Sushe did it
Merging two fan favourites with her venture, sushi cake was an adventurous choice for Aarthi Palaniappan. But no one else seemed to be doing it...
Bite-sized pieces of chicken perfectly cooked in teriyaki sauce; bundled between layers of sticky rice; a generous presence of wasabi mayo punctuated by pickled veggies; a cream cheese layer (with spicy panko garnish) to bring them all together — layer after layer — in the savoury cake experience you never knew you craved. The sushi cake from The House of Oishii is all that and more. Thanks to Aarthi Palaniappan who decided to take the plunge and venture into putting out the food she loves.
All this began with the search to find a celebration cake for an aunt who is off desserts, she begins. “I keep working on all kinds of recipes and that’s when I came across the recipe for a sushi cake on Pinterest. When my aunt’s birthday came up, I thought I’ll try that and it was a hit. So, I thought this would be a good alternative for dessert cakes,” she narrates.
Passion put to use
But this isn’t the first time that Aarthi is venturing into sushi territory. A home chef and food enthusiast who finds herself having to cater to the palates of two foodies — her husband and son — she had already had her tryst with the delicacy. But taking this craft to the public, she has decided to go down the slow and steady road, by introducing a few varieties and holding back on the seafood goodness till the venture is up and running well. Hence, the menu is now limited to exotic vegetarian cakes and trusted chicken. “I’m not marketing it too much. I want to get my quality right and do the presentation well.
For sushi cakes is a whole new thing, no? So, I started with just a couple of cakes. Then, I added two more vegetarian options. Soon, I’ll be adding prawns and fish as well. But, I am not going to the raw side because I want everyone to have it,” she explains. This is an effort to have more sushi converts, help people shed the resistance they tend to have towards the food upon having the word ‘raw’ associated with it. So, when the seafood versions do come in, it’s going to be quite an experience for sushi connoisseurs too.
On a celebration dare
Despite the pitfalls of embarking on a niche journey within a niche category of food (she is already having trouble sourcing materials when the orders are deliberately kept at a minimum), Aarthi has reason to believe that the city is quite open to the experiment. “Sushi cakes are expensive — the ingredients themselves are so. I was wondering if people will be ready to spend on it. But, if you see the brands in Bengaluru and Mumbai, they really charge a bomb for it and people are interested. So, I thought I’ll give it a try to see if there are takers.
And now, there are repeat orders. My friends spread the word through Instagram and from there, I’ve got more. Now, I get at least five orders a week. So, I think it should pick up for sushi cakes here,” she surmises. A good chunk of orders are from people looking to get something new for their celebrations; be it birthdays or anniversaries. Given that Aarthi, too, would like to cater to this particular market, it’s a fine arrangement indeed. “In the beginning, it was all about flavours. Now, I want it to be presentable. Besides indulgence, it should be like edible art in the savoury world. That’s where I’m looking at,” she declares. If early experiments are anything to go by, she has hit her mark just well.
For details, visit Instagram: @houseofoishii