EXCLUSIVE: Abandoned Mumbai mill turns experimental cooking space
A MasterChef-size kitchen with six state-of-the-art cooking stations, a bakery, a dry storeroom, and a 40-seater dining area. Could this be Mumbai’s hottest new culinary destination?
A dusty lane leads us to Devidayal Compound in Byculla. A lone, abandoned rail track runs across the road, serving as a reminder of the brisk activity the neighbourhood witnessed during the good old days. A massive wrought-iron gate welcomes us into the compound.
The 11-acre industrial space is home to many warehouses, one of which is Gala no 13, now known as Magazine Street Kitchen. A large wooden entrance leads us into what looks like a MasterChef kitchen, with six state-of-the-art cooking stations, a bakery, a dry storeroom, and a 40-seater dining area set up with classy wooden chairs and tables. The space can be used by budding chefs to showcase their talent, by established chefs to conduct experimental dinners or even for food shoots.
Started by the trio behind The Table — Gauri Devidayal, Jay Yousuf and Chef Alex Sanchez — Magazine Street Kitchen has been a work-in-progress for the past two years. “My grandfather used to have a steel manufacturing unit here,” says Devidayal. “I think they used to melt ore here,” adds Sanchez, pointing to the dining area, where we are seated.
Through large glass panes, one can see the massive kitchen below, probably the biggest in the city. The space is named after the street it’s located at — Magazine Street, a reference to the firearms industry that took shape in the ’30s and ’40s. It was later renamed as Darukhana and, till date, is known by that name.
Neighbourhood as the muse
Inspired by kitchen rental spaces (where chefs can rent the kitchen for a day) and cooking studios in the West, Magazine Street Kitchen will function as many things all at once. “It can be used by chefs to come and experiment, host intimate dinners, for underground food events or just to test their recipes,” says Yousuf. The bakery, which will be called as the Magazine Street Baking Company, will roll out over 30 types of artisanal breads.
The space will witness one of its first few events later this month with Cellar Door Hospitality’s Food with Benefits. At this charity dinner, Sanchez and other city-based chefs will cook a meal for guests and the proceeds will go to an NGO. “I liked the fact that the space has a minimalistic look. It will turn out to be a great venue to conduct food pop-ups,” says Nachiket Shetye of Cellar Door Hospitality, a company that organises food-based events.
Apart from providing an offbeat venue for food-related events, the trio is also excited to bring focus back to Byculla, a forgotten neighbourhood. “This neighbourhood has a gorgeous heritage aspect to it. We want to celebrate that, which is why we decided to retain its name,” adds Devidayal. The other advantage is that the area is accessible from busy centres like Lower Parel and Colaba. “Byculla has the potential to be another Lower Parel. It just needs a few people to come in and take that risk,” adds Yousuf, who is working on another F&B project in a 10,000 sq ft warehouse in the same compound. “It won’t necessarily be a restaurant,” he says, dropping a hint.
Where: Magazine Street Kitchen
Gala No 13, Devidayal Compound, Gupta Mills Estate, Reay Road