Into The Hive With Mauri
Trendy eateries are all the buzz in Kathmandu these days. (See what I did there?) There seems to be a restaurant, a cafe, or a coffee shop within the radius of 20 footsteps. It also seems like the market for such businesses is at the point of being saturated. Yet, there’s a new place popping up by the day. Now, when you’re in such a business, the strategy you have to come up with needs to make you last. And the way to go about it is by being unique and way different than the others. It has not being long since the place Mauri popped up in our Facebook news feed. When I first saw it, my first thought was, “What’s up with the name?” Then, after going through their pictures, I thought to myself, “Boy, do those pizzas look real nice!” It didn’t take us long to catch up with Mr. Ashutosh Shrestha and Mr. Raju Singh, the same duo that established the oh-so-fabulous Newari cuisine restaurant named Vootoo. They were welcoming, humble, and let us go away with a belly full of deliciousness and a pallet hungry for more.
PLEASE TELL US HOW THIS ESTABLISHMENT CAME TO BE. WHAT DID YOU HAVE IN MIND?
When we started this, what we wanted to do was to accommodate for the continental food enthusiasts. We already had Vootoo, which is focused on Newari and Nepalese cuisines, and what we want to do with it is to expand and open more chains and take Mauri with it.
MAURI IS VERY INTERESTING NAME. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IT?
When we opened this place, we knew we were going to do Continental dishes and be a pizzeria. We thought we’d keep an English name because we thought it would be fitting. We landed on the name Hive because we wanted people to come over here and flock together like bees. Then again, Hive was too generic and have a very club vibe to it rather than a restaurant. So we stayed on the same concept and named it Mauri because we want our clients and customers to come to us like bees.
We also have a mascot in mind.
THAT WOULD BE A COOL THING TO DO. AND WHAT DO YOU THINK SETS MAURI APART FROM THE OTHER CONTINENTAL RESTAURANTS IN THE NEPALESE MARKET TODAY?
Firstly it would be the menu. We have item that are not found elsewhere. We have a lot of slow cooked items, like our pork belly, so that they stay tender and succulent. Also, for our pizzas, we use mushroom sauce rather than tomato paste. Of course we have the usual tomato paste but the mushroom sauce is definitely a highlight. The second would be the location because not only is it easily accessible but also has a great view of the city.
SPEAKING OF MUSHROOMS, RESTAURANTS HAVE BEEN MUSHROOMING IN THE MARKET THESE DAYS. WHERE DO YOU THINK THIS TREND IS HEADING?
Being in the restaurant business, there is obviously competition for us. But rather than this, what we think that it is a very good thing. With more and more restaurants popping up, they’re providing more job opportunities for people, and it just benefits the overall economy of the country. When we opened this place, profit was a secondary motive. What we wanted to do was to accommodate the people and give something to the food enthusiasts. The more the others who are in this business think in this manner, the more it benefits the country.
HOW HAVE YOU MANAGED TO BE CONSISTENT?
For any restaurant, or any establishment for that matter, Human Resource Management is the most important thing. We would not even imagine start out if we had not settled our HR. Now, we still are not in that phase to be fully open or even have a amount of experience, but we are getting there.
AND IN TERMS OF FOOD?
To begin with, we cook several items ourselves and put it on the menu only after we have perfected it and are satisfied with it. But we can’t stop there because we are not the only ones. The customers are our main concern so their feedback is vital to us. Many people have said that our dishes don’t have that Nepalese touch to it. So we have taken that into consideration, improved it, and now serve it.
PLEASE DO TELL US MORE ON THE FEEDBACKS YOU MENTIONED?
Our customers have been a fan of the Slow Cooked Pork, Lasagnas, and Pizzas, especially the mushroom sauce ones. However they do say that the menu is a bit limited. We will surely work on that. Apart from food, we have received a lot of positive remarks about the ambiance. They like how open it is. Then again, there are some who say that it’s a bit empty. So we’re in a dilemma on what to do.
WHAT IS IN STORE FOR MAURI IN THE FUTURE?
Like any good business, we surely want to expand and open chains. However, we have just started so these plans will not be immediate.
With a thin crust and a good size, the Pepperoni Pizza is a no brainer choice. Pizzas are Mauri’s speciality and what sets them apart from the other pizzas in town is that the sauce doesn’t overpower the cheese, the cheese is not too sharp, and the pepperoni eases everything in the mouth. Many tend to leave the crust, but one cannot help themselves to neglect it. With the range of condiments they bring along with it, it’s hard to resist.
We want to say that this is their flagship pizza, and we don’t think we would be wrong. With so many pizzerias opening up, in all honesty, the charm of has faded away. This is where the Bianco comes in with it’s unique and surprisingly tasty mushroom sauce. It is topped with basil which completely sets itself apart and refreshes the concept of a pizza. Mr. Singh commented that it doesn’t look that appealing to the eye, but one just has to taste it to know how it is. We don’t know what he means by “not appealing to the eye” because it really does look good in our opinion. We’ll just write it of as a component of his modesty.
Wings are a favorite every where. Mauri steps it up a notch by bathing it in a super tangy sauce. We imagine it would be the perfect companion to a cold beer and some footy on the tele. Even if you are not about that, it is sure to send your lips smacking and hands snapping into a thumbs up.
WORDS:NIRVEEK SHAH | PHOTO:PRITAM CHHETRI