Chef Ritu Dalmia
Chef Ritu Dalmia

Get a taste of Diva in Mumbai

Over the coming weekend, the Capital's celebrity chef, Ritu Dalmia, will present a five-course menu at the House of Tales gallery in Kala Ghoda

A dinner at the Thalassa pop-up at the Olive Bar & Kitchen in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, last November is quite high up on my list of the best restaurant meals of 2013 (read more about it here: HUNGER GAMES: Greek Chic). I was especially happy with the Goa-based Greek taverna’s temporary set-up at the Race Course because I had read about the eatery years ago but had never managed to visit it on my holidays to the sunny state (mostly in the off-season).

While the city did get a few other pop-up-style lunches and dinners last year, including meals by New York-based chef Jehangir Mehta and Chennai-based Iranian restaurateur Nasrin Karimi of Shiraz Art Café, the fad is far from reaching fever pitch.


In 2010, food entrepreneur Mangal Dalal set up Desi Restaurant Week Events Pvt. Ltd, the company that also organizes the Citibank Chef’s Table Week, along with restaurateur Nachiket Shetye, who owns the all-day restaurant 36 Oak & Barley at Kemps Corner in Mumbai. In September 2012, the business partners founded Cellar Door Hospitality Pvt. Ltd, a culinary consulting and events firm, to expand their repertoire of unique dining experiences across the country.

“This event is not about taking over an existing restaurant and putting out a one-page guest menu," says Dalal. “We’ve been working with chef Ritu Dalmia and her team for months to make sure that the House of Tales in Mumbai will be like Diva for three days." For the transformation, Dalal says, the cookery-show host, cookbook author and restaurateur will be accompanied by a 10- to 12-member team, including chefs, front-of-the-house staff and the business manager from her Delhi restaurant.

Wild mushroom risotto
Wild mushroom risotto

“With Cellar Door Kitchen, we want to concentrate on showcasing talented chefs, from India and abroad who don’t always get a platform to show off their skills. At the same time, our pop-up events will involve chefs diners don’t normally have access to," says Dalal. “While we want to focus on the lesser-known names in the future, we are starting with chef Ritu Dalmia to establish the concept of a pop-up first."

Cellar Door Kitchen with Chef Ritu Dalmia, lunch and dinner on 17 January and lunch on 18 and 19 January, at the House of Tales, 21, VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda. The five-course menu is priced at 2,000, and 2,750 with wine, excluding taxes. The seating is limited to 40. Click here for online reservations and details.

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