KATHERINE PLACE

GRAM - - Contents - Jess Houri­gan

You have a vi­sion - a dream, a lit­tle foodie haven to call your own. So in the cut throat world of the Mel­bourne food scene, what is it like to open a small busi­ness in a new precinct? What are the great­est chal­lenges, and what ad­vice do these own­ers have to oth­ers want­ing to chase their food dreams? This month, GRAM sat down with Cha­ran Singh (Delhi Streets) Kerry and Jeff Chew (Hunter’s Roots) and Dan Chrys­tal (Stand Up Cafe) to dis­cuss what life has been like since open­ing their own small busi­nesses in one of Mel­bourne’s new­est food pre­cients; The Arch­way in Katherine Place.

CHA­RAN SINGH - DELHI STREET

What have been the great­est chal­lenges you’ve faced? Our great­est chal­lenge has been shift­ing the cus­tomers’ pre­con­ceived idea of what ‘In­dian’ food is. In­dian food is syn­ony­mous with cur­ries and rice and our goal has been to show­case a more di­verse se­lec­tion of In­dian style foods such as ‘Chaats’, Thalis and wraps - For us, this is what we know to be true In­dian foods. With such a great re­sponse so far, we be­lieve Melbournians are ex­pand­ing their knowl­edge and palate on var­i­ous types of tastes and flavours we have to of­fer.

And the high­lights?

We’ve had a tremen­dous re­sponse on our food and dé­cor by our cus­tomers. Re­ceiv­ing that kind of pos­i­tive feed­back has been very sat­is­fy­ing. We have been for­tu­nate enough to be pub­lished in Broad­sheet, The Age Cheap Eats, The Age Good Food Guide, Gourmet Trav­eller, Her­ald Sun, Ur­ban List, and var­i­ous food blog­ging web­sites. We have also been of­fered to be part of Mel­bourne Night Noo­dle Mar­ket in Novem­ber 2015, which we have ac­cepted.

What’s your spe­cial­ity of­fer­ing?

The Pani Puri is a hit amongst the food­ies. They are puffed hol­low pas­try balls stuffed with pota­toes, chick­peas, tamarind chut­ney, mint chut­ney and sweet yo­ghurt. It’s served along­side spiced wa­ter (Pani), which you pour in the hol­low ball (Puri) and eat the Puri as whole and you can taste the di­verse flavours in your mouth from sweet, spicy, tangy and salty all in one shot. The Aloo Tikki is our staff favourite though

Do you use tech­nol­ogy to as­sist in run­ning your busi­ness?

We use a soft­ware called Square which is a POS sys­tem that sits in our Ap­ple mini iPads. Square is a great piece of soft­ware that al­lows my staff to take or­ders di­rectly onto the iPads, which sends the tick­ets to the kitchen. All the an­a­lyt­i­cal data is avail­able to be to viewed any­where from the

Square Dash­board App, which I can ac­cess any­time any­where when I’m away from the restau­rant, all in real time. The tech­ni­cal sup­port and ser­vice is fan­tas­tic from the Square team and I couldn’t be hap­pier. Thanks Josh and Char­lie from Square!

How do you pro­mote Delhi Streets?

We are on Instagram, Twit­ter and Face­book. We also have a great pub­lic­ity team from Har­vey Pub­lic­ity who man­age our mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial as well.

The Mel­bourne food scene can be a tough one to break into; do you have any ad­vice for those con­sid­er­ing open­ing a hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness here? The three key points to fo­cus on is food qual­ity, staff and restau­rant at­mos­phere. Be­ing a foodie cap­i­tal, if you can mas­ter these cat­e­gories, you have a good chance if fit­ting right in. Lo­ca­tion should not be a fac­tor as we have learnt in Mel­bourne; food­ies are will­ing to travel to any­where where great food is avail­able.

KERRY AND JEFF - HUNTER’S ROOTS

What have you found to be the tough­est el­e­ments to open­ing a new busi­ness?

Get­ting ev­ery­thing ready to open our cafe on sched­ule! We orig­i­nally en­vi­sioned to open by the be­gin­ning of sum­mer 2014, but so many de­lays popped up along the way, pretty much what­ever could go wrong did go wrong! Be­ing first time busi­ness own­ers we prob­a­bly did a lot of things the longer and harder way, but many peo­ple we know who had been in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions just told us to en­joy the mo­ments be­fore the shop opened, as things would be pretty crazy af­ter­wards! Look­ing back it was also a good thing we had a bit of ex­tra time to fine tune our recipes and source for unique hand­crafted items for the cafe . It’s all worth it once those doors fi­nally open how­ever - we re­cently found out that our in­te­rior design has been short­listed for “Best Cafe Design” at this year’s Eat Drink Design Awards. That was pretty awe­some news to end our week with - it was an­nounced on a Fri­day so cel­e­bra­tions were def­i­nitely in or­der!

Did you choose to open Hunter’s Roots in this area of Mel­bourne for a rea­son? We loved the ideal of be­ing lo­cated in a laneway. Our great neigh­bours and ev­ery­one’s unique of­fer­ings has made Katherine Place a must visit for any re­spectable foodie! There is a real sense of a com­mu­nity spirit - most of us are first time busi­ness own­ers and the amount of help and ad­vice be­ing shared around is so cool! We are all pas­sion­ate about what we do and bring a real hands-on at­ti­tude to mak­ing our food and drinks of­fer­ings an ab­so­lute top notch food ex­pe­ri­ence.

What do you do bet­ter than any­one else?

Hunters’ Roots be­gan with a frus­tra­tion that there weren’t re­ally any places in Mel­bourne CBD that you could find sim­ple, fresh, healthy foods and yet also sit down and es­cape from the hus­tle

PHOTO: ITSUKA STU­DIO

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