MY FOODIE FINDS

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As the Times Food Guide 2015 goes to press, here’s what I find …

HEALTHY YUMMIES

Looking for oven fresh healthy and yummy weight watchers  goodies? brownies, Raggi and oat cookies, assorted muffins  and more by talented Pallavi Dayal.
(9619483431. 02223865852)

DELECTABLES

Superb Gourmet & Classic Salads, Dips, Dressings, appetizers & Desserts are brilliantly prepared by

the two sisters Janaki Grover  and Devaki Trivedi.  Fashion  and home accessory designer Rakhee Grover Jain swears by their“Saladicious” fare ( 98202 22342
98200 24842).

H.A.S. It All Foods

Call H.A.S it all.  husband, wife and son (Haresh, Anju and Siddhanth) for healthy low-calorie fare to tiffin services and multi-cuisine corporate party orders. Superb roast cashew peanut chaat, swell n simple
Indian and western desserts.( Ph 23517086, 9870408072, 9870008081)

PARFAIT PERFECT

 Sharmeen Indorewala’s rich, creamy, frozen, preservative free , gluten free dessert in 10 fun flavours.

Place your orders for delivery/pick up at (9920029229)

REVIEW: LONG & SHORT, THE GASTROBAR

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Global streetfood

 

Here it is. The long and short on the Long & Short. This gastrobar (with ambitions to be an interactive entertainment zone) opened on the first floor of Hotel Intercontinental almost a year ago. However, it limped along trying to hit it’s stride: went through a change of chef and menu tweakings. Over the past year, I ate here six times. And since it serves up international street food, I dined here with a bunch of great-fun global foodies: banker Dianne, private equity investor Rohit, ( both from London) strategy consultant Romanch (Chicago,)  oilfield service expert Rishabh,  lawyer Tulsi (both from Mumbai). We start at the bar and actor, writer Dhruv (Los Angeles) raises a toast to Viveka and Umang (both NYC based) for their forthcoming wedding. The global foodies love the ambiance, enjoy the innovative cocktails and only some of the food.

DÉCOR

A bicycle at the entrance, sets the quirky tone. Cutting chai teapots, dabbas and kerosene tins, knick knacks , old photos and  an interactive stage for gigs here. The charming small, alfresco terrace overlooking Marine Drive is a boon, especially in these cool months.

 

FOOD

Flavors and cuisines jostle and joust across the eclectic menu under “Shorts” (starters) and “longs” (mains) and the cocktails too are  funky,  (footlongs, jars and so on)  It’s Chef Kayzad Sadri’s  Cajun style chicken and waffles with a thrillingly salty charge,  salmon vibrant with Terriyaki  and the unerringly roasted chicken with jus that come up tops. Other recommendations are the sweetly spicy tasty American spare ribs, grilled strawberry and sprout salad and the tortilla chips tasty Mexican fondue.  Chatpatta Corn bhel. Tenderfirm  dimsum, crunchy Tempura are worth trying too. Must end with the luscious strawberry Pavlova rum cream delightful with burnt marshmallows. The deconstructed apple pie is a masterpiece of crunch and squish.

MINUS POINTS

Some interpretations of the streetfood are completely off the mark, be it the Mumbai masala sandwich,  strange “Swiss brick”, bready NYC hotdog. Lacklustre Flatbread  ditto for the steamed fish and the Patila biryani.  The cauliflower spa risotto and the pork steamed buns have (sadly) been taken off the menu.

MY POINT

Though, comatose and  off the foodie map till now, this open through the day gastrobar has refreshed itself. It’s  interactive entertainment buzz is beginning to build up (evenings with French singer, karaoke etc). I popped in here for the Sunday karaoke four course brunch (Rs 1999 ) and  even though not packed, it was fun. The menu still has weak spots, with a few too many dishes not from the heart but from a marketing plan, Chef Sadri’s exuberant new menu is on it’s way. There is playfulness in it’s décor, food and cocktails and with Happy hours from 1 to 8pm and meal for 2 at Rs 2500 served through the day, it sure is good value. Cheers!

InterContinental,  Marine Drive.  Ph 39879999. Open from 7am-1.30am

RATING

FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

AVERAGE MEAL FOR 2: RS 2500

Review: TERTTULIA

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European

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I have a big soft spot for Pune restaurants. When I researched and wrote Pune’s first ever restaurant guide more than 15 years ago, I noticed a certain homespun charm and the usage of fresh ingredients here. Ofcourse, one cannot generalize, but I was delighted when Pune’s Imrun Sethi’s Terttulia opened in Dadar, mid July. That, here, I met two friends who have known each other for decades further added to the  charm. Just having flown in with Kamal Morarka, her jetsetting industrialist and politician husband, Bharati, grandmother of five, makes time for Bharatnatyam, Kathakali, classical music, handicrafts and ofcourse gourmet food. “Bharati’s  dinners are always fabulously organised with  exquisite food and personal artistic touches ” says her lively warm friend Nina Vasa.  Rooted in tradition yet modern, charmingly outspoken Bharati has us riveted. We enjoy the food, cocktails and Terttulia (Spanish for social gathering)

 

DÉCOR

This cozy Dadar eatery captures the clubby, chaotic spirit of a handsomely timeworn saloon :

floral sofas, mismatched light-fixtures,  birdcage. antique trunk, chalk art on the walls.mantlepieces with  vintage-looking knick-knacks…get the picture?

 

FOOD

All day dining here…burgers, pizza, pasta, steak, sandwiches , interspersed with some unusual dishes (  bite-sized Bacon ’n Parmesan Wrapped Dates, feta-stuffed  Portobello Mushrooms  are must trys). Veggies go for the flavorsome organic brown rice  with olives, tasty, thin crust pizza, well made paninis crunchy with walnuts and superb with artichokes.

It is chef Parag Naik’s unerringly roasted chicken that comes up tops in the non-veg options. The  Gooey chocolate cake lives up to it’s name.  Cocktail lovers make a beeline for the Ginger pear martini, Melon Sangria, Terttulia special Sunday sangria. Orange basil mojito is a must try.

MINUS POINTS

Sadly the  red snapper was not available. The  Rawas  was dry and lacked flavor. Ditto for the pasta and the Cremebrulee cheesecake.

 

MY POINT

Happy that this stretch of Dadar has got a restaurant like Terttulia.  Charming and open through the day Terttulia ‘s well-stocked bar area whips up a buzz at night.  The standard European  here aims to comfort and not dazzle. Comforting prices too.

 

Ground Floor, Hotel Parkway, Near Natural Ice Cream, Ranade Road Extension, Shivaji Park, Dadar (West). Fo 6002 0202
Hours: Daily, from noon to 1.30am

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


 

DUBAI

Its cold and sunny here in Dubai ! And boy! Is it teeming with restaurants, gourmets, foodbloggers, foodwriters. instagrammers, tweeters (is that what we are called?). The high-flying,  media-baroness now sought after brand consultant Rita K Mehta, loves the cutting edge “Tresind”. Her gorgeous daughter Faarah, director of an elective educational academy and media house is also busy setting up her granpa (the legendary Russy Karanjia’s) foundation. They update me on all that’s rocking here as we dine at the brand new, super-glam Cle. I also  meet up with Dubai’s leading bloggers @secretsquirrelfood, @thehedonista @ishitaunblogged they guide me through the gastronomique maze of Dubai.  Michelin starred chefs restaurants rub shoulders with cheap and cheerful mall eateries. Want more info? Please mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, instagram twitter @rashmiudaysingh

THE EVERGREEN CULINARY ICON

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Australia’s culinary queen...Maggie Beer
Australia’s culinary queen…Maggie Beer

You’ll agree with me, that to meet a legend in her own kitchen is a treat. To watch her cook is even more delightful and then when this 70 year young sunshiny, cheerful legend starts to share the secrets not only of her cooking but also of her staying young, its time to raise a toast. Over the years I have been a great admirer of the Australian Maggie Beer, watched her on TV (Masterchef included), read her books and even tasted some of this cook, food author, restaurateur and food manufacturer’s delicious products. The list of awards conferred on her, is unending…from the Centenary Medal  to

the “Senior Australian of the Year“, to

Member of the Order of Australia and counting.

Maggie is an inspiration! She turned all the obstacles in her life into stepping stones. Her  parents faced issues with bankruptcy, she did not complete her high school education (even worked as an elevator operator) and has no formal training in cooking. Her parents became caterers and she went on to  establish  a hugely popular  Restaurant in  South Australia’s  Barossa Valley . I ate at her café (alfresco in the cool sunshine) and not only tasted but also bought  her range of gourmet foods, including Pheasant Farm Pate, quince pasteverjuice and gourmet ice creams.

