From a street art festival to an exhibition of curated timeless floor tiles last month, St Jude Bakery in Bandra West is emerging into a charming, off-beat venue to stage a host of diverse events
Late last year, the brightly painted outer façade of St Jude Bakery in Bandra (W) served as the face of the ST+ART street art festival. The vibrant graffiti on the property still stands out in the neighbourhood of this one-time bakery that served as the venue for another interesting project — an exhibition of a designer collaboration range of tiles with Bharat Floorings and Tiles.
The interiors for the St Jude Bakery
The owner of the space is popular restaurateur, Riyaaz Amlani. "My architect's office is located in the locality of St Jude Bakery and I was interested in buying a property around. You don't see many places like this 400-year-old village in Mumbai. Once I discussed my interest I was told of this property being on sale," he shares.
Amlani tells us that the man who used to run the bakery was known in the locality, and would distribute bread to the poor. After he passed away, the place was on the road to shutting down. Amlani's earlier plan was to build a house there. In fact, he actually proposed to his wife at St Jude Bakery. Eventually, in 2012, he bought the venue after it had shut down.
The vibrant outer facade
Hardly surprising that food took precedence over everything else. Amlani, with his chef Gresham Fernandes, started the Gypsy Kitchen pop-up dinners. These are invite-only events and not meant for commercial purposes. Amlani tells us they always have a waiting list: "Housewives are custodians of family recipes and through Gypsy Kitchen, we wanted to preserve these handed-down recipes. We pick a particular cuisine that is cooked with the help of a home chef, we document all the ingredients and the methods, which is then given to the participants," reveals the restaurateur. Though his next pop-up hasn't been planned yet, Amlani tells us that he wants to focus on Naga cuisine this time around.
Amlani and Fernandes also hold what they call Dubious Dinners, where the participants have no idea what will be served for dinner. "It is easy to become pretentious. I want the space to work as a lab of experimentation and use it as a community space. If anyone is interested in using the space for any such constructive project, we are open to letting out the space for free too," he signs off.
At: Waroda Road, Ranwar, Bandra (W).