This lockdown has been brutal. It was hard to begin with but truth be told it is just brutal. It’s been tough on business both small and large and brands are just really struggling. People are either scared to order in or can’t afford to indulge and when they do decide to splurge they’re left utterly disappointed.
The prime minister has been actively asking us to go #VocalForLocal and endorse home grown brands and as far as the food industry goes I think it’s the best thing to do. While a lot of brands have been consistent through these tough times I find that it’s the smaller home grown brands, the folks who work out of their homes or their small professional kitchens that are providing some excellent products.
I’ve decided to do a roundup of some of my favourites. Each brand/ person I’ve talked about is people that I’ve ordered from or have sampled their products because they were sent to me either for feedback or as a gift. They are all brands I actively endorse and want to encourage because their quality and taste is exemplary. Hope you enjoy reading and by the end, hopefully you’ll want to order from some of them if not all 🙂
Delz Kitchen – If there was ever a King of Pork title then Delzad Avari would proudly wear that crown. A young and supremely talented chef who worked in the Caribbean for years has started his own delivery kitchen and specializes in weekly menus that feature his signature BBQ Pulled Pork, Pork chops and the silkiest creamiest mashed potatoes to accompany the meat. Delzad is actually an ace in the kitchen and can whip up anything (just follow his YouTube channel so see what he’s capable of) but his menus feature set items that are his best. If you want some good Parsi Dhansak then give him a call.
Follow him on instagram – https://www.instagram.com/chef_delz/
Follow his Youtube channel here – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNiIdfyV7-FmLqgCFT6auBw
Nicole Mody – I think that Nicole is one of the most talented people I know. Curator and director of multiple festivals and food events, Wildlife enthusiast and budding naturalist, keen bird watcher, amateur photographer and gourmet extraordinaire. What started out as a fun activity during the lock down has morphed into a full fledged business and you know it’s successful when people just can’t stop ordering. Nicole is without a doubt the most fantastic cook, author of not one but two cookbooks and is an extremely passionate baker. She makes a ton of great stuff but currently she’s retailing the most decadent sourdough cookies, the chocolate ones are magnificent and the cutest warm banana breads. While both are smashing if you ask me, it’s her lemon cheesecake that’s the real winner. Follow her on Insta to keep up with all the bakes and if you don’t believe me, please go to her cookie highlight and watch the world gush over how fabulous they are. After all the proof is in the pudding, I mean cookie 😉
The cover featured image for this post is also one of Nicole’s cheesecakes.
Follow Nicole On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/nicolemody/
Hungry Cat Kitchen – There are very few people who really understand how to cook good food. Subhashree (Bonny) Basu is one of them. Her catering kitchen is home to all sorts of deliciousness but my dear Bonny is the QUEEN of pies and if Delzad is the king of pork then Bonny is most certainly the Empress. (I have a great fondness for both of them and their food and they’ve even collaborated together). Her seafood pie is my favourite but mum still raves about her signature pork pie with apples and celery. Come Xmas time she does an insane pudding but till then her pork curries, the Sheppard’s pie and some fantastic parsi style cutlets all have my seal of approval. Bonny has weekly menus so tune into her insta page ( or mine ) to keep updated.
Follow Bonny On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hungrycatkitchen/
Warm Delights – It would seem unimaginable to run a successful baking business these days without any social media presence but Lata Menon has quietly managed to carve a niche for herself and has very loyal customers. No instagram page, no facebook page, no shout outs on social media, no sending samples to influencers or hiring fancy PR firms to help push her brand and yet she’s managed to make anyone whose tried her cakes fall in love with them. Once is just not enough. I’m a huge fan and I’ve recommended her cakes to so many folks and not a single person hasn’t sung her praise. The brownies are her signature ( I’ve been eating them for years ) and the Oreo brownies are even better. My absolute favourite is the Orange and Apricot tea cake it’s just the most stunning cake and as soon as the lockdown ends & I can head to Pune I’m going to order her Tres Leches cake (seriously no one makes any!)
Warm Delights is based in Pune and since she’s not on social media I’d say give her a call, order some goodies and tell her I said she’s awesome 😉
Contact Lata Menon at +91 9822118227
Sliders & Fries/Sage & Olio/Sugar Over Dose – I think I’ve known Amal ever since I started blogging which is now more than 8 years ago and in that time this firecracker has managed to launch not one but 3 different brands. When I first met Amal she was the baker extraordinaire at Sugar Over Dose and boy oh boy are her sweet treats fabulous specially those custom made cakes. Now Amal is who I associate every time I think of burgers and fries or I should say sliders and fries which is her second venture. The sliders are excellent and I’d recommend the Mutton Cheeseburger or the Spicy Chicken Burger. She’s also launched a catering company called Sage & Olio and curates these fabulous pop up menus. The last one was a beautiful Korean pop up menu that she delivered all over the city.