TASTY TIPS

I’m fascinated. I watch her smile and deftly toss  and swirl and conjure up her signature dessert with her home made icecream. She smiles a lot and has a generous smile which lights up her eves and the whole room. Maggie explains that it all begins with your food shopping… “Think local and think seasonal” – it

ensures fresher food options. She advises to grow your own and to have a vegetable garden (Maggie’s is within 20 metres of her kitchen door)

We live in highrise apartments, I remind her. “Growing your own produce would have to be my best health tip ever, even if that means a tomato plant in a pot, or some herbs in a planter box on an inner city balcony, it will make all the difference to your cooking.” Put the season in a jar, is her next advice. Always cook from the heart, with ingredients at hand, never letting anything go to waste.

The time-honoured craft of preserving in times of plenty is one of the most effective guards against waste. So she advises the practice of making jams, chutneys, sauces and pickles, which means you will never throw away excess fruit or vegetables again.

How is she so positive inspite of her hard life in her younger days? “I love what I do” she says emphatically. “I, also, always wear rose colored glasses” she points out. Maggie values family relationships and ensures that she spends time with her two daughters and five grandkids. How does she stay so young and full of energy? Its all about eating fresh food, but food that is in season , no preservatives, “ moderation” are some of her tips. As is cooking with olive oil. Yes! she loves butter, but it’s all about moderation.

Review: O:H CHA kitchen and bar

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Oh Cha

Thai / Dimsum

I’m getting high on Thai! And by a yummy coinicidence Im writing my review of Mumbai’s O:h Cha while Im in Thailland. Before leaving, (over months,)  I ate thrice at  this standalone Thai restaurant.  My okayish ho-hum first meal  was followed by two memorable ones. This was due the joining in of a new Thai chef  I was informed by the foodie family Kilachand, who have been regulars here and swear by the food.They are committed foodies, with gourmet genes. Industrialist Anil C Kilachand, (an advisor to a NGO which  teaches English to Maharashtra’s free vernacular schools ) makes time to cook and eat out too, as does his dapper son Tushar Kilachand who  runs the family engineering business. His mother Indira gives us her well-thought out  vegetarian take on the food. Equally discerning  about their eating habits as the exquisite line of childrens clothing they make are the enterprising and lovely Sunaina Patel and Mansi Kilachand.

 

DECOR

Dive into the traffic choked Lower Parel restaurant strip, go through the strange long corridor and find yourself in this pleasing space.

Faux-grass walls (an inspiration from the rice fields), slate-grey paint, colourful gladiator masks, and huge basket-like cane lanterns charm.

 

FOOD

We love the way sweet and fiery notes, soft and crunchy textures snuggle together: be it the piquant prawn or papaya salad. The delicately steamed  fish with  lemon garlic chilly sauce is as superb as the robust grilled spicy pork tenderloin. Must trys are also the airy crunchy Thai style tempura prawns. Chef Satit Chaimano’s curries delight: with coconut milk, lively with kaffir lime and lemon grass.

In the veggie section (there’s plenty,) it’s the stir fried morning glory enlivened with chilli & garlic that comes up tops. End with the flavorsome Lemon Grass Creme Brûlée The enterprising Sanat Patel keeps innovating and has added on Great Value dimsum ( ask for plump shrimp and chive, shitake)

and the weekday

Express Lunch (Rs. 599++)

 

MINUS POINTS

The dreary entrance is a put off, but once you enter it is like an oasis in a desert.There are inconsistencies…the raw papaya salad was superlative one time and lackluster the next. Ditto for the stir fried beef and the waterchestnuts in coconut milk dessert. Okayish Som Tum rice. Rubbery fish cakes.

MY POINT

This  seven month old stand alone Thai eatery is already making waves. Frequented by Karan Johar, Shraddha Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Kajal Agarwal and the Kilachands, Oh Cha envelops you in the flavors and perfumes of Thaliand. It celebrates the sweet heat of the region’s cooking preparing everything in the kitchen from scratch, including the coconut milk which is extracted in the restaurant kitchen. I don’t know what O:h cha means but (pardon the cheap pun) Oooh! It sure is accha!

