A 10-year-old leans against the bright yellow and grey counter at Oink. “I’ll have pork ribs,” he grandly announces. It’s barely been four days since this kiosk opened shutters, but it already has its regulars, most of whom know the menu by heart. “We start at 12.30 in the afternoon and by 3 we are sold out,” says Shanthala T Medappa, who started it with Rohini Chandrakumar.
As the name suggests, Oink dishes out everything pork-based. The menu has pandi curry, pork ribs (with delicious caramelised onion), green chilli pork sausage, porky pao, pork hot dog, chicken hot dog and wedges (the sole vegetarian entry on the menu). And you can end your meal with a piping cup of fragrant Coorg coffee, a blend of Robusta and Arabica.
“I am from Coorg and everytime I entertained guests and cooked pandi curry, it would be a hit. My friends asked me to start selling it. There was a large demand and I couldn’t supply enough from home. Rohini and I were also taking about how there are no joints that cater only pork. So we started this place,” says Shanthala.
Two months were spent training the staff — two in the kitchen and two in the kiosk. “While Shanthala handles the kitchen, I do the tasting and give feedback,” laughs Rohini who also takes care of operations and marketing.
They make 10 kilograms of each dish. The pandi curry is slow cooked and it takes four hours and the ribs take around two and a half hours. The recipes are largely Coorg-inspired. “We don’t use a drop of oil. Everything, except the wedges, is cooked in its own fat,” adds Shanthala. The pork comes from Bangalore. “We buy 140 kilograms every week. Our sausages are custom made in Pune,” says Rohini.
They get queries from vegetarians who want the same dishes recreated with mock meat. “But we don’t want to dilute the menu. We just want to keep it simple and do what we do really well,” says Shanthala. “Starting something like this, to me, was a calculated risk as are cutting out a lot of people. But Shathala was confident from the start,” says Rohini.
Their clientèle is a mixed crowd of college students, sportspersons who stop by to grab a quick protein-filled snack before a match, and hungry passers-by. “The sweetest compliment we received was when a granddaughter picked up ribs for her grandmom. She then sent a video of her grandmother saying, ‘In all my 88 years this is the best pork I’ve eaten’,” says Rohini, showing us the video.
“We try to be eco-friendly. We request our clients to send their own boxes. Our takeaway boxes are made of sugarcane waste, and we don’t use any plastic,” adds Shantala.
Oink is located at 5/47 Sterling Avenue, Nungambakkam. The menu starts at ₹150 for the pork dishes. They deliver through Taskhopper and Genie. Call 7358415430.