There are but a very few spaces which would seamlessly meld the diversely different aesthetic styles say, refined with the rustic or the vintage with the contemporary with ease. Therefore, the moment you visit bar and kitchen, Taftoon, at Mumbai’s financial district Bandra Kurla Complex, you’ll get the feel of an instant classic. Interior designer Payal Khanna who is the principal at Mumbai-based Aura Dezyne is brain behind the design of Taftoon was given a one line brief by Chef Milan Gupta and restaurateur duo Abhir Dhawan and Pankaj Gupta — cuisine journey on the Grand Trunk Road.
“We wanted to create a new concept which has never been done before… uncliched, uncluttered, monochromatic, lively and open that could be imagined in similar surroundings anywhere in the world. Even as I was clear about the above skeleton of simplicity, it had to be layered carefully with a rich experience, contemporary yet cultural and traditional, with deeply rooted design elements, representing rich artisanal handwork…all this sown into the fabric of a functional, efficient and practically innovative place of work for the restaurant’s operation teams,” explains Payal.
Once you enter the restaurant, a vibrant emerald green floral wall art awaits. The emerald green lobby leads you to the bar. The bar has a section of high seating along the window, enveloping into a crisp lively zone. Interestingly there is seating around the bar for small plates too. The furniture in Taftoon is constructed from old seasoned sheesham wood with chesterfield styled upholstery details on the bar stools and banquet seating. The green and white marble on the bar contrasts with the modern grey hexagonal tiles and concrete. The bar back is also finished with plush glossy emerald green subway tiles and old brass metal fittings. A seal — which is inspired from the Mauryan era of stone sculpture and architecture — has been intricately carved at the bar section on the cream dusted walls. The seal is also detailed on the napkins, bill folders, and jute bags. The single line of the bar and the display kitchen aims to excite and entertain the diner. This open design encourages interaction between the food creator and the customer. The bar allows the diner to watch the process of the drinks/food creation as he sits on the ergonomically designed ledge.
Colours of natural silk with layers of textures are the overall look and a hint of blue has been infused into the colour palette. The customized hexagonal feature lights from The Purple Turtle, make a statement with its linearity and modular nature enhancing the mood of the space. Payal, very subtly introduced a traditional Kashmiri art in the contemporary design of Taftoon. “We brought down Kashmiri artisans who carved the heritage Khattamband woodwork on the banquet walls and ceiling to add a unique flavour to the space,” says the designer.
The focus of Taftoon is on culinary theatre — the creation or enhancement of a spectacle during the service of food and beverages. Fire is the central element here, a significant feature in the form of a grill and the pit. The bread (Taftoon) is the key to the menu. All the food revolves around the fresh authentic bread. “One key element that mesmerized me during my various travel to Kashmir was how passionately the locals baked their breads. We decided that we have to create our very own Taftoon wood fired oven. And we created a handcrafted green mosaic wood fired oven here,” signs off Payal.
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