CTExclusive: Chef Kunal Kapur On Food Culture In India & Dubai, Fav Regional Ingredient & More

by Tejashee Kashyap
CTExclusive: Chef Kunal Kapur On Food Culture In India & Dubai, Fav Regional Ingredient & More

If you have followed the knows and hows of the Indian food industry, Chef Kunal Kapur’s name is hardly a miss. His culinary finesse isn’t confined to a single cuisine; it’s a celebration of culinary diversity. Indian cuisine, with its rich tapestry of flavours and techniques, holds a special place in his heart. Kapur’s infamous Indian restaurant, Pincode, recently made its debut in Dubai. The place represents a distinct culinary experience that’s meant to savour.


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“Starting Pincode in Dubai was a conscious choice. It is driven by the city’s vibrant and diverse culinary scene with its rich Indian community. We wanted to create a unique culinary experience that celebrated Indian flavours in a global setting,” Kapur talks about the restaurant’s debut in Dubai. After making waves in Dubai, he didn’t just open one but two restaurants in Delhi, just in a span of a few months. After the debut of the Civil Lines outpost,  Saket’s Select CityWalk Mall got a new Pincode outlet. “While we are expanding to new locations, Delhi holds a special place in our hearts. And we’re excited to keep delighting our patrons here and beyond,” he assures.

India In Dubai With Pincode


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Chef Kunal Kapur’s culinary finesse shines through in Pincode as he reimagines classic recipes from around the world. He infuses them with a contemporary twist that surprises and delights the palate.

“Running a restaurant chain in India versus Dubai is like experiencing two distinct culinary worlds,” he tells. “In India, the richness lies in the regional diversity. Moreover, each state offers unique flavours and culinary traditions. It’s about connecting with people on a deeper, more personal level. On the other hand, Dubai presents a dynamic and cosmopolitan landscape. Here, Indian cuisine fuses with international influences. You can be more experimental and cater to diverse palates.”

Also Read: 7 New Restaurants In Delhi NCR To Head To This Month

One hallmark of Chef Kunal Kapur’s culinary finesse is his profound respect for ingredients. This essence is seen very well in Pincode’s menu. He approaches each ingredient as a storyteller to convey narratives through taste and texture. “As people’s tastes keep evolving, they are becoming more curious about authentic experiences and unique regional Indian dishes. With Pincode, my dream is to take everyone on a culinary journey through the lesser-known areas of India,” he shares.

His emphasis on locally sourced, seasonal produce is impeccable.  “I’m constantly inspired to explore new ways to infuse the essence of ghee and saffron into our culinary creations,” he tells. The fusion of Indian flavours with international influences is another hallmark of his culinary style.

So, what’s the story behind starting an Indian restaurant in the heart of Dubai first? How does the culinary world collide in both countries? With so much to decode, a tête-à-tête with Chef Kunal Kapur was our way forward:

1. You decided to first start Pincode in Dubai and then, brought the brand to India. Why so?

Bringing the brand to India was a natural progression to share our passion for food with our home country. We could
connect with people on a more personal level and embrace the regional culinary diversity that makes India so special. It’s been a journey of exploring and evolving. We’re thrilled to bring the best of Pincode to both Dubai and India, uniting cultures through the love of food.

2. Dubai has a huge Indian crowd as well. Is there a palate difference when it comes to serving people here and in Dubai?


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In Dubai, we have a significant Indian community that brings diverse cultural influences. We’ve noticed subtle palate differences between Dubai and India. In Dubai, the Indian diaspora enjoys a mix of traditional Indian flavours with international influences. While in India, we adapt our menu to suit unique regional and cultural preferences. At Pincode, we take pride in offering authentic Indian flavours with creative twists, catering to the preferences of both locations.

3. Every other day, there’s a new restaurant popping up in Delhi. What sets Pincode apart from other restaurants?

We, at Pincode share a vision for the future of Indian cuisine. We strive to enhance and celebrate the purest traditional and regional cuisines from various lesser-known pin codes of India. Simultaneously, creating innovative and modern dishes, covering all the evolved palates of the well-travelled generation.

4. Delhi got two Pincodes in just a few months. Why two when you could have expanded to some other city?

We chose to open two Pincode locations in Delhi for a couple of compelling reasons. Firstly, Delhi’s diverse food scene allowed us to cater to different taste preferences, giving us valuable insights. Secondly, being from Delhi, I wanted to bring back fond memories and experiences through the menu. Having outlets in two distinct regions felt like the perfect way to achieve that.

5. Are there any specific regional cuisines or ingredients that you enjoy working with the most?

As a chef, I have a profound respect for the magic of ghee and saffron in regional Indian cuisines. Ghee’s humble richness and saffron’s elegant flavour hold a special place in my heart. These two ingredients bring a touch of tradition and sophistication to our dishes.

6. How do you approach the balance between traditional flavours and modern interpretations in your recipes?

I believe in preserving the essence of traditional flavours that have stood the test of time, as they hold a special place in our hearts and culture. However, I also enjoy experimenting with modern techniques, ingredients, and presentations to bring a fresh perspective to these classic dishes. The approach is always to create a harmonious blend that offers both nostalgia and excitement, keeping the essence of tradition alive while embracing the possibilities of the future.

7. How much pressure do you think it is for chefs and eateries nowadays to be unique and stand out?

In today’s food world, chefs and eateries feel the pressure to be unique and stand out. But here’s the thing – just be true to yourself and what you love to bring to the table. Express your brand with realness and stay committed to it. Find joy in staying rooted in your identity. Let your passion shine through in every dish you create, and that’s what will truly
make you.

8. How do you stay innovative and keep up with the latest food trends?

Innovation means different things to different people, and that’s okay. To understand how a trend becomes a trend, we must explore the essence of it. It’s about trying new things, being curious, and experimenting with flavours we love. But it’s also essential to stay grounded in what we know and do best in the kitchen. People may respond differently to our innovations, and that’s okay too. The real joy comes from the journey of exploring and growing.

9.  There has been good growth in the number of home chefs. What are some common mistakes you see home cooks make, and how can they avoid them?

One less common mistake home cooks make is overlooking the power of sensory engagement. To avoid this, try creating dishes that not only taste delicious but also appeal to other senses. Experiment with visually stunning presentations, enticing aromas, and unique textures to elevate the overall dining experience and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

10.  Lastly, what role do you think food plays in connecting people and cultures?

Food serves as a universal language, connecting people and cultures in profound ways beyond taste. When we share meals and recipes, we exchange stories, traditions, and emotions, fostering understanding and unity among diverse communities. Through food, we can embrace and appreciate the richness of our cultural differences. It strengthens the bonds that make us all human.

Cover image credits: Pincode