Mistry Kitchen is our go-to for a beautiful, Indian takeaway with a difference. Tasty, healthy, vegan, gluten-free and packed full of nutritious vegetables; owner Varsha sure knows her way around a dhal or two.
With a passion for good food and a nurturing, kind nature; Varsha's beautiful takeaways are a staple here at the Village.
How it all began for Mistry Kitchen.
Varsha started Mistry Kitchen several years ago as a fundraiser for the Starlight Foundation, whilst living in Sydney with her husband Kirit. After relocating to Australia, Varsha was a super busy mum to two young children, alongside working as a teacher too. ⠀
The focus of the fundraiser was to bring something home-cooked into school, and so Varsha bought in one of her beautiful homemade curries. ⠀
Demand was high. People kept pestering for more, and so, the idea for Mistry Kitchen began to take shape.
The idea being that Varsha could drop her little ones at school, shop for healthy ingredients, go home to cook delicious curries, and take these back to the school ready for 3pm. Busy mums could then take them home & enjoy a nutritious meal together with their families, without the need to cook.
And so Varsha did this once a week, alongside teaching food technology at the same time. We're not sure if she ever slept! (She maybe could have done with someone cooking for her!).
Fast forward a few years, and the business values are still very much the same.
After relocating to Market Harborough at the start of 2020, Varsha is still super busy creating healthy alternatives to takeaway food. Oh, and the children are both teenagers now, too!
Why the Eco Village?
Way back when, in a time far away (or feels like, anyway), when the Eco Village was being refurbished ready for opening, we had an Open Day. This was where any potential Villagers could come and have a mooch around to get a feel for the place, discover what we were all about, and see if it would be a good fit for their business.
One such person was Varsha, who was armed with a tiffin-full of her beautiful curry and her husband, Kirit. (Not in the tiffin, obviously). One waft of home-cooked cuisine and we knew the Mistry's belonged with us.
Beforehand, Varsha had seen various posts on social media about the Eco Village Open Day. Having just returned from Sydney, they were -
a) Very cold.
b) Curious to find out more.
The idea immediately took them back to Sydney (not the weather obviously, it was January after all) but to a place called The Carriage Works. Based in a converted former railway workshop, it was now home to a whole host of artists and independent businesses, but also a weekly Farmer's Market. One that showcased the finest small producers and seasonal produce, all from the New South Wales area.
Despite our dusty floors and various half-finished pieces of carpentry happening all around her, Varsha could see the vision for the Eco Village and was excited by the plans. She already loved the ethos behind Refill and knew this was the new home for her curries.
She was in.
What are the sustainability factors for Mistry Kitchen?
Having grown up helping to cook family dinners at home and plan out weekly meals, this way of working and organising food has been instilled in Varsha from childhood. As well as a career in teaching food technology, of course.
She inherently understands the need to support local growers and producers, knowing the difference in quality and taste this creates.
Crafting vegan dishes for her business intrinsically means a focus on nutritious plant-based goodness. Working with Pearman's here at the Village, and other local suppliers to buy her vegetables, oils, and other ingredients; Varsha understands the value in this for the economy, for reducing carbon emissions, and mostly as a sustainable way of producing food.
For the majority of takeaway food, the sheer volume of packaging waste is frightening. Foil cartons, coated cardboard lids, paper bags, plastic tubs, and all carried home (or delivered!) in plastic bags.
With Mistry Kitchen, the emphasis is on reducing and reusing this packaging as much as possible.
Portions of curries are available in plastic containers to buy here at the Eco Village, however, customers are encouraged to wash and return these to be reused, rather than thrown away.
Further to this, a totally zero-waste solution Varsha has utilised is her metal tiffins. With a preorder system in place that allows containers to have a much longer lifespan, to be used again and again.
Continuous improvements for Mistry Kitchen.
Varsha has been working very hard since setting up here at the Eco Village. Not only does she design a weekly menu, but she cooks it all from scratch, volunteers for a number of shifts here at the Village, and still finds time to be with her family and do a bit of yoga. She's honestly like Wonder Woman!
Within the year anniversary here, she's redesigned her logo and introduced a number of additional side dishes to her weekly range. We now have our Saturday ritual treats of Nan Buns, Gujarati Pasties, Samosa Puffs and Pea Kachori's, as well as her homemade hummus & veggie pickles too. (You're never too far away from an amazing snack here at the Village!).
Come Christmas time, Varsha went a step beyond and whipped up an incredible feast after-hours for our Villagers. Plus she spent a day in our catering horsebox, serving amazing breakfast pancakes, followed by her Franki's - which are to this day the best thing we've ever eaten! True story. Given the additional workload it created that week she's not convinced about doing this again, but we'll continue to nag her into submission as they are still all we can think about.
Future goals for Mistry Kitchen.
After pushing herself perhaps a little too far last year, even for Wonder Woman, Varsha's on a journey of discovery and self-care this year. With a focus on becoming grounded, aiming to balance family life, running a business, and taking care of herself. She takes time out to practise yoga, has recently begun meditating, wants to start outdoor swimming and has recently begun taking cold showers to prepare. Eeekkkk. (They are good for you though. Apparently.)
However, immediately after saying she's taking a slower pace this year, the entrepreneur in her springs into action, and reels off a list of the many business plans she's considering once lockdown measures have eased.
These include a monthly subscription model for her loyal customers, encouraging more customers to start using tiffins in order to reduce waste, another Pop Up with her breakfast, chai lattes and Franki's (hoorah!), cookery classes and hosting a Fika or two with Maria, launching a curry bowl for lunch maybe with a live demo, hosting a yoga supper club, and ideally get into outside catering to cook her food in people's homes for special occasions.
Phew. Told you she's Wonder Woman!
Things you probably didn't know about Varsha.
- As we mentioned earlier, she wants to get into cold water swimming and has started taking cold showers in preparation. She has tried to sign us up for the swimming. We said no. Obviously.
- She's on a journey of personal self-growth, which we love.
- With husband, Kirit, they spent eight years living in Sydney. We can really see the appeal in moving back to the UK, in Market Harborough. No, really. 100%.
- Varsha has recently taken to playing very loud music and dancing it out. She is also looking to move house. Apparently, these two things are entirely unrelated and not down to a neighbourly complaint about the noise and dubious dance moves. Hmmmm.
- She first met her husband Kirit when they were both three years old. Before you get a romantic, love-at-toddler-first-sight romantic vision, she can't actually remember meeting him. But there are photos of the two of them in the same class. They then met again some thirty years later, when it was love-at-second-sight, instead. Awwwwww.
- Kirit is also known to bust out a few dance moves on Instagram, which we live for. We are patiently awaiting the next instalment, so take the hint please, Kirit!
Discover more about Mistry Kitchen.
If we've not persuaded her to do another Pop Up and cook up more Franki's, then you will find Mistry Kitchen in the Main Room here at the Village. Just on the right, next door to Two Old Goats, which is a potential award-winning combination, if ever we saw one.
Her beautiful Indian food is available Thursday lunchtime to Saturday, with Varsha here in person on Friday afternoons and Saturdays.