Sample a bite from delivery kitchens offering everything from vada pav mantis to DIY nacho kits


Cloud kitchens are the new (dining) normal.

As restaurants and bars shut down across the city following the government-mandated lockdown, the onus shifted to home chefs and cloud kitchens.

A cloud kitchen is a takeaway restaurant that exists online: it has a kitchen but no dine-in space and works with food delivery platforms. These commercial cooking spaces offer the restaurant experience minus the space, and are also called dark kitchens, ghost kitchens, virtual restaurants, and satellite restaurants.

A recent report by Red Seer Management Consulting said cloud kitchens were set to become a $2 billion industry in India by 2024. During the lockdown, many restaurants turned themselves into cloud kitchens. Some went beyond. Food and beverage retail company Late Bite Foods, which runs restaurants across the country, is investing Rest 25 crore in 35 cloud kitchens in five cities. JSM Corporations, which runs Hard Rock Café, launched two new cloud kitchens Plus 91 and Ginger Tiger. Chef Machete Sheltie’s Kitchens is a platform that empowers food brands to expand their delivery reach with minimum investment.

The bonus of a cloud kitchen is limited overheads, being able to run multiple brands from one space, better efficiency, ability to evaluate what’s working and change menus accordingly. From a customer’s point of view, there’s the chance to eat a homecooked meal, a sense of higher hygiene standards, and more affordable price points.

Convinced? Here’s a list of the newest cloud kitchens in the city.

Thaiphoon

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This Thai-specific cloud kitchen comes from the stable of Septagon Hospitality. Thaiphoon calls itself a ‘storm of storm of real Thai flavours and aroma, packed in a box’. At the helm are couple, chefs Suriya Preechapiputpong and John Macedonius Fernandes. Preechapiputpong brings with her the experience of running her noodle shop in Thubluang, Thailand. Their Thai flavours are familiar, laden with aromats and fish sauce, but tweaked for the Indian palate. Their specialties are the broth bowls and noodle bowls, in favours like laksa, massaman, and red and green curry. The portions (mains) are big, the broths are well seasoned and the food is delicious, even the leftovers.

Details: Available on Swiggy and Zomato. Call  9321452654

Bun & Only

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They are possibly the only place in the city serving monogrammed buns. The ampersand in Bun & Only finds its way to the burger buns. This Santa Cruz-based burger joint does gourmet burgers from scratch: the patties, sauces and fries and made in-house. Bun & Only was started by Sameer Uttamsingh and Shantanu Mohite with Gracian de Souza managing the kitchen. The burgers are all familiar flavours: Fish & Chips, Grilled Chicken and Teriyaki, Chicken & Cheddar, and Lamb & Mint. Unlike your regular burger joint, here the ratio of filling to bread is impressive. The fries are stellar. Dessert options are limited: a Basque Classic Cheesecake. Everything comes wrapped in paper and in boxes.

Details: Bun & Only is available on Swiggy and Zomato. Open from 12 noon to 11 pm.

Ghosht Stories

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As the name suggests, Ghosht Stories is a mutton-focussed cloud kitchen by Chef Mrigank Singh. The menu features kebabs, curries, pulaos, breads, and rolls. Each dish is influenced by Singh’s travels across the country – he, a videographer and a home cook visited and chronicled their travels across 12 states creating some 150 recipes. Pick from Mangalore’s Mutton Sukka, Eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Mutton Ishtew, Jaipur’s Shekhawati Laal Maas, and the Mughal Pasande Kebab. He has also shared some family recipes: Maa’s Mutton Tikka and Grandma’s Mutton Chaap.

The kitchen uses homemade chilli blends, khaapli wheat for the phulkas, and aromatic seeraga samba, and ambemohar rice.

Details: Available via Thrive. Call 9321863021

The Mexican Box

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Shaan and Meghna Mehta started their delivery kitchen, The Mexican Box to offer a traditional take on Mexican dishes. There is guacamole made with Hass avocados, tweaked to include mango, bacon bits or crab meat; quesadillas with beans, shiitake and oyster mushrooms, grilled chicken or grilled prawn; gluten-free, soft-shell, blue corn masa tortillas with fillings like fried plantains; sweet potato or pulled pork; chimichangas and jumbo burritos. For some DIY action, there’s The Nacho Man, a kit with tortilla chips and fixings, and a Fajita Box. There’s even a Mexican pizza! You can also order jars of condiments. Wash it all down with their pre-mixes for margaritas, mojitos and Bloody Marys.

Details: Available on Thrive. Call 93218 90033. Open from 12pm-10pm daily

Seoulmate

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This appropriately punned place is run by Soo Kyung Jeon and chef Kaviraj Thadani (of Kaavo Meat and Cool Chef Co). The kitchen launched in October with a menu offering vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes like gimbap, bibimbap and deopbap. Seoulmate also offers kimchi by the bottle. Experiment with mandu (pan fired dumplings), pajeon (savoury pancake), samgyubsal deopbap (Belgian pork belly with gochujang sauce and sticky rice), and donkatsu cutlet among other Korean treats.

Details: Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm. Call 022 2369 6173/98204 15720

One day pre-order.

Miku Dimsum

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Two Mumbai chefs, Mitesh Rangras and Rakhee Vaswani launched Miku Dimsum in August in Juhu. The food is affordable, at price points designed to please everyone. In the dimsums, they offer vegetarian and vegan options too. They have baos and bao meals; snacks like truffle fries, kale crisps, and Japanese style chicken nuggets; and noodles and rice boxes. A unique offering is the complete meal, TV Dinner for 1. For dessert, there is a brownie tasting box, and the signature MiKu bao doughnut. They recently launched a Sunday brunch menu.

Details: Available on Zomato. WhatsApp 9821700034

Food Homes

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Food Homes is a pure vegetarian cloud kitchen in Juhu started in September by Sakshi Bhojania of Treefresh Foods. The kitchen has a team of chefs cooking up globally-inspired food – pizza sandwiches and turnovers, mantous, bagel sandwiches, jacket potatoes, lamingtons and slider bombs. There are some Indian fusion tweaks too, like the Bagel-o-Makhani, and Vada Pav-Tou.

There’s a Jain menu and a range of mocktails. The meals comes in boxes that collapse into plates, a cutlery kit and a special postcard.

Details: Available on Swiggy and Zomato. Call 9321583672

Colossal Kitchens

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Colossal Hospitality’s new venture based in Lower Parel is Colossal Kitchens. The all-veg, one-stop luxury kitchen has five brands: Eat Ally dedicated to street food, Oriental Hub for Pan-Asian cuisine, a rice kitchen called Rice Factory, Tadka Maar Ke for Indian flavours and All Things Jain (ALT J). The kitchen is headed by Nilesh Limaye.

Details: Order via Zomato and Swiggy. Call 7208558111 / 7208559222

What The Buns

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The cloud kitchen launched in May 2020 serving what they call ‘the simplest f**king sandwiches, and hot dogs. What the Buns is a venture by Sagar Neve of Neve Hospitality now has three outlets in Mumbai. Sandwich lovers will notice familiar options: BLT, Jerk Chick, Bhuna Murgh, Fried Fish and Grilled Veggy.

Details: Order via Swiggy or Zomato. Call 9321872374


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