Rooftop eateries light up the night in Koramangala

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By Tasmayee Laha Roy & Rashi Varshney, ET Bureau | 27 Aug, 2013, 03.41PM IST

KORAMANGLA : Several eateries in Kormangla have opened up rooftop restaurants and are registering impressive numbers in patrons. These joints are being preferred by both families and corporates alike. Standalone restaurants too, looking at the opportunity here have chosen to keep a rooftop option.

Tibet Mall, a theme mall located in 5th block Koramangala, boasts of a rooftop restaurant, Hotel Tibet. It offers Tibetan cuisine with lots of greenery around. “Since its inception in 2005 we have seen a 50-60 percent year-on-year rise in footfall and the revenue has grown around 60 percent compared to last year,” told Tashi Wangdu, CEO Federation of Tibetan Cooperatives, which runs Tibet Mall. He informed that on an average, two people spend about Rs 400 at the restaurant.

Their initial patrons comprised mostly of people from Northeast India and Tibetans. Gradually college groups and youngsters started frequenting. Since the mall is surrounded by offices, the restaurant marks many daily repeat customers.

“We now see a lot of families visiting the restaurant, indulging in Tibetan food while enjoying the view of Koramangala,” told Wangdu. In terms of business, rooftops have a lot of opportunity. In just two years, Hotel Tibet hit their break-even point.

The most loved offering of the restaurants are Tibet special Momos platter, Noodles, Thukpa and other Tibetan delicacies. “We have also started offering ‘hot pots’, which gives you 14 ingredients separately and you make your own dish on your table, which is gaining traction,” he told.

It’s young cosmopolitan character and proximity to many companies, educational institutions works in its favour. Music and de-stressing ambiance too are major factors drawing customers.

Bangalore based chartared accountant left his job to play it up differently in the F&B market of Koramangala. They not only added to the list of roof top facilities in the segment, but took theme based dining to a different level. Srikant Upadhyay and his wife Vandana Upadhyay’s brainchild, Black Pearl, in the heart of 5th Block of Koramangala is a favourite amongst those who love dining in the open.

A sum of Rs 5 crore was invested to start the restaurant which is based on the theme of pirates. While the place started operating in December last year the roof top facility only started operating in February 2013. Jamaican Herk Chicken and Jack Sparrow Secret 6 are the most ordered items at the joint.

The terrace floor has a small ship built with an open air sitting area, perfect for an evening date. The spread at Black Pearl is a blend of Indian and Chinese and each table has the facility of a barbeque on the table so that the guest can skewer their own barbeques with sauce of choice.” People love to enjoy fresh air after work and to unwind in weekends, since ours is pirate-themed, we have four rooftop facilities, one grand hall, two side decks, one upper deck and one captains deck. To add on to the ambience, we also have live music every day.

While clients include both family and youngsters, a major chunk of business comes from corporate dining, product launches and gatherings. They have worked with firms like wipro, Accenture and Infosys on several occasions.

The revenue earned by this half a year old eatery in Koramangala is close to 55 percent and the company is on an expansion spree receiving franchisee offers from across the country.

The nine-year-old, Enigma Pub unveiled a terrace lounge, ‘Over The Top’ in May last year and has marked significant growth in customer numbers. “When we started last year, the business from Enigma was around 70 percent and Over The Top was concluding the rest, but now the revenue contribution is 50 percent,” said Vinith Raj, co-owner of Enigma.

It seems people in Koramangala want to take full benefit of Bangalore’ fabulous weather as they look for a place where they can enjoy the weather fully. “People in Koramangala are very much attracted to rooftops as they want to peacefully enjoy the weather amidst of busy and noisy roads of the region,” Raj said. The lounge offers also offers shacks where in people can drink and eat while it is raining.

Moreover, Over The Top also offers various ways to please the clients. It organises monthly comedy shows as well as live music performances. In terms of crowd, it is not only limited to college students and bachelors. “We see a good mix people of all age groups, maximum of them are between 20- 45 years of age,” spoke Raj. On an average two people spend about Rs 1200, which includes alcohol as well.

There is scope of more such places in Koramangala. However, he said that setting up such a place is no less than setting up an indoor restaurant or lounge. “Though one does not have to spend too much on brick and mortar, but one has to invest a chunk to setup up perfect fresh environment and infrastructure to complement rooftop places,” Raj elaborated. Though, he did not disclose financial figures related to Over The Top.

Other known joints like Oye Amritsar, and Elangos, who have kept an open area, also have a successful tale to tell about the charm of a rooftop service in Koramangala.