Ae­roc­ity: Delhi’s own Clark Quay

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out to be a clas­sic case of sup­ply side eco­nom­ics.

En­hanced sup­ply cre­ates its own de­mand. Or is there more to it?

I re­mem­ber meet­ing Zo­rawar Kalra five or six years ago, when he was the first oc­cu­pant of the still-un­der-con­struc­tion Cy­ber Hub, and his restau­rant was called Made in Pun­jab.

He was se­ri­ously wor­ried about what would hap­pen to him when the mall would at­tain full oc­cu­pancy with 42 restau­rants. Life for him changed af­ter the open­ing of Farzi Cafe at the Cy­ber Hub, and al­though the place has 72 restau­rants and as­sorted wa­ter­ing holes to­day, no one is com­plain­ing about busi­ness not do­ing well.

At the Sec­tor 29 HUDA Mar­ket, the story is no dif­fer­ent. I once hap­pened to be com­ing out of The Mol­e­cule, a hugely pop­u­lar restau­rant­bar, lit­er­ally push­ing my way out through the crowd of wait­listed cus­tomers at 10 pm, and I was greeted by a surg­ing mass of hu­man­ity (many of the women had taken off their fash­ion­ably heeled shoes be­cause their feet were cry­ing out for re­lief!). It doesn’t come as a sur­prise there­fore when one learns that Sec­tor 29 is the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful mi­cro­brew­ery mar­ket.

And it serves a dif­fer­ent de­mo­graphic be­cause, un­like what we be­lieve, Gur­gaon is grow­ing into a buzzy metropo­lis and it takes a good half an hour, pro­vided there's no traf­fic, for peo­ple to commute be­tween the Cy­ber Hub and Sec­tor 29. It’s not any dif­fer­ent for One / Two Hori­zon Cen­tre. I had raised the mat­ter of the commute when I met Avan­tika Sinha Bahl at her Ja­panese restau­rant Kam­pai, the first to open at the World­mark com­plex de­vel­oped by the Bharti Mit­tals in the Ae­roc­ity. Avan­tika said Del­hi­ites would now be able to avoid the ir­ri­tat­ing commute to Gur­gaon to be able to dine at their favourite restau­rants, for all of them were open­ing at the Ae­roc­ity.

WHEN Ae­roc­ity opened, I gave it no like­li­hood of sur­vival, es­pe­cially af­ter I saw the early ho­tels strug­gle for sur­vival in a dull mar­ket — and suf­fer dou­bly be­cause of the late awak­en­ing of the Delhi Po­lice to the al­leged ‘se­cu­rity threat’ posed by them.

Over the past five or six years, my prog­no­sis has been proved wrong.

The ho­tels may not have much to of­fer in terms of food and bev­er­age des­ti­na­tions (the notable ex­cep­tions be­ing An­na­maya at the An­daz, JW Mar­riott’s Akira Back and Pluck at Pull­man), but their oc­cu­pancy lev­els, fed largely by the multi­na­tion­als mov­ing into the neigh­bour­hood, should give them much cause for joy.

The big news, though, is that Ae­roc­ity is shap­ing up to be Delhi’s next restau­rant hub, with new brands such as Priyank Sukhija’s Plum and Dragon­fly (a night­club of gar­gan­tuan pro­por­tions), Sau­rabh Khanijo’s Asian din­ing mar­ket leader Kylin, Tappa by Pun­jab Grill from Lite Bite Foods and Kam­pai, jostling for peo­ple’s at­ten­tion with the more fa­mil­iar Cafe Delhi Heights, The Beer Cafe and the first fran­chisee-op­er­ated Farzi Cafe.

Fed by the peo­ple work­ing in the of­fices around them and the res­i­dent guests of the 15-odd ho­tels, the barely month-old din­ing hub al­ready has the look and feel of what Khanijo calls “Delhi’s an­swer to Sin­ga­pore’s Clark Quay and Boat Quay.”

When Ae­roc­ity opened, I saw no like­li­hood of sur­vival, es­pe­cially since the ho­tels strug­gled ini­tially

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