I was born & raised in India at a time when culinary careers were nonexistent. Instead I pursued a career in science & came to cooking for the sheer joy of it. I am not a classically trained chef - almost all of my learning has come from relentless experimentation. Food has always come easy to me with ideas constantly bubbling through my head.
When I came to North America, the food I grew up with was in need of new representation. I wanted to change the perception of Indian food from overcooked dishes & curries to fresh & multifaceted. This led to the opening of Indika, my first restaurant, followed by three Pondicheri outposts in Houston & New York City. Perhaps another location coming soon...
From the incredible culture that gave us the world of yoga & Ayurveda, India has been the playground for spices & their nuances for millennia. We want to explore & examine those traditions in today’s fast-paced world to bring you practical everyday recipes infused with the magic of spices. Tested & tried from the kitchens of Pondicheri in Houston & New York, India1948 is going to be a place of discovery: grounded in old traditions while testing new ideas.
Welcome to our kitchen!
Pondicheri opened in Houston on March 1, 2011, serving non-traditional authentic Indian dishes, unique baked goods, fresh juices, local craft beers & fine wines. "Pondicheri" is an early spelling of Pondicherry (or Puducherry), a small coastal town on the Bay of Bengal in South India. Like its namesake town, Pondicheri aims to create an environment in which regional & cultural influences come together to provide a diverse & complex experience. This combination of Indian cuisines & local sourcing results in a vibrant & inventive menu with a focus on fresh ingredients.
Pondicheri expanded with the opening of the Bake Lab + Shop in October of 2014, providing a more extensive selection of baked goods & traditional sweets as well as salads, chaats & sandwiches. The shop within the Bake Lab offers cooking aids, signature spice blends, Ayurvedic beauty products, books & Pondicheri goods. The Bake Lab + Shop also serves as a space for private events, cooking classes & pop up dinners.
In August of 2016, Pondicheri opened its first out-of-state location in the Flatiron district of New York City. Like its Houston counterpart, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Pondicheri has been recognized nationwide, with a James Beard nomination for best new restaurant in 2012, top 10 awards for Houston Chronicle's Top 100 Restaurant every year since opening & the Honey Mesquite Cake named as one of the top 10 New York Dishes of 2016 by the New York Times. Anita Jaisinghani has been a James Beard semifinalist twice for Best Chef Southwest, once in 2012 & for this year!