After amassing a waitlist in the thousands – it burgeoned after she appeared as a guest judge on Masterchef in 2020 – chef Helly Raichura is giving her pop-up dining concept Enter Via Laundry a permanent, dedicated home in Carlton North.
“We are going to retain the dinner-party side of things,” Raichura tells Broadsheet. “There’s going to be a living room where people can have a nibble or a drink and wait to sit on the shared table.”
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But the execution will diverge from what diners have seen in the past.
“I [previously] gravitated towards regional Indian presented in a way that was very approachable,” says Raichura. “It looked recognisable – tiny entrees, pretty-looking mains, a beautiful palate cleanser.”
Now, she’s moving away from dainty, degustation-style plates in favour of hearty dishes like rice with warrigal greens, desert-lime-spiked dal and Murray River cod with blood lime.
“I feel I’m going to go back to the style that Indian cuisine really demands,” says Raichura, who also co-hosts SBS series India Unplated, exploring the cuisine’s complexities. “There will be individual courses, but the main is a big spread that goes on for a good hour.”
The set menu will cost around $250 a head for 20 different items, about eight of which will be included in the main course. And like the previous pop-ups, native and seasonal ingredients will be a key factor in what ends up on the table.
The space will reflect the menu, juxtaposing artwork and servingware sourced from both India and Australia, while the feature piece of the main dining room will be a striking painting by Pintupi artist Debra McDonald Nangala. Raichura has also brought in ceramics from Melbourne creative Andrei Davidoff, carved marble boxes from Agra, India, and handmade metal plates from Gujarat, where she grew up. Raichura says, “They’re made out of kansa, which is a particular type of metal that [is said to have] medicinal qualities”.
Enter Via Laundry is slated to open in late March.