Digging Into ‘OOTA'
RITZ|December 2019
What began as a menu revamp at restaurant 51 of Xandari Harbour, Fort Kochi, transformed into a bespoke culinary affair, unlike anything Kochi has witnessed before. ‘Oota’, the authentic Mangalorean seven course sit down dinner was curated by young Chef Shriya Shetty and Varun Shetty in association with Sareeka John and Payal Bafna of Guestronomy, a team that curates unique guest experiences. The culinary pop up was a resounding success with the restaurant bookings being completely sold out for all the six days. Ritz catches up with the masterminds behind this amazing gastronomic extravaganza that has set new goals for the hospitality scene in Kochi.
RIYA SONNY DATSON

So what does ‘Oota’ mean? “It means ‘A meal’ in Tulu”, says Shriya who is thoroughly delighted with the response she received for her pop up. The 25-year-old Chef, who started her culinary expedition as a home baker, has currently partnered with Varun Shetty to head Pupkins Kitchen, a bakery and patisserie in Mangalore. “I feel Mangalorean cuisine has not been tapped to its full potential in most restaurants across India. Varun and I moved to Mangalore from Mumbai with the intention of setting up a restaurant but we felt that the food scene in the city had not evolved as much as its neighbouring cities. People still preferred traditional food. At that point, we were not ready for regional cuisine and since there were no good bakeries in Mangalore, we decided to setup Pupkins. It gave us the stability we needed while we did our research and set up base,” she recalls. Shriya, who is originally from Mangalore, uses traditional recipes that have been handed down over generations and that makes her cooking unique. “The taste and flavours of the traditional recipes are really good, but one needs to elevate it to today’s day and age without losing its essence,” she says. And that’s exactly what she did at Oota!

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