Sundar Muthanna, advertising copywriter, talks to Pattamada Sujeet Belliappa, a seasoned restaurant man who has worked on luxury cruise ships all around the world. Sujeet recently opened an intriguing restaurant called Nimisserie that offers, what Sundar refers to as ‘experiential dining’.
Meet Pattamada Sujeet Belliappa, the Hotel Manager of a luxury cruise ship who is now bringing some international excitement to the restaurant scene in Bangalore. His new offering Nimisserie, along with celebrity chef Nimish Bhatia, offers…. actually redefines, contemporary Indian cuisine.
Sundar, who visited Nimisserie, found the restaurant both elegant and cosy. In this interview, Sujeet answers some of the questions posed by Sundar.
Sundar: You’ve been on cruise ships for a long time, how did you make the move to a restaurant business on land?
Sujeet: This idea actually came from a casual conversation with my long-time friend and now business partner Nimish Bhatia. He is one of the best chefs I know and I had very little hesitation about teaming up with him to make a go of Nimisserie.
Sundar: Tell us about your early working life.
Sujeet: I am a graduate in Hotel Management from Mangalore University. At the end of my final year, I got selected during the campus interview by the Taj Group of Hotels, and I joined them as a Hotel Operations Management Trainee. Having spent 3 years at the Taj West End hotel in Bangalore, for my initial management training, I made a career change to cruise ships. It was fun with all that sun and fresh air, and at times, quite exciting with the moods of the oceans…the learning curve was steep. Having started with the P&O Cruises in the United Kingdom, I later worked with another UK-based cruise company called Airtours. After which I went over to an American company called Celebrity Cruises. As of today I have spent 19 years in hospitality, with 15 years sailing the seas on cruise ships with vacationers.
Sundar: Why is your restaurant called Nimisserie? There must be a story there.
Sujeet: Yes, there is a nice brand story. My partner Nimish Bhatia is a Celebrity Chef, and he has been associated with NDTV’s Foodistan. He was also the Corporate Executive Chef for the Lalit Ashok Group. We felt our brand name should be closely associated with him, and his name ‘Nimish’ appeared as a prefix and we ended the name with the suffix ‘sserie’ – which as you know is a common French culinary term – roasts are made in ‘rotisseries’ and pastry comes from ‘patisseries’ etc. Nimish’s contemporary Indian delights come from Nimisserie.
Sundar: Do you bring your experience in luxury cruise ships from around the world, to the table at Nimisserie?
Sujeet:The Nimisserie is the culmination of our work experience and travel exposure gained over the years and around the globe. I have been around the world many times and met many passionate hoteliers and restaurateurs. We offer contemporary Indian cuisine, we like to call it ‘Aspect Cuisine by Nimish Bhatia’, a creative interpretation of food and the dining experience by a fertile mind. Plus the uniqueness of the food item offered, the crockery and the engaging staff, all work together to offer you a rather different meal experience. We have the most suitable wines to go with every item in the menu. Our interiors and seating are designed with guest comfort in mind. Staff are trained to interact with guests warmly and informatively. All in all, I would say we offer a unique modern Indian dining experience of international quality.
Sujeet: We always wanted a location downtown, in Central Bangalore. Nimisserie is at the start of Wood Street, opposite Brigade Towers. It is easily accessible from Brigade Road and is simple to find.
Sundar: What advice do you have for Coorg youngsters looking at joining this profession?
Sujeet: Hospitality is a great profession, but one must be passionate about it, work hard and remember that success and reward is not instant. A good attitude is the foundation for learning and growth. One must gain knowledge as much as possible before expecting promotions. I would like to see more Kodava entrepreneurs in hospitality and in the food and beverage industry, however small the venture may be. We are a naturally hospitable people and it is a business that our youngsters will do well in.