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

Timescity Gourmet Week 2014

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GO FOR IT

I’m so excited to share this with you. Its a Foodies unbelievable dream  come true. How would you like to dine at Mumbai’s finest Times Food Award winning restaurants ? and that too at less than half the regular price? Aha! Bet that got your attention, when you read the note with the names of the restaurants you will be over the moon. There are no strings attached. 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.

BOOK NOW …Do it soon. This offer is only from 15th to 21st September and  its already getting booked up.

It’s the American Express presents Timescity Gourmet week. Amex card members are getting priority bookings, several extra discounts. But ALL of us are fortunate enough to be able to partake of this Gourmetweek. What you waiting for? Log onto http://timescity.com/gw asap.

 

Wow! What a starcast of participating restaurants … Japanese (Wasabi, Kofuku)  Chinese (Yauatcha, Royal China, Golden Dragon, China House, Mainland China)  Thai (Thai Pavilion) European (Zodiac Grill) 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) Modern Indian (Masala Library) Souk, Shiro, Cheval, Goa Portugesa, Rajdhani, Tuskers, Amadeus, Diva, Levo, o22.

GOD IN New York City

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My Meal at Daniel Boulud’s Daniel

Pardon the blasphemy! I’m convinced that God lives in this adrenalin-fuelled dagger-shaped New York City. How else do I explain the  most divine of palate-pleasures on the street to my transcendental experiences in the greatest cathedrals of cuisine? I’ve been in NYC less than 30 hours and am already getting blown away by dish after dish’s  visual and gustatory starbursts. I write on my laptop from this sublime heaven of haute cuisine (also a shimmering Parthenon of pleasure ) – Daniel Boulud’s  Daniel, which has been crowned with 3 Michelin stars for the past 21 years and continues to reign supreme.

The ever smiling spectacularly brilliant Daniel’s   creative French 15 course menu dazzles, and pairing these with wines is NYC’s best sommelier, our very own Raj Vaidya (originally from Mumbai). My dinner companion Rahul Nair, NYC based foodie and screenwriter  obviously has food and films in his genes as his father Sameer Nair now heads up a leading mumbai film and TV production company.Last night’s Jean George’s champagne shrimp salad seduced at The Mark, and I had an exciting Lebanese lunch at Ilili thanks to the king of hospitality design Adam Tihany and his lovely wife Marnie.

Within the next five days I will have sniffed out NYCs  cheap and cheerful and worshipped at  many a haute temple. Please email Rashmiudaysingh@gmail.comtwitter instagram @rashmiudaysingh and I will share the good word with you. Amen!

Review: CHINA PAVILION

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Chinese

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I’m doing three things which I love: flying in from Paris, then going directly from the airport to a restaurant review. Most importantly : to a brand new fortnight old Chinese restaurant in Andheri.  Surprisingly it already has many a diner. I go up and chat with many of them. Having heard about China Pavilion’s “Lettuce wrap” from a friend  Sohil Parikh, Neelen Shah and Meghna Vora   have driven from Bandra and  love it. On another table  Sambit Das is celebrating his birthday. Buzzing around them is Erol Leong (ex Golden Dragon, ex China Garden, ex Mayrose)

DÉCOR

Located opposite the police station, the red-tile roofed eatery has a simple, predictably pleasant ambiance.Wooden tables, wooden floored, TV screen, Chinese artefacts et al.

FOOD

There’s Chindian and there’s homestyle Chinese. Its the pricing which is the winner here. Rs 299 (you read that right) for an unlimited lunch here. Student combos (Rs 110 for a limited meal)

The menu offers a choice of  twenty sauces ( sweet spicy Devil sauce, Thai Garlic and more) and you can ask for your choice of meat, seafood and veggies to be cooked in any. Garlic and spice do the garba and the bhangra in a lot of the dishes. Be it Prawn pepper chilly or Chicken jade spicy  with spinach and garlic. Manchurians  and Schezwan sauce drizzled fare here. Bland homestyle fare for you? “Fee noodles” “Egg fantasy” , Bok choy, simply tossed in natural flavors. Must trys? lettuce wraps and crisp yet moist  spring rolls.

