The innovative kitchens of Hunger Inc., the parent company of The Bombay Canteen (TBC) and O’Pedro in Mumbai, launched two new brands this weekend—Brun & Babka and King Fu Canteen. The first is a delivery-only bakery with sinful eclairs, picnic cakes, old-school bundts, decadent chocolate babka and summer-themed mango cake. Hunger Inc’s pastry chef, Heena Punwani, whose luscious caramel sauce is the stuff of dreams, is in-charge of the online bakery.
King Fu Canteen is a delivery pop-up of Chindian (Chinese-Indian) dishes loaded with memories of Chinese food from when Kolkata was Calcutta. The menu is designed by Hussain Shahzad, executive chef, Hunger Inc Hospitality, and Jyoti Singh, chef de cuisine, O Pedro. There’s crunchy dragon tofu toast, crispy lotus root dry fry, creamy carbonara-style chowmein and Tangra chilli jumbo crab.
“Four years ago, before we opened O’Pedro, the plan was to start a restaurant dedicated to Indian-Chinese food,” says Yash Bhanage, co-founder and COO, Hunger Inc Hospitality. Travelling for food trials is intrinsic to their research process. At that time, they visited Tangra, Tiretti Bazaar and homes of Indian-Chinese families in Kolkata to design their menu. But, that restaurant never happened, and O’Pedro took off.
This week, when the government of Maharashtra issued new lockdown guidelines that restricted dine-ins at restaurants, the Hunger Inc. team revisited the Indian-Chinese concept. “We still dream of those meals in Kolkata. It is food that brings comfort in uncertain times,” says Sameer Seth, Co-Founder and CEO Hunger Inc. Within five days, the team put the concept together to launch a new delivery pop-up, King Fu Canteen, that launches this weekend. Stock your fridge with fizzy drinks to wash down the fiery and luscious flavours.
But, that’s not all; there’s the virtual bakery, Brun & Babka, too. This menu is divided into celebratory cakes on pre-order and fresh daily bakes of mini cakes and eclairs. “If you go to Paris, wouldn’t you go searching for that perfect dessert? If you are in Mumbai, wouldn’t you stand in a queue for your favourite cake in an old-school bakery. Our idea is to combine the two—a little bit of Mumbai and a slice of the world—through Brun & Babka,” explains Seth.
The genesis of the new launches are not merely rooted in food. It is an attempt to dispel the lack of motivation that plagues restaurants when lockdowns disallow dine-ins. Bhanage says, “We try to find ways to infuse our team with enthusiasm by giving them something new to create. By now, we know there is a demand for baked treats and comfort food. It turns out, even our team is drawn to cooking comfort foods. And, that’s how work on these two concepts began.”
To order, visit @kingfucanteen and @brunandbabka.
Also read: An interview with chef Hussain Shahzad