Ishaan, a visionary entrepreneur, ventured into Mumbai’s thriving F&B industry at the age of 22. His inspiration for 145, a prominent establishment in the heart of Mumbai, blossomed while he shadowed his father, Sudheer Bahl, a seasoned restaurateur. Ishaan’s journey began in 2015, soon after he returned to Mumbai with an Honors degree from the prestigious USC Marshall School of Business.
With a firm commitment to follow in his father’s footsteps, Ishaan sought to infuse the industry with a fresh millennial perspective. His core idea was to create a space that resonated with people of his generation, a place that exuded coolness. Drawing from his experiences as a student in Los Angeles and his time as an intern at Seasonal Analyst, Merrill Lynch in Chicago, Ishaan’s vision took shape. In 2015, 145 replaced Cheval at Kala Ghoda, becoming a canvas for Ishaan to craft a casual neighborhood café and bar, offering a relaxed, global dining and drinking experience.
For his inaugural venture, he collaborated with a prominent design team that transformed the space into a unique, modern environment that remains a captivating focal point. He keenly understood the fine line between authenticity and acceptance. The result was a menu that featured innovations like Tiramisu cookie dough shots, LA-style yard-long glasses for drinks, and smoked cocktails, adding an aspirational dimension. Ishaan introduced items like animal-style fries, inspired by the famous LA burger and fries joint In-N-Out, as well as his versions of Quesorito and burritos, bunny chow, and a red velvet cupcake ice-cream burger.
Fast forward to today, Ishaan, now 30, serves as the CEO of Risa Hospitality, where he spearheads Marketing, Finance, and Expansion, overseeing five 145 outlets. His approach to market research is organic and intuitive, making him a keen listener and a calm worker. 145 has evolved from just being the “bar next door” to a space that millennials consider their own. It exudes a unique coolness where regulars have their favorite tables and corners.
Ishaan is continually upgrading the 145 experience by bringing in innovation and new dishes every six months. His vision encompasses nurturing fresh concepts that align with the ever-changing landscape. He recognizes the significance of creating a well-thought approach in today’s casual culture. For Ishaan, creating a casual-chic space entails meticulous attention to cutlery, wall decor, and the friendly and prompt hospitality of the staff. He caters to a diverse clientele, understanding that what a 25-year-old seeks from a space differs from a 35-year-old.
Ishaan’s keen eye for trends and his adaptable nature have been instrumental in keeping 145 at the forefront of the F&B scene. He has fostered a high-performing team with an impressive 97 percent staff retention rate over six years, and he has implemented HR policies to ensure a secure work environment.
Ishaan’s expansion plans are ambitious. In addition to opening in Kolkata this year, he plans to extend 145 to Delhi, Bangalore, Goa, Pune, and several other cities. He envisions a Special Bakery Cloud Kitchen as well as an Asian Fine Dine Restaurant & Bar in the near future. Ishaan’s journey is intrinsically linked to the pulse of the millennials, and 145 continues to grow alongside them.
In his own words, Ishaan believes in working with passion, perseverance, and precision—a true testament to his millennial spirit.