When Kahani Social Group opens its first concept this spring, it promises to offer more than just a restaurant. Led by brothers Surpreet and Preet Paul Singh, the ambitious group talks about “unique social experiences” and “revolutionary culinary adventurers” with such enthusiasm that it’s hard not to get carried away – which is appropriate, as Kahani translates to “story”.
The Singhs’ hospitality background is rooted in hotels, with experience managing several properties in Texas, including the Crowne Plaza at The Woodlands and its adjoining restaurant, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse. Their new restaurant, Amrinais located nearby on a waterfront stretch of The Woodlands, a cozy suburb about 30 minutes north of downtown Houston.
Amrina means “princess” in Urdu, and the princess theme inspires the restaurant, from menu to decor. “The beauty of what we’re doing is that it’s not exactly an Indian restaurant,” the Singhs said in a joint statement. “We marry a bunch of different influences, many of which usually come from our ancestral backgrounds. This is one of the reasons we chose the name Amrina, because it really goes far beyond just being Indian.
To run the kitchen, the brothers have enlisted Jaspratap “Jassi” Bindra, who will serve as executive chef and managing partner. Bindra left Washington, D.C. for the role. While in the nation’s capital, he was the executive chef of the Punjab Grill, which received a positive review in the Washington Post and a nod of the Michelin Guide. General Manager Giorgio Ferrero, who previously worked for Smith & Wollensky and Amrina’s Italian neighbor Sorriso, will oversee the restaurant’s day-to-day operations and lead the wine program.
Amrina features a main dining room, cocktail bar, patio and 30-foot indoor-outdoor bar, as well as private and semi-private dining areas and a chef’s table located inside the open kitchen, where Bindra will serve guests and guide them through the menu itself.
“Amrina is like the first child in the group, so that makes it very special for us,” Bindra said. He teases a menu that blends traditional Indian dishes with modern elements and global ingredients to show how Indian cuisine has evolved over the years. A tapas bar will serve street food-style dishes, the a la carte menu focuses on comfort food – diners can expect new twists on classics like curries and kebabs – and the chef’s table and private dining room will offer tasting menus influenced by Indian royal style. food. Weekend parties will bring DJs and live entertainment for a higher energy feel.
“We hope customers will have a new experience with every visit,” Bindra said.
The restaurant is awash in warm jewel tones and gold embellishments, including metallic tableware. Uniforms are custom made and imported from India.
“Since we were young, hospitality has been ingrained in every aspect of our upbringing,” the Singhs said. “As we continued to grow within the company and began to travel the world, we realized there was a ton of opportunity in the luxury space.” It’s where they hope to make their mark, but they see luxury as more than jewelry and gold, saying their ultimate goal is to provide customers with experiences they can’t find elsewhere.
If all goes well, Amrina will be the first of many restaurants in the Kahani Social Group. The Singhs’ goal is to open several more restaurants across the United States — they also have their sights set on a few international destinations — always with a different story to tell.
“The next concept will probably be completely independent. That’s what makes this brand so fun.