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Friday, July 13, 2012

It’s a Steal - Chor Bizarre

By Jharna Shahani
Photography: courtesy the designers

Chor Bizarre London 

Dining at the Chor Bizzare chain of restaurants is a first-hand experience at pleasuring your senses – both visual and gustatory.

‘Bizarre’ - that’s what we call something that is unusual or mystifying; and appropriate it is, in the case of ‘Chor Bizarre’ - chain of restaurants spread across India with an outlet in London. Certain playfulness in the ambiance of the restaurant brings to life the literal Indian chor bazaar or ‘flea market’, from where the owners have been inspired.

Chor Bizarre Lavasa

Antique collector Rohit Khattar had conceptualised Chor Bizarre way back in 1990 and with his wife Rashmi’s help scouted around multiple chor bazaars in Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi to procure furniture and other knick-knacks, which decorated almost every nook and corner of their first restaurant in Delhi. 22 years later, barring a few cosmetic changes and some additional pieces, the furniture is still the same!

Chor Bizarre Delhi

Chor Bizarre Delhi - Supari Mobile

Rashmi furthered this intriguing concept via the kaleidoscopic interiors of a chain of such restaurants dedicated to serving authentic Indian cuisine in a unique atmosphere. Resplendent furnishings and décor are collected from various bazaars of India, and are creatively arranged to inspire diners to venture beyond their immediate and uniquely decorated surrounds and explore the wealth of objects d’art displayed in each corner of the restaurant - just like the bazaar to which the restaurant owes its name.

Chor Bizarre Noida

Chor Bizarre Noida

As the business grew, she collaborated with various designers steering the décor of the other outlets in the chain; taking great care that the basic elements used in the New Delhi outlet are retained.

Chor Bizarre Noida - 4 poster bed 

Chor Bizarre Lavasa

Mismatched chairs, bed and sewing machine frames as tables, and loads of artefacts that exude old world charm are just a few things to look out for when you visit any Chor Bizarre. But the   piece de resistance is a 1927 Fiat Bolella in New Delhi, a 1932 Morris 8 in Noida and a 1928 Austin 7 in Lavasa. These are vintage cars, which serve as irresistible salad and chaat mobiles. Due to space constraints, this is excluded at the London restaurant.

Chor Bizarre Delhi - Singer Machine

Buffet at Chor Bizarre Delhi

Apart from the furniture and lifestyle accessories, another common aspect in the décor is that the treatment of the floor, ceiling and wall also follow a certain pattern. “It is a tradition that continues,” informs Rashmi Khattar. Most restaurants sport the old black and white colonial style. In the London restaurant there was also an opportunity to go back to the family’s Kashmir heritage so there is a Kashmir booth with original authentic panelling and Qutaband ceiling adapted to the structural spaces that were available.

Chor Bizarre London 

Chor Bizarre London 

Like with the décor, Chor Bizarre has collected recipes from different parts of the country to form a menu that is both pragmatic and colourful with authentic dishes from different regions of the country. The pun on the name of the restaurant itself sets the tone for a fun experience complemented by some seriously good food!

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