You may have travelled as far as Monte Carlo or Portugal or the Cote d’Azur for such a treat – watch the setting sun splash deep ochre all over a darkening sky as you savour the best champagne money can buy – say a Dom Perignon White Gold – while the world’s most expensive caviar – the Almas from the Iranian Beluga fish, melts in your mouth as soon as it enters it.
But now, you don‘t have to travel that far.
A Kolkata-born Delhi-based businessman has won the rights to set up Mumbai’s first restaurant on the sea.
Thirty-seven-year-old Mridul Thirani who spent the first five years of his life in the City of Joy – the time during which he picked up two of the things he is most passionate about – water and food, has won the much touted bid to have a floating restaurant close to Mumbai’s world famous Chowpatty beach.
Interestingly, the restaurants that Thirani is now working on – which will actually be run by his wife and entrepreneur Shripriya Dalmia Thirani will be on-board a large vessel which will be docked a few miles into the sea off Chowpatty.
Passengers will be picked up from certain points across Mumbai’s coastline and taken on board the ship for an “unparalleled dining session coupled with a cruise that would allow people to see the city from the water”.
Mridul who is primarily in the construction business and has been very successful in most of the ventures he has dabbled in, spent the most impressionable years of his childhood in Kolkata’s Bhawanipore area before the family moved to Delhi.
Reminiscing Kolkata, Mridul said “Kolkata is my first love. I was born in the Woodlands hospital and lived five years of my life in Bhawanipore. Having been in that city, I love the sight of water. As a child I would be fascinated seeing the Ganga flow through the city”.
“On the other hand, one of the greatest legacies of Kolkata is its street food. I love the puchkas and always have them as soon as I land in the city which is now home to many of my relatives, Good food is intrinsic to my nature, thanks to those years in Kolkata”.
Mridul added “I have therefore embarked on the project to set up Mumbai’s first restaurant on the sea. It feeds both my passions – water and food. My wife Shripriya and I intend to give India the best international food ever on the most incredible location overlooking Mumbai”.
Further great news is that the tender also allows the ship to sail from Chowpatty to Nariman Point. The tender allows the Thiranis to run as many restaurants she wants on the ship and host events on board.
Mumbai is one of India’s most visited tourism hubs that welcome over 55 million domestic visitors and 5.10 million international visitors annually.
Over 15 million people inhabit the city.
Mumbai is also home to over 500 restaurants offering different cuisines.
However even though the city has a massive coastline, it does not have a single restaurant on the sea.
Shripriya said “I am thrilled that the Mumbai Port Trust has decided to open up iconic water areas off Girgaum Chowpatty, Gateway of India and Ferry Wharf for setting up floating restaurants. It was needed and will now place Mumbai alongside places like the French Riviera or Monte Carlo where people eat on restaranuts over the water and experience unparalleled views of the city”.
She added “Indians will not have to travel outside anymore for such an incredible experience. I have won the rights to operate between Chowpatty and Nariman Point and hope to roll out the ship with the restaurants by the end of 2017 or early 2018”.
She also said “the tender is clear that people won’t be allowed to stay on board overnight and also does not give us permission to run a casino. The ship will docked in Chowpatty – a few miles into the sea. Diners will be taken on small boats giving them a real feel of sailing on the sea. The vessel will have state of the art safety features to ensure highest level of security for our diners and will also be pollution free. I want to make one thing clear – this isn’t just for the rich and famous but also for Mumbai’s middle class families. The sea is theirs and so will be my ship”.
Thirani said “Yes this is the first time I am entering the restaurant business but frankly it isn’t for the restaurant as much it is about the sea. The sea is the DNA of Mumbai and everyone watches the sea from land. What I have always wanted was to be able to see Mumbai’s spectacular skyline from the sea which wasn’t ever possible. All of Manhattan’s iconic photos are from the sea. Why shouldn’t it be the same for Mumbai which is for me more spectacular and iconic that any of the world’s cities by the water. Now, when I roll out the vessel, people will be able to enjoy the magnificent views while having a sumptuous meal”.
Mumbai is one of Shripriya’s favourite cities.
She said “I remember from the time I was four years old, how I would visit my grandmother every holiday. She stayed in Prabha Devi – opposite the beach. We as children would hide, climb a small gate on the boundary of the house and play on the beach all day. This project is my gift to Mumbai”.
“We propose new rules to experiential dining. An attractive multi-deck boat will host our themed restaurants. With different heights in the vessel, all the decks and tables can boast 360 degree views of the breath-taking Mumbai historical skyline and the Arabian Sea – spectacular in the
day and just as magnificent in the night,” she adds.
“I have grand plans of tie ups with some of the world’s top chains and chefs. Indians will no more have to spend lakhs flying to other countries to try out cuisines made by chefs who are like Gods of the kitchen. Instead, I intend to get the world’s top chefs to cook in our backyard. I also intend to have my own restaurant”.
“I will have multiple restaurants in multiple levels of the vessel catering various cuisines – both international and local. Hopefully, it will be operational by end of this year or early 2018. It will be an eclectic mix of high end fine dining and casual. The food will be of the highest quality and the chefs preparing them will be the world’s finest artists. As far as seating is concerned we are still working on the drawing board as designs and plans are being worked out. I envisage we will have atleast 30 tables per restaurant”.
Thirani adds that the ship will be Mumbai’s number 1 address to let your hair down but within limits and the law.
“We will have the best liquor on board that money can buy,” she added.
The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) has been keen to turn the city’s eastern coastline into a recreation spot.
The brilliant idea is believed to be that of minister of state for shipping and roads Nitin Gadkari.
MbPT said in its tender document “The floating hotel may be operational for eight months a year. However, the floating restaurant-ship may be allowed to stay open for 24 hours all year round”.