The Rice of Bengaluru’s Nightlife

The King of Bangalore's nightlife and iconic restaurateur, Desmond Rice's journey is loaded with adventure and inspiration. 

After Bobby became a major silver screen hit in the 70s and the legendary actor Rishi Kapur visited Bengaluru, this man had taken him on a ride to Mount Carmel College to introduce him to some pretty girls. 

He has had quite an amusing moment with actor Vinod Khanna at a bar when the latter tried to befriend his former girlfriend.

He has been a crucial part of exciting love stories of other Bollywood celebrities too. 

Desmond with his wife, Dhanalakshmi
Desmond with his wife, Dhanalakshmi

Now in his silver years,  he is a golf addict accompanying his “super hot” (in his own words)  golf champion 61-year-old wife Dhanalakshmi in various golf tournaments. 

Meet Desmond Rice, the iconic restaurateur and founder of Tycoons - the famous restaurant that’s etched in the hearts of all old Bengalureans. Rice, also known as the ruler of the nightlife in Bengaluru, shared his stunning journey with Silver Talkies. 

Rice’s journey as a restaurateur started in the year 1971. “I got into the industry out of sheer interest and a little bit of my education in hotel management. In the 70s, Bangalore was a small town with very few eateries and fine dining places. There was a place called Blue Fox on MG Road and I joined them in the month of January in 1971 and was training under a manager called Upal. It happened that he got a job with the Ashoka Group of Hotel very soon and I took his place and moved up the ladder from there. I stayed with them for a good 9 to 10 years. At that time Blue Fox was the best restaurant in the south of Bangalore and was the go to place for food and entertainment among the celebrities from Bollywood industry, Hollywood industry, government and top notch companies,” he recollects. 

Gradually, other fine dining restaurants came up in the next 15 years. Rice moved on to the Bangalore International and served as the general manager there for two years. Next, he joined hands with Prince’s - an upmarket fine dining restaurant by actor Sanjeev Kumar and his partner Amar Lulla in 1982. 

Prince’s had a disco attached to it called the Knockout - one of the firsts of its kind at that time and also a hotel of about 40 - 50 rooms known as the Black Pearl Hotel. These are names that evoke nostalgia for every old Bengalurean and that they would like to revisit. 

“In 1987 I started a small little place  of my own called the Little Chef on the main street of a residential area opposite to the famous Frank Anthony Public School in Bangalore. That gave me the boost to start my own entrepreneurship. I was in my 40s at that time. I obviously kept my job and my venture was taken care of by my wife,” says Rice.


Life went on and in 1989, Rice planned to open a bigger restaurant along with a friend of his and that’s how the legendary Tycoons was born. “We made sure we got the best men in the production side, that is the kitchen and we were well known for our food.”

From 89 to 2004, Tycoons continued to bag awards for their exceptional service and became a star in the hospitality sector until it had to be shut down as per government regulations as it was in the basement. 

“We had to look out for something new and I went ahead on my own this time. In 2005 I launched a brand after my name - Desmond in the Central Business District area of Bangalore which successfully ran for the next decade up to January, 2015. After that I took a break for 4 to 5 months. Meanwhile my son too was in hospitality and was doing events. He wanted to open up restro bars and he brought the idea to me. He told me that restro bars are the future of the hospitality industry and we launched our venture called the Hangover in Indiranagar in 2015 and it has been successful from the very first day,” says Rice. 

Together, Rice and his son and partners also launched Rices Obliquity, an app in the event planning and nightlife space in Bengaluru that has got the millennials grooving.  

It was during the pandemic when Rice’s career as a restaurateur and owner of Tycoons got featured on social media and he became viral. Soon after that he decided to make some changes and revive the Tycoons brand. In 2020, after the lockdown was lifted, he relaunched Tycoons bringing back the charm of old Bangalore to the millennials’ tech city.


“My old mates in the production who have been working with me for the last 32 years and were there with the old Tycoons are still there and hence, nothing has changed. The quality of the continental and pan Asian food that we serve remains the same. Everybody knows their job well and everything is running smoothly now,” he says. 

His son’s company has also expanded under his guidance and they have kept adding new names to their chain - Bodmaash in UB City, Cafe Noir, Mirage and One Night In Bangkok, a party place for the 40+. “When they want to shake a leg, groove to the retro songs, spend some cheerful time with the like minded friends and get back to their youth, they visit One Night In Bangkok and have a gala time,” says Rice. 

The spirited septuagenarian basks in the glory of his extensive career as a restaurateur and says with a good laugh, “I am 50+ and I have spent 50 years in hospitality. I am married to the same young wife who’s an amazing golfer, a great mother and has better business sense than me. We have two beautiful sons. I look forward to spending the rest of my life in happiness, keeping myself active, gymming, walking, sporting, good golfing and among good friends.”

And may we add, ensuring Bengaluru has a jolly good time.

About the author

Author image

Sreemoyee Chatterjee

Sreemoyee Chatterjee is the content head of Silver Talkies. A curious and talkative storyteller, she loves spending time with and working for the older adults and getting the best for them. Sreemoyee has served as a correspondent and on-field reporter for 5 years. A classical dancer and thespian by passion, she spends her leisure by writing poetry, scripts for stage theatres and listening to countryside music.

Post a comment


Insert title here

Contact Us