What does it take to sustain an European bistro in Kolkata? Saloni Jhunjhunwala tells us more
Keeping up an all-European fine diner in the City of Joy is not all that simple. Saloni Jhunjhunwala started The Salt House exactly two years ago, along with a couple of partners, and in this time the award-winning space has acquired great renown amid Kolkata’s gourmet fanatics. But what does it really take to keep up with the fast-evolving food scene? Jhunjhunwala helps us understand:
How did you get your start in the food industry?
I used to be in media, but then a couple of my friends and I got together and started thinking about bringing something to the city which didn’t exist. We really wanted to start a restaurant where the focus would be on fresh food, and the set-up would be such that people would want to hang out, or work here, not just at night but in day time too. That’s how The Salt House began. Since the kitchen was ready way before the building was, we started Kaos Gourmet, our bakery first.
What was the biggest challenge in running an all-European joint in the city?
There were a number of challenges. For instance, our space was too big and we eventually realised we could use the space in so many ways. Then we started hosting our parties, pop-ups, farmer’s markets etc. Another challenge was procuring fresh natural produce like avocados, fresh salmon etc which are not readily available in the city; the consistent supply has been quite difficult.
Has your gender ever posed a problem in your trajectory?
Not my gender, per se. But I have two small children and they need a lot of my time and attention. So that’s been challenging.
The one thing about the food scene you’d like to change
I really want acquiring licenses to be easier…
A woman who has inspired you
My mother who has always supported my work, all the women in my family, in fact have supported me. Besides family, I have always admired Michelle Obama. I see a strong woman when I see her.