Popular favourite Uncle's Kitchen completed 25 years of serving Chinese cuisine to Malad's residents. The D'Souza's labour of love has come a long way since it began as a humble 25-seater in 1987
Most localities and neighbourhoods in the city will have their favourite eatery or watering hole that would have been frequented by generations from the vicinity. One such family enterprise is Uncle's Kitchen in Orlem, Malad.
Chinese Pasta, the latest addition to the menu at Uncle's Kitchen
Started in 1987 by 68-year-old Jerome D'Souza, Uncle's Kitchen has been dishing out Chinese cuisine customised for the Indian palette for 25 years on the trot.
"My father loves to cook. He believes that cooking and serving good food with love is a blessing. Back then Gregory D'Souza who was a social worker in our area was ready to sponsor a location for my dad.
My dad had received a job offer abroad and felt that he could work for a while before jointly opening an eatery. But after six months Gregory passed away and my dad immediately returned, which is when we started Uncle's Kitchen.
It began as a small enterprise in Gregory's memory who was lovingly known as 'uncle' in the locality," reminisces Ronnie D'Souza, Jerome's younger son.
Soon Jerome's brother Peter joined him and the D'Souza family started with a menu of 12 to 15 Chinese dishes. Initially located at the junction of Link and Marve Road, those were times when Mumbai's suburbs were untouched by the Chinese cuisine craze. Orlem's residents got their money's worth, as the years rolled by.
Till date, the specialty here remains the Chicken Chilli (made without the coating of batter) and Chicken Lollipops, which Ronnie claims to be his father's invention.
"Those days, we bought chicken wings for Rs 3 per kg as nobody ate it; today, it costs more than the chicken!" shares Ronnie.
Along with older brother Sunny, the duo has been working at the restaurant since they were 12 and 16-year-olds, respectively. Initially, Ronnie waited tables, cleaned dishes and even took care of the car service at the restaurant.
Uncle's Kitchen started out as a tiny eatery; today it can now
seat 150 people in its plush interiors
Uncle's Kitchen shifted to it's present location three years back after they had to vacate the original spot due to road widening project, "It was for a good cause," says Ronnie. Locals still refer to their earlier location as the Uncle's Kitchen Junction.
Patrons at Uncle's Kitchen who would visit the place as kids today drop by with their girlfriends, recalls Ronnie. The restaurant that was formerly a 20-seater now seats 150 people (AC and non-AC).
Apart from people packing off their much-loved Schezwan sauce for their trips abroad, the restaurant is a favourite with police officers who frequent the eatery even after transfers. Celebrities including Mithun Chakraborty, Raza Murad, music director Pritam, Mohnish Behl and Suresh Oberoi are regulars.
"We don't wish to open outlets because we prefer to keep a personal touch with patrons," admits Ronnie. Today, their menu boasts of 250 dishes.
Ronnie has introduced a new dish the healthy Chinese Pasta, which is an Italian-Indian-Chinese mix. This was created as a result of youngsters who would visit the restaurant and complain about the cheese-laden calorie heavy pasta.
At Uncle's Kitchen, Sunder Lane, off Link Road, Orlem, Malad (W).
Call 28881752 / 28816204