The family that introduced New Orleans to contemporary Indian cuisine at Saffron NOLA has a second restaurant project in the pipeline. It would be just a stone’s throw from Saffron NOLA, but a separate world conceptually.
Kingsway is located at 4201 Magazine St. , the former home of Vietnamese restaurant Magasin, which closed earlier this year.
Chef Ashwin Filco said it would be a modern, upscale American restaurant, with elements of East Asian and French cuisine. He said the idea is based on the flavors his family knew while growing up in the States
“What is American food? It could be anything you go through through your memories and experiences of being here.”
The Kingsway is a family endeavor that will largely be led by the next generation, by Ashwin and his sister Pranita.
The opening is still far away. With a major revamp coming up, Felco expects to make a debut sometime in 2023.
The chef’s mother and father, Pardeep and Arvinder Philko, moved from New Delhi to the United States when Ashwin was just six months old.
His mother developed a career as a psychiatrist, while Arvinder devoted his life to hospitality. He has been the longtime manager of Pickwick Club, one of the city’s old social clubs.
Back in the ’90s, after a successful experience cooking for a friend’s wedding, he and Bardeep created a catering spin-off called Saffron Caterers. This evolved into a one-night-a-week restaurant called Saffron, which attracted loyal followers to its Gretna Strip mall to sample new ideas about Indian cuisine, with strong Louisiana influences.
In Filco’s kitchen, coriander, cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, lentil flour and yogurt sauces can be mixed with pulled pork, pompano, crab and roast duck.
Saffron NOLA evolved into a full-fledged Uptown restaurant in 2017.
The upcoming restaurant takes its name from Gretna Street where the family once lived, Kingsway Drive East.
“The catering company got its start in the garage,” Ashwin Felco said. “It was a very humble home, but because of my father and his training, and my mother’s ideas about hospitality, it was always full of food and they were always entertaining. We learned a lot about the hospitality that grew up there.”
While the Kingsway menu is still in development, Vilkhu gave one hint as to what large-scale style it would take.
“We’re bringing back the 100% salt-baked shrimp from Kim Sun,” he said, a cult favorite of fried shrimp from a beloved but now closed Vietnamese restaurant in our neighborhood.
“We ate there our whole lives, we were crushed when it closed,” said Felco. “We are not going to be an Asian restaurant, but a dish like this is part of our experience and the memories we will draw from here.”
4201 Magazine Street
Expected opening in 2023
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