"I'm really excited about it."
Atul Kochhar plans to open five new restaurants, including his first Heathrow Airport site.
Four of the restaurants are scheduled to launch within the next five months, while the airport restaurant remains in development.
The renowned chef said: “I didn’t plan to open all the restaurants together but because of Covid-19, Brexit and supply issues, everything has come together.”
One of the first to open will be Masalchi, a 120-cover casual dining restaurant in London’s Wembley Park in mid to late October 2021.
It will be a small menu, with grills and small plates. But Atul is considering adding a few curries or biryanis.
Atul told The Caterer:
“There’s a simple menu, a table of four could have the entire menu.
“I’m really excited about it. I’ve always done fine dining and thought of doing a playful street food restaurant and thought this would be the perfect place.”
Two Riwaz restaurants are set to open in Beaconsfield in November 2021 and in Tunbridge Wells in early 2022.
Riwaz will have a menu inspired by Muslim influences on Indian food.
Atul Kochhar continued: “I like Indian history but often when we talk about Indian cuisine from recent times we focus on Mughlai food, but there were so many other subcultures that we haven’t had a chance to celebrate.
“I’ve hired people who love researching these cuisines, and they’ve come up with some amazing and old recipes.
“The menu will be very exciting. It’s something I always wanted to do and never had the time, so this is my chance.”
Mathura is a fine dining restaurant in London’s Westminster. It has no set opening date but is taking bookings from November 1, 2021.
The restaurant was originally due to open in the former Westminster Fire Station site in 2019. However, it was delayed due to issues with the building, and then the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mathura is inspired by the kingdom of Kanishka, the second century BC ruler of the Kushan dynasty.
Atul explained: “During [Kanishka’s] time India had close ties with countries including Persia, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, China, Thailand and Vietnam.
“I have curated a menu which is 60% pan Indian and 40% inspired by these other countries. It’s quite a funky menu.”
Despite winning two Michelin stars, Atul Kochhar stated he would not be drawn on whether he was aiming for another star at Mathura.
“I want to serve a cuisine well and do what’s right for it, working with local ingredients.”
“We’ll do a very elevated food there and if we’re worthy of the star I’m sure we’ll get it. If we’re not, then we’ll keep working.”
The fifth restaurant is Kanishka Kitchen and it will open at Heathrow Terminal 5. It will seat 60-70 covers and serve casual dishes such as wraps, sandwiches and breakfast items.
There is no set opening date for the restaurant but Atul hopes it is “as soon as possible”.
He said: “I think this is the first time an Indian restaurant is going into a British airport.
“We’re very excited about it. Considering the UK has strong ties with India and so many flights that go from Terminal 5 to India we’re looking to trade well there.”
Since 2018, Atul Kochhar has opened numerous restaurants with the help of business partner Tina English.
Atul added: “I’m blessed with an amazing team around me and a great business partner in Tina who’s helping me every step to get through this [and open all the restaurants], and I’m quite confident we will.”