Bhatti Indian Grill, Gaurav’s first restaurant, opened in bustling Murray Hill in July 2008 to rave reviews.
Diners who experienced Anand’s cooking got a taste of what was missing in the city’s culinary expanse – northern Indian food with a focus on the tandoor oven (Bhatti). Kebabs soon became the specialty of the restaurant, as Anand explored the act of balancing flavors with meats and vegetables. Bhatti Indian Grill became a destination for anyone craving a taste of authentic north Indian cuisine, and earned a spot on the city’s culinary map.
When Gaurav Anand first visited the city of Lucknow in the Awadh region, the historical legacy and the vibrancy of Awadhi cuisine changed the course of his life forever. He mastered “Dum Pukht,” the art of cooking over a slow fire, from the culinary masters of the region. The technique, some 200 years old, involves cooking in a sealed heavy bottomed pot or “handi” over a very low flame, which allows meats to cook in their own juices. Returning to New York, he found that no restaurant focused on traditional Awadhi cuisine. Once again, he immersed himself in a cuisine, learning its techniques and working with a chef from the region to provide an authentic culinary experience.
With Awadh, Gaurav presents a culmination of culinary finesse of the finest food from India’s sacred and historic land, creating experiences and memories through flavors as you explore meats, vegetables, seafood, kebabs, curries and breads that will leave a lasting impression on your palate.
Following the success of Bhatti Indian Grill, Anand was approached by one of the owners of Moti Mahal Delux, an acclaimed restaurant chain from India. Anand, along with his brother, sought to bring the authentic taste of Mughlai cuisine to New York via the franchise and opened Moti Mahal Delux in the summer of 2012.
In Anand’s hands, the signature dishes of Moti Mahal Delux came alive. He and his skilled team received extensive training from master chefs from Moti Mahal Delux in New Delhi and New York. In the course of their education, they learned the techniques that make this food so compelling: rich, tender, well balanced with nuanced spice and layered flavors. There were no short-cuts to the food – cans were banned from the kitchen, the purees made from fresh tomatoes, and whole spices ground to make powdered spice mixes.
The hard work didn’t go unnoticed - a few months after it opened, Moti Mahal Delux earned a prestigious 2 star review from The New York Times, one of only a handful of Indian restaurants to ever receive such a rating. This review would change the course of the restaurant and Anand’s career forever.