A Synaesthetic Approach to Cooking

Qualia, Rahul and Malini Akerkar’s newest restaurant, is situated within the upscale podium of the Lodha World One Towers in the culinary hub of Mumbai – Lower Parel. This 100-seater eatery dishes out modern, cuisine-agnostic creations, made with unexpected combinations of locally sourced ingredients, balanced flavour profiles, and a lot of heart.

Grilled Eggplant Pizza, burrata, mint pesto, pickled raisins

“There is no substitute.” This line, straight out of the 1983 Tom Cruise-starrer ‘Risky Business’, fits perfectly in today’s post-covid recovery phase for restaurants in India. We have put behind us prolonged days of staying home, memorizing menus and eating out of paper-pack boxes because nothing can compare to a cozy evening, settled in a chic alfresco setting, dining with friends and family.

The F&B industry in Mumbai and the entire country, have taken a battering for months now due to the seismic shockwaves caused by the coronavirus reverberating through the globe. It has not only left the culinary explorer in two minds, physically but mentally too, questioning the very need to step out and put oneself at risk. However, droves of people, growing by the day now, tired of being cooped up, are willing to don facemasks, carry hand sanitizers and head to their favourite eateries, outdoors.

Qualia's impressive interiors

Bookings have surged, restaurants are getting full with ‘social distancing’ and other measures in place, smiles are back, and normal service has almost resumed. It felt good to be dining at this relaxed, high-street, upscale alfresco setting at Qualia in Lower Parel, Mumbai.

The Bar at Qualia

Inside, a grand space, designed by architect Kapil Gupta, greets you. High-ceilings, a 100-feet high glass frontage, a bar lined with pickled jars, all come together to create a sensorial experience. This brings the name ‘Qualia’ to life, which is about qualities that are perceived by a person. While the restaurant may feel grand, it exudes a relaxed, casual, and comfortable homely ambience.


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.

It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

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