Bollywood-themed restaurant and lounge hits Granville strip in Vancouver

Published: April 3, 2013
Kamal Mroke

Kamal Mroke relaxes in his new restaurant, Tabla Bollywood Lounge, on Granville Street in Vancouver, B.C., March, 28, 2013. Richard Lam/PNG

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Local restaurateur Kamal Mroke hopes to cater his latest restaurant to the “new generation.”

“They want something different than what they get at home and what all 100 (Indian) restaurants supply them,” said Mroke. “If you go to those restaurants (and) you see youngsters (there) you see them with their parents because they have no choice. They don’t want to go there — only they go there with their family when mom and dad pressure them for family dinner.

“They see all the same things … (and) they don’t go back again.”

So Mroke’s second restaurant, Tabla Bollywood Lounge on Granville Street, is anything but the “normal Indian restaurant.”

Open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Mroke caters to the dinner crowd until 10 p.m., and while his chefs cook right until close, after dinner the Bollywood music ramps up to create a lounge and upbeat nightlife vibe.

“It’s all Indian, but a different style,” he said.

He wants to give the younger generation “somewhere to hang out,” a place where they can try new things, embrace their culture and the Bollywood scene without the pressures of a family dinner.

On his menu there are only a few trademark Indian meals, like butter chicken, chicken masala or roti — everything else has a unique twist or falls under his Indian tapas menu.

“We’re trying to bring something a little bit different,” he said, referencing the mango chilli chicken, or rock fish roasted with mustard seeds.

“Have tapas, have a drink, listen to Bollywood music.”

Launching Vancouver’s first Indian tapas and Bollywood lounge couldn’t have been better timed.

While Mroke is aware he’s “the new guy on the corner” of the busy Granville strip, all the hype — not to mention 40,000 plus tourists — that comes with the Times of India Film Awards this weekend will only help propel his restaurant into the entertainment district.

“That weekend is a party weekend in town,” he said. “A lot of the crowd is going to hang out on Granville Street when the show is finished … so people will see me.”

And as the only Indian restaurant on the strip, he’ll monopolize — especially with his Bollywood decor.

Inside the dimly lit lounge Mroke looks up towards his high ceilings, references the bright colours and Bollywood music in the background: It’s all part of the Granville image and feel he’s going for.

The decor will coincide perfectly with the TOIFA scene, the lounge walls colourfully painted with portraits of Bollywood stars — including those in town this weekend, like Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra.

“(Most) Indian restaurants, they do really good food, they serve until 10 p.m. then they go home,” said Mroke.

But Tabla will stay open and help put the crowds to bed.

“Even you come at 1 a.m. … there’s still a dinner menu,” he said. “(And) after dinner we cater to a different crowd.”

“It’s Bollywood life.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute 

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