The auspicious nine days have started, and soaking in the festivities, New Delhi-based home chef Papa’s Kitchen has come up with a delectable offer to tickle the taste buds of foodies across NCR. So if you are looking forward to relishing one-of-its-kind home-cooked vegetarian Bengali meals, time is now
The famed Austrian-American chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck once famously said that “cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes and colours, there are only so many flavours — it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.”
Puck’s quote sums up the USP of New Delhi-based home chef Papa’s Kitchen’s approach to Bengali meals whose food is crafted with passion, creativity and love.
The thought also resonates well with their customers who couldn’t agree more with it. Their USP lies in bringing soul to the heirloom recipes, reviving the age-old cooking traditions around Bengali foods, and taking a homesick Bong on a gastronomic journey, all from the comfort of their homes.
The two-month-old brand is a brainchild of quadruplet culinary warriors, who had always been passionate not just about eating but also dishing out Bengali foods for their friends and families here in the Capital.
Their day job was taxing, leaving little time to indulge in their passion, but the lockdown came along, and while the world halted, their idea of starting a business took off.
It’s that time of the year again — the season of festivities and feasting, fun and frolic. With COVID-19 throwing a spanner in the works, there’s no way one can go pandal hopping.
But Papa’s Kitchen is giving you ample reasons for grabbing a good meal from their wide range of Pujo Special dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Ahead of launching their pujo special menu, the people behind the home-grown venture took us through their culinary journey, the reason for choosing this name, and what sets their food apart from others.
And no prizes for guessing that it is the cooking from their heart that makes them look at the food in a whole new light.
Q: What’s in store for the festivities?
Papa’s Kitchen (PK): We are all set to ring in the season of festivals – Navratri and Durga Puja – with a thoughtfully curated vegetarian fare.
And though we are a weekend kitchen, operational for three days from Friday to Sunday, we will be open all days during the festival season. It starts from October 17 to October 25.
Just give us order a day in advance, and we will reach with the food anywhere in Delhi, Noida, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon.
Our Pujo Special menu is all vegetarian. Some of these are Papa’s secret recipes, and some are signature dishes that most Bengalis grew up eating on special occasions.
But the non-vegetarian foodie friends needn’t lose heart. Our elaborate non-vegetarian menu remains as it is. So let’s say Jai Mata Di and begin the season of feasting on Bengali foods.
Q: How did you get into this business of cooking and serving Bengali food?
PK: Cooking has been a stress buster for us. We love to call guests and treat them with delicacies. The exercise kept us on our toes during the weekends before the lockdown happened. We were toying with the idea for a long time.
During the lockdown, we thought why not get into the food business and share our delicacies with a wider range of food buddies. Lockdown helped us sort out logistical issues.
We launched Papa’s Kitchen on August 14 this year.
Bengali food is rich and versatile and has been influenced by different cuisines from around the world over the years. We have been in Delhi for the last six-seven years, and we have realised that people here really love Bengali food, especially fish.
We get a lot of requests for certain typical Bengali delicacies which at this point are not on our menu. We have managed to oblige them so far, and the feedback has been encouraging.
WE ARE GLAD to see this home-grown brand grow from strength to strength.
Q: The story behind the brand’s name?
PK: We were toying with many names and then settled for Papa’s Kitchen as our main chef happens to be a papa.
Q: How has been the experience so far?
PK: The experience has been overwhelming. People have called in and requested for dishes that are off the menu. We have obliged them and got an excellent feedback.
This way, we have introduced many dishes much earlier than we thought we would.
Q: What is the menu like?
PK: The menu has Bengali dishes, some forgotten and not often tried out recipes from colonial Bengal, which have been passed on from generations in our household.
In vegetarian, we have Lucchi, Chola-r Dal, Alu-r Dam, Shukto (a distinctly bitter stew made with vegetables), Chana-r Dalna (homemade cottage cheese dumplings made in thick gravy), Dhoka-r Dalna (fried chana dal cakes in rich gravy), etc.
In the non-vegetarian menu, we have a variety of dishes which are not commonly served in restaurants. Bhekti Fillet Dry Masala, Mutton Bhuna, Mutton Ra Ra and Chicken Dak Bungalow to name a few. We have specials also that we change every week.
Q: And could you please take us through the process?
PK: We take booking a day in advance and accept orders throughout the week. We rely on social media to connect with the outside world.
We post our updates and reviews there. Our customers reach out to us via WhatsApp, Call or Facebook messenger. They place the order and share their location with us.
We prefer self pick-up, Swiggy Genie, WeFast and Lalamove. We accept payment through PayTM, UPI and GooglePay.
Q: What is the response to this venture?
PK: So far, our response has been great. We make everything fresh, and that’s our main plus point. The best compliment has been our food has reminded many of home sweet home. What more could we ask for?
Q: Any interesting anecdote from your culinary journey that you would like to share with our readers?
PK: Once our Shukto reminded a foodie friend of her grandmother. She wrote on our Facebook page that her three-year-old son munched on our Posto-r Bora (poppy seed fritters) and Chana-r Dalna.
Also, another thing that gives us high are repeat orders, and it is a regular feature with us; it proves that our food tugs at the customers heartstrings.
Our most-sought-after non-vegetarian item is mutton. It made a food critic say, “It was one of the best one ordered in months. The mutton was succulent, mildly flavoured, cost-effective, cooked at home, and delicious.”
The hard-to-please critic now strongly recommends it. Ditto for our Chicken Chaap, typical Kolkata dish, that reminded another friend of her good old Kolkata days.
Another food buddy calls Katla Kaliya made by us as the best fish he has ever tasted. The list is endless and proves that food is where our heart is and that alone has made our food find favour with our customers here in Delhi.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
PK: It is too early for us. We prefer to be a weekend kitchen, and we are taking one week at a time. We want to work hard and surprise our food buddies with more delicacies.
To quote Anton Ego in Ratatouille: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” We remain in pursuit of that greatness.
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Shillpi is a New Delhi-based freelance journalist, who mostly writes to while away her time and, at times, to explore the devilry of her idle mind, on anything and everything that tickles her grey matter.