What was started as a small travel-inspired Southeast Asian restaurant in 1997 by Praful Chandawarkar and Cheeru Chandawarkar is today an award winning restaurant. From a 45 seater setup tucked away in the by lanes of Koregaon Park, Pune it has grown to a much loved national brand with six restaurants (3 in Pune, 1 in each Nashik, Goa and Hyderabad) across the country.
Even in its inception days, Malaka Spice was no ordinary restaurant. It was a ‘dream come true’ for the successful investment banker, Praful and his wife, Chef Cheeru. Their passion for food and travel set them unearthing culinary practices in Southeast Asia - across Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries in that region.
The gifted and creative Chef Cheeru returned with her own magical recipes and versions of what she tasted there and formed her own ‘Malaka Spice Cuisine’ that is much savoured by innumerable guests.
When we asked Praful, what makes Malaka Spice so unique he replied with a smile. ‘We treat our vendors with care. We keep innovating our dishes since it is the heart and soul of our business for the past two decades. We value our employees, we dream big, we scale up!’
‘We pay scrutinising attention to our menus. Malaka Spice has adopted a work cycle that enables us to source local produce and use farm-grown, organic vegetables from our very own Cherish Farm. We are completely against canned foods and microwaves.’
‘This dedication and integrity has given us an edge over the rest in this highly competitive business,’ continues he.
Natural, comfortable ambience
When we asked Praful about the ambience, he promptly replied, ‘After food, the ambience and art is the crux of Malaka Spice. Large part of our ambience is an art-gallery and showcase to promote local talent. We pay attention to small things like fresh plants, trees, lights, outdoor seating and make the experience at Malaka Spice as natural and organic as possible.’
‘We love encouraging an ambience that nurtures positivity and laughter amongst our guest.’
‘Our passion for local artists’ work made us branch out to Malaka Merchandise in 1998. After a hearty meal, you can pick up some pretty things made by local artists with a lot of passion and love,’ says Praful as he takes us around the Malaka Merchandise cart and store.
When asked about expansion plans, Praful’s eyes light up and he says,’We currently have six restaurants in the country, one at a vineyard in Nashik and one as a part of a hotel in Panjim, Goa. We will be soon opening two more restaurants in Pune. Also, we will be opening an Indian restaurant called ‘Tvum’ very soon in Kalyani Nagar, Pune. If all goes by the plan, Delhi will welcome us by the end of 2017.