Residents of South Auckland in general and those of Papatoetoe in particular rejoiced when Bikanervala opened its branch in Hunters Corner on December 2, 2010, following the success of the maiden venture in Mt Roskill.
“We now have a place, not only for good food but also to meet and spend time with family and friends. And with a range of food items and sweets that can be taken away, the restaurant will also help us promote goodwill,” they said.
The Bikanervala Box of sweets has now become ubiquitous at marriages, birthday parties, opening ceremonies, apart from being a popular gift item while visiting homes and offices.
The branded sweet and savoury items are indubitably the most widely distributed gifts during Holi, Dassera, Diwali and other religious and social occasions in New Zealand.
In many ways, the opening of ‘Bikanervala’ at 23 Baker’s Place (off Kolmar Road) in Papatoetoe fulfilled the passion of the residents and visitors for a pure vegetarian restaurant. While Indians from India may be aware of the Restaurant chain, made popular by the purity of its products, New Zealand residents were exposed to the brand three years ago when the first dine-in and store was opened on 2, White Swan Road in Mt Roskill.
Since then, it has grown to become a veritable source of endearment to the Indian community and other ethnic groups.
Managing Director Ashok Sharma told us at the time of opening of the first branch that the owners of Bikanervala had decided to offer the franchise to him because they were convinced that the New Zealand operation would enhance the company’s corporate ideals and practices.
“We are proud to be the first franchise restaurant of Bikanervala outside Asia. Apart from high standards of quality and hygiene, our products are made available at incomparably low prices,” he said.
The Parent Company’s Delhi based Managing Director Shyam Sunder Aggarwal agreed, saying that the success of the brand in New Zealand was inspiring.
“We are encouraged to expand our presence in New Zealand,” he said, during his visit to Auckland to mark the opening of the Papatoetoe branch.
Mr Sharma said he was looking for suitable properties in suitable areas.
The ‘All Vegetarian Restaurant’ provides an ever-expanding range of Bengali, Tradition, Khova, Cold and Hot sweets at prices that are too sweet to be missed.
“Bikanervala is about quality and taste rather than money; in fact, we have maintained our prices low to enable diners and takeaway customers to indulge themselves in a tradition that is timeless,” Mr Aggarwal said.
He said the vast treasure of recipes of traditional Indian Sweets, Namkeens (savouries) and Spices, developed and perfected by the family’s earlier generations earned the owners of Bikanervala fame and fortune.
“Today the name is synonymous with quality and creativity in Indian sweets and snacks. We are now planning more outlets in various parts of the world.
“Every item is prepared to the highest standard of health and hygiene to ensure quality and presentation. While the food items are prepared in the restaurant after customers order them, sweets and snacks are made every day at an exclusive facility so that diners can relish their freshness and taste,” he said.
Goodwill & Friendship
Mr Sharma said sweets have always been promoters of goodwill and friendship and that they spelt richness of tradition, joy, love, affection, festivity, celebration and happiness.
“It has always been customary in India to welcome guests and celebrate occasions and arrival of new seasons serving and distributing sweets.
“Sweets continue to be a preferred favourite, chosen as a gift to convey greetings.
These time-honoured traditions led to the development of a vast spectrum of sweets from various regions of the country,” he said.
Mr Sharma said he tries to match the quality of ingredients and final products offered by Bikanervala in India.
“It is a challenge no doubt, but not difficult to encounter, given the fact that we have been able to recruit Indian talent.
“We have brought with us not only the name but also a treasure of traditional recipes perfected by the forefathers of the current owners of Bikanervala. These include exotic ingredients and experience in the art of making sweets and namkeens.”