The slow and steady rise of Karl Kothavala, proprietor of Universal Kabab Kona (UKK) situated inside the Sterling Cineplex Food Court at Fort, is a story of grit, determination to face all odds, hardwork, a never-say-die attitude with a steely desire to expand his business, has made him reach the ladder of success, slowly and steadily.
Karl always had an unsurpassed passion for good food accompanied by an innovative instinct and a foresight to boost. His father owned an air cargo company for over 2 decades and when it was finally sold off, Karl decided to take life forward on a fast running kabab cuisine train literally! His love for tempting palatable food set the blaze and inspired him flooding his mind with a whole lot of ideas. One fateful day as he was browsing through his grandmother's old cook books, he noticed some handwritten recipes for cheese. He thought of giving a try to these recipes when at about 3 am when the rest of the world was in deep slumber, Karl's fertile mind woke up to start the pots churning! That reminds us of the adage "Lives of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight; but they while their companions slept, were toiling upwards in the night." Thus the first pot of simple basic cheese saw the light of the day at 7 am but the end result was far less than desirable. Not one to take a backseat, he strived hard to perfect it and eventually made it better and better and better than the best! He ended up building a repertoire of soft cheeses. A few close friends felt that it's time he went commercial. Today this gourmet cheesemaker manufactures 4 strains of cheese under his brand name 'Say Cheez' - mascarpona, Philadelphia, Boursin type and Creme Fraiche or sour cream which he markets with seasonal -fruits. His cheeses are sold at Rs.300/- each in 200 gms boxes.
The gourmet in him came to the fore one day when he was hungry at home and chanced upon a pizza base which he cut into half and decided to try and make it into a 'pita pocket'. He stuffed it with some kababs lying around, mixed it with his herbal soft cheese and lo and behold a 'pocket' was born! He decided to go commercial and found his calling in a little stall next to Bhatia Hospital at Tardeo. This stall had a good parking facility and the stall had a nice footpath connected to it. He gave the stall owner the idea of starting a pocket Joint there which he readily agreed. This is how UKK was born. His entrepreneurial skills bore fruit and his business became successful. He decided to spread his wings and make it to a fast food chain complex. His very first food outlet opened at the Sterling Cineplex Food Court and there's no looking back. His crossdressed pockets of a mixture of mutton and cheese Sheek Kababs with dollops of his Boursin type cheese and pocket sandwiches are a craze with the cinema-goers at Sterling. Varieties to go for in Non Veg. Include Malai Kabab, Meat Balls, Chicken Lemon and Fudina Sheek pocket and Chicken Bacon and Sausage Pocket, Chicken Wings and Kababs, Chicken fingers and Chicken kababs are ideal as platters. The Veggies can delight in veg. Pocket surprises, veg. Platters and veg. Starters like veg. Tandori chucnks, Chilli Garlic Potato Pops, Sweet Corn chunks and Aloo Tikkis. He has recently bought a place at 3rd Pasta Lane, Colaba, which will have lots of new varieties and sensations. Tel. At Sterling: 8452884172. Free home deliery in the vicinity.