The drive along Torquay is breathtaking. This surfing hub of Australia along the Great Ocean Road never runs short of visitors throughout the year. So when Aditi Kapoor and her husband Rachit Kapoor decided to introduce a touch of India here, they knew they had made the right decision. Their restaurant, Jashn-eTorquay , literally means celebrate at Torquay.
Being the only Indian restaurant along Torquay, Jashn is doing its bit to spread the word that Indian hospitality centres around food. Within few months of its existence, visitors have already seen that India, a land of many regions and cultures has an abundance of festivals to celebrate. For instance on Diwali, the whole place was lit up in candles, the staff was dressed in colourful saris, there were specials and Jashn had a full house. “Each Jashn in India is an explosion of colours, sounds and rituals climaxing with a sumptuous feast and highlights the conclusion of that festival and that is what we are trying to express too,” explains Aditi.
So the dining experience at Jashn does not compromise the traditional flavours that embody the festiveness of authentic Indian cuisine. The atmosphere is one of relaxed elegance. “Diners experience a blend of sophisticated flavours from the piquant offerings of the Konkan coastline to the temperate flavours of Kasmir. From the delicately spiced seafood of Bengal to the richly flavoured curries of Punjab. Our cuisine reflects the flavours of the Mughal Empire, the British Raj and beyond, to which Indian cuisine has evolved today,” says Aditi.
No wonder, it already has earned loyal customers. Take Anup, a senior Torquay resident who along with his British wife have been living in the area for more than 40 years. He dines at the restaurant every third and fourth day and some days does takeaways. Most of the clientele are of course local Australians, says Aditi. But they get also get a lot of Indian tourists who long for Indian food on their holiday here.
“If somebody’s parents come from India they would definitely do the Great Ocean Road and find us here,” she quips. “People who have been living in Australia for a few years also tell us there has not been an Indian restaurant here so we are the first to break into the niche market. In the summer holidays I want people to know there is a good Indian restaurant just 45 mins away from Hoppers Crossing.”
“We are busier from Wednesday through to Sundays and busiest being Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” says Aditi. People are coming for two reasons – the place is new and because it is an Indian restaurant but Aditi is optimistic that the quality of food will stand her business in good stead. She shows a number of compliments that people have written on the napkins of the tables. Some have even managed to spell out “dhanyabad, shukriya”.
The ambience is definitely good; there is a lot of ethnic touch. A full Jaipur monument as wall paper, copper cutleries, wooden furniture, and equipped with a lovely bar – one can take a trip down India memory lane here.
Most MBAs do have entrepreneurial skills and Aditi and Rachit seem to have made a good decision selling Indian hospitality. The couple did have apprehensions earlier as to whether the locals would accept them but, of course, their fears were wrongly placed. “Three months now and we think no better place than here. We have been so beautifully accepted by the community and we have a beautiful lifestyle by the beach.”
Beautiful stories don’t need an end. The appreciations that are coming for this new restaurant tell good times are here to stay.
By Indira Laisram