Contributed by Guest Blogger Rakesh Kumar
YUMMRAJ is yet to visit Chef’s Alcove
Restaurant website: Chef’s Alcove
Indore Food Surprise: Chef’s Alcove
When you want to eat, and that too for the love of food and not merely want to go to a place to be seen, this is the place you should go to.
Tables are placed in the front garden where you are most likely to find someone reading a novel while sipping a coffee, a small kid playing catch-me-if-you-can with his dad.
It seems just like your own place – inviting and making you feel comfortable in each and every way possible.
I always have this feeling when I go to a very good eatery, that this is what I would like to create when I do plunge into the restaurant business. But this place has come closest to my idea of starting something on a very small scale and not even bothering to scale at all!
Owned by an ex-Chef, this joint is in their family home and hence whenever you go there, it’s like being their guests and feel at home.
It’s located on a hillock, so driving during a monsoon itself was an experience – and you have to explore to reach the cosy little tiny thing tucked somewhere there!
Me and my bunch of boys, who always look forward to some great food destination whenever they are with me, were wondering whether this time we are getting it right at all! Especially as you go past some famous destinations like Red Mashaal. Also, the choice was difficult as we could never venture out in Indore beyond the conventional Malwa Cuisine and some really remarkable non-veg joints (which I will cover later).
We did land there at last and it is simply put – A Home.
On the ground floor entrance you have a desk where you will find the owner sitting and adjacent to him is an open kitchen with the Chef standing religiously behind his ‘workstation’. The menu is for the day and it is handwritten on a black board hanging on two walls. You are supposed to pick up small ‘slates’ (if you remember your playgroup days slate and chalk) and different colour chalks.
Picking the menu itself was an experience. I was continuously interacting with the Chef on each and every element of the dish before writing on the slate. He was pleased to offer his views and opinion while deeply engrossed in cooking for other waiting customers.
We did opt for Thai and Italian dish for the dinner and waited outside for the food to arrive. My entire experience right from the time I walked in to the time I finished placing the order, I had a feeling that the food should be good. As I do believe that food and music – the two require passion, dedication and selfless devotion.
The pricing was absolutely fair and since you can watch the cooking live (totally your choice), you know the quality of the ingredient and also the hygiene factor. Here I would warn you that it is exactly like your home! Don’t expect clinical precision and order in the way things are lying over there all around. It’s just the way you will find a kitchen at home when most of the men cook…no offence here. I mean, it will surely be cleaned at the end!
Once the food is ready, the Chef pulls the bell string from his place and the bell placed outside then draws all ears and eyes to the main entrance, from where you will be asked to come and pick-up the tray. It’s self service, although you have people helping you with your needs. Food is not served only when all your order is complete and ready. You will be called as and when the individual order is ready and this is what really serves your purpose of having a good, delicious food with minimum transit time between the Chef’s hand and your belly! Many good dishes lose the aroma lying inside the kitchen waiting for its other partner to accompany them on the journey to a customer’s table.
The taste – would not call it divine, exemplary, out-of-the-world and sink it in superlatives. I would rather tell you that everything we ordered was good, fresh ingredients were used and it was cooked with lots of passion.
The taste was true to the respective region and not Indianised. We could eat our food in complete silence and you would not crave for space in this part of the town and also the restaurant. Only a true foodie would drive all the way to this place and that makes the Chef strive for excellence which I am sure was minimum expectation for me!
I do plan to visit the place again soon and try out more variety as I was hard pressed with time.
After my return I did find the place listed on Facebook too and hence its easy now to scroll through the menu of the day in advance. Remember: this place is closed on Mondays. Not posting the map and addresses as FB has good details and maps. Do let me know if you’re lost.
And last but not the least….I do have to return to see my future plan in broad daylight too and also talk in depth with my prospective mentors/consultants!