tion wel­comes as one takes the main stair­case for the din­ing rooms in level two, which has an art­work of neon let­ters on multi-coloured wooden plates

which echo Ghalib’s ‘Hazaaron Kh­waishein Aisi ki har khwaish pe dam nikle.’ The fine din­ing area has been di­vided into five rooms and each, again, high­lights var­i­ous the­matic ex­pres­sions. The first level has for­mal colo­nial de­sign chairs jux­ta­posed against mod­ern min­i­mal de­sign fur­ni­ture with the walls hav­ing an il­lus­trated comic strip nar­rat­ing the story of a Ben­gali guy called Mr. Ma­zoom­dar, cre­ated by graphic artist Ori­jit Sen. The green colour from the pic­tures spills onto the ta­bles, build­ing a ‘land of fan­tasy and tra­di­tional folk lore’. The ad­join­ing room again is lit up by a ma­jes­tic in­stal­la­tion of 1,700 wine bot­tles that the team of Jhaal Farezi hunted down. The chairs too have em­broi­dered Mur­shid­abad geo­met­ric kan­tha up­hol­stery on them, de­pict­ing the in­tri­cate hand work of Ben­gal as well as break­ing the code of for­mal din­ing room. In the Drama Queen room, the third sec­tion in the same level, where one may host a small pri­vate party, also of­fers a fun filled decor in colour­ful ap­pliqué work, ex­press­ing dra­matic di­a­logues from Bol­ly­wood Hindi movies. An­other room on this level has im­pres­sions of the city’s typ­i­cal down­town walls cre­ated with pho­to­graphs of torn posters and mono­chrome graf­fiti’. False ceil­ing rafters cre­ated with in­lit per­fo­rated sheet add an eclec­tic touch of in­dus­trial min­i­mal­ism in the fine din­ing level. “Jhaal Farezi is a spe­cial trib­ute to the city of joy at mul­ti­ple lev­els: spa­tial, ar­chi­tec­tural, cityscape and culi­nary,” signs off Har­shavard­han Neo­tia, Chair­man, Am­buja Neo­tia

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