Burnt Gar­lic

Com­bin­ing the essence of a retro café and bar, Burnt Gar­lic is a fun place where food is unique, mu­sic is live and de­sign that re­calls quin­tes­sen­tial flavours of a Ben­gali home. Scenog­ra­pher Swarup Dutta cre­ates a space that is vi­brant, brim­ming with ethn

VM&RD - - Contents - Nabamita Chat­ter­jee Photo Credit Ch­han­dak Prad­han Ar­chi­tect Bhanu Saha / Saha & As­so­ciates In­te­rior De­sign & Scenog­ra­phy Swarup Dutta

Burnt Gar­lic, the retro café bar, re­cently opened its door for gour­mands and food en­thu­si­asts of Kolkata. Span­ning over 2200 Sq. Ft. area, the dé­cor, the con­cept and the artis­tic am­biance of the place is a mix and match with a twist of quin­tes­sen­tial “ban­gali gerostho bari” (Ben­gali House­hold Pat­tern). Esha Dutta, the owner had dreams about open­ing up a place that would be cosy, not re­stricted to the for­mal lunch or din­ner set-up and no age bound mar­gins. She then saw her dream come true as Burnt Gar­lic which hap­pened at the ground floor of Priya Cin­ema build­ing (a pop­u­lar stand­alone the­atre in South Kolkata). The whole scene at Burnt Gar­lic from cur­tains fea­tur­ing rolling pins to hab­er­dash­ery, from walls dot­ted with loins to barkosh (The cir­cu­lar wooden plat­ters used in Ben­gali homes), ev­ery cor­ner is pic­to­rial and em­anates pure sense of aes­thet­ics. Scenog­ra­pher Swarup Dutta is the man be­hind the in­te­rior artistry. He care­fully man­aged the bal­ance be­tween the con­trasts to the look and feel of Priya Cin­ema and blended in the char­ac­ter of the the­atre when he ideated the dé­cor con­cept for Burnt Gar­lic. From Ben­gal’s Kan­tha work to Gu­jrati mir­ror stitch­ing, from Kash­miri aari to Lepcha tex­tiles – the uphol­stery re­flects em­broi­dered fab­ric across the coun­try and looks stun­ning.

Esha Dutta, Di­rec­tor, Burnt Gar­lic shares with VMRD, “With this space our aim is to di­ver­sify into the hospi­tal­ity and f&b in­dus­try with var­i­ous lounge/resto bars of­fer­ing di­ver­sity in terms of am­bi­ence and cui­sine. The space was avail­able to us and is ide­ally lo­cated at the premises of a pop­u­lar cin­ema. So, a cafe/din­ing op­tion like this is get­ting hugely ap­pre­ci­ated by the cine go­ers. The eclec­tic in­te­ri­ors as ex­pected has be­come a con­ver­sa­tion piece and is gen­er­at­ing a lot of cu­rios­ity mainly due to its unique in­te­rior de­sign.”

This place has seat­ing ar­range­ments for 50 peo­ple. On the plat­ter it is a mul­ti­cui­sine fare in­clud­ing In­dian, tan­door and con­ti­nen­tal dishes.

Swarup Dutta, De­signer and Scenog­ra­pher of Burnt of Gar­lic shares, “When I got the space it was flat and lin­ear, so we de­cided to cre­ate dimensions by split­ting them into lev­els. I was told to cre­ate an all-day bar and kitchen, which is bright and cheer­ful. I was also told to use a lot of colour if pos­si­ble. In­ter­est­ingly I dis­cov­ered that per­haps it’s dif­fer­ent the way men de­sign spaces as com­pared to women. I feel that women when they de­sign spaces bring a kind of soft­ness. Also, the way they use colour is per­haps dif­fer­ent. I feel when a man de­signs spaces, the ap­proach per­haps is more graphic and less or­ganic. I thought of ad­dress­ing the con­cept of do­mes­tic­ity through the project. Also, my love for In­dian hand­i­crafts and tex­tiles al­ways comes out in choos­ing my ma­te­ri­als.”

The spe­cial in­spi­ra­tion for Burnt Gar­lic came from old restau­rants of Kolkata like Peter Cat, Bar­beque and Magnolia, who have a dis­tinct sev­en­ties feel to it. They are patch lit

with low pen­dent lights, high ceil­ings and split lev­els. Here it has three split lev­els - the ground level splits into a mez­za­nine and a step down base­ment.

Swarup adds, “For the ex­te­rior I have used full length lou­vered windows to em­u­late the old Cal­cutta feel. We used a dis­tressed stain fin­ish, which looks a bit like ‘gala-pol­ish’ or English lac­quer pol­ish and the old the­ater style naked lamp sig­nage has been used. For the in­te­rior in the ground floor we have used a continuous sofa with high raise back on one side and ca­sual cafe style chairs on the other. The ta­bles are colour­ful dis­tressed fin­ished wood on cast iron base. The cafe chairs have dis­tressed wood for back­rest and colour­ful Kan­tha quilt uphol­stery to bring in an el­e­ment of fun and do­mes­tic­ity. Rolling pins are a sym­bol of do­mes­tic­ity and I wanted to glo­rify this hum­ble do­mes­tic tool and the screen has an early 70’s feel to it. The rolling pins are sus­pended from the ceil­ing us­ing steel ca­bles and each rolling pin is hand stained and fin­ished.”

Swarup adds fur­ther, “We have used fur­ni­ture with a bit more or­ganic lines in this zone. The mez­za­nine is meant for din­ing big­ger groups, who can have their own pri­vate zone. This zone is lit by a light in­stal­la­tion, which says ‘’Heart with Pep­per, Soul with Gar­lic”, which is a Rus­sian proverb. The light in­stal­la­tion uses light­ing sys­tems from the past and the present to tell a vin­tage mod­ern story. I have used neon, naked tung­sten bulbs and LED sig­nage lights to­gether to cre­ate the col­lage.” Step Down zone houses the bar, a mu­sic deck and some cozy seat­ing. This zone has low ceil­ing, per­fect for a more in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence. The seat­ing in­cludes bar stools around a lou­vered old style bar counter. This zone also has colour blocked cafe chairs. A mix of em­broi­dery frames and dig­i­tal photo mon­tage adorns this space. The can­vases have been framed us­ing photo frames made from big wooden plat­ters, which are tra­di­tion­ally used for the sweet mak­ing process. “The dig­i­tal photo mon­tage was a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween my­self and Su­manta Chakra­vorty, who is a graphic artist. We have worked on the theme of do­mes­tic­ity and made it tad glam­orous. We have also used em­broi­dery frames mounted with fab­rics for the ex­tended dé­cor,” men­tions Swarup. On a con­clud­ing note Esha shares, “We are def­i­nitely look­ing to make a mark in the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try and would look to open sev­eral such cafe bars in the city and out­side.”

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