There is something exciting about tasting a classmates' lunch at school and finding a new favourite. For Shruti Chadha, it was kimbap—a mix of rice and tuna rolled in seaweed sheets. It was in the fifth standard that Chadha first tried this Korean delicacy, and its flavours remained with her. This core memory evolved into a supper club to bring the joy of the cuisine to Mumbaikars.
Chadha is a hotel management graduate and worked in sales and marketing in Goa. In early 2020, she shifted gears to go back to what she most loved— cooking. During the pandemic, Instagram trends blew up including the Korean technique of fermentation, and Chadha took notes.
“I came across kimchi and made a few batches using Korean ingredients such as gochugaru. The biggest encouragement came from those who had tasted authentic Korean food and placed repeat orders. They loved my kimchi. This is when I started cooking more Korean dishes and didn’t looked back,” Chadha tells Lounge.
In Mumbai, she came across different supper clubs, one that focused on Sichuan flavours and another on Singaporean dishes. They reminded her of childhood when her family would gather for a special Sunday meal. Chadha recounts, “My grandmother has been my inspiration. She would bring the entire family together for those Sunday meals. This is a beautiful memory that has stayed with me. My love for cooking and the desire to host people come from her.”
In January, she started the Zahvi supper club to familiarise people with Korean cuisine. “While I have always loved welcoming friends and family, hosting strangers is a different experience altogether. It’s so nice to see people come as strangers and find a sense of community through food,” Chadha says.
The six-seater, four-course supper club is hosted at Chadha’s house twice a month and the focus is on serving true-to-flavour Korean dishes. “I am not a big fan of fusion food such as Korean chicken sandwich. So, my focus has been learning and presenting recipes that are as authentic as possible,” Chadha says. Another focus is using fresh produce and vegetables that one can often find in Korean cooking such as spinach and bean sprouts.
Some of the dishes that Chadha swears by are grilled meat with lettuce and pickled onions, spice-coated bean sprout salad and a comforting kimchi stew made with aged kimchi that has been fermented for a month and comes with a sour kick. The stew is served with sticky rice. “I also make sweet potato noodles, which are unique to Korea. It has soy sauce, garlic and sesame oil, but the base is new and refreshing,” Chadha explains.
To wrap up the meal, there is a sweet treat that had made multiple appearances on her menus—Korean doughnuts. These airy delights are dipped in chocolate sauce, cinnamon and sugar.
“Supper clubs are a way of making unique dishes from different cuisines accessible to people. While we talk about fusion food and other experiments, home chefs discover traditional flavours and bring them to people. Then there is the joy of having a conversation with good food on the table,” Chadha concludes.
This month, the Korean Supper Club Experience by Zahvi (@zahvi.in) will be on 8 and 9 December in Andheri West, Mumbai. The price for one is ₹ 2,800.