‘Uncle’s Kitchen’, a landmark restaurant at Malad is ‘home away from home’ for many suburban Mumbaikars to dine with their near and dear ones and at the same time relish the delight of a unique hospitality. The restaurant has been serving mouth-watery and hygienic food to people including college students, professionals and celebrities. It has established itself as a name synonymous with delicious cuisines. On the special occasion of completing a 25 year-successful journey, Sanskriti Media’s Sr. Editor Devyani P. Korgaonkar spoke to Ronnie D’souza, the owner to share his wonderful experiences.
You have completed a successful journey of 25 long years and moving on. So, first of all, share your feelings with us.
It has been an unbelievable and amazing experience that words can’t describe. The restaurant started on 8th January, 1987. Now, we are at 2012. We went through so many changes, 25 years is indeed a very long journey.
Why ‘Malad’ was the place to establish a ‘Chinese’ restaurant at that point of time?
We always had a property there at Orlem in Malad. And my father was very good at cooking. He always wanted to start something of his own. There was a gentleman named Gregory D’Souza, who was my dad’s very good friend. He was ready to support my father financially. Gregory was mostly known here to people as ‘Uncle’. Both of them decided to run the restaurant. By the time, my dad had received a job offer from Dubai. He thought he will come back after few years and start the restaurant. But, unfortunately, after six months Gregory had passed away and my dad immediately returned to Mumbai. He then started ‘Uncle’s Kitchen’ in Gregory’s memory. And then onwards, it’s been his bleesing and our hardwork over here.
What has been the ‘success formula’?
Well, our success formula has been “to remain honest with your food; good quality, good service and to serve your food with love.” It is very important to serve your food with love. We make our guests to feel at home. And we are very consistent with our food quality.
Let us know about your ‘Home Delivery’ system.
We started ‘home delivery’ in 1987, the very first year we founded our restaurant. It was a very new kind of idea. No one knew what ‘home delivery’ is all about, people at that point of time used to be surprised after knowing about the system. That time, not many people had telephone connection. Only few used to place orders on telephone. I remember, my father used to send me for the parcel delivery on bicycle. My elder brother was in the kitchen. We, four members of the family worked together very hard in different departments.
Don’t you have any expansion plan in mind?
We may think in the near future. But at the moment, we don’t have any such plan. We give personal attentions to our guests. Youngsters, who used to visit the place as kids today drop by with their girlfriends or wives and even children. So, we are serving generations for two decades and we happily want to put our attention at one place. The restaurant was earlier a 20-seater and now it is a 150-seater in the AC and non-AC sections.
Who are the people running it now?
My dad is there but he has taken a backseat now. My uncle Peter D’souza, my elder brother Sunny Dsouza, and I myself are running the restaurant. This restaurant is more like a home for us.
How are your cuisines different from other Chinese restaurants?
Well ofcourse, we have to be different, otherwise we can’t survive for so long. Our quality is altogether different. For example, we are the one who introduced Chicken Lollypop. Our Fried Chicken Chilly is also without batter, without coating; we have Schezwan varieties. Now, during the celebrations, we have introduced low-calorie pastas.
We heard that you have some famous Bollywood stars as your patrons!
Well, our restaurant is strategically located. Several renowned stars, while shooting in the Madh Island drop in on their way back from their shoots or they order parcels from here. We have Raza Murad, Anupam Kher, Ajay Devgn, Suresh Oberoi and many others as our regular guests.