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A neat meat vault

Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Anjum Azeez, proprietor of Chick Cellar's, helps a customer choose a prime cut.

THIS MEAT store does not greet one with a whiff of meat. The one stop shop for everything fresh is located in Koramangala. Nine and a half years ago when Chick Cellar's opened its doors it was unique, providing the customer with chicken like never before. "From cut to sell it's all done in-house," says proprietor Anjum Aziz. "Portions are scientifically packed and the housewife simply has to cook it. Fresh chicken arrives in two shifts and goes right into a blast freezer, so there is no let up on quality," he adds. Aziz says: "We believe in offering premium quality at regular market prices, our rates are affordable by any standard."

There are choices galore, be it poultry, seafood, or red meat. Chicken legs, drumsticks, wings, liver and mince besides the whole dressed chicken are favourites and stocks being exhausted as quickly as they come. Mutton comes in chops, curry cuts, mince, and boneless meat. Curry cuts are made from prime meat, sans fat and trimming. Meat (euphemism for beef) steaks and tender meat (undercut) lead the "must-have-red-meat" clientele to this store. As for those who would relish anything from the water world, what better place can there be?

Sear fish steaks and fillets, pomfret, and mackerel are for the taking. People native to certain towns and regions take a particular affinity to certain fish, so the ready to please Aziz has spread the net over ladyfish and Rahu as well. "Many consumers are in doubt when it comes to seafood, especially the exotic stuff such as shellfish and lobsters," he observes. Cut crab is the epitome of convenience in the seafood section. Whole crabs packed in half-kilogram packets, completely cleaned wait their turn to be tossed into a fiery Indian curry or whatever the palate desires. Squid, mussels, and crabmeat share the shelf; lobster is available against an order.

Specially formulated cold cuts hold pride of place too. A wide variety of sausages made from chicken, mutton, and meat are available in exotic flavours, vacuum-sealed in food grade packaging. Choose from mint, spicy, cheese and corn, cheese and pepper, or salami.

Ready to fry and instant foods are a hit among the upwardly mobile. Marinated portions of chicken, fish, and prawn need to be thawed and cooked. Pre-cooked foods that only need reheating is popular too, chicken fingers and croquettes, smoked chicken, burger patties, and cutlets among the rest. "We make it a point to have that personal touch, customise things if we have to," says Aziz as he points out to a pack of mutton sheekh kabab. There are spices, sauces, and other canned foods in case a customer buying chicken suddenly remembers there is no tandoori masala or soya sauce at home.

"Correct sourcing is what decides fresh and stale," believes Aziz, "Also, we were among the first to upgrade our freezing technology." A household name in Koramangala, Chick Cellar's has no branches at present, but there are plans on the drawing board. "Loyal customers come from M.G. Road areas to pick up their weekly stocks." Aziz also believes in the company-owned-company operated system because the chances of a compromise on quality are remote. "We deliver even a single chicken in Koramangala," states Aziz. Door delivery is free within limits. Koramangala and surrounding areas come under this umbrella. Thereafter, delivery comes only on orders above a minimum value. The Christmas season has business at a peak. Special orders are taken for duck, turkey, and spring chicken.

Chick Cellar's operates Monday through Saturday between 8.30 a.m. and 8.30 p.m.. On Sunday the timings are 7.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m.. The store can be reached on 5521168/5531513.

DOMINIC D'CRUZ

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