Whats going on? Why has Bandra’s newest restaurant been proclaiming it is a “Latin American fine dining restaurant”? Help! I am seriously questioning my own knowledge of geography. Does Latin America include Italy and Japan et al? Ofcourse, this cuisine does have influences from all over the globe. But confusion gets more confounded when the waiter in Asado tells me that “pasta is a Japanese dish”. Thankfully, my guest Pierre Ortoli has not only lived and worked in Buenes Aires as has Dr Mathilde Richou osteopath but her father also has vineyards in Argentina. Our review follows
Kitschy or cute? Handpainted walls recreate a quaint Latino town in this 65-seater. Clear blue skies, fake birds perched on fake lamp posts too. Outdoor seating too. Casual, relaxed ambiance.
So don’t get stuck on the label and go looking for “Latin American” fare (they do have a few names of dishes from there. No ceviches). You’ll enjoy the flavorful edamame truffle risotto, okayish beef empanadas. It’s the Brazilian beef steak (Rs 2000 plus) done rare that dazzles. Both our desserts…churros and Tresleches were just about okay.
Stodgy Kataifi prawns and vegetarian flautas. Ditto for the veg wraps. Fatty pork spare ribs, though Bbq sauce delicious. All the Vegetarian dishes we tried were limp and floppy. The servers were uninformed about the cuisine.
Asado “Mumbai’s first Latin American fine dine” doesn’t just flit tentatively across a few borders but knocks down a whole bunch of them altogether.
It bops around the globe and serves some okayish though expensive dishes and wines (our bill for three was Rs 14000, with wine). Our meal began with great expectations and ended with a whimper.
P.S. But then I walked outside onto Bandra’s SV road and found myself wanting to give Asado the benefit of the doubt. It has the location. It has the enthusiasm. With better judgment, research, a lowering of prices and a Latin American trained chef perhaps it could live upto it’s ambitions. We wish it all the best!
ASADO Monorama Chambers, Ground Floor, S V Road. Bandra West
Ph 6568 6666
RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 2.5 DÉCOR 3
First Question: Is BKC’s new wife any good? Answer:Take a look at the photograph I shot. Second Question: At The Good Wife, how was my foodie blind date with six readers? Answer: Take a look at the photograph. This new bar serves up a cocktail of relaxed merriment which is infectious. I am absolutely over the moon to spend an evening here with my fabulous foodie blind dates.
There’s fun written all over this new bar. It’s large, has a warm, welcoming feel and is packed. We love the wall mural sketch with it’s Neanderthal man, Batman and Spiderman playing cards and so on. There is a choice of seating arrangements…comfy and dinner table too.
FOOD AND DRINK
The co-host of Discovery Channel’s series Cocktail Kings spearheads the bar here. So there is drama and flavour, my drinking buddies rate these highly, be it The Good Wife, a whisky sour cocktail ( sprayed with a vodka based black cardamom spray) or The Wolf Of BKC, ( orange vodka based with a rose aroma.) The tostada sprout chat brims over with zing and texture and is a must try. Tasty Baby Lamb Sliders – and their vegetarian version of corn jalapeño sliders too. Goodwife home salad, fresh and well made. Okayish though oversauced pasta ( Fetuccini, penne). Succulent Five spice crispy duck delights, Vanilla Panacotta and chocolate fondant pass muster.
Here’s the irrepressible Shayan Italia’s fun take on the Rosemary Chicken Tikka – “A touch dry for my liking and everyone questioned where the Rosemary was? I thought it being late and she may have gone to bed” It certainly was dry and lacklustre. Ditto for the Forest Mushroom Filo, stodgy Chicken Gyoza, and three Peppercorn Chicken. The roast chicken disappoints.
Why did the Rocking Tham brothers (of the award winning Trilogy fame) name this relaxed, fun, buzzing bar “The Good Wife”? I don’t know of any good wife who conceives cocktails with such imagination and mixes them with such skill or magnetizes such a buzzing crowd. The food is a mixture of appealing and ho-hum. Dont go for the food, go for a fun-time to this open-through-the-day bar. This Good wife is a plausible cynosure of a fun night out and not just a grubby refuelling station.
P.S.Our Shayan Italia has the last word about The Good Wife “ The Queen Bee took so many of our photographs that we left the place like rock stars. In the end they all concluded that I was the one making the most of the evening, purely because I’m a complete loser, hopelessly single and still looking for “The Good Wife”
The Good Wife, The Capital, ground floor, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), call 40109433
Open 11.30 am to 1 am
RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3.5
MEAL FOR 2: RS 2500
MY FAB FOODIE BLIND DATES
This is it. This is why I love my work as foodcritic…to connect to and meet foodies Ive never met before. To feel the foodie pulse of the city through them, to discover new places, to get their reactions and ofcourse I absolutely love meeting them. Each one is a gem: theyve taken the trouble to come from all over (Malabar hill, Jogeshwari, Ghatkopar, Khar.) The well-organised, dapper Jigar Parmar (@jigarparmar), construction maestro, foodie, diver books the table in his name. Ever helpful. Mohit Chatrani (@hungrybawarchi) head chef, blogger, YouTube channel owner gives his take on the food. Gorgeous girls sparkle the evening, be it Hunaina Sonsara (@hu_nai_na) housewife,stylist,foodie who loves travel Jumana huzefa electricwala, who is truly a multidimensional creative energy in human form. @ jumanahuzefa proud homemaker,adventure lover who brings along a handpainted creative gift. @PoojaDharani CS and Law student, Foodie and an aspiring Food Blogger charms. Not to be missed is the multi-talented, articulate, great fun (pl see photo again) Shayan Italia @biryani360 who has set just up Biryani360 a great new concept Im yet to try. .
HