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He is stylish, yet simple and serene. An MBA graduate and actor Abhiram Agarwal set out to pursue his passion for good food. “People say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Doesn’t it apply to women too? However, the food we consume these days is high on calories and fat, and affects our heart. So, does that mean we should kill our cravings for our favourite food?” Responding to this popular concern, he started a restaurant called Sante Spa Cuisine.
Fortunately, Abhiram found his soulmate in Sonakshi. They are two individuals with a common heart, mind and soul. A Pearl Academy postgraduate and NIFD graduate, Sonakshi supports her husband in managing the restaurant. The multi-faceted Abhiram and his lovely wife Sonakshi speak about food, life and their companionship.

Formative years
I am a Rajasthani. We migrated to Hyderabad long ago. Born and brought up here, I am a pakka Hyderabadi. I belong to a huge joint family where everyone is educated and well-established. I obtained an MBA degree from Symbiosis, Pune, pursued fashion designing and eventually turned to acting. Sheer passion for healthy food and interest to explore new frontiers made me start this unique restaurant Sante Spa Cuisine.

The first taste
I have always been a fitness freak, and believed in healthy eating. It has been my habit to search for healthy substitutes to our regular fare. I realised that the only place I could lay my hands on such meal was Subway. Once a friend, a Bollywood actor, took me to Sante Spa Cuisine in Pune. The restaurant broke the myth that healthy food could not be tasty and I simply fell in love with the concept. That very moment I decided that I must get this facility to our city. There were two reasons for it. The foremost, of course, was that I would have a healthy dining destination and the second one was that I should make good food accessible to all. So, I went ahead with this franchise.

Initial hiccups
I wanted the place to be quite accessible to the niche crowd as what we serve is high on the range. I found it tough to get a place that matched our needs and skilled manpower. Luckily, the parent company gave us three chefs who trained others.

The birth
We found the right spot which is well-connected to Jubilee Hills, Banjara Hills and Film Nagar. We had to re-work on the interiors.
I could manage to complete it within 35 days. We ran the place on demo mode for two months and tested waters before we opened it to the public.

Our motto is to satisfy all your cravings in a healthy way. All age groups have food constraints. But here be it pizza or desserts, they can go on guilt-free binge.

Unique concept
The launch took place nearly nine months ago. People often walk-in mistaking it for a spa and ask for the massage rooms. Of course, I say they are not too off the mark as spa means a rejuvenating spot and is there anything more rejuvenating than a tasty and healthy meal? The idea of this restaurant was to allow people to sit back, relax and rejuvenate. Hence, I chose earthy and subtle colours for the interiors and included chakras that create a positive vibe. We serve both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, use different kitchens and cutlery. There is nothing pre-battered or pre-cut as we start cooking only after the customer places the order and it takes 25 minutes to serve any dish except beverages. I have a big team to achieve this and have as many as 35 chefs work for us.

Fast food vs. leisure food
I don't make remark on other restaurants. They serve what they want to or can serve. Plush restaurants are fine to visit once in a while. But I have 70% of my clients dining with us every day. All I can say is that if someone wants good, healthy and tasty food, visit us. There are people who come here and wait patiently till their food is served. Need I say anything more? It is not a typical restaurant. We created an ambience which gives the feel of your own backyard where you can relax and have a homely meal. So, we tell people come in not with expectations but with time. I am here to serve good food & at any cost it shall not be compromised.

I am not a shrewd businessman.
I don't keep a check on what others do, instead I focus on improving myself. We believe in what we offer and it is for the consumers to choose. I always stick to the ideology with which I came into the field and refuse to compromise on our basic principles. There have been days when people have come and sat for hours without ordering anything. We allow them to sit, read & work, without disturbing them. I strongly believe that they will certainly order tomorrow, if not today.

Success story
The success of the concept should be credited to my wife. When we conceptualised Sante Spa Cuisine, my wife was pregnant. Yet, she participated in the planning. During one of her regular check-ups, her doctor said that the baby's growth was not good and that she might have to undergo medication or even surgery. The doctor changed her diet. That was when the tasting sessions started at Sante Spa Cuisine. She was eating everything and anything served here. After nearly four weeks, when she went for her checkup, the doctor was amazed to see that the baby's growth had improved perceptibly. The doctor was all praise for the nourishment she received. Now isn’t that a success?

Future plans
Let life surprise me. My only objective is to keep working, be nice and kind to people.

On a personal note
I am a simple person and wish to lead a simple, hassle-free and uncomplicated life. Life is a short script written by God. So let us play it well. Wealth and fame are just a mode of life. I love and worship my parents.
I love being occupied and feel sorry when people while away their time. If not working, I am either at the gym or swimming or travelling. I am a movie-buff and feel that movies have the power to stir your soul. I sleep for nearly five hours; rest of the time I am engaged in some work- be it watching motivational videos or reading books. I am afraid of sitting idle.

I used to fall in love easily and have had relationships that didn't work for varied reasons. When it comes to Sonakshi, it was a great going right from the word go. My parents chose a perfect partner for me.
The beauty of our relationship is we don’t have any expectations from each other. So, even the small things we do for each other make us happy. She is just like me- simple, uncomplicated and easy-going. She is my best friend and a perfect partner whether is at work or home. Our lovely daughter Nyra is our world. She is nine-month-old but you cannot believe the magic she has created in our lives.

Colour: Any dark shade
Cuisine: Chinese
Dessert: Tutty fruitty icecream
Holiday destination: Venice
Brand: Anything we can afford

I am a fashion designer and ran my own label in Jaipur - Silky Creation. We are married for six years now and it has been a beautiful and enriching experience. His simplicity and honesty floored me in the very first meeting itself. He is very emotional. He may look tough but extremely soft from within. We are best friends. Yes, our camaraderie is built over the years. We know each other like back of our hands. He gives me complete freedom. He has never confined me to the traditional-wife expectations.
I actively contribute to all his ventures. Our future plan is to create a sustainable lifestyle where all of them are run on auto pilot mode.

Car: Mercedes
Cuisine: Healthy food
Holiday destination: Loves travelling, so anywhere and everywhere
Dessert: Mud cake

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