It was love at first sight when Meg Barathlall walked into the former Kutchi Deli Parwana site. “I went in there, saw it with my heart, and that was it,” the South African-born chef tells Broadsheet.
Since Parwana bowed out of the Ebenezer Place shopfront four weeks ago, the site has transformed into Aunty Meg’s Kitchen, Barathlall’s first bricks-and-mortar restaurant following eight years of serving South African Indian flavours through her catering business.
“One of the things I loved about the space was there was lots of foot traffic and it’s been great because as it’s turned out, a lot of people know that we’re here,” she says.
Parts of Parwana remain, including the coke bottles lined up along the front window and the signature blue-tiled serving counter. But Barathlall, who is running the venue alongside her children, wanted to make some small changes to reflect her family’s South African and Indian heritage.
“We’ve painted it white to bring a bit of lightness into the place, and obviously [we have] a different cultural background so we’ve put in a bit of our artefacts and our spin on stuff.”
Barathlall was born and raised in South Africa before migrating to Australia in 2005, and the menu is filled with the food she ate growing up. There’s bunny chow (a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with either beef, chicken, lamb or vegetable curry) and breyani (a rice dish with lamb or veg). Plus, fried snacks such as samosas, vetkoek (fried bread stuffed with mince), roti rolls filled with lamb meatballs or curry, and koeksisters (a type of fried doughnut drizzled with syrup).
“We used to have bunny chows back home and it used to be a treat, because being in an Indian home we would have curries every day, and so we would have bunny chows on special occasions,” says Barathlall. “But in fact, there’s a lot of special things that people wouldn’t have tried that South Africans would know well, like the vetkoek and mince or the Cape Malay koeksisters.
“People may have made the samosas or the bunny chows at home, but they still don’t taste the way an Indian person makes it because of the different flavour and all those ingredients that we put in that they probably wouldn’t have in their pantry. We specially make our own spices, grind them down and add them to our special blends.”
The morning menu includes roti rolls and a mini boerewors roll (South Africa’s answer to the hot dog). As for drinks, the shop is only serving coffees currently, but Barathlall says she’s looking to expand the menu with mango lassis and potentially alcohol, once she gets a liquor license.
“One of the things I really want people to experience is the warmth of our culture and cuisine,” she says. “We want to engage with people. Just the other day we had a husband and wife with two young children come in and they really enjoyed it, but they also asked heaps of questions, which was great.” Barathlall will continue to run her catering business at various markets and events, such as the Semaphore Community Market.
Aunty Meg’s Kitchen
7 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide
Mon to Thu 8am–4pm
Fri to Sat 8am–10pm