Having been in the Hong Kong hospitality industry for over 30 years, Rajeev Bhasin is no stranger to the city’s vibrant yet ever-changing dining scene. Bhasin is the founder and managing director of Mayfare Concepts, which among many celebrated restaurants, manages Gaylord, Hong Kong’s oldest Indian restaurant with a history of over 50 years! As well-versed and knowledgeable as Bhasin is, he says he is still learning about different foods and dining trends and he loves discovering new ingredients. Mayfair Concepts was one of Delicious USA’s very first supporters and with two new restaurants opening soon, we can’t wait to see what they do next.
Tell us a bit about your restaurants and the new restaurants you’ll be opening up
At present, I’m managing three restaurants, Gaylord – one of the oldest Indian restaurants, modern Indian restobar Gunpowder on Ship Street, and Michelin-recommended Namo Avant Thai in Tsim Sha Tsui East. We are looking forward to joining hands with Alex Fargas to open a very exciting new concept called Quiero Mas which means “I want more”. We have a very nice tagline which is “Sip, Sup, Social“. For drinking, supper, and socializing! Looking forward to opening it at the end of June.
There’s a large Indian population in the U.S. Have you had any experience with merging Indian and American cuisines?
Some American products are very common and are used in Indian cuisine. Having traveled to the U.S. a few times and seeing the love for Indian cuisine, it has become very popular. A lot of my friends who own and manage Indian restaurants in the U.S. use Kurobuta Pork, they use Boston Lobster which is great because using these products is the best way to plan for the local taste. And the taste is good, it’s fresh. Hong Kong doesn’t grow anything, everything is imported. So, you want the best products – like Atlantic Salmon, Boston Lobster, Kurobuta Pork.
What are some of your best memories of food in the U.S.?
Vegas was amazing, the restaurants were amazing. I stayed at the Palace the first time and the Japanese restaurant there was amazing. I’ve eaten at the famous Italian restaurant at the Venetian where I stayed the next time, that was very, very good. I went to LA, even went to the Gaylord there! When I went to California it was a holiday with family so it was quesadillas, tacos, a lot of Mexican food, which is a specialty in Los Angeles. I even opened a restaurant for one of the largest pizza chains in the U.S. – Shakey’s Pizza – in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, we had to close it down for various reasons but it was an amazing experience. Joining the U.S. food summit on pizzas, meeting some of the top pizza brands. And now we do Naan Pizzas in our restaurant! Last year with the Delicious USA we did a Salmon Naan pizza at Gunpowder. It’s always good to manage different cultures. It doesn’t need to be fusion but it can take each other’s specialties and blending them together.
Is there one dish that you absolutely loved in the U.S.?
Oh, Lobster! I’m a seafood fan so for me, it’s always lobster. Today [at our private chef event] I tried the Lobster Ravioli and learned that they import the lobster tail in a chilled form and it stays really fresh. My son’s favorite is always the salmon.
Mayfare Group now owns and manages, Tamarind – Pan Asian, Siamama – Thai & Vietnamese, Namo- Avant Thai, and the famous Gaylord Restaurant, one of the oldest Indian establishments in Hong Kong since 1972
Gaylord Indian Restaurant BOOK NOW Gaylord Indian Restaurant is a secret paradise located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. Recommended by Michelin Guide and recognised for its authentic and traditional Indian dishes since 1972, it continues to capture the hearts and taste buds of diners both local and abroad. Comfortable alcoves, elegant ambience, and nightly live Indian music add…
Namo Avant Thai BOOK NOW NAMO is a ‘must try’ culinary destination with a stunning view of Victoria Harbour located in Empire Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui East. Launched by renowned Thai chef Khun Wijannarongk Kunchit (whose expertise stems from working with the likes of Thai royals, dignitaries, and celebrity chef Bobby Chinn) together with Michelin Star chef Alejandro Sanchez, the…
Gunpowder Indian RestoBar BOOK NOW Gunpowder Indian RestoBar offers a carnival of exotic Indian delicacies with a modern flair in an enticing, contemporary bar setting located at Ship Street Wan Chai created by the team behind the legendary Gaylord Indian Restaurant in Hong Kong since 1972. Gunpowder’s menu features street favourite in Dimsum portion that called IndiSum, Tandoori Grills, exotic…