Foodies at Bandra Gymkhana! (First appeared in the DNA)

Foodies in Mumbai were in for a treat last weekend at the Bandra Gymkhana, when Small Fry Co. hosted a two-day food extravaganza, panning 40 food stalls, music, cooking demos by Gourmet It Up, and a 24-feet cocktail bar by Hipcask.

Insia Lacewalla, Founder, Small Fry Co., says, “This is the first time that Small Fry Co. has organised an event at Bandra Gymkhana; also the first time that we organised a two-day food festival.” ?Small Fry Co. curates experiences in the food and beverage space. Along with Paresh Chhabria, partner at Small Fry Co., the company taps into an underground food culture that is distinctive to cosmopolitan Mumbai. Lacewalla adds, “We have curated approximately 22 events this year and have bigger plans for next year. We want to make all kind of food accessible to anyone who loves to eat.”

We were particularly impressed with the way the event was set up, without a hint of chaos. Good seating and tables meant that you’re not carrying your food and trying to eat at the same time; ample dustbins to dispose plates and tissues and a space well-utilised to accommodate 40 stalls and live cooking demos by Chef Vikas of Sanchos and Chef Irfan of Sassy Spoon.

Chhabria also manages Between Breads, a sandwich house that serves American food. He says, “I heard some great stuff about BB at the fest. Fortunately, I have a lot of people who follow the BB stall from pop-up to pop-up. The queues just make you so happy.” He adds, “The biggest advantage of participating in food fests such as this is that you can experiment with different menus and test the waters. It also helps you connect with like-minded people.”

For those with a sweet tooth, there were stalls like The Dessert Invasion, Your Batter Half, The Mystery Box and a few more. We loved the edible chocolate soil from “Fat is Flavour” by Chef Pratik Kuckreja. “Edible soil is crystallised Belgian chocolate, flavoured and lined with a cake/fudge base. The rich texture of Belgian chocolate defines the flavour, which included Brown Velvet, Banana Bread with Almond Butter Chocolate, Chocolate Fudge, Davidoff Coffee and Toffee Caramel. The dessert is then set in handmade clay pots. The authenticity of eating the ‘soil’ is thus, kept intact.”

Estella Saldanha, a Bandra resident, said that she was particularly impressed with the Lime and Jaggery Chutney by Impossible Foods, which was not only tasty but also made use of good agricultural practices. Vivan Futehally, who owns Impossible Foods, says that their purpose and goal is to “bring and field test suitable yet cutting-edge agricultural technologies for India.” While we tasted the Tomato and Jaggery Chutney and Sourdough Bread with Cream Cheese, he spoke to us about heirloom and open-pollinated seeds and grafted plants. He also spoke about solar water pumps and solar cooling systems for farmers and SME’s in food and dairy processing.

For those who enjoy the food fare at Mohammed Ali Road, there was Rohan Mangalorkar from Pack-a-Pav, who is all set to bring tasty kebabs in ‘pavs’ to the suburbs. You can sink your teeth into juicy homemade Mutton Shammi Kebabs, Chicken Seekh Kebabs and vegetarian Shammi Kebabs sandwiched between the humble but flavoursome ‘ladi pav’.

After so much food, one can only say “Burp!” But wait, before we finish, we can’t but mention a fabulously refreshing drink that 8Food offered us. Aiden, the smallest member of the dna tasting team, loved the Lemongrass Ice Tea by 8Food. Based out of Kalanagar, Bandra (E), 8Food specialises in soups, salads, sandwiches and refreshing beverages!Why call his venture Pack-a-Pav? He explains, “It’s called Pack-a-Pav because I wanted a catchy name that would stick. A play on ‘maca pao’ too, some think. Also, it’s a visual name and open to interpretation. You can literally pack many things in a pav; it’s such a versatile bread!”

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