 

O:h Cha Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

Ph: 6633 4455

Open for lunch and dinner.Av meal for 2: Rs 3000

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


 

FOR THE BOX

THAI ME UP

I write from Phuket, where nature is working her turqoise – blue- water and lush- green- trees magic alright, but here’s the gastronomique surprise:    Spanish  Michelin starred  magic is being conjured.  Having feasted on Thai cuisine, now its time to be blown away by the Michelin Spanish genius Eneko Atxa’s  Aziamedi. Set amid swaying palms by the stunning blue Andaman sea in the luxurious Iniala his dishes are fantastically nuanced and dazzle.   Gaggan’s in Bangkok thrills, want to  more Thai news ? mail rashmiudaysingsingh2015@gmail.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh.

THE BEER OF BAROSSA

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LEGENDARY MAGGIE BEER
LEGENDARY MAGGIE BEER

I’m on a high and that’s not only because I’m in wine country. It is a treat to beat all treats. To not only meet the legendary cook, author, farmer, entrepreneur, restaurateur Maggie Beer but also to watch her cook, to taste her superb cooking and to take back her recipes. The amazing 70 year young exudes sunshine and youth. After a fabulous “picnic basket” meal by the lake in her café I go on a wine tasting tour in a sleek Daimler guided by John Baldwin and taste not only a 100 year old wine but also that from the year of my birth. Get a taste of Australia in Orana and watch the sun set in the Magill Estate as the young chef couple conjure up a memorable wine-paired meal.Should you want Maggie’s recipes or more info please mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh

 

Review: HENG BOK

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I can’t stop smiling! I feel great ‘hengbok” as I review “Heng bok” Mumbai’s very first dedicated Korean restaurant whose name translates to “happiness” (in Korean, ofcourse!). Never mind that the driving force  chef James Biaca is from Mizoram. He has already proven his prowess with the well-loved Japanese “Kofuku”. Several research trips to and imports from Korea and voila! Bandra gets “Heng Bok”.

 

DÉCOR

Simple, unpretentious décor. Two boxed in levels, simple wooden tables, a large Buddha as soon as you walk in.

FOOD

Kudos for the deft use of kimchi — that spicy, tangy tangle of fermented vegetables — in many of the dishes, be it Jjigae (soups) hot pots, barbecues. They even serve up Korean sushi and Korean dimsum . And for Japanese buffs there is sashimi and sushi too.

Spicy food and pork-belly lovers this is your heaven. It’s called Gochujang Sangyupsal (pork-belly imported from Belgium is marinated in Gochujang a spicy Korean chilli paste). You barbeque it on your table (they will help you along), when done to choice, wrap it in a lettuce leaf, dab the spicy sauce and sesame oil and let the flavor bomb implode on your taste buds. The less spicy version (samgyupsal) is worth trying .They offer beef and seafood barbecue too. Chicken (dak) is served up only as appetisers Having sparked your appetite satiate it with the either of the other two  classic Korean dishes…the jeongol (hot pot) or the Bibimbap ( must try rice dish). Jeongol (hot pot stew) The large hot pot brims with a spicy broth (choice of pork beef and vegetarian too) and makes for a hearty meal.

Okayish Korean sushi, Hengbok Kimbap, not as exquisite as the Japanese version (also served here). Superb sashimi (which my sashimi expert guest loved)

Even the Japchae (sweet potato glass noodles) were light and tasty, though looked like a gloopy mess.

MINUS POINTS

Deep fried and almost ketchupy chicken starter,

Special dishes have been created for vegetarians and some lack flavor (the lacklustre pancake and glutinous dimsum). The tables being placed too close to each other, a closed up basement level are some of the minus points

 

MY POINT

There is a cook-it-yourself drama on the table (large hot pots, barbecue plates), there are spicy, garlicky blasts in the  food, plenty of non vegetarian (Belgian pork belly, beef, octopus, squid), there is Japanese sushi and sashimi too. Though special dishes have been created for vegetarians, this is not exactly a vegetarian mecca. But it’s a great new introduction to Korean food paired with the Korean Jinro Shoju (must try). We are happy that Heng Bok (happiness) is here!

11/1, Kalpak Corner Building, Turner Road, Bandra (W), Ph 26510044/66/77,

Timing open for lunch and dinner

Meal for 2 Rs 4000

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3