Cafe Madras owners to open food store next to the Matunga landmark

Mar 14, 2017, 16:15 IST | Fiona Fernandez

Later this week, the owners of the Matunga landmark will open a food store next door that will offer fresh takeaways as well as curated condiments and artisanal chocolates

Devrath Kamath at Cornucopia
Devrath Kamath at Cornucopia

As soon as we step into Matunga's latest entrant to the food scene, a sense of the classic greets us. Be it the choice of name - Cornucopia: borrowed from the mythical goat, symbolic of abundance of food - the bold Prussian blue-painted entrance, the vintage signage on the glass façade, or the piece de resistance - the vaulted arch that accentuates the high ceiling. "We were inspired by the vibrancy of London's Covent Garden market, and wanted to replicate the vibe here," smiles Devrath Kamath, third-generation owner of Cafe Madras, who along with older brother Jaiprakash has been working overtime to ensure that their new culinary enterprise takes off smoothly. When the legacy that their grandfather Gopal Kamath created is right next door, we can only imagine the effort.

In between arranging trays and unpacking boxes of food items, Devrath gives us the grand tour. "We wanted to create a platform for those who are passionate about food because we believe that there is no barrier to savour great culinary experiences," he asserts. We notice the diverse fare, after glancing at the nameplates on the maple-coloured wooden shelves: Mediterranean, Oriental, South Indian, Chocolates, Masalas and Mixes, Teas and Coffees, Breads. There's a large refrigerated glass display too, with tags that reveal more variety: Rice Box, Sushi, Salads and Sandwiches. Travel played a key role in defining the soul of the all-veggie store, as Devrath recounts their family holidays across the world, which seem to have blended seamlessly in the curation.

Signage on the glass facade at the entrance. Pics/Rane Ashish
Signage on the glass facade at the entrance. Pics/Rane Ashish

"Ours is a two-pronged mantra: to offer a quick, wholesome bite from a space that is a breeding ground for talented home chefs, and to showcase homegrown and world produce, based on our expertise. For example, we'll be selling breads, including baguettes, supplied by a home baker, and we will use the same bread for our sandwiches." Quality tops quantity, and so customers won't spot many products by a brand, we're told. "We want our patrons to have access to the best, at VFM rates," he shares, reminding us that his older brother was the reality check and sounding board, from concept to fructification.

"The idea emerged five years back, and since then, family ('our dad has been amazing'), friends like Jus Walia and his team, Jannat Vasi, and countless others, and home chefs have shown faith in the project," says Devrath, as he rattles off a laundry list of supporters. It's rush hour at Cafe Madras; yet Jaiprakash squeezes out a few minutes from manning the counter for a quick hello. The excitement on the faces of both siblings reflects an infectious enthusiasm - to create a healthy culinary revolution.

AT: Ground floor, Kamakshi Building, Bhau Daji Road, Kings Circle, Matunga.
TIME: 8 am to 10 pm (Scheduled to open later this week; Mondays closed)

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