The Leela group approached us and asked us to create an identity for a new restaurant they were opening in Mayfair, London. Since they wanted the restaurant to celebrate the local trains in Mumbai and the dabbawalas – the unsung heroes of the city – our designs and ideas had to be inspired by the same, while still keeping the brand elegant and accessible.
Our research of the people in the area revealed that while most of the consumers were working professionals and Indian families, the restaurants were upmarket and expensive. We had to ensure that our space was quick, reasonably priced and an everyday eatery for guests.
The Leela group
To capture the essence and the importance of the local trains and the dabbawalas, we positioned our brand as ‘The pulse of the city’ – because if they stop working, the city shuts down. We therefore arrived at the name Bombay Bustle.
What excited us even more was the ambience of the restaurant. Since it was designed to look like a train compartment from a Wes Anderson film, the identity and extensions we created had to complement the concept. While we had to retain the ethos of Bombay Bustle, we also had to bear in mind the aesthetic of our clients and their legacy. We created an identity that was inspired by signs at train stations and the lid of a dabba. We used muted shades of grey, gold and pink that resembled the interiors of a train, with the element of flair captured in the quintessential Wes Anderson production.
We also realised that dabbawalas use a complex coding system. A set of letters and numbers written on the lid that let them to know where each dabba has come from and where it needs to be delivered. This inspired us to add a more authentic, nuanced element to the brand’s identity. We developed a unique code of our own that differentiated one Bombay Bustle restaurant from another.
To give the brand a face, familiarity and credibility, we set up a photoshoot with Samyukta Nair and head chef Rohit Ghai in a moving train. This helped us bring the lifeblood of Mumbai to the streets of London. A photoshoot of the picturesque Ballard Estate too helped us bring out the Wes Anderson-themed environment of the restaurant.
Today, Bombay Bustle is thriving and is your go-to restaurant if you want a bit of Mumbai in Mayfair.