They opened a curry house in Kyneton, drove a food truck through the Macedon Ranges and brought us creative Indian dishes at Horn Please (North Fitzroy) and Babu Ji (St Kilda). Husband and wife team Jessi and Jennifer Singh have worked hard to transform the way we think about modern Indian cuisine.
From mid May, the Singhs will expand their offering with the opening of Babu Ji NYC in Alphabet City, East Village.
“We’ve loved bringing an elevated level of Indian dining to our guests in Melbourne,” says Jennifer. “But coming back to my hometown (of NYC) has been a long-time dream of ours.”
So, Babu Ji NYC was born. Like the Melbourne restaurants, the New York outpost will offer modern Indian classics as well as Indian street food created by Punjab-born Jessi.
Melbourne favourites such as papdi chaat, India’s take on nachos – with mini pappadums and chickpeas topped with salsa, slaw and pomegranate – will feature on the menu in New York. House-made kulfi Indian ice cream made with cardamom, honey and pistachio will also make an appearance.
“We’ve always been baffled by the state of Indian dining in some of the world's greatest cities, like New York. Although there are some great Indian restaurants at the low and the fine-dining end of the spectrum, there is a void in the middle,” says Jennifer.
“We want to fill this space with an exciting menu using quality ingredients, matched with a great wine and beer list and served in a stylish, fun space,” Jennifer says.
Like Babu Ji St Kilda, the walls of Babu Ji NYC will be adorned with Indian family portraits and Hindi proverbs. Old Bollywood movies will also be projected on the walls.
While the Singh’s are abroad, their Melbourne restaurants will continue to run in the safe hands of a dedicated team.
“We’ll enjoy our stint in New York but we look forward to returning to Melbourne,” says Jennifer. “We have two young girls, two and four years old, and we want them to grow up in Melbourne so we plan to come back very soon.”
Babu Ji NYC is due to open at 175 Avenue B, New York in mid-May.