MELBOURNE | Almost six years ago to the day, I was first introduced to Keralan food. It was thanks to chef Mischa Tropp, and his innovative Keralas Ways pop-up dinners that ran over four nights in September 2015 with the aim of changing Melburnian’s perceptions of Indian food.
Since then, my knowledge of Indian food has expanded so much (through I know I’ve still barely scratched the surface). Mischa has done a lot in the intervening years, including a stint cooking some of the most interesting pub food in Melbourne at The Rochester Hotel, expanding his knowledge and skills in India, and doing lockdown dinners upon his return to Melbourne this year.
His most recent project, however, is really taking things back to basics. It’s Elsie’s With Love, which in the words of Mischa, “is a homage to my grandmother, Elsie, a school teacher whose dedication to hard work and family laid the foundation for the life I live today. It’s honest, no bullshit Indian food for you to enjoy at home.” Sounds good, right?
The signature offering is a Melbourne favourite, butter chicken. Mischa has been tweaking his version for years and it’s brilliant. Supremely tender butter chicken, with sides of dal makhani, naan, saffron rice, pickled onion and raita.
For vegetarians, there’s a butter paneer on the menu, and for those wanting something different, you can also order vegetable or barramundi malaikari. There’s also a small selection beer and wine.
Mischa is running Elsie’s out of the Pope Joan kitchen during lockdown. There’s only 200 serves of food being made each week, so make sure you put in your order early. You can order throughout the week for Thu-Sat pick up from Pope Joan, or home delivery.
Elsie’s With Love
Mon – Sun: 24 hours a day