After the very trendy, very hip DLF Mall of India, that is Noida’s latest go-to place, we have yet another mall now, in the region. What’s interesting is that this mall is built on a much smaller scale and houses only restaurants, coffee shops, a salon, gym, a play zone and a daily needs store. Midsize or smaller than your average mall needn’t be a downer, is the message we get.
Because, as Director/Partner of Starling, Siddhant Sharma tells me, “We are not looking for the aam junta to frequent this mall; we want regular, discerning, well travelled customers, who are looking for a certain quality in their mall experience. They can be just people from the neighbourhood vicinity that want to visit our mall on a daily basis.” So for those in the surrounding area, which is dotted with housing societies for miles ahead, it can spell convenience when they shop for their daily needs, get a cup of coffee or eat lunch, get their hair done or a spot of gymming, as the kids hang out in the play zone. “That is the idea and our mall should be able to provide that. That’s what we are looking to do,” adds Sharma who’s not just an entrepreneur but also plays the guitar and strums his stuff at some live shows at the outlets in the mall.
It was primarily this idea to just be a haunt for regular premium clientele that motivated their decision to not have a movie hall or any clothes brands in their mall, unlike most others. “Footfalls are good only if they can be managed. With our focus largely on eateries, we feel we can manage to maintain the mall better,” he adds. And you can find all the big brands here, in terms of food outlets. Along with parking area in front of the mall and more parking spaces and accessibility to disabled people being worked upon, what I felt was its biggest USP was its strategic location, right in the heart of the Noida Expressway, in the middle of a large market area. It’s really the only mall you get to see here, for miles ahead.
When I visited the place some weeks ago, to have a coffee and waffles at my kids favourite cafe Theo’s, a lot of things were still being sorted out. But on my next visit, to the Barista Diner and then the Brown Crunch Cafe, opposite the Gold Gym, it was a smooth experience. Things have settled down and the mall is now fully functional. And like me, if you are forever hunting for places that open early morning, this is the best bet because of the cafes where you can hang around for hours. But it’s definitely not for those roadside Romeos with their glitzy halves who want to hang around, like they do in most malls, doing nothing, just hanging around!
The entire mall has been designed in such a way that there is no loitering space. No side benches to sit around, unless you want to have a meal in which case you go directly to the restaurants or catch a cuppa and do your solitary work on your Ipad or whatever or maybe just read on your Kindle, at the cafes there. It’s all open air from every side and each floor has a good mix of eating joints. From the famous bakery/cafe Theo’s to the first of its kind in Noida, the Barista Diner which serves not just coffee but full meals prepared from scratch, then the ever-popular Cafe Delhi Heights, south Indian joints like Swagath, Sagar Ratna, Indian food biggie Punjab Grill, Chinese joint Big Wong, rooftop dining at the Alchemy bar, to name just a few that have set up shop there.
Starling mall also has a consumer retail supermarket called Easy Day which has a presence of 523 stores across 12 states in India. In the health section, they have the reputed Gold’s Gym where one can avail of special offers like couple specific packages tailored to meet individual requirements. And just opposite this gym is the Brown Crunch cafe with its plethora of health drinks, juices, smoothies and low sugar/no sugar eats that you may need to stock on after a vigorous workout. And then of course to meet your beauty and hair needs, just zip by the newest Toni& Guy salon here.
Sharma furthermore says, “For any family that wants to eat out and also let the children amuse themselves, a kid play zone is simply a must and at Starling, there’s something called Tingaland with bright cheery colours, safely padded floors and a very hygienic play place with a lot of attendants and a waiting area for parents. So far, we have seen kids just love the play area.” Tingaland also has many other activities in the pipeline such as wall climbing, zip line, trampoline, ball shooter, 70-degree drop slide, role play, night camps, amphitheatre, storytelling sessions, educational workshops, and a cafe for food and drink and also to host birthday parties.
Do go, check it out for yourself!
Address: The Starling Retail Noida
Plot No 1, Hazipur, Sector 104, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201304
STARLING SUPPORT SERVICES
J-26, Sector-18, Noida 201301