Texas-Indian supper club Puli-Ra has found a permanent home as part of East Congress spot The Austin Winery. The collaborative themed dinners, known as Supper Club SZN, take place every three to four weeks at the 440 East Saint Elmo Road winery, focusing on South Indian fare mixed with various international cuisines, all paired with natural wines.
“We want to create the best dinner party we can,” explained Deepa Shridhar of Puli-Ra, “and I see this as an exciting space for me to work out different ideas and experiment in ways daily service couldn’t let me.”
The dinners don’t function as typical dinners. “We are trying to reach out to an audience often not reached out to in fine dining,” said Shridhar. “Let’s reach out to people who share our views on what fine dining should be.” This means pre-parties before the dinners, a fun playlist (Drake, Frank Ocean, Nipsey Hussle), offering self-care goods from local companies, and swag bags.
“The cohesion of each dinner — from childhood photo to recipe to playlist — is meant to reveal yourself to your guests and encourage them to do the same,” said Shridhar. “We want to encourage a raw, honest vibe among our guests.”
Previous dinners explored French, Italian, and Sichuan cuisines. Forthcoming meals will dig into Mangalore (a southwest Indian port city) and Mexican, and Italian-American and Nepalese cuisines.
The collaboration between Shridhar and Austin Winery CEO Ross McLauchlan made sense because “we bonded over taking creative risks,” explained Shridhar. “They get me and they get what I’m trying to convey in my food. They never tell me to make something more conventional because they’re not conventional themselves.”
As part of the collaboration, Puli-Ra will also occupy a set space within the winery, though those details are still being hammered out. Future events also include free pizza pop-ups.
Shridhar, who worked at Dai Due, first started on her own with farmers market stand Chaiwalla and pop-up dinner series Anjore. That evolved and combined into her first food truck Puli-Ra, which was originally stationed at Still Austin Whiskey Co., and then Texas Keeper Cider. She shuttered the food truck in November 2018 to get back into her supper club roots.