Pop goes the meal
Pop-up restaurants and supper clubs making space for culinary experiments
When Gauri Devidayal conceptualised Magazine St Kitchen three years ago, it was both a risk and a high-cost investment. She transformed the old mill space in Byculla’s Gupta Mills Estate into a state-of-the-art kitchen. In the time since it opened in 2016, the space has hosted some of the finest international names, including Victor Scargle (Napa Valley) and Cristian Borchi (Tuscany) as guest chefs. But Magazine St Kitchen, a sister establishment of Colaba’s The Table, isn’t your usual restaurant; the space does special tables occasionally and doubles as a bakery. Yet, it has come to be known for the experimental dining they offer.
The year 2017 witnessed several such spaces flourish, such as The Danda Food Project in Khar, a 12-seater “restaurant” run out of home. The cuisine on offer and the chef preparing the meal changes. Riyaaz Amlani’s passion project with chef Gresham Fernandes, The Gypsy Kitchen, is very much in sync with its title. A pop-up restaurant, mostly held at Bandra’s iconic St Jude bakery space now owned by Amlani, it was started as a means of documenting traditional recipes and allowing homemakers in the city a means to supplement their income.
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Devidayal explains that such spaces, without the constraints of a conventional restaurant weighing down on the chefs, allows for experimentation. “With the right amount of space, equipment and team, it undoubtedly creates a natural environment for experimenting and creativity. Think of it as an incubator for chefs who want to try out new dishes with a limited number of people without the restrictions of a specific cuisine that might be presented by a restaurant. We’ve had chefs who have done Indian to Sichuan to Japanese to Burmese to modern American food at Magazine St Kitchen,” she says. Devidayal also points out that with the boom on the F&B, this trend, which allows chefs to showcase their food beyond their regular audience, is only likely to boom.
Even restaurants are seeing merit in the concept. Lower Parel’s The Bombay Canteen, which focusses on Indian regional cuisine, recently brought on board Bengaluru Oota Company for a 15-day pop-up offering Mangalorean and Gowda cuisines.
Across the shore
New restaurants, burgeoning art scene and the upcoming ro-ro car ferry service are likely to turn Alibaug into a hot weekend destination
Goa will always be a Mumbaikar’s favourite beach destination in India but for the times one has needed a short break, Alibaug has been a mere ferry ride away. The quiet beaches, much cleaner than Mumbai’s, the old-world charm of the place that remains untouched by development and its proximity to Mumbai have made Alibaug a popular destination where many from Mumbai’s swish set now own second homes.
Over the last two years, ever since work on a new jetty began at Mandwa, Alibaug has witnessed some sprucing up. A bunch of restaurants overlooking the waters opened next to the jetty in 2017. The art scene, too, has been burgeoning, with the renovation of Karmarkar Museum and the launch of Shalini Sawhney’s The Guild Art Gallery and Dashrath Patel Museum. Renowned interior designer Pinakin Patel has also launched a new lifestyle store in Alibaug, where he moved over a decade ago. There’s also Bohemyan Blue, a quaint property that offers its guests an experience of camping and a taste of fine Mediterranean and Konkani cuisines. The number of speed boat services have increased in the last few years as well. Sawhney points out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Alibaug likely to have placed the sleepy beach town also on the political map.
Alibaug’s image is set to get a further thrust in 2018 once the ro-ro ferry service takes off. Scheduled to begin by April, it will allow cars to be ferried over from Mumbai to Alibaug via the sea route. “Things for Alibaug are looking up. I only hope this also doesn’t act as an invitation to developers who may turn this town into a concrete mess,” says Sawhney on a cautionary note.
Jazz by the bay
Mumbai gets set to welcome jazz legend John McLaughlin once again
Mumbai has had a rich history of jazz music. The stretch from Marine Drive to Fountain was once lined with jazz clubs and legends like Dave Brubeck are known to have swung by the city. The scene faded in 1980s but the fans still thrive. And 2018 will give them a good reason to rejoice. Jazz legend John McLaughlin will be performing in the city at the Royal Opera House on February 8 and 9 with his band. The artist was last here in 2015.
The renovated Royal Opera House and the new property inside, The Quarter, both hold a promise of reviving the city’s live music scene in 2018. A number of renowned international artists apart from McLaughlin will perform in the space, such as Amp Fiddler. Also on the itinerary is UK-based Joss Stone, who rose to fame in 2003 with her album The Soul Sessions, perhaps brought on board by A R Rahman, her bandmate at SuperHeavy. Rahman will be performing at the space again, a jazz set on January 19 and a Sufi night on January 20. And all this in the first two months of the new year.
Space For The Young
Set to be launched in 2018, the Children’s Museum and Activity Centre at CSMVS promises to serve as a dedicated space for the young residents’ educational initiatives
In a city starved of child-friendly spaces, the opening of a new culture and activity space for young residents will be most welcome. The long-awaited Children’s Museum and Activity Centre announced last year by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalya (CSMVS) will be launched in 2018. With the necessary permissions from municipal authorities finally in place, the groundbreaking ceremony will be announced shortly.
The new wing, a brainchild of Director General Sabyasachi Mukherjee, is funded by the Bank of America and will serve as a dedicated space for children’s educational initiatives. “Although children constitute a significant proportion of the city’s demographic, Mumbai does not offer many avenues to children for cultural recreation,” says Mukherjee, adding, “London has four well-established children’s museums while New York has six. Mumbai has none. Our attempt is to provide a dedicate space for cultural engagement in an inclusive and scrutiny-free environment for children.”
The Children’s Museum has been designed by Rahul Mehrotra Architects and will cover about 5,000 square feet, of which 3,500 square feet will serve as gallery and studio space. Also attached to the space will be a 100-seat amphitheatre and a terrace garden for open-air activities. The Children’s Museum will primarily display a collection of toys — including traditional toys which most children no longer have access to — as well as some objects from the museum’s core collections such as miniature paintings, coins, natural history and archaeological collections. There will also be periodic theme-based exhibitions organised in the space. The CSMVS already has a number of educational activities for children planned in any given year, and more will be added once the new space opens.
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