In the heart of upwardly mobile Gurgaon, Zura, designed by Lotus, is a new restaurant that takes pride in its down-to-earth, homely vibe.
The restaurant takes its name from 'azure', a light purplish shade of blue - like that of a clear, unclouded sky. But Zura is not azure. It borrows its hues from the orange of the setting sun. Walk into the shopping space near the Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon's Sector 29 landmark, and from afar you'll notice the restaurant's name in orange lettering on a brown background. The name board has no grand flourishes, no pretentious squiggles. It is stylishly simple by choice. Walk past the glass door with a wooden handle and you'll see that Zura reiterates the stylishly simple mantra on all its floors.
Sprawled over roughly 6,000 sq ft, this 103-seater bar, bistro and bakery is laid out on two floors. The space has been deftly manipulated the two floors have been sliced into four levels, giving it absolute spatial freedom. Each level has such distinct space and mood that it seems as if four different styles have been fitted together to produce four different ambiances under one roof.
Beyond the entrance stone floor pathway lies the cafT rustic in its mood, homely in its atmosphere, with cushioned wooden benches adding a hint of youthful casualness. On the right wall are definitions of pastries and cakes printed on black; in the wooden alcoves sit packed cookies, biscottis, bread and croissant baskets and colourful teapots.
A small flight of stairs takes one to the dining area, which has leatherite sofas in tan and slim, long lamps hanging from the ceiling. Another flight of steps leads one to the bar and lounge areas in the basement where leatherite sofas acquire a brown and burgundy tone. The naked brick walls have been painted grey and the metal frames brushed with an orange tinge. The ceiling has wooden planks and the floors have red mandana stone. The grey walls have been embellished with framed clip art. A staircase leads to the bare first floor.
Down to earth
Zura is Nidhi Wadhwa's maiden attempt at taking forward her training in culinary art. Passionate about food, not only was Wadhwa sure of what she'd bake in the large oven, she also knew how she wanted Zura to look. 'A cafT look that fell midway between high-end and low-budget, is how Wadhwa describes it. Wadhwa had firmly decided upon this cafT look when she sat across the table with the Lotus Design team to discuss the brief. She insisted on a tidy, uncluttered and absolutely-homely look in which even ôthe granny could feel equally at ease.
Zura is not flashy, not edgy, not ornate. There's comfort in the warmth of the yellow light during the day and soft light and candles at night. Colour-gradients look effortless and there are no 'made or sourced abroad' tags flaunted here. Everything is made and sourced in India, confirms Wadhwa proudly.
It took 12 months for Zura to metamorphose from a hasty sketch on the drawing board to the restaurant that everyone is talking about. With its distinct moods and space and its earthy, welcoming warmth, Zura has a definite edge over other Gurgaon counterparts.
Approximately 6,000 sq ft
Design Team: Ankur Choksi, Ridhima Dasot, Navin Jha, Chandni Aggarwal, Rupinder Kaur
TExt: Preeti Verma Lal
photos: AndrT J Fanthome
Meet the designer Lotus
Firm: Lotus, founded in 2002.
Firm specialization: Lotus is a multidisciplinary design practice.
Design philosophy: We deal with every design problem at a fundamental level. We don't believe in getting into a style. We start with trying to define the forces at play and then create the geometry that resolves it.
Philosophy towards life: Our life is a tapestry of thousands of small pictures.
Favourite architect/Designer: Charles Correa, BV Doshi, Mahendra Raj, Bijoy Jain, Peter Zumthor, David Chipperfield, Shigeru Ban, Nakashima, Issey Miyake and several projects by relatively unknown designers.
Zura - Bar.Bistro.Bakery, SCO 40, Sector 29, Gurgaon, Haryana.
Tel: 0124-4251 5445/88822 61619
Tel: 011-4057 0808.