On Friday, Priyanka Chopra Jonas announced the opening of her restaurant at the Flatiron district of New York. Applauding her team, she posted on Instagram: “What started as a simple craving for great Indian food has become this labour of love, and I can’t wait to welcome you all in, and for you to experience timeless India in the heart of NYC!...Hubby came up with the name at an early tasting with the team, as Sona means “gold,” and he had heard that word in India, well...A LOT, throughout our wedding!”
While Chopra has taken on the role of creative advisor, other members of the core team include New York-based Maneesh Goyal, David Rabin and chef Hari Nayak. Goyal is a serial entrepreneur who runs multiple marketing and brand consulting businesses, such as Pink Sparrow Scenic, 214 and Pineapple & Co. Rabin has been in the business of hospitality for over 25 years. Chef Hari Nayak is known for his global Indian food and comes with several years of professional experience of working in restaurants around the world—Alchemy in Bengaluru, Jhol in Bangkok, Masti in Dubai, Tandur in Tennese and now he helms the kitchen of SONA in New York.
Nayak considers the late chef Floyd Cardoz to be one of his early mentors who nurtured his dream of running a restaurant in New York. In the memory of Cardoz, who passed away last year due to Covid-19 related complications, the menu has a dish dedicated to him. It is a coconut clam broth, flavoured with kokum, served with red rice and named Floyd’s Goan Fish Curry. Other menu highlights include bone marrow korma, spiced with black pepper and served with appams, cashew lemon cream rezala accompanied by roomali roti and Priyanka Chopra-approved gol gappa shots with an option of vodka or tequila-infused stuffing. The art-deco elements of their interiors are evocative of the vintage charm of 1930s Mumbai.
The restaurant’s recipe for success involves contemporary Indian food, think kulcha styled like New York pizza, an ambitious celebrity pushing for publicity and hospitality entrepreneurs who tasted success in one of the world’s most competitive cities. This can mean only one thing—SONA is off to a good start.