First Look At Ellipsis

April 4, 2012 10:39 am

Ever since rumours about Villa 39’s impending demise began swirling around—a mere year after the Italian fine dining restaurant opened in a 100-year old heritage building in Colaba—speculation has been rife over what will replace it. Information, as it is wont to do, leaked but many of the details were more closely guarded than a Swiss bank account. Then, when the Voltaggio brothers—they would be the American siblings best known in the US for their stint on popular TV show Top Chef—began tweeting about their involvement last year, foodies went into salivation overdrive. “It’s better to keep expectations low,” says Ranbir Batra, 27, a partner who along with Rohan Talwar, also 27, took over the space last March. The name, as you probably gauged from the headline, is Ellipsis (as in the three dots that follow incomplete sentences). It was chosen because it suggests “that there’s more to come, and that the experience is more than meets the eye,” says Talwar.

During our visit to the new restaurant, Batra and he remained guarded, loath still to reveal too many details. This much, however, they will confirm: the interiors have been executed by Thomas Schoos, the award-winning German designer who can count the slick confines of Morimoto in Napa, Tao in New York, and Koi in Los Angeles in his portfolio. The inside of Ellipsis bears a look that sits 180 degrees from the ambivalent white and silver decor of its predecessor. Schoos was instructed to make the place “inviting and sexy”, something he’s interpreted by turning the split-level 5,500 square foot restaurant into a part living room-style lounge and an informal dining area decorated with eclectic light sconces, custom wooden furniture and tiles, and framed oil paintings sourced from around the world. The lounge is kitted with a shaggy rug, vast leather chairs and comfy sofas while the upstairs dining area, with its mismatched wooden furniture, holds a chef’s table built around a kitchen. The private dining room, situated at the back, is undeniably the trump card, more parts secret study than actual dining area, with vintage furnishings (and more art objects than you can shake a stick at) and a private bartender at your disposal. Don’t miss Schoos’s upturned bouquets of light bulbs that are placed here and scattered around the restaurant.

His hand is literally splashed all through the space, in the form of a giant black and beige mural that runs along most walls and jostles for attention with the furniture and art. Talwar and Batra did not reveal menu details (it’s “modern American cuisine”, says Talwar) and only shared that Bryan and Michael Voltaggio served as consultants through the development of the project, and were instrumental in the training of the staff, the menu conception and the placing of the chef de cuisine Rupam Bhagat (a Bombay boy recently returned after working with the Voltaggios) and the sous chef James Palm (who comes from having worked at NoMI in Chicago among other Michelin-starred restaurants). The cocktail menu—overseen by 26-year-old mixologist Jenna Bredesen, who worked at the Pegu Club in New York—was designed by restaurant consultants Alex Day and David Kaplan (Kaplan owns famed New York bar Death & Co., an establishment rated highly for its “killer” cocktails).

That Talwar and Batra have spared no expense is immediately apparent (expectedly they declined to give a figure)—even the uniforms of the staff have the designer stamp of approval, having been tailored by Arjun Khanna. The price points, they tell us, will sit somewhere between “Indigo and Hakkasan” and for now, the restaurant will function only for dinner and as a cocktail lounge.

Ellipsis is slated to open on Tuesday, April 10 at 7pm.

NB. This post has been updated to reflect the new opening date.