Competition amongst restaurants today is reaching cut throat proportions and owners are looking for new and innovative avenues to garner bigger and bigger slices of the customer pie. However, there are certain parameters with which owners can go that far and no further – novel menus, refurbished ambience, crockery, cutlery, quality of food and online services. All these have today been stretched to breaking point and the restaurant industry is truly facing testing times. The only way out then is to go off the beaten track to lure in diners with experiments that can only be termed as the product of highly creative minds.
One such effort is really paying off in the UK. Consider this scenario at Hurwundeki in London – you walk into a restaurant, have your full of the most delicious food that you can possibly hope for and then have a shave and a haircut before leaving the premises, fresh and full of energy.
Going at this rate, things are bound to become more sophisticated in future. Waiting rooms at beauty salons will in all probability be turned into gourmet restaurants where you can have the finest of cuisines before going through with your scheduled appointment with the beautician. Here too the salons in sync with the class of the restaurant will be highly sophisticated, having the best laser and IPL beauty treatment machines for skin rejuvenation and permanent hair removal procedures. What today seems to be Utopian will in all probability be common in future.
Coming back to Hurundeki, owner Ki Chul, all of 46 years old says that this is London’s and Britain’s only hairdresser-cum-restaurant and more than 100 customers opt for a 15 minute haircut with many more partaking of the food, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner or simply a cup of steaming freshly brewed coffee. Rates for the salon time are quite reasonable, £9 for men and £14 for women haircut.
A visit to Hurundeki will definitely be an enlightening experience for the first timer. The front part of the premises houses the restaurant. The food which is basically Korean is reasonably priced and easy on the pocket with starters being less than £5 and the main courses under £8. You get a choice of bibimbap, crisp fried dumplings, blanched or pickled vegetables, marinated beef and fat pork belly with garlic, kimchi and spicy doenjang sauce. After you have finished, walk through an archway for a hip haircut even though the barbershop chairs are of 1950 vintage.
Surprised about this combo? But Ki explains things and puts them in the proper perspective on why he opted for this strange yet highly innovative experiment. “I love both, I care about both, and I’m good at both. There is a deeper affinity: good cooking and good hairdressing, both demand a true understanding of your raw materials and a mastery of technique: they’re about transforming ingredients, through a highly skilled process. They’re both also about aesthetics; presentation matters.”
Finally, what exactly is Hurwundeki? It means “hair” in the dialect of Jeju Island, South Korea.