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Ritika Rakhiani of Urban Mistrii creates Padmanabham in New Delhi as a gateway to Tamil Nadu and we can’t wait to visit

JUL 20, 2020 | By Jhanvi Somaya
The combination of wood and teal creates an inspiring image against the custom created Ratnagiri Tiles that make up the flooring. Seating booths are separated using wooden partitions to ensure privacy; Photographs by Avesh Gaur
The restaurant design is a tribute to the vernacular architectural style of southern India; Photographs by Avesh Gaur
The client’s belief in Lord Vishnu and his incarnation inspired the artwork in the restaurant; Photographs by Avesh Gaur
Dual colours of teal and beige contrast against the flooring; Photographs by Avesh Gaur
Lotus motifs in the form of mandalas represent the importance of meditation, mindfulness and wisdom; Photographs by Avesh Gaur
Statement lighting fixtures reference the restaurant's design vocabulary; Photographs by Avesh Gaur

Our love for food is second only to our love for design. So, imagine our excitement when these passions coincide! We’re talking about Padmanabham—a restaurant offering Chettinad cuisine in the capital city. It opened shortly before #lockdown2020 began and even though we haven’t been there yet, the news of it accepting delivery orders has us wishing we could enjoy an immersive dining experience at the venue itself. 

Especially interesting is how architect Ritika Rakhiani of Urban Mistrii has created an authentic design for this eatery in Janpath. “It embraces the culture of the Chettiar community in Tamil Nadu with deep colours, ornate wooden elements and motifs,” she says. Unsurprisingly, the vernacular inspiration is especially seen in the embellished features, including wooden handicrafts and paintings, in the restaurant. 

Detailed and embellished features such as wooden handicrafts and paintings are an ode to Chettinad’s vernacular architecture; Photographs by Avesh Gaur

The restaurant gets its moniker from the restaurant founder’s belief in Lord Vishnu and his incarnation Padmanabha. And he is pictorially portrayed eminently throughout the eatery—as part of the artwork that spans the length of the central seating area to the floral motifs that complement its finishing. 

The restaurant features seating booths and chairs in polished wood finish and teal upholstery; Photographs by Avesh Gaur

Dual tones of teal and beige offset the combination of typical Attangudi tiles from Chennai, which are a tribute to the client’s cultural roots. To portray authenticity and purity, the flooring is created using customised Ratnagiri Tiles. Meanwhile, on the ceiling, lotuses in the form of mandalas represent the importance of meditation, mindfulness and wisdom. 

Wooden columns for the restaurant have been specially sourced from Chettinad in Tamil Nadu; Photographs by Avesh Gaur