The walls of Arya Razi’s Hackney restaurant are lined with colourful artwork, tapping into many of the Mexican-influenced themes that inspired its concept.
Whist Mexican at its core, the restaurant and service style is reflective of what we see with so many Persian restaurant and food business owners - it oozes the warmth and charm our culture is renowned for.
Alongside all things Mexican, Arya also takes inspiration from the flavours and ingredients used in other cuisines – including Iran, where his parents were born, and where he spent much of his childhood.
Despite Arya having run Caldera for almost four years, his love for food and hospitality began from a very early age.
His father has been involved in the hospitality industry for well over 30 years, opening his first restaurant in 1997.
“Visiting my father’s restaurant and seeing people come in and leave happy was etched in my mind,” he said. “I was attracted to the idea of creating a restaurant which will make people happy.”
Yet Arya’s journey started on a very different path. After moving to London in 2008 to study mathematics at university, he began a career in finance.
“Although I enjoyed it, I am very much a people’s person – and hospitality is an industry where it’s all about the people. Being Persian, we have a real sense of what hospitality should be about.”
The idea for Caldera came about in 2015 when, as a huge Mexican food-lover, Arya noticed that many of the Mexican eateries he came across were quick-service restaurants.
As a long-term admirer of JKS restaurants – in particular, Dishoom – Arya wanted to create a space that was modern and contemporary for guests to dine in.
And so, Caldera was born.
Arya continues to expand his business, recently launching a series of regular live music and mezcal tasting events. He hopes to open a Persian restaurant in the future.