The city has been a fan of The Daily cafe in Deshapriya Park since day one, and here’s another reason to love the space even more. Chef and owner Urvika Kanoi is back with yet another pop-up at The Daily, and this time she’s bringing in flavours from her Latin American themed restaurant, Cafe Duco that has been running a successful tenure in Bombay’s Bandra area. The Telegraph went in for a quick chat with Urvika on what to expect at the DailyXDuco pop-up that’s starting this Friday.
Chef Urvika Kanoi
How does it feel bringing your Bombay baby to your Kolkata one?
The feeling is surreal. It’s such a new experience for me. We’ve gotten other brands but never two of my own. I think that the feeling of joy and happiness and of coming home for Duco is great. It’s a slightly proud moment as well.
What’s some of the bestsellers that we can expect at The DailyxDuco?
We’re almost doing 90 per cent of the Cafe Duco menu for the pop-up. Right from ceviches to crudos, tacos, small plates, drinks, desserts. Our tacos and quesadillas are our bestsellers. We have things right from our Exotic Mushroom Tacos to our Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tacos, our Verde Chicken Quesadillas, Soft Shell Crab, Chilli Cheese Quesadillas, Red Snapper Ceviche, and lots of vegetarian options as well. There is also a myth that Latin American food is predominantly non-vegetarian, but trust me their vegetarian dishes are great in terms of flavour, texture as well as mouth feel.
What’s the Duco food philosophy like?
To be honest, it’s basically to educate the diners regarding this repertoire of cuisine. I’ve seen that people even though they know what tacos are but they’re at a pretty basic level of the usual baked beans and cheese. Our goal is to be as authentic as we can, use local ingredients, also as sustainable as possible. But some ingredients such as the chillies and stuff come right from the source for the well-rounded flavour.
Buff Carpaccio from Cafe Duco
As a chef, what’s challenging about running two differently themed restaurants?
Actually you know what, I wouldn’t advise it. I got ambitious and went with it. But then you realise that since they are two different cuisines, no dishes or menus will overlap and you have to do everything differently for each space, be it the flavour profile, shoots or training. My work has doubled and then some more. It’s been super challenging to say the least. The ambience, the servings, the festivals, the celebrations are all very different. And the fact that they’re in two different cities sort of adds to things.
If you had to put it in words, what would you describe your cooking as?
I try to keep it zero waste, sustainable and locally sourced. Our goal is to source ingredients from nearby farms so as to provide maximum gains to the farmer. Without them honestly, there’s no future of food. I prefer doing authentic food as much as we can. Fusion is not my style at all.
What’s more difficult to put together, food at The Daily or at Duco?
I would say that The Daily is still more difficult. It’s a larger menu, spread across a lot more cuisines, and has a more dynamic menu that keeps on changing. But Cafe Duco is challenging as well. I’m very passionate about Latin American cuisine but it’s not the easiest to deal with. Raw food is extremely nuanced to work with; especially when you’re working with raw meat and seafood.
Snapper Ceviche from Cafe Duco
What has Bombay’s response been like to Duco?
The response from Bombay has been very heartwarming. We’ve actually survived for more than a year there. It’s a different market, takes time. And is very rewarding. The sense of community in Bombay in the F&B industry is a lot more and that’s very gratifying. It’s more competitive, but I’m happy that at least it’s giving us a chance to thrive.
Tell us about the pricing, timing and menu of the pop-up.
It will be at par with what Duco’s pricing is because the ingredients are expensive to source. I would say it’s around Rs 2,000 for two that includes drinks, dessert and food shared between people.
Where: The Daily cafe, Deshapriya Park
When: December 2 - 4
Timings: Noon to 11.30pm
For reservations: Call 8017099950