I was born & raised in India at a time when culinary careers were non-existent. 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 & curries to fresh & multifaceted. This led to the opening of Indika, my first restaurant, followed by two Pondicheri locations, 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 the 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!