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Kitchen Garden by Suzette’s seventh outpost in Colaba does away with plastic and adds wine and beer to their offering

Since 2016, Kitchen Garden by Suzette has grown to six outlets across the city. Whether you’ve stopped by for a salad or a juice, there’s always been an abject focus on health. So for their seventh opening, the restaurant has embraced alcohol — even if its just wine and beer. “The idea is to show you that you can eat healthy at any point of the day,” says Jeremie Sabbagh, one of the three founders behind the brand along with Pierre Labail and Antonia Achache. “We can’t promote alcohol as a way of healthy life. But in France, wine is a part of our culture. We cannot deny that. So, we want to remove the notion that wine is bad.” Sabbagh then goes on to explain that ultimately, it’s all about moderation and portion control when it comes to food and drink.

Colaba Reimagined

Of course, the fact that the restaurant is replacing beloved Colaba dive-bar Alps, is one reason – since the beer and wine license was already in place. Those looking for the bar’s faded interiors will be in for a surprise. The space has been transformed under Antonia Achache’s capable eyes with Chor Bazaar finds rubbing shoulders alongside custom terrazzo flooring, cane-backed sofas and of course Instagram friendly greenery. The aesthetic elevates the mass appeal of Kitchen Garden to something more boutique. Gone is the menu behind the counter, giving the space a cleaner feel that encourages lingering, though you’re still expected to serve yourself if you’re just grabbing a bite. The beers are bottled only and feature a local selection (White Owl, Goa Brewing Company and Kingfisher) alongside imported finds like Asahi and Leffe to name just two.

There are menu additions too — including a host of new tapas to accompany the alcohol — which true to the menu focuses on ingredients over specific cuisines. So, there are crunchy chicken wings (soaked in sake and then baked) or a very Instagrammable whole head of cauliflower with tahini, which we’re sure will become the calling card of the new outlet. The attention to the food is the same as with previous outlets, with recipes being perfected over time. As Sabbagh explains about the chicken wings, the sake is used to retain the moisture in the chicken. There’s also a cheese platter made up of only local options from companies like Spotted Cow Fromagerie and Goloka Farms, that is sure to please turophiles.

While some might find the wine bar contradictory to the brand’s ethos, it’s worth noting that Kala Ghoda Wine Bar, with food served for adjoining Kala Ghoda Café has set a template for the mixing of carefully sourced ingredients and well-curated wine lists. At Kitchen Garden by Suzette, the founders hope to lead drinkers to discover wines from abroad, especially French finds that they’re pricing between ₹500 and ₹600 rupees a glass.

Looking Ahead

It’s often forgotten that Kitchen Garden, as its name includes, is a part of Suzette. The trio won’t comment on plans for the brand, but they do lay out a future for their business. “We’ll see, I think the next step for us opening more outlets in Mumbai,” says Sabbagh. “Developing our own the line of packaged products that we will sell in our outlets and maybe in some select distribution points, and then working on the online part [for retail].”

The company is also working to go plastic-free from its take away packaging to in-store purchases. The next time you buy a pot-de-crème to take home or even a bottle of cold-pressed juice, everything will be in glass dishes that can be added to your crockery collection. Kitchen Garden co-partner Labail explains that it will take longer for all the other outlets to move to sustainable packaging but with the new launch the Colaba outpost has done away with all of it. Is there anything they’ve learned through this journey? The chain is known for sourcing from Offerings Farm, Zama Organics and Taru Naturals to name three suppliers. Copartner, Achache makes a plea for a local organic chicken farmer to reach out, as that’s the one ingredient they cannot source. She says, “When demand will grow, prices will go down. I think it’s a good business.”

Kitchen Garden, Colaba; time: 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 a.m.; phone: 0222041160

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 4:54:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/sustainability/article30404843.ece

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