30 December 2010

Strengths are Weaknesses. And vice versa

I’ve spent almost three weeks back home now, travelling in Kerala, Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore. Reminding myself of the things I love the most (and least) about Indian cuisine…here are a few ramblings

1. There still isn’t any coffee in the West that can match a well made south Indian filter coffee (kaapi). Not an espresso in Milan, not a macchiato in Monmouth, not even my beloved piccolo from Milk Bar. The South Indian Filter Kaapi is strong, yet milky. Light yet creamy. To die for.

2. There are now fast food chains everywhere. McD’s and KFC strewn around far too liberally. As are Café Coffee Day, Kaati Zone, Subway and lots of other crap. The best Indian fast food is still the chaat wallahs of the North and the Udupi restaurants of the South.

3. Most Indian restaurant food continues to be extremely heavy. Heavy on spice, heavy on ghee, light on freshness. Not many lunches have gone by without me needing a little snooze in the afternoon, one of lifes little pleasures.
4. The Old School clubs (of the gym-khana variety) set up by the British still rock. They still do some of the best tikkas, naans, chicken s’wiches and fesh lime sodas. And the service still as wonderfully laid back.

I’ve had lots of time to think about Mooli’s. Everything that we have (and haven’t) managed to achieve in the last year. When Aditya (an IIM alumnus with a soft spot for a goat mooli) kindly prepared a SWOT analysis for us, one recurring theme was that our biggest weaknesses also happen to be our biggest strengths. And vice versa. Coffee is one of the most profitable items to sell, but we still don’t serve coffee at Mooli’s because we didn’t want the distraction that would have been required to serve an outstanding cup of coffee. We haven’t yet hired a manager because we wanted to personally make sure that everything was just right. Our menu is still incredibly focused despite the demand to serve dosas, madhur vadas, poha, masala omlettes and everything that somebodys grandmother once cooked for them. We use pomegranates, green apple, spring onions, grated carrot and romaine lettuce and other fresh stuff liberally, despite protests from our more conventional customers. We wouldn’t dream of franchising, even though that would be the most obvious way to grow and conquer.

It is great to know your strengths and play to them. But in this industry, there is a fine dividing line between the two.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

a nice filter coffee in the middle of soho will blow everyone's socks off.

go for it.

dibyo

sameer said...

filter coffee is lovely but very different from an espresso based drink. the same way chai is lovely but different from green tea.

its like comparing oranges and apples. you can like one better but that's a personal preference.

Aditya said...

Why is franchising out? ... you should move to Singapore and set one up here if thats what it'll take

Challa