Assamese cuisine goes global

Eatery busts a food myth
- Axomi plans to open outlets in US and Britain

 The “myth” that Assamese food cannot go global seems to be on the way out. The first Assamese speciality restaurant outside Assam, Axomi, which has opened in Bangalore, is spreading out and is planning to open branches across the shores.
“We will be opening more branches across Bangalore followed by other places in India. We are also looking at opening at least one branch in the US and in the UK in the next three to five years,” Srimanta Sharma, one of the three owners of the Axomi restaurant, told this correspondent.
He said, however, the current focus of the management is to nurture the brand to the maximum possible, systematically expand operations in Bangalore first and then venture to other cities of India. “All efforts will be to achieve the ultimate objective of putting Assamese cuisine on the global map” Sharma added.
The three promoters of the restaurant — Dipankar Kalita, Pranjal Medhi and Sharma — are from Bangalore.
Another advantage of having a restaurant in the garden city is that there is a very big Assamese community present in Bangalore comprising students, working professionals and also many families. So there is a ready clientele from day one.
Located at Koramangala (1st Main, 7th block), in Bangalore, the restaurant opened onmakar sankranti.
“The idea was to expose and take forward to the rest of India the wonderful cuisine of Assam. In India, cuisine from Bengal, Punjab, Rajasthan and south India have evolved over a period of time and are now known and very successfully accepted across India. We believe that our Assamese cuisine, too, has the same potential and so this initiative. We wish to take Assamese cuisine globally in the next couple of years. Food is an intrinsic part of one’s culture and identity. As an initiative to showcase the beautiful culture and heritage of the Assamese people, we have adopted the route of food and hence the restaurant,” Sharma added.
He said it is a myth that Assamese food cannot become commercial. “From day one (Uruka morning) our restaurant in Bangalore has been stormed by crowds and people have been coming back for multiple (three to five times) repeat visits as well. We are overwhelmed with all the response received so far. What is very satisfying is that the people who had come and visited the restaurant were not only from the Assamese community but also from other Indian communities as well as Americans, British, Germans and Nigerians.”
“The restaurant has been running to full capacity on all weekends and to about 70 per cent capacity on weekdays in its first month of operation. So it was a myth that Assamese cuisine cannot be commercialised and we are glad we could bust it completely,” Sharma added.
Some of the favourite dishes of the restaurant are rou fish in outenga curry, kawoi fish with teel (black sesame) curry, magur fish with skunk vine (bhedailota in Assamese),hilsa fish steamed in white mustard, duck roast with black sesame and hanh aru sal komora (duck meat and white gourd). “The offerings will be always Assamese cuisine at all times and no dilution will ever take place whatever be the market situation. “Speciality also signifies the single-minded objective of sticking to our core and developing a niche for Assamese cuisine,” Sharma said.