Chef Sanjeev Mishra arrived in Melbourne from Jaipur in the 1980s and worked in various kitchens until his dream came true – to own his own restaurant. After running a large, busy Indian restaurant in Richmond for many years while raising a young family, he decided to give it a break to work in community development.
But the kitchen kept calling his name – so with his children now grown up, he decided to open Mishra’s Kitchen in his local neighbourhood, Yarraville, in 2011.
Sanjeev describes Mishra’s Kitchen as a humble family restaurant serving traditional and contemporary Indian cuisine. There’s a particular focus on his mother’s Bengali cuisine and the Rajasthani cuisine deeply rooted from his childhood.
Mishra’s Kitchen began with just three staff – Mishra’s daughter Geetanjali, Sanjeev as chef and a dishwasher. Now it has grown to eight staff, but with Sanjeev still at the centre, smiling and chatting to customers as he works in the open kitchen.
What makes Mishra’s Kitchen special? “I love cooking and how sharing food brings people together. I don’t serve what I don’t like, I don’t do any bulk cooking, I use only fresh ingredients prepared every day and I can cater to people’s dietary requirements,” says Sangeev. “When you come here you get treated like my family. I want it to feel like home.”
Mishra’s Kitchen’s best-seller is their famous butter chicken, which is cooked using the minimum amount of oil. Sanjeev’s personal favourite is his mum’s recipe for Bhoona Chicken while he also enjoys infusing Indian flavours to unexpected ingredients, such as crocodile and kangaroo tandoori and rabbit curry.
A recent innovation is Mishra’s Kitchen Curry Cubes – a product developed by Mishra and his son. Each Curry Cube is a hand-crafted compressed mixture of natural spices, much like a stock cube. The cubes are made without preservatives or food stabilisers, have a long shelf life and best of all, does not require refrigeration.
“The Curry Cubes are the spice mixes I use myself in Mishra’s Kitchen,” he explais. “Even better, they can be used to enhance any dish and are not just for making curry!”