United by a passion for food, this mother-daughter duo runs a chic café and bakery in Mumbai

Monaz and Persis Irani run Plate & Pint, a café in Mumbai that attempts to replicate the comfort and warmth of one’s home.

For Monaz Irani, Founder and Head Chef of Plate & Pint — a chic and cosy cafe in Kemps Corner, Mumbai — joining the food industry was a given.

The 26-year-old grew up amidst aromas wafting from her parents’ Tulips Café and her mother Persis Irani’s bakery Delifresh.

After completing a bachelor’s in Commerce from HR College of Commerce & Economics, Monaz pursued a degree in Hospitality from the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition (IHM Mumbai), after which she trained at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. She followed this up with a Diplome de Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, London.

Food in the genes

“I have always enjoyed food and been fortunate enough to be able to experience it in my many travels. I've always been hanging around the kitchen while meals are being cooked and digging in while it's still hot on the stove,” says Monaz of her earliest memories in the kitchen.

She started Plate & Pint two years ago with the support of her parents and continues to run the 10-year-old bakery Delifresh alongside it. But little did she know she’d work alongside my mother one day.

“My parents ran Tulips, which was a fine dining restaurant about 26 years ago, not known by many of us in this generation. To get back into the business again, my mother opened Delifresh bakery about 10 years ago, which has blossomed into Plate & Pint alongside. As for me, watching my parents run Delifresh, I knew that I would end up working in the culinary industry.”

Plate & Pint, Monaz says, is a family-run restaurant, that “attempts to replicate the comfort and warmth of one’s home”. She adds, “We personally interact with guests daily, which is what I feel makes it different from the competition apart from our filling portion sizes at reasonable rates.”

Its signature dishes are a Doritos and Avocado Salad, Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Poppers, Guacamole on Toast, along with a variety of desserts.

Unlimited partnerships

According to Monaz, Persis is the perfectionist who oversees everything right from cleanliness, discipline, to presentation and service.

“I take care of the operations on a daily basis both in service, as well as the kitchen. I also decide the menu while mum helps in the tasting. Both of us try being around and personally interact with most of our guests — just as if they have visited our home,” she says.

Her father akes care of the financials of the business. Being a family-run cafe bar, Plate & Pint also takes catering orders, though on a limited scale.

Even though the culinary industry is a crowded space, especially in a big city like Mumbai, Monaz believes it’s essential to have a strategic pricing policy to thrive.

She says, “Our prices are competitive, as we opened with the belief in serving good quality, tasty, and decently sized portions at an affordable price. Value for money is an important factor for me. Customer satisfaction is a priority. Running a business is an art, like any other, which one masters only with time.”

Like other restaurants and eateries, the COVID-19 situation has also affected Plate & Pint. “Since we are currently shut for operations, we are exploring ways to provide our team with monetary and emotional support. I do personally take limited orders to be able to continue doing what I love — which is baking and of course, feeding people,” says Monaz.

The young entrepreneur is also strategising on ways the business can sustain post-lockdown.

“At Plate & Pint, we want our guests to feel safe post this unfortunate event, and so, we will be further enhancing our hygiene standards. I will continue to personally look into every aspect of the business. We know times are tough, but we hope to come out of this stronger than ever,” she adds.

On a parting note, she has a special message for her mum on Mother’s Day.

“It was my mum who laid the foundation for my career. From watching her bake drool-worthy cakes to observing her effortlessly run her bakery gave birth to my fascination toward the culinary industry. Through her, I was able to see the industry up close at such a young age. I’ve picked up my skills and a work ethic from my mum and can’t thank her enough for the constant support always. Her passion towards cooking has inspired me to set up my own restaurant.”

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta