Vibrancy of the Mediterranean- El Patron

Written by Naila Binte Zakaria

The popularity of Mediterranean cuisine is spread worldwide, with scrumptious culinary offerings from countries like Italy, France, Morocco, Lebanon and Spain to name a few. El Patron, located in the heart of Banani is an interpretation of the Mediterranean region through a fine dining service. In a way, it is a love letter to the art, cuisine and culture of the places surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.

El Patron is the brainchild of Mishal Karim, a veteran investor and entrepreneur, with extensive experience in the entertainment and food industry. In recent years, he has set up successful businesses such as Chows, Chawallah, and Gourmet Food Company- one of Dhaka’s first delivery-only restaurants. Other partners of El Patron include Nabila Rahman, Faisal Asghar, Guillaume Ragu, Masud Karim, Razor Capital (Private Equity and Venture Capital firm) and Ahad Bhai.

El Patron means ‘The boss’ in Spanish. As the restaurant strives to be the best Mediterranean restaurant in Bangladesh, the name sparked in the mind of the owners. Moreover, many of the partners are big fans of the Netflix series, ‘Narcos’!

The restaurant is located in the fast-growing area of Banani, close to Road 11. It is an area well known for a plethora of restaurants and is easily accessible from other parts of the city. The proximity allows guests to pop over for a quick lunch from office or a leisurely dinner with friends and family.

El Patron’s dishes have their roots in the diverse cultures that have developed around the Mediterranean from Italy, Morocco, Lebanon and France. Each of these cultures has a cuisine that is bold, vibrant and has developed over thousands of years, borrowing inspiration from each other. Mishal Karim identified that establishing a chef team preparing continental cuisine was challenging. That is why The Gourmet Food Company was launched over a year before El Patron opened its doors to prepare the team for handling continental cuisine. At present, Executive Chef from Belgrade, Damjan Danilovic with his well trained local team of Chefs have mastered the art of Mediterranean cuisine, making each dish unique and scrumptious to titillate the taste buds.

The exquisite setup makes you believe that you are temporarily transported to a tranquil location, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

As the latest addition to Dhaka’s culinary landscape, El Patron offers a unique experience, focusing on elegance, exclusivity to elevate the senses. Its setting is inspired by the tranquillity of the ocean and the allure of a Moroccan courtyard. The exquisite aura makes you believe that you are temporarily transported to a tranquil location, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The ambience, considering one is sitting within an exquisite work of art, delivers a sense of excitement with a touch of glamour that resonates almost as soon as one enters the restaurant.

“El Patron is defined by its menu, the decor and the simplicity. Our main focus was to bring a fine dining experience to Dhaka unlike any other. We wanted to be able to transport our patrons to another place by creating a tranquil ambience and by bringing impeccable meals to the table”, says Mishal Karim.

The decor and ambience of the restaurant play as the key factor for its success. Mishal Karim designed the restaurant with an aim to make it stand out in the crowd. “I always have a hands-on approach when designing. In the case of El Patron, starting from the furniture to the subtle detailing in every corner was handled by me. Some of my partners gave me great advice and inspiration along the way”, says Mishal Karim. The result is a tastefully designed eatery that will leave anyone mesmerized. “El Patron will always have a special place in my heart because it is the one restaurant I designed literally from scratch”, he adds.

Elements from multiple Mediterranean countries were implemented in the design. Praetorian Guard (Caesar’s personal guard) can be viewed as one enters through the ground floor entrance of the restaurant.  A series of Greek goddess statues stand in front of a blue backdrop, exuding the mood of the calm Mediterranean ocean. “The Amalfi coast painted on the wall is a personal favourite as is the spectacular use of the Moroccan tiles inside the restaurant and outside the patio area”, says Mishal Karim. The outdoor patio is one of the most remarkable features of the restaurant, offering a beautiful outdoor dining space, completely encapsulated by greenery with a splash of colour from the Moroccan tiles. The vibrancy is calmed by the use of the while lion fountain. All the decorative accents were handpicked from various Mediterranean countries by the owner.

Dhaka is quickly gaining a reputation as a home for excellent food. The culinary landscape today is more varied than ever before. El Patron, with its carefully curated menu and exceptional decor is an exciting new addition to this scene, aiming to constantly evolve with the growing needs of the food and art lovers residing in Dhaka.

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Naila Binte Zakaria

Lifestyle/Art Journalist who revels in the joy of eating spicy ramen, painting and watching absurdist films.

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