Menus, movies, and the Mani mantra

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Jospephs Gate

SHEKAR MANI

RESTAURATEUR

Shekar Mani is finally taking the road less travelled having kept the entrepreneur in him under check for too long. A foodie and a movie buff, he spent his life working with big corporate companies in enviable posts but always wanting that little extra from life.

“I came from a middle-class Indian background. I followed the conventional path. Entrepreneurship is full time,” he says, laughing.

He is now indulging his passion for food by bringing Saravanaa Bhavan, or SB as he calls it, to Australian shores.

“Chefs are from India and we are bringing the product into the 21st century by focusing on opening restaurants in key areas.”

It is still quite an undertaking. “Every product needs tweaking for the Australian market. Our Unique selling point when it comes to this particular brand is that there are no refrigerators in the restaurant. Everything is made fresh and sold out each day.”

He came to Melbourne in 1991. “I lived in a great leafy suburb—Armadale—but to get Indian food, I had to drive out to Dandenong,” he says. So, introducing Indian food was a huge step forward for the city. His other passion too is taking off—his company Great Southern Ark Film Productions will soon release four Hollywood projects. So, it looks like the entrepreneur in him has been set free.

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