Many restaurants worldwide are opening on the platform of a single dish. Why did you choose omelettes?
I had a simple thought that an egg or even an omelette is a basic breakfast in any part of the world. We started Raju Omlet at a time when the myth about eggs being high in cholesterol was gradually fading. Dubai has a lot of Indians and Pakistanis, and as many as 200 other nationalities. There is a large number of Asians in this country, and we wanted to satisfy their palate through a variety of omelettes.
The idea was never to serve only omelettes — we had a plan in place to evolve our menu so that Raju Omlet would become an all-day dining spot, which it is today. We offer a variety of dishes that include vegetables, cottage cheese (paneer), chicken and lamb. We serve biryanis too.
Your father told Gulf News last year that he doesn’t eat eggs, so it’s interesting that you and him managed to build a successful brand on the back of an egg-based dish. What are your thoughts on this?
I eat eggs. Eggs are very healthy and I am sure everybody has realised the benefits of including eggs in their diets.
My father, co-founder Rajiv Meherish, is vegetarian by birth. However, by virtue of being in the business, we insist he has a taste every time we launch a new dish and he obliges.
If you consider Raju Omlet a successful brand, my father and I would attribute this primarily to our customers and staff. Because everything is freshly prepared we are able to cater to tastes of different nationalities.
Being able to effectively adjust spice levels has made us popular across the board. We have Emiratis, Middle Eastern Arabs, western expats and, among Asians, we have Filipinos, Koreans and others from the Far East visiting Raju Omlet occasionally.
The 2017 case study by Harvard Business Review got us a lot of recognition as it was a first in the UAE for a local restaurant and it set the motion for us.
What’s the best combination you would recommend for first-time visitors?
We sell all dishes on our menu regularly, as people have different tastes and want to try new dishes every time they come to Raju Omlet.
My personal favourites are Eggs Kejriwal and the Power Omlet for breakfast, and Egg Lazeez for lunch or dinner.
The menu has evolved. We started off with only nine dishes and today we have almost 95. When Raju Omlet opened, it was considered mainly a breakfast and a lunch joint. While we had a plan in place to convert Raju Omlet into an all-day dining eatery, continuous feedback from our customers accelerated this process.
Where would you like to see Raju Omlet in the future?
We consider ourselves a small brand trying to establish our footprint in the UAE. We currently have five outlets, the latest in Bay Avenue, Business Bay. Our focus is to grow the brand locally before we consider expanding abroad.
What kind of eggs do you source?
Raju Omlet believes in serving only the freshest ingredients and hence we buy our eggs directly from a farm in the UAE (Al Jazira Poultry Farm). Eggs laid are delivered to all our outlets the same day or maximum the next day.