MINUS POINTS

No pork. No beef served here. Today there is no crab or asparagus available and only one okayish dessert of honey noodles. The suimai and dimsum, though thin skinned are falling apart, overcooked soggy bassa and some of the dishes are lackluster. No alcohol served here.

 

MY POINT

You can expect moderately priced Chindian and homestyle Chinese fare at this fortnight old Andheri eatery with it’s comfy and gleaming ambiance. Don’t go looking for gourmet Chinese but at Rs 299 for an unlimited lunch you cant go wrong.

 

Opp Versova Police station, Near Cosmopolitan school. DN Nagar, Andheri (W) ph 26352900

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 AMBIANCE 3.5

Meal for two: Rs 1000


OOH! LA! LA! PARIS

2(1)

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.

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: Boveda

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Restobar

Global multi-cuisine

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Whoa! What energy! Aamchi Mumbai is rocking with youth and energetic bars and nightplaces…from Colaba (Colaba Social) through Parel (PDT) to Andheri (Boveda). Before leaving for Los Angeles, I visited each of these new arrivals. Thumbs up to the infusion of youthful energy.

Boveda in Andheri is not only for the young nightbirds but is also set up by two 24 year olds and has an equally young chef.

DÉCOR

The sprawling 2,500 sq feet space with it’s suspended retro bulbs, wooden crates for lamp shades exposed brick walls give it an industrial look.  A long dramatically lit-up bar  and an outdoor patio complete the décor.

FOOD DRINKS AND GIGS

43 starters and  6 mains. Dinner is obviously not what you go there for. Plenty of drinks and gigs is what you do go for…there is no entry or cover charge. DJ s (Arjun Wagle  Ma Faiza, Ankytrixx, Sanjay Dutta)   artists ( Whirling Kalapas, Nikhil D’zouza etc) rock the place..

Ask for the robustly spiced, tossed spiced mushroom jalapeno, the deepfried tasty veg croquette plump with paneer and spinach. Enjoy the dominant paprika flavor of the spiced  chicken.  I particularly liked the smoked haloumi cheese on the American pizza. Desserts were woefully lacking, the chocolate ganache tart was good but not the greatest.The must try signature Bóveda cocktails –  BVD, Spiked Old Fashion, Melon Ball and The Green Beast.

MINUS POINTS

More maincourses are definitely needed. And some of the dishes on the menu, like the chorizo prawn stew with pao, the Madras curry chicken with rice lack the zing and don’t pass muster. Ditto for the halumi potato mushroom butter garlic starter. More desserts please!

 

MY POINT

Open only in the evening, this fairly new Andheri arrival is already rocking. Boveda (“vault” in Spanish) doesn’t mean you go looking for Spanish food (there are a few dishes). Don’t go for looking for dinner either, do go for a great night out (plenty of action) cocktails, well-plated starters (please see photo)  and a lusty, young vibe. Rock on!

BOVEDA G04, Morya Landmark One, Plot B-25, Off New Link Road, Oshiwara Village, Andheri (West). 67080858/59
Rs 1800 for two without alcohol
Open  6.30pm to 1am

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


A TASTE OF HOLLYWOOD

HOLLYWOOD MAGIC ...CHEF HUGO BOLANOS
HOLLYWOOD MAGIC …CHEF HUGO BOLANOS

Hot, hotter and haute. Newest to the iconic legendary Los Angeles restaurants…  I am eating non-stop (guided by my friend, the LA Times food critic, Irene Verbila). Here reality is more exciting than fantasy. See the accompanying photo and you’ll know what I mean. Long necked swans glide gently past
Wolfgang Puck’s (America’s uncrowned King of chefs)  restaurant as his multi-talented executive chef Hugo Bolanos conjures up the most exciting Californian produce driven dishes. Here in Belair, amid the serene,  the worlds most  romantic  12 acres of lush green paradise,  Hollywood legends like Grace Kelly , Marilyn Monroe have lived and dined for over 5 decades. Even today this romantic haven is full of stars lounging in the Californian cool sunshine.

Here’s the hottest new three month old restaurant “Flores and ladies gunboat society” (Southern American fare to kill for). Mario Batalli’s “Pizzeria Mozza” the century old, open 24 hours “Pacific dining car”remain favorites . Quite the opposite is Jose Andres cutting edge “Bazar” as good as ever.  Ive just received the most precious courier (from Napa valley) the  of the most luscious peaches and pluots  from the worlds most legendary fruit grower “Frog Hollow farm”. All thanks to our very own globetrotting gourmet and finance whiz  Arjun Divecha. Meanwhile the swans are gliding gently as I savor Wolfgang Puck’s signature steak over sundaybrunch and hey! Lionel Richie is on my neighboring table.  I have stars in my eyes…and hey waiter is that a star in my soup?

PS Should you need more info on LA eateries please mailrashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com FB, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

LOVE LETTER TO GUJARATI FOOD

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You can imagine my delight at finding authentic homestyle Gujarati food in Chennai when all my life Ive been penning love letters to it.And whats more  Geetha Mehta, is also well-known for rolling out and neatly packing 1,000 Roti’s & Pickles & Parathas (theplas) for students going abroad. These  have a shelf life for a year, are  cholesterol-free and yummy too.As though all this wasn’t enough to endear her to me, she also conducts cooking classes.

LOVE LETTER

But first, heres an example of my open love letter to Gujarati food:

“Hu tane prem karu chhu.” I love you for your  pristine vegetarian-ness, for your sheer balance of sweet and sour, tangy and bitter, in fact your  sophistication and variety of flavors leave me kind of week-kneed. One look at that silver thali beckoning  with a myriad dishes, from crunchy farsans to luscious sweets like the curd based shrikhand seduce.The melt-in-the-mouth, slim and silken rolls of besan (khandvi) the steamed, spongy wedges of besan (dhokla) and your winter special “undhio” are irresistible. Especially, the undhio with it’s broad beans, yams, eggplant and more baked in earthenware pots. And that “paunk” (fresh kernels of wheat or millet, eaten with sugar balls) is just poetry in itself. As for that famed Gujarati dahi “kadhi”, I love it most when it is sweetened, like the Surtis like it.

Using only the finest ingredients and “plenty of love” Saurashtra-born Geetha makes the most delightful of authentic Gujarati food (also South and North Indian). Its her unique pumpkin khatta dhokla that I taste at our “Whats hot tasting session”. And dry fruit shrikhand (she makes more than ten flavors, including Cadbury chocolate for kids). Looking for diet options ? Bread Rabri, variety of Shrikhand, Aam Ras and so on
Even her true blue Gujarati pickles unerringly spiced are worth trying. Call and check about her classes, tiffin dabbas and ofcourse the longlasting theplas for taking abroad.

Geeta Mehta

1605, J Block, 9th Street, 15 th Main Road

Chennai

Tamilnadu – 600 040

26164841 and 98400 66263

 


 

Recipe

Gujarati Dal

The story is that when a new Gujarati bride is being checked out, the very first and most important test that she must pass is that of making the perfect dal , with just that perfect balance of sweet and tangl. So I requested Geetha for her authentic recipe. Here it is

 

Ingredients:

  • Thoor dhal                       1 cup
  • Green Chilli                     1
  • Ginger                         1 small piece
  • Ground nut                      1 spoon
  • Salt                           to taste
  • Haldi powder                   ¼ teaspoon
  • Chilli Powder                  ¼ teaspoon
  • Jaggery                        small piece
  • Kokum / Tamarind          to taste

 

Seasoning:

  • Oil                            1 table spoon
  • Mustard seeds                  ¼ teaspoon
  • Methi Dhana                    ¼ teaspoon
  • Asafoetida                     1 pinch
  • Curry leaves                    4 – 5
  • Coriander leaves              1 table spoon
  • Tomato                         1

 

Method

Boil the dhal and separately ground nut. Then, mash nicely, mix the ground nut and keep aside. For seasoning, heat oil and put mustard seeds. Then add asafetida and cut tomatoes. Cut chilli and ginger and add all the remaining ingredients. After frying nicely, add to dhal. Add water as required and boil for 5 to 7 min. Then add coriander leaves.

 

RECIPE

Khandvi

The perfect snack, silken rolls of khandvi are my favorite and delightful to taste. Light. And healthy roo.

 

Ingredients:

  • Sour Butter milk              3 cups
  • Gram dhal                        1 cup
  • Asafoetida                     1 pinch
  • Ginger chilli paste           1 teaspoon
  • Salt                           to taste
  • Haldi powder                   ¼ teaspoon

 

Seasoning:

  • Oil                            1 table spoon
  • Mustard seeds                  1 teaspoon
  • Til                            1 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves                    10 – 15
  • Coriander leaves              1 table spoon

Method

Add all ingredients to butter milk and mix well and keep stir on slow flame till it thickens. Pour on individual plates and spread well and let it cool down. Heat oil and mustard seeds, til and curry leaves. Make the poured batter into rolls and cut to smaller pieces. Spread the seasoning on the rolls and sprinkle coriander leaves.

 

Sabira’s Chicken Lollipop Recipe #WhatsHotTastingSession

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Sabira and JavedWhich is the first place Id look for recipes and love passed down through generations? A home kitchen ofcourse. And when that home kitchen also caters professionally then the treat doubles.And each time I fly into Chennai I find that the home kitchen magic works wonders. Heres a happy story that began in Bangalore, when three gifted women cooked together. Marium Banu and her two young daughters Sabira and Rashida not only cooked to their mothers recipes but were also actively encouraged by their father to attend cooking classes and learn Moghlai and Continental cooking. Not only did Sabira learn and cook at the young age of fourteen but also rapidly picked up all her mothers cooking tips and guidelines. After marriage Sabira moved to Chennai. Along with her husband Javed,

Sabira has been catering from home for the past fifteen years. They pay personal attention to every detail…from shopping to cooking. They also customize their cooking and menus to the specific needs of their customers.  She devotes most of her time to cooking and refining her skills.

At our “Whats hot” tasting session she brought along some of her signature dishes for tasting. Fragrant and rich with masala  Biryanis (both mutton and chicken) their  specialties are malai chicken, butter chicken, tandoori, drums of heaven, sachlik kebabs, shami kebabs, chicken croquettes, malai kebabs, kheema naan, vegetable naan and assorted desserts. While home delivery is free within 2 kms, they take orders  atleast 24 hours in advance.

Sabira shares below her easy-to-make and yummy-to-taste chicken lollipop recipe,

 

48 Ramaswamy road, D 2. #rd floor,  G R A partments, KK Sagar,

Contact Numbers: 9962023786, 9380668064, 9382209805.


SABIRA BANU’S RECIPE OF CHICKEN LOLLIPOP

Ingredients:

 

Chicken – 4 Breast Pieces (Boneless) Grind in the Mixer
Add Chopped Coriander, 2 Onions, 4 Green Chillies, Salt, Red Chilli Powder (As Requried), Juice of 1 Lime.

Mix the above ingredients along with the chicken and form lollipops and insert a toothpick for easy holding. Dip in egg and bread crumbs and shallow fry.

Serve Dipped in Garlic Sauce.

 

Recipe for Garlic Sauce:

Ingredients:

 

2 Tbsp ginger, 4 Tbsp Garlic and 4 Green Chillies ( Grind Coarsely in the mixer )

Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce – 4 Tbsp

8 x 8 Sauce – 2 Tbsp

Ajinomoto – A pinch

Sugar - 1/4 Tsp

Salt – 1/2 Tsp

Tomato – 1 (Blanced and Cut Finely)

Juice of 1/2 Lime

Corinader – Finely Chopped

 

Fry the Ginger Garlic Chilly Mixture in 1Tbsp of oil till all the smell is gone. Then add the finely chopped tomato and fry again. Add the sauces kept measured one at a time. Bring to a boil and switch off.