Think of the Clinton Platter and the Obama Platter at Bukhara, ITC Maurya!
I doubt the idea will resonate with Mr Lee and Mr Modi!
Swanky restaurants offering lavish spreads in upscale localities gleaming with festive décor are only for snobs, not Prime Ministers!
One can glean as much from the down-to-earth moment that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi savoured at a middle-class downmarket restaurant in the least glamorous of places in Singapore last night.
It was modest Komala Vilas in Little India that hit the jackpot with Mr Lee having picked it to host dinner for Mr Modi yesterday. An out-of-the-blue choice that no one will have anticipated! How did Komala Vilas pull off the coup where pricey North Indian eateries offering even Gujarati fare failed?
Commercial Traction: The Tamil connection and the fact that Komala Vilas is possibly the oldest Indian vegetarian restaurant in Singapore (and with no links to any chain that originated in India) worked to its advantage.
Whether Komala Vilas can get commercial traction out of it depends on how best it is able to convert the moment into business value with some marketing ammunition.
It can come up with a Modi Platter and a Lee Hsien Loong Feast, taking a leaf from how the Bukhara at the plush ITC Maurya hotel in Delhi came up with some concoctions named after then US President Bill Clinton and subsequently current President Obama who had stayed there.
They were quick to bring to their menu some unique offerings that they called the Presidential Clinton Platter, the Obama Platter and the Chelsea Clinton Platter.
I doubt the idea will resonate with Mr Lee and Mr Modi! It may even be suicidal for Komala Vilas!
YouTube will air live Mr Modi’s address to the Indian diaspora, starting at 4pm today, Singapore time
Maurya Stay: Not long after the Clintons’ visit, I was in Delhi for a week in 2006 with my manager at Cisco Systems, Bent Rye, global head of the pursuit management group, based in San Jose.
We stayed at the Maurya, too! Since the Bukhara was touted as the world’s best Indian restaurant, we chose to have dinner once there. And just for the kick of it, the Clinton Platter, a mix of some kebabs, was among the items we ordered. We did not find the taste anything to rave about. In fact, the opposite as we could finish only one-fourth of the expensive platter!
So, Mr Lee and Mr Modi, Komala Vilas was a good choice, insipid fare at glitzy hotels is best suited for snobs
The food at the Bukhara aside, service standards at the Maurya were top-notch. Having stayed at some of the finest hotels in the U.S., Europe and Asia, I have always found Indian luxury chains such as the Taj superior!
But then I digress. Komala Vilas, hope the platter idea is not lost on you!
G Joslin Vethakumar