Follow Amal on Instagram for all her updates and new menus here – https://www.instagram.com/amalfarooque/
Celebrations Fine Confections – I’m completely and shamelessly biased when it comes to Celebrations Fine Confections because I am a huge fan of Mehernosh Khajotia the genius behind this brand. Mehernosh is an absolute food lover and appreciates dishes just like I would. He’s possibly the most talented baker I have come across and I do not know a single person who hasn’t liked his desserts. His chocoholic cake is to die for, insane amounts of chocolate and loaded with alcohol. The Orange chocolate cake is a personal favourite it’s a dream I tell you no one has made a cake like that. There is no one in the city not even the fanciest of patisseries and celebrity bakers that make a Christmas Pud Cake like he does. I think that is my most favorite cake out of everything he does, It’s really remarkable you must try it during the festive season. He’s got a huge list of bakes but I’d say just call him, ask him to help you pick the ideal cake he’s so good at that. Try some of his signature chocolates too, oh and his tea cakes !
Follow Mehernosh On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/celebrationsfc/
Little Treats – I never thought flavoured butter could be exciting. Butter yes, I adore butter and I think it’s great while cooking and at the most I infuse a wee bit of garlic or chilli flakes into it. One look at Lil Treats instagram page and boy oh boy did I realise I was depriving myself of pure genius. I’ve sampled the thecha butter which is just full of oomph, the mushroom butter which has that wonderful umami flavour and perfect for pasta or even just smeared on toast but the latest additions of miso butter and the seasonal peach butter have really piqued my interest. Who knew a dentist could make such delightful Little Treats 😉
Follow Dr Sunita On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/littletreats_/
Kookie Cake Crumble – I discovered Kookie Cake Crumble during this lock-down and I’m thrilled I did because for someone to be able to make me enjoy a really loaded chocolate dessert, now that’s true talent ! ( I don’t care for chocolate, very few Chocolate dessert get my seal of approval )Shweta runs this lovely bakery and has a host of items on her menu but I tried her signature Chocolate Cake Crumble with Ganache with bits of praline in it for a little extra crunch and that I would recommend in a heartbeat. She also baked a regular chocolate cake for my best friends birthday and it was divine. Call her for all your cake orders and follow Shweta on Instagram at – https://www.instagram.com/kookie_cake_crumble/
Ttttapas – If you’re one to indulge in dips and cheese then Ttttapas is where you need to order from. Shilpa creates the prettiest platters that I think make for perfect gifts or even a treat for yourself. She offers a combination of her dips and cream cheese along with crackers, fruit and nuts to nibble on. All her products are made at home from scratch and that delightful cream cheese hasn’t a drop of cream in it. I’d recommend the Muhammra with a black olive tapenade, gosh that might be my favourite along with the sweet onion cream cheese or even the truffle cream cheese. There’s plenty more to choose from but these are my recommendations.
Follow Shilpa On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ttttapas/
Jeena Billimoria – Jeena is one of the most beautiful souls I’ve had the good fortune of knowing and the perfect food critic. It really takes someone who adores food to be able to churn out good stuff. Jeena has recently taken the plunge and decided to retail her fabulous brownies. I tell you, they are rich indulgent and worth every calorie. She’s always posting fun recipes on her instagram, I don’t know if she’s got plans to expand (follow her and ask her) but currently the brownies and her Madelines are selling like hot cakes (no pun intended).
Follow Jeena On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/jeena_j_billimoria/
The Nutcracker – This tiny cafe started out as a lil nook and has now blossomed into three outlets across the city. I don’t usually wax lyricals about a vegetarian or should I say eggatarian joint but I’m so fond of the food at this restaurant that it really deserves the praise. I’m particularly fond of their warm Lebanese sandwich but the deconstructed version or their mezze platter is just as good. Their pancakes are beautifully soft and generously sized. Their eggs are divine, particularly the Turkish Eggs. Lots of sweet stuff too but I like their lemon tart and signature 7 layer cookie the best. I’ve had food delivered home to me during this lockdown and unlike some other places where people I know ordered from, it was perfect. They also retail their sauces and dips and if you enjoy spice then please get their harissa paste it’s so exquisite I can’t begin to explain, I put it in EVERYTHING.
Follow The Nutcracker On Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thenutcrackermumbai/
Disclaimer: Not a single brand featured here has approached me for a feature or asked for anything in return. All thoughts, ideas, impressions are strictly mine J