OOOH CALCUTTA

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I go back to my city of joy regularly…I have shot TV shows, eaten at and written about (sometimes all three at the same time) many a favourite place  here..be it Jhalmoodi and puckas on Russel street, Chinese in Tangra, breakfast on the street in Bentick street,  Bhojohari Manna, Oh Calcutta,  6 Ballygunge, Kewpies, Mocambo Jhalfarezi, Nizams (Flurys is not on my list). Rossogullas, sandesh and kheerkadam capital, (Nakur, Ballaram Mullik, my favourites). Was fortunate enough to be invited to my  brother’s birthday banquet to the latest, hottest happening restaurant making waves in Kolkatta…Yauatcha (in Sanjeev Goenka’s brand new mall). It was as good as ever.  Next trip, am going to eat club kachori, Kesariya jalebi at  Gupta brothers new Alipore (recommended by @justcookies_mumbai) Also

Anjan Chatterjee’s Mezzuna, Shaun Kenworthy’s——- Tea at Mrs magpie, Aaheli at Peerless Inn (recommended by chocolate_and_zucchini Sliders at Smokehouse Deli, Cocomalai and daab sherbet in Paramount shakes in college street  (@dishabrokenwings) @anamikachatterjee @skydiverprotima thanks for your recommendations.

P.S. My timeless Calcutta favourites? The 125 year old  Chittaaranjan rossogulla and rabdi, 2 century old Royal Calcutta Golf Club and the gracious,iconic Oberoi Grand,  which work the Calcutta magic..

Review: KOLKATTA CALLING

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Lunching with the genius Dr Bhabatosh and Naina Sahu at Kolkatta Calling
Lunching with the genius Dr Bhabatosh and Naina Sahu at Kolkatta Calling

Bengali, chinese, North indian

I love Kolkatta and also Calcutta (just got back two days ago).  And so the opening of Andheri East’s “Kolkatta Calling” has   me and the charming Naina and Dr Bhabatosh Sahu  very excited. We not only have a long discussion on Bengali food (he cooks brilliantly) but I am floored by the fact that this genius did not complete school (studied till the ninth standard) but went on to complete his Masters in H.R. Phd in management (from prestigious institutes), is a professor in IIM. Fellow in Wharton and heads up a cutting edge company  which is driven by high end chemistry and makes building blocks for DNA/ RNA, I love these happy ending stories, does our restaurant review have on?.

DÉCOR

Frayed copies of “The adventures of Tin Tin” (in Bengali, please note)   nakshi pakhas (traditional hand fans), Tagore poetry scrawled on walls…make up the décor. Old Bengali songs resound in the in the very rustic small eatery with it’s benches, Pepsi fridge and  wall clock.

We bought some of the popular Kolkata-based farsan brand Mukharochak (kept in a shelf for sale)

FOOD

Bengali, Chinese and North Indian fare here. Stick to the Bengali starters (chops, cutlets and rolls) in the appetiser section. My favourites Bekti paturi  and prawn malai curry have just the right balance of texture and flavour. The succulent mutton in the robustly curry Thakur Barir Pathar Mangsho

just about passes muster. MINUS POINTS

Skip  the Gobi Manchurian and Chilly Chicken on the menu.Avoid the  dry and tasteless Kobiraja, as also the  Cholar dal. Sadly there was no  Radhaballabi or   mochar ghanto.  Very sadly too the sweets were dry and tasteless be it the rossogulla or the Payesh.

MY POINT

Rustic ambiance in the small eatery tucked into Andheri East’s crammed streets. Okayish and moderately priced (Rs 1000 meal for two) Bengali fare with disappointing mishti. Maybe it was just an off day for them, so I am making plans to go back with my Bengali gourmet buddy Kalyan Karmakar (@finelychopped) meanwhile do share your experiences with me (rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh)

Plot No.285
Near Sher-E-Punjab Colony and Tolani College of Commerce
Andheri (East)

2836 8733

Open noon to 3.30pm, 6pm to 11.30pm

RATING 3 DECOR 3 SERVICE 3.5

WOW MEAL DEALS #GW2014

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Your response to Amex presents Timescity Gourmet week (15th to 21st September) has been fabulous. So many restaurants are already fully booked up, because of the irresistibly low prices at which they are offering their meals Making this fabulous offer possible (across cuisines and throughout the city) is the one and only Timescity.com, Indias acknowledged leading destination for restaurants, bars, movies and events. And fine dine has always been the prestigious American Express’s   national and international forte. And so was born American Express presents Timescity Gourmet week.

FREE DINNERS? Plenty of contests being run on Facebook.com/TimesCity

Twitter.com/TimesCity. Check them out.

 

ALREADY BOOKED UP

The early birds got bookings in these restaurants and they are already booked up…Souk, China House, Zodiac Grill, Masala Library, Yauatcha.

 

BOOK NOW

Dont say I didn’t warn you, these super star restaurants are also almost already booked up and the sooner you try your luck at booking the better  … Japanese (Wasabi, Kofuku)  Chinese ( Royal China, Golden Dragon,  Mainland China)  Thai (Thai Pavilion)  Italian (Vetro, Celini, Trattoria, Lorenzo) to Indian (Dum Pukht, K &K, Dakshin. Saffron) to Coastal (Konkan café, Gajalee, Trishna) Bengali (Oh Calcutta) Tex mex (Sanchos) Shiro, Cheval, Goa Portugesa, Rajdhani, Tuskers, Amadeus, Diva, Levo, 022.

What you waiting for? (only 3 days left, including today) Log onto timescity.com /GW NOW

CULINARY CHENNAI CHARMS

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Here it is. The best inheritance we can ever receive. The legacy of legacies…the passing on of recipes and cooking styles from an older generation to the younger one. Each time I conduct my “Whats hot” tasting session in Chennai, I get even more delighted by the keen interest in cooking and baking here. Especially in all generations.   And more often than not this transgenerational transfer of recipes happens from mother to daughter. Twenty six year old talented and hardworking Nahla Fathima not learnt baking from her gifted  mother Amira Kalifulla but also from her mother’s equally talented sister Yasmin. “I have been baking as a kid, thanks to my mother and aunts who sparked this interest in me, and were also the cause of my sweet tooth” Nahla explains. She used to bake cakes for mostly family parties and special occassions at home. Since then, Nahla has been taking  orders for customized cakes, theme based cakes and cupcakes. She set up H H Gourmet cakes and cupcakes and in September 2013, put up a Facebook page too. She joined the Home Bakers Guild Festive show case too. Her customized cakes are fondant based but she also does special buttercream frosting. What is particularly commendable is that she makes it all at home and uses only the freshest and finest ingredients. 

Nahla started with the classic chocolate cake that uses melted liquid chocolate rather than cocoa powder. Initially, it was buttercream and freshcream cakes, but now her specialisation is themed and customised fondant cakes, although her clients do call her for buttercream cakes which she still does. she use french and swiss meringue buttercream which isnt like the popular and easier American buttercream available in all the bakeries. 

Nahla is quick to point out “As I am a homebaker, it is mostly a one-man show, so I take only limited orders and well in advance. Especially for fondant cakes”. Nahla is happy to customise and cakes and make them as elaborately as possible usually with the client’s own reference picture. Another popular theme right now is the 2 or 3 tiered cake, especially for 1st bday parties, weddings as they rightly steal the show and look quite magnificent when placed at the venue with the themed set up. So it is Nahla’s two tiered cakes that are mostly in demand right now. Animal shapes, Barbie dalls, cars…you name it, Nahla will create it.

NUTRITIOUS & DELICIOUS

“The recipe i am sharing with you is a Banana Cake recipe, which is one that

i do frequently as a way to get my son to eat the fruit and also to use up those overipe bananas which no one wants to eat”. Nahla points out. The cake is not very sweet as most of the sweetness comes from the fruit. It also has all the healthful properties of the fruit.

The recipe is versatile as it lends to being made a pound cake, cupcakes, loaves or even as cake layers for stacking.

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Ingredients

Butter – ¾ cup

Sugar – 11/4 cup

Eggs – 3

Vanilla extract – 1 tsp

Bananas Overipe – 4

Flour – 3 cups

Baking soda, Baking powder – 1 tsp each

Salt – ½ tsp

Cinnamon – 1 tsp

Buttermilk – 1 cup ( 1 cup milk with 1 tbsp vinegar )

Sour cream – ¼ cup

 

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 2 9” pans.

Cream the butter. Add sugar to creamed butter. Mix until smooth.

To this add the eggs 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and bananas to this mixture.

In another bowl, sieve the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a third bowl, mix together the buttermilk and the sour cream.

Now, add the dry and wet ingredients alternatively.

Pour into lined pans and bake for 30 – 40 mins until springy to touch.

 

Ph. 99442-60015.  www.facebook.com/Nahlabakes.  WWW.Facebook.com/Nahlabakes.  Mail add: nahlanavfal@gmail.com

FOODLINE

Do you work out of home? Would you like to be featured here?

Are you a home baker? Home chef? Please email (Rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, Anjalisharma965@gmail.com) FB, instagram, tweet @rashmiudaysingh your contact details and the work you do and we will revert to you asap. We will conduct a “Whatshottasting session and invite you to it. Look forward to hearing from you and featuring you here…

Gaggan Rockup in Mumbai

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The wow never wavered. I loved every moment of   hosting  the Gagganrockup (not popup, please note) alongwith Timescity.com
It was a rocking exclusive 5 hour gastronomical experience. Flamboyant, articulate  36 year old, Kolkatta born Gaggan Anand, globally acknowledged for his cutting edge Bangkok restaurant (Gaggan. Judged as Asias 3rd best and no 17 on the Worlds 50 list)) performed (that’s the only word) thru the evening, wearing his signature golden. Onitsuka Tiger keds et al.   Along with his 6 member team (4 nationalities) he used science to deliver traditional indian flavors thru a 15 course dinner(be it the quivering white orb
which exploded with thepapdi chaat flavor or an ethereal dhokla). In the Four Seasons  swish “The Kitchen at The Mansion”     applauding his   wizardry and relishing his magic were the creme da la creme of gastronomes….
… Ambika Hinduja, Raman Macker, Riyaaz Amlani AD and Sabina Singh, Sanjeev and Alyona Kapoor,   Jay Singh, Shobhaa De with Arundhati,  Avantikka and Pramod. Farokh Khambata, zeba and Rajesh Kohli,  Kabir Bedi wt Parveen Dusanj. Camelia Panjabi, Aroon Purie Kalli Purie, Gayatri Rangachari Shah, Anil Dharkar. Amy Fernandes. Also present was the dashing young brigade of Anandita De Raaj Sanghavi and Karan Bhojwani.

OOH! LA! LA! PARIS

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Breaking news. Even more magic is happening in Paris: Not just in superglam, rarefied gastronomique restaurants but also on the streets and train stations.I eat in the Legendary three Michelin starred chef Eric Frechon’s fabulous and affordable Lazare (in the Lazare train station) I dine at his gastronomique restaurant at the iconic Le Bristol (across the Presidents palace and also the President’s favorite) too. I not only catch up with Alain Ducasse (have shot my TV show in his Monte Carlo restaurant) but also get a peek into the about-to-open, high-profile super hush -hush Plaza Athenee restaurant. And then comes the surprise I love the choux puffs at Ducasse and Michalak’s street side  choux puff counter.

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Paris sizzles with high-octane newness and youth… For the first time ever I dine at a restaurant where perfume and food overlap. International perfumer Guerlain’s restaurant by Michelin starred Guy Martin conjures up their signature  perfume inspired dishes. I ’m thrilled  to dine with the dashing young Michelin starred Chefs,  Akrame  (of the 7 month old, Michelin starred Akrame) and the charming Executive chef of the Peninsula John Edern . The brand new less than a month old Peninsula dazzles  and right next to it, the fourth generation family owned Raphael continues to hold it’s own and weave timeless charm as I meet the lovely owner Veronique Valcke,   Coffee with Helene Avril at the Goerge V,  shopping at Maison de Truffe ,Hediard, calling on the Indian ambassador, Elodie Berta’s drive through Paris in the teensy weensy Twizzy electric car (which anyone can hire)  and lighting a candle of thanks at the Madeleine church …all this in two magical days.

P.S. Need Paris info? pl mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, twitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh

Review: Villa 69

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Multi cuisine

I am in eight heaven ! Joyfully bonding  and reviewing a restaurant with eight of my fabulous foodie blind dates (I met them over instagram when they hashtagged #dinewithrashmi)  It’s a rainy afternoon and  we are at Juhu’s new Villa 69 and they have come from Mulund, Andheri Vashi, Walkeshwar, Bandra .

Talented homecook Shabnam mukadam (@cookingfiesta1) brings along her most sublime mithai, Photo blogger, marketing porfessional Ritika Betala (@foodiesofindia)

CA turned social media marketer  (@sanjanaj88) are among the first few to come. BMM graduate and food blogger Samina (@theCconfession)

Pro MakeUp Artist.Diane D’costa (@d_diane) Project manager Aaron Pereira @pereiraaaron and

Chartered Accountant turned Lifestyle Blogger  Bhumika Thakkar @bhumika_t join us as we have an amazing time.

 

DÉCOR

By day  this sprawling, very white Villa  (obviously the brainchild of a romantic, with cupids painted on walls) is daylight bathed. It has a charming alfresco courtyard  too. By night it takes on a sizzling, dramatically lit avatar  and throbs with cutting edge music.”Perfect for a date” is the unanimous comment of my guests.
FOOD

In the multicuisine menu which zig zags thru continents, it’s the affordable pricing which stands out ( Av price of main course Rs 395). It’s also the flavorsome Thai curries (we try them all) which come up tops. We all love the daintily presented cottage cheese picatta in the tangy tomato sauce. Sweet spicy honey chilli chicken,crispy panko fish are all worth trying.

MINUS POINTS  

We ask for recommendations and check out the veg as well as the non veg dishes. Suffice it to say that a lot of it does not pass muster, oily flavourless tofu, lacklustre chicken BalineseAyam pelalah, and soggy Fiamma and Toscana pizzas) and totally avoidable desserts.

MY POINT

Villa 69 is one more rocking offering from the successful serial nightclub owner, Suved Lohia. The life-size statue of a horse (glittering mirrors like those in a disco ball) in the restaurant, the Bolly bashes and other night events here make it clear this is a buzz-bedecked party zone. The food has more misses than hits ( the restaurant is totally empty at lunch,) but it’s Villa  69 s  sexily glamorous night avatar which is the hit.

Plot No.30 Near PVR Cinema and Oakwood Premier J. M. Road Juhu

022 6596 9669

Open  from noon to midnight

RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4