When I came to know about O’Tenga, I was elated. I thought wow finally I will get to eat Assamese food in Mumbai without having to cook and I wanted to know more about it. I reached out to the founders of O’Tenga , which is an Assamese kicthen serving homemade food in Mumbai to know a little more about their story and share with our readers. Read what Joyee and Priyangi has to say about their new venture 🙂
Tell us something more about yourself? How did you get connected to the regional food scene in Mumbai?
We are two girls from Assam who moved to Mumbai 14 years ago to pursue our graduation and consequently started working in the city. All these years, we’ve always missed having a restaurant in the city that served Assamese food. We’ve always wondered why authentic Assamese food was not available in Mumbai. After years of complaining, we decided to start something ourselves.
O’ Tenga comprises of two friends – Joyee and Priyangi.
Joyee is a former HR professional. She quit her full-time job to travel with her husband. She’s always been curious about food, and loves to experiment in the kitchen, as well as try out region-specific cuisines.
Priyangi comes from a family of music & art. Along with a career in films which spanned nearly a decade, she also nurtured a passion for cooking and exploring various cuisines.
The urge to introduce Assamese cuisine in Mumbai made us take the plunge and follow our passion.
How did the concept of O’ Tenga start? What inspired you guys? How big is your team and are you guys invested on O’ Tenga full time?
We have always missed homemade Assamese food and wondered why our ethnic cuisine was not available here.
Whenever we’ve had friends come home for an Assamese meal, they’ve always been surprised at how different the flavours are and the unique ingredients we have used. We’ve also had people who thought that Assamese food was just noodles and momos.
There was so little know-how about the cuisine that we felt that it was time that people discovered it and relish it as well. That’s how the idea of starting O’ Tenga came up.
As of now it is just the two of us managing the show. Though we are looking at hiring some extra hands in the kitchen soon. And yes, we are invested on O’ Tenga fulltime.
Some of the dishes that you guys cook may have ingredients sourced from Assam. Is that true? How will you guys manage that? For eg: I remember having Otenga in Guwahati while growing up but I don’t know if we get them here.
A lot of our ingredients are sourced from Assam; like Kaji Nemu, Ou Tenga, Kolakhar, Bamboo shoot.
We have a few suppliers in Assam who helps us with most of these ingredients, otherwise our family or relatives carry it whenever they are travelling to Mumbai.
Can we sense a new Assamese restaurant coming up in Mumbai soon?
We are looking to continue with home delivery for the time being. Our immediate focus is on expanding our delivery radius. Right now we deliver in and around Andheri West and to parts of Juhu and Goregaon West.
We would love to eventually start an Assamese restaurant in the city, but it’s too soon to comment on when that will happen.
Will you guys be having regular pop-ups also in the future like the one during Rongali Bihu this April?
Yes, we do plan on having pop-ups regularly. It gives us a chance to directly connect with food enthusiasts.
What is the most fun part of doing something like this on your own?
Every part of this business is exciting. Starting from taking down orders, explaining the cuisine to first-time customers, cooking, to even delivering the food sometimes. The best part though, is when customers call back to compliment the food. We’ve received some very encouraging reviews, which have made us realize that all our efforts are worth it.
Plus, we’ve been best friends for more than a decade, so it’s always fun working together.
Do you have any advice for foodies looking to follow in your footsteps?
It’s a difficult journey to initiate; but once you’ve taken the first step it’s very exciting and satisfying.
Focus should be on quality, authenticity and right pricing, and everything else will fall into place. Our modus operandi is to delivery fresh food.
There will be challenges, but that’s what makes it worthwhile.
(All pictures are from O’Tenga’s social media profiles)