Tacos disguised as pani puris? Mex It Up rolls out desi flavours dressed up in Mexican outfits
Twenty-five-year-old chef Kavya Verghese delivers a riot of exciting flavours out of her home kitchen
Prawn meets pani puri. Now there’s an unconventional pairing if we ever heard of one. But as crazy as it sounds — don’t judge it before you taste it. One is juicy, the other is crunchy. And lo! Before we know it, we are eating (read deleting) all of our former reservations. Just two weeks old, Mex it Up, started by 25-year-old chef Kavya Verghese out of her home kitchen, is a riot of fun ideas. She calls this Indo-Mexican appetiser ‘the Taquito’. Swap out chutney for the tangy zip of tomato salsa and that spicy water for a cheesy-veg broth and you have yourself a taco in the guise of a golgappa. The centerpiece is the aforementioned, local shrimp, pre-sautéed with delicate hints of garlic butter and cilantro. Vegetarians fret not, there is a smoked tofu and mushroom variant which is just as popular, we are told.
After exploring the world whilst culinary training, chef Kavya’s last stop was the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah. Following which, she returned home to Chennai five months ago hoping to focus one of her three cuisine specialties — Mexican, French and Thai — into a venture of her own. But the feedback she received, she shares, is that a majority of people aren’t keen on trying new dishes. This is what inspired the concept of “familiar flavours” packaged in a fresh, unexpected format. Enter her Chettinad Mutton burritos (our personal favourite) packed with flavoured rice, beans, pickled onions, jalapeños, cilantro and mozzarella rolled into a wholesome multigrain tortilla. “I enjoy using local produce that is fresh and seasonal,” she tells us, which is probably why you won’t find guacamole on the menu, although it is available on request. In the burrito section, also look out for options like Chicken 65, Paneer Masala and Chilli Garlic Potato to choose from.
With a day’s notice, these fillings can be customised to preference. Or you could ask for personalised meal ‘experiences’ as well. “We got a really sweet request from a customer who wanted to set up a ‘lunch in Mexico’ for his girlfriend,” chef Kavya shares with a smile. This involved service before their usual serving time (post 3 pm), hand-drawn his and her place cards and a pre-ordered menu.
Churros & cheese
We wash down our burritos with a refreshing Watermelon Basil Paloma (watermelon juice with a hint of strawberry and sabja seeds for texture). And quickly move on to other quick bites like the Peri Peri Fries, which are a tad overseasoned but are instantly redeemed by the Jalapeños and cheese samosas. The latter has a beautiful, flakey pastry shell baked in-house and is filled with a medley of three cheeses for an extra dose of indulgence. The condiments that these are paired with get a thumbs up from us as well, especially the vegan sour cream dip, which ditches the dairy for cashew instead. Sadly, we end on a bit of a limp note. Our much-anticipated churros, for dessert, have lost their crunch in transit and are too chewy for our liking. We remedy the situation by going finger-dipping in the accompanying chocolate sauce, instead!
Available for delivery. Price: INR 150 to INR 270 approx.