A new catering service in the city prepares home-cooked food for dogs. With 'healthy' liver ice cream and meat icing cakes on the menu, tasty and nutritious is Harley's Corner's USP. What's more, the meals are delivered punctually across the city, by none other than Mumbai's dabbawallas

Ishmeet Singh Chandiok, who works as Deputy General Manager of Catering Operations for a major domestic airline is not the sort to crack too many jokes. But a short while back, a member of Mumbai's famed dabbawalla fraternity insisted that Chandiok was ribbing him.

A photograph of a dish named Puggu's Birthday Cake, which is a
sugarless sponge cake with 'meat' icing

When the dabbawalla realised Chandiok was dead serious, he cracked up. Catching his breath with difficulty, he said, "I have carried dabbas for people who work in offices, children at school, women who are too lazy to cook. But a dabba for a dog!"

A month later, the same dabbawalla's stack of metal lunch cases includes a tiffin for a dog in South Mumbai. In a month, a dashchund in Goregaon will have one delivered to his doorstep too. Chandiok and his wife Nicola, who handles the back-end operations of another airline company, have launched what they call Harley's Corner. Named after their two year-old stray dog, this is a catering service of home-cooked meals for canines.

Just two months old, it offers a menu that allows pet owners to choose from a variety of meal combinations. Harley's Signature Feast is a spread of chicken, vegetables, rice and chicken stock. Neo's Wolfdown is the name given to a platter of chicken, mutton mince and corn cooked with olive oil and rice.

Another section dedicated to birthday cakes offers a Sugarless Sponge with Meat Icing. You can swap that with Chicken Mince and Ham Cake with a Chicken Frosting. With nutrition chasing taste, the Chandioks came up with the idea of chicken broth and herbs frozen into ice cubes that can be offered to your dog after he returns from a hot day out. To add to the merriment, the cubes are frozen in the shape of bones and skulls.

Those who opt for daily services are given a mix of different items to make sure no dog gets used to a particular meal, and remains open to the idea of all-round nutrition. One Andheri client, who owns a Golden Retriever, tried their Special Dietary Meal, and has decided to opt for it on a daily basis. The Chandioks prepared a special diet based on the needs of the dog, with advice from a veterinarian. This Golden Retriever suffers from hip dysplasia, a condition where the dog's hip joint is misaligned. He requires a high intake of protein, which his dabba provides.

All the items on the menu have been prepared after consulting a vet. The idea for the service struck them after the couple began making innovative meals for Harley that left him healthier than he had ever been. Despite being a stray, Harley has an impressive coat of dark brown, and is strong and lean although he is just two. "We always fed him home-cooked food, and our vet thought we were doing a wonderful job," says Chandiok.

Already, the refrigerator in their Oshiwara home that stocks food for the catering service is packed with goodies. They might have to buy another refrigerator and the couple hopes that soon, they will rent out a place for cooking and managing the service.

"The market is largely untapped. Most pet owners are unsure of what packaged food for dogs contain, and are too busy to prepare food for their pets at home. While what dogs and humans eat may be similar, dogs cannot have much sugar, salt and flour. They need a high protein intake."

If he could, Harley would probably have vouched for this. Last Sunday, on October 2, he celebrated his second birthday. Many of the items from the celebratory menu, including his favourite cake, were specially prepared for him. And as a mark, that cake finds itself on the menu now, and is called Harley's Signature Birthday Cake.

We like the idea of
Simba's Frosty Cubes. Knowing dogs' propensity to enjoy ice creams during summer, which is harmful given its sugar content, the couple provides an ice cream-like concoction of yogurt, carrots, apples and chicken liver.

To: contact Harley's Corner
Call: 9820009456 or
Email: harleyscorner@gmail.com

Price list Harley's Sign' Feast: Rs 100 (700 g)
Harley's Signature Birthday Cake: Rs 350 (one kg)
Simba's Frosty Cubes: Rs 110