Service with a Style
The next time you are looking for a true-blue wok, one that can breathe energy into a stir-fry, consider heading for Lajpat Nagar. No, not to Central Market, which is said to supply everything from elephants to sewing needles. Yes, you can get almost everything there, but the versatile round-bottomed cooking utensil that can make quick work of even oodles of noodles is best bought from The Butler, the ‘hotel super market’.
It’s a trifle difficult to find and you may have to go a few times up and down the long and winding road before you spot the nondescript shop that sits in a basement, sandwiched between offices and a mithai store, not far from the Lajpat Nagar railway crossing.
But the goodies inside, much like Alladin’s cave treasures, make the quest worthwhile. It’s not just about woks, there are also coloured cut glasses that you see in Khan Market restaurants, copper French fry baskets that can go from flame to fame, silicon cup cake moulds with teeny-weeny saucers, and wooden plates that put you in mind of an asparagus and chicken carbonara.
Sagar Deepak Sachdeva plays Alladin. His father Ashok Kumar Sachdeva started the store in 1973. Back then, it was called Sai Sales and focused on gifting for corporates. In time, hotels became the key clients and Sachdeva started supplying them with linen and tableware sourced from local manufacturers. Sagar joined his father in 1992. “It was a great time.
Sagar Deepak Sachdeva plays Alladin. His father Ashok Kumar Sachdeva started the store in 1973. Back then, it was called Sai Sales and focused on gifting for corporates. In time, hotels became the key clients and Sachdeva started supplying them with linen and tableware sourced from local manufacturers. Sagar joined his father in 1992. “It was a great time. New hotels and restaurants, particularly QSRs (quick service restaurants, such as McDonald’s and Subway) were opening around the country. Everyone needed things, fun things,” reminisces Sagar. Realising that local players couldn’t meet the enhanced needs of their clients, the Sachdevas started importing equipment, like baking moulds, knives and serving dishes, from Germany, Italy and the US.
In 1994, they decided to change the name of the company. “Sai Sales no longer cut it. There we were, providing personalised service to guests. We wanted a name that reflected that attribute. ‘Butler’ said it all,” says Sagar.
As the years passed and exposure increased, customers’ desires changed. Entertainment patterns began shifting faster than the San Andreas fault. Everyone wanted their tables to look unique. Butler decide to plus the gap. For restaurants and hosts with a preference for kababs, it created platters with skewers. Differentiated ones for tangris, and tikkas. For cocktail dos, it designed salvers that could hold a wine bottle as well as half a dozen red and wine glasses. (No more trips to the crowded bar for refills!). It also got local potters to create tagines of different sizes for stews and meats.
Simultaneously, it increased its importer circle, and today, among other things, Butler can get you trays from Cambro, coffee machines from Pavoni Italia, a tomato press from Waring and flight paddles from Tomlinson. The offerings keep changing, especially the ones created from scratch by Butler. “Innovation is our USP. Once our product is copied, we just move on,” says Sagar.
Barbecue sets of varying sizes and small wooden cones for mini eats were in the store the last time I was at The Butler. Wonder what my next visit will throw up.
Location: C-196 Lajpat Nagar 1, New Delhi 110024
Phone: + 91 11 41718706
Courtesy: The Sunday Standard