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Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Scouting for spaces?

mumbai Updated: Jun 13, 2018 13:56 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Malavika Sangghvi

Dharshan Munidasa (right) outside the former Indigo premises.

Mumbai’s ever-bubbling food pot appears to be simmering again. This time with news about Sri Lankan chef Dharshan Munidasa, whose ‘Ministry of Crab’, ‘Nihonbashi’ and ‘Kaema Sutra’ (the last which he co-owns with Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandes), have found a fan following amongst Indian foodies. Apparently, the amiable chef, who looks and behaves like a Zen monk was in town recently, and had dropped in for a recce to the erstwhile Indigo restaurant premises, behind the Taj, which got the rumour mills buzzing.

Could it be that the property, newly acquired by F&B entrepreneur Ramit Mittal (a nephew of Sunil Mittal), will now house the ‘Ministry of Crab’? After all, the restaurant has long been scouting for a suitable locale in Mumbai. So, we posed the query to Mittal himself. “Look, it’s all in the early stages,” he said warily. “And I cannot confirm anything for a few weeks, but I can reveal ‘Ministry of Crab’ will not be housed in the old Indigo precincts. The rest will be revealed in a bit and you will be the first to know,” he said, sounding every bit like a film star about to reveal his imminent marriage plans.

Be that as it may, going by circumstantial evidence of Munidasa’s visit and Mittal’s emphatic no to Ministry of Crab’s first Indian outpost opening in the famous Colaba location, that leaves only two options: either Japanese fine dining Nihonbashi or Kaema Sutra will be coming soon to Colaba, and given that Jacqueline seems to have her plate full with another restaurant, launching in Bandra soon, by the power of deductive logic, that means city foodies could most likely look forward to dining at Munidasa’s upmarket (and pricey) fine dining Japanese restaurant soon. And, even as we go to press, there’s confirmation that we sniffed out a scoop: Rahul Akerker tweeted the following message to Dharshan yesterday, and said: “Enjoy your new home. Treat her well... she’ll be lucky for you. Welcome to Mumbai Chef!” which further confirms the theory. Will Wasabi finally get some competition?

TRUE LIES

It is an indication of the fractious times we live in, that practically, all of the city’s leading social clubs, those institutions that were created with the prime purpose of bringing people together for congeniality, conviviality and geniality, are riven with dissent and disagreement. Open the newspapers on any given day and you will find reports of factionalism, litigation and conflict within these hallowed institutions. The latest scandal to emerge from one such club in SoBo is just par for the course. It concerns a highly regarded individual, someone, who has held many titles and responsibilities earlier, and who is the scion of a prosperous and well-heeled business clan, who has had his membership revoked by the club, recently. The reason? The octogenarian had been allegedly caught cheating in a card game! “It’s the talk of the town,” says a source. “Either it was at rummy or bridge, but he was caught red-handed by other members and blackballed!” Any truth in these allegations or just another instance of club factionalism and skull-duggery? Watch this space.

MODERN DICTIONARY

Fugitive (noun): A high-profile Indian, who is wanted for serious economic offences in his home country, who resides in great style and unparalleled comfort in a million-dollar home, in the poshest neighbourhoods of London.

ON MEETING IRIS

Ritu Beri (right) with Iris Apfel.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art had held an exhibition showcasing her legendary style more than a decade ago; The Museum of Lifestyle and Fashion History is creating a building that will house a dedicated gallery of her clothes and accessories; she has run a wildly successful textile business with her husband and her restoration work at the White House has covered the tenure of nine US presidents! No surprises then, that designer and fashionista Ritu Beri had meeting the 96-year-old NYC-based style icon, Iris Apfel, on her bucket list, for as long as she could remember. “I have loved and followed her for years,” she said, about finally meeting her idol, this Sunday in NYC, adding, “I am a big believer that when you want something real bad, the universe conspires to make it happen.” She said, “So, this time, while I was in New York and heard she was going to be at an exclusive trade event, I managed, against all odds, to get to her there.”

What was it like coming face-to-face with her idol? “What an incredible woman. It was a moment for me!” said the delighted designer, when we spoke on Monday. “She is as incredible in person, though a bit physically frail, she appeared mentally very alert and asked me a lot, about what I do, the kind of clothes I design, how long have I been in the business,” she said about the author of the book ‘The Accidental Icon’, who is a veritable New York institution. “When I told her, I had bought her book on Amazon in India, she was thrilled and wanted to know how I liked it,” said a delighted Beri. “So, I bought another one and asked her to sign it.” ‘Many Many thanks for taking the trouble to get to me. I am awfully indebted,’ the feisty nonagenarian had written. “I was over-whelmed by her humility and warmth,” said Beri.

First Published: Jun 13, 2018 13:54 IST