Smoked, fermented and served

Published: Aug 30, 2019, 08:15 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi | Mumbai

A permanent flea in Lower Parel offers space to foster culinary collaborations while launching a month-long pop-up of Naga fare

Tenderloin with greens
Tenderloin with greens

From close corners, it may seem like the world of food is waking up to unexplored cuisines. And sure, a lot has changed. But how many of us really know anything about Naga cuisine beyond smoked pork?

And yet, the little change that has come about has happened under the auspices of dedicated people, who have thrown open their doors and hearts to like-minded peers, in a bid to help expand the horizon of food and provide diners with new and exciting culinary experiences.

naga cuisineRiyaaz Amlani

It is in that same thread that restaurateur Riyaaz Amlani is now launching Cameo Kitchen, a brick-and-mortar stall in Lower Parel that he is hoping will become an avenue for collaborations with talented folks from the F&B industry from across the world. “There are a bunch of restaurants that are doing great food, but are not always geographically near us. So, the idea was to make these cuisines available to our customers,” he says, adding that the decision to start this inside Flea Bazaar Café was to ensure that the pop-ups are available to a larger audience. “If we did this at a standalone, only those who knew about an ongoing pop-up would be able to experience it, whereas at Flea, we will get more exposure,” he explains.

And to kick-off the new venture, Amlani has roped in chef Livingstone Shaiza, who helms the kitchen at Meiphung Northeast Bar and Restro in Baga, Goa. Three months ago, a friend took Amlani to Shaiza’s diner and that’s how the collaboration transpired.

Naga CuisineLivingstone Shaiza

For Shaiza, Mumbai has always been a city he’s seen through the tinted glasses of the airport. “There are no direct flights from Goa to Imphal, so I have been here a lot, but never outside,” the chef shares as he preps for the month-long pop-up that will kick off today. Speaking about the fare on offer, the chef tells us, “It’s home-style Naga food that I have tweaked aesthetically, with the plating and garnish.”

Naga CuisinePotato with wild mushroom 

So, there authentic dishes that are visually appealing, like smoked tenderloin salad made with shredded house-smoked jerky, pounded long beans, mint, sawtooth coriander and ghost chilli; smoked pork with axone and potato with wild mushrooms. Smoking and fermenting, Shaiza adds, are characteristic to Naga cuisine, both of which are currently popular in the culinary world, thanks to their health factor. Elaborating on that, the chef shares, “I am proud of the fact that techniques integral to my cuisine are gaining currency. A few years ago it would have been difficult to serve authentic Naga food in a place like Goa or Mumbai, but things are changing and people are more open to trying new things today.”

At Cameo Kitchen, FLEA Bazaar Café, Oasis City Complex, Lower Parel.
On August 30 to September 26, 12 pm to 1 am
Call 7045939983

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