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Vietnamese and Thai cuisines, says Nikhil Chib, have always been predominantly street food, although fine-dining eateries make an effort to make it fancy. But having learned how to cook on the very streets of these countries, he had always wanted to make the cuisines more accessible to people in India, the way dhaba food is. "This thought inspired me to launch BusaGO," says the chef and owner of popular South East Asian restaurant, Busaba. "It falls under the Busaba umbrella but instead of being a full-fledged restaurant, it caters to delivery and takeaway orders," Chib says.
Chib's idea — of making some of the most popular items from the restaurant, such as his famous green Thai curry, as the highlights of the new eatery — has worked well. Located at Pali Naka, BusaGO, although mere seven weeks old, already enjoys a loyal patronage. The success has, therefore, encouraged the chef-restaurateur to launch half a dozen more outlets this year. The first one will soon open at Bandra Kurla Complex. In return, the Busaba brand gets a boost as it reaches out to more people without having to open a full-fledged facility.
Chib's experiment with BusaGO points to the emerging trend of high-end restaurants expanding into takeaway and delivery options. Earlier unheard of, it is a format that the famous Italian eatery Don Giovanni was the first to attempt in 2011, with an outlet in Juhu. Cafe Pico — located in Byculla's quaint lifestyle store Le Mill with a branch in Phoenix Market City, Kurla — then followed. Today, it has four such outlets (called Cafe Pico Express) across Mumbai — Bandra, Lokhandwala, Goregaon and Lower Parel. The latest entrant is Moshe Shek who launched Sufra two weeks ago. A takeaway outlet for Middle-Eastern food such as shawarma, kebab wraps and pulaos, it is located on Carter Road.