Raasa Indian Cuisine Owner Shiva Natarajan, who also owns Jaipore Royal Indian Cuisine in Brewster, New York, plus five Manhattan restuarants including Chola, wanted to “represent Indian in the right way” with his revamp of what used to be Malabar Hill. “Most people have the perception of Indian fare that it’s all curry and everything’s spicy.”
Natarajan wanted to change that perception, which started with “next level” décor—no typical red carpets and painted walls.
NYC Designer Thida Thongthai helped Natarajan acheive that next level with elements not typicaly found in an Indian restaurant.
There are four different wallpaper styles around the dining room, including plates, brick, pictures, and this book spine selection. Natarajan plans on having an artist paint famous Indian book titles such as City of Joy, Calcutta: Two Years in the City, as well as famous cookbooks on the “spines.” Antique aluminum Indian frames will be placed around certain photos (e.g., the palace); others will be covered with framed photos related to Indian culture. For a more contemporary yet still-friendly feel, some tables are marble-topped, while others have antique tabletops from Brooklyn ($700). Plank flooring replaced dated carpeting and two low walls between columns were demolished to open up the dining area.
Antique aluminum Indian frames will be placed around certain photos (e.g., the palace); others will be covered with framed photos related to Indian culture.
The accent statue at the entrance of the elephant-headed, extra-armed deity Ganesha is a nod to classic Indian decor.
To lend a more open feel to a dark space, tall windows were added to the entire facade.