The first thing that strikes you when you enter Counter Culture is the openness of the space—urging you to think beyond boundaries. A brilliant idea brought to life by Vishwaraj Mohan and Gonzo the Rottweiler, this pet-friendly, unpretentious restaurant is located in the suburb of Whitefield in Bangalore. Stepping out of his corporate framework, Vishwa strives towards a dream, blazing a trail for art and creativity in the hospitality sector.
Long before Counter Culture was born, Vishwa’s corporate journey took him through adventures in online business development to being a Business Head at Sportz Interactive, Mumbai. Soon, he left the city of dreams to pursue his own dream and headed back to Bangalore.
Vishwa’s interests— ranging from food, movies, and music to art and culture— made him foray into the hospitality industry and kick-start Counter Culture.
“For many of us cooped up in offices, constantly working against nerve-wracking deadlines, the ultimate dream is to shrug off the burden of routine and follow our passion—to be our own boss. It has been no different for me.
An engineer by qualification, I was never interested in following the popular paths of IT or biotech, considered the most lucrative options after an engineering degree.”
With a balanced combination of exposure to business and new-age technology coupled with artistic inclinations, his recent transformation into an entrepreneur brings creativity and excellence to the forefront, making Counter Culture a lot more than just a restaurant.
A refreshing change from the bustling crowds of Bangalore, this restaurant is the perfect reprieve for tired, office-going, PPT-pumping residents in the IT hub of India. This tastefully designed restaurant offers a wonderful escape from the daily grind of life.
It is perhaps ironic that a rundown factory representative of the industrial face of the garden city would make way for a space that brings sharp focus on ideas and thoughts, unleashing a creative mindset. Serving as a gentle reminder of the glorious past of this garden city.
From launching its own line of personalised merchandise to providing unprecedented daily dose of music and fun to visitors, Counter Culture has definitely carved a niche for itself. There is a dedicated effort towards showcasing talent and alternative ideas. Only a year old, this modest and remarkably clever restaurant has captured the hearts and minds of all Bangaloreans—young, old, and four-legged.
Set against the backdrop of chirping birds and whispering trees, this one of a kind restaurant has established itself as a great interactive platform for an array of exciting activities and pursuits.
Counter Culture hosted events like Seagrams 100 Pipers India Music Week and Bacardi NH7 weekend, headlined with performances by bands such as Indus Creed, Avial, Shaa’ir, Func and Something Relevant, to name a few, Counter Culture has emerged as one of the most highly recognised restaurants to host musical events in Bangalore.
However, there is a lot more to this place than music. Counter Culture also organises interesting workshops and events like Garden Kitchen Day (a festival that showcases ideas and products on organic living), as well as flea markets and electronic gigs by artists from around the globe.
There are regular workshops on painting, photography, and anything else that needs a creative outlet.
The cuisine is eclectic and often experimental, with intricate signature dishes. The most interesting part is that the menu changes every two weeks save a few favourites that have endured the test of time and palates. The restaurant has received the award for the ‘Best Contemporary Restaurant’ in Bangalore by Time Out Food Awards.
Most of the produce comes from in-house organic gardens, which is only one of the many commendable eco -friendly aspects of this place.
The décor and overall ambience captures the essence of an ‘out of the box’ experience at Counter Culture. A very spacious dining area consisting of canteen tables and benches, or simple round tables with metal chairs, keeps the space interactive and grunge.
The interesting graffiti behind a long bar table lined with comfortable bar stools highlights the creative framework of design. Encouraging artistic expression. For those that long for open spaces, the lawns also have seating areas where you can sit and enjoy an event or a meal, under the stars.
When asked if industrial design inspired the interiors, Vishwa says, “Not really. I would define it as basic and raw. That was the idea. Using rusted iron furniture, white and brown as a canvas, and creative expression on the walls.”
Counter Culture opted for raw minimalism to define an ethos that aims to focus on nature and creativity. Offering an escape from an otherwise cluttered lifestyle. One of the primary reasons why they have regular customers is because this atmosphere is something that most of us crave for in a big metro but rarely find.
When asked on how people get to know about the place, Vishwa proudly points out that their best marketing tool is “word of mouth.”
“The idea began with an impulse to do something interesting and alternative in my hometown. I couldn’t find interesting ‘non-glass’ commercial spaces in the city, and then I chanced upon a rundown factory, which we redesigned and now call ‘CounterCulture’.”