Wine & Dine
Textual content and Images by Mallika Chandra.
I wasn’t all the time this keenly observant of the meals being eaten at my dad and mom’ dwelling from a cultural perspective. However that modified in early 2021 once I left Mumbai to stay on my companion’s farm in Gujarat. This meant that every time I visited town, I discovered myself observing, with a novel insider-outsider view, the alterations in my household’s consuming habits whereas additionally being extra attuned to town’s shifting meals tradition at giant.
Most of our meals has all the time been cooked at dwelling, and on weekends, we regularly ate out or ordered in. Through the pandemic-induced lockdown, our meals swung from easy reduce fruit and one-pot dinners to extravagant feasts on particular events relying on our morale that day. As restrictions eased, we’d step out (masked) to bask in artisanal espresso and baked items, with the intention to help our favorite cafes and bakeries. The reminiscence of selecting up a selection of brews from Kala Ghoda Cafe for our first socially distanced gathering with household associates after lockdown is as recent because the croissants purchased from Kitchen Backyard By Suzette to go along with it.
After an entire washout of a yr in 2020, many eating places discovered themselves overbooked when 2021 grew to become the yr of “revenge eating”. By 2022, eateries have been so full that I keep in mind struggling to make reservations even on weekdays. Meals author and buddy, Sneha Mehta, describes her reminiscence of that point: “Eating was not simply in regards to the act…but additionally marked a broader societal craving that wanted fulfilling.” Whereas away on the farm, I’d sustain with new restaurant openings through Instagram and pattern just a few on every go to.
I quickly began noticing the range of take-out containers in our fridge from varied meals ordered in. It grew to become ritualistic for my sister to pop her head into my bed room and supply me first dibs of the night time’s leftovers, for lunch. Was I hungry sufficient to “polish off” the prawn dumplings with burnt garlic fried rice or would one-and-a-half slices of pepperoni pizza satiate me? Whereas I loved all of those, what struck me most in regards to the meals was that it was of an unexpectedly prime quality, devoid of the greasy swimming pools of oil and thus minus the regrets that, till now, had usually adopted meals that have been ordered in. I began visiting dwelling with an inventory of locations to order from, somewhat than to eat out at.
By far, the factor that drew me in the direction of a majority of the cloud kitchens that I quickly grew to incessantly order from is that they’re chef-driven. Not solely do they put a face to an in any other case obscure operation on their social media platforms — cloud kitchens have been initially known as darkish kitchens or ghost kitchens for a purpose — however additionally they deliberately convey the robust set of values that they’re pushed by. Cooks Anushka Malkani and Nariman Abdygapparov of Masa Bakery in Juhu have actively shared their pleasure in sourcing natural substances from inside India and creatively lowering meals wastage. Chef Rehan Mehta of the Colaba-based East seventh Pizza & Deli advocates for a greater work-life stability for his staff when itemizing job alternatives. In each circumstances, they provide cleaner variations of notoriously indulgent meals.
Chef Kartikeya Ratan and her companion Rishabh Doshi of Bandra-based Kiki & Pastor resisted the previous behavior that institutions have of dousing dishes with yellow cheese sauce to make means for a extra genuine tackle Mexican meals. Curiously, they prioritise freshness over authenticity any day. Chef Kunal Makhija of Mahim-based Arabisque values freshness too — the hummus is made in small batches all through the day and all his breads are freshly baked to order. Chef Divesh Aswani began Commis Station at Mahim with the concept of offering meals which might be difficult or time-consuming to make — like recent pasta or completely fermented kimchi — thus bringing a chef-level high quality and flavour into home-cooked meals.
Specializing in flavour and realizing that folks really feel good whereas consuming their meals is necessary to them. Ratan makes no claims about specialising in Mexican meals; she loves consuming it with associates and that’s the format she presents it in. Mehta named his firm Very Informal Meals in defiance of high-quality eating. Makhija is purposeful about sustaining an open channel of communication and setting expectations together with his clients with the intention to get constructive suggestions.
Maintaining with the demand for scrumptious meals that not solely offers a way of consolation but additionally satisfies the rising concern round consuming higher comes naturally to this new crop of chef-driven cloud kitchens. Every of them has discovered the best way to give their clientele precisely what they need in a healthful method.
Verve speaks to those younger culinary skills about their enterprises.
On the hyperlinks under, learn how these chef-owners are altering the notion round cloud kitchens in Mumbai.
Kunal Makhija, Arabisque
Rehan Mehta, East seventh Pizza & Deli
Kartikeya Ratan & Rishabh Doshi, Kiki & Pastor
Divesh Aswani, Commis Station
Anushka Malkani and Nariman Abdygapparov, Masa Bakery