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Word of Mouth: We reviewed chef Vicky Ratnani’s new delivery venture, and here’s what we think

Word of Mouth: We reviewed chef Vicky Ratnani’s new delivery venture, and here’s what we think
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In our latest drop, IFN’s in-house foodies take you through F&B’s best offerings, via Word of Mouth

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has made apparent, it is that dine-in is here to stay. From established delivery kitchens, getting a new lease of life - in the post-Covid world, which allowed them to resuscitate in the absence of dining-out options - to bigwigs of the industry revisiting their business strategies to venture into cloud kitchens and delivery models, this is a space that is surely having its moment in the sun.

It is therefore not surprising that, now, well-known TV personality and chef Vicky Ratnani is testing the waters with his latest, The Speakeasy Kitchen. Based out of Pali Hill Bandra, this delivery experience specialises in offering curated meals, featuring dishes that change every week.

The Speakeasy Kitchen was an easy choice for us to kick off our new segment at IFN, Word of Mouth, where each month, in-house food police, Tarini Sood, Tarvene Kaur, and Suman Quazi check out newly opened F&B offerings, so you know what to lay your money on.

Whether it’s gourmet delivery joints (like this one), the most obscure of haunts or hottest pizza deliveries, we’ll be discovering it all, together, through Word of Mouth.

What: Chef Vicky Ratnani’s The Speakeasy Kitchen (TSK)

Dishes:

Jamaican Chicken Roast: This chicken roast came with rice and beans, sauteed corn, bell peppers and scallions, sweet potato fries and scotch bonnet pepper gravy.

Braised Sindhi Mutton Curry: The mutton curry was a Sindhi staple and came with a side of bugga chawal.

King Oyster Mushroom and Pulled Jackfruit Burger: This burger was accompanied by sage brioche, tomato confit, beet and cucumber Pickle, grilled onions, chipotle chilli ketchup and homemade crisps.

What worked:

One of the first things that strike you about the food at TSK is its hearty portions. The Jamaican roast, for instance, was sizable, even for a half portion and came with equally generous servings of sweet potato fries, bean rice and scotch bonnet pepper sauce. We enjoyed the nuanced flavours and precise cooking of the chicken, and the pleasantly unfamiliar pairing of corn with a roast. The sweet potato fries, too, were fun and even more so, for being more guilt-free than regular fries. What we liked about the king oyster mushroom and pulled jackfruit burger is how soft the buns were. The patty was flavourful and easy to bite into. In a city that so desperately needs more fun and innovative vegetarian fast food options, this burger was a breath of fresh air. We loved the perfectly cooked meat in the braised Sindhi mutton curry and the flavourful side of bugga chawal.

What didn’t work:

It is often said that you love and hate the same things, and in terms of the portions at TSK, we’d like to say that might be applicable. While we do love ourselves a big meal, we felt that a half roast could have come with the additional information of how many people it can serve, given that half of that (albeit delicious) roast was in fact, good for two. While the braised sindhi mutton curry was well done, we found it to be overly oily, which truth be told, dampened our spirits a little.

Verdict:

Now that we are more or less aware of how much we need to order, and considering TSK’s reasonable price points, we’re keen on trying out the stuff, one more time at the very least. The changing menu does even less to talk us out of that opinion. Even so, for Tarvene - who can be a little more discerning (read: possessive) about her desi nosh, the so-so mutton curry has been a serious dampener. We do, however, feel that with Tarini’s power of persuasion and Suman’s sheer appetite, that could change.

Watch this space as we take you through the hits and misses of the newest launches in the culinary industry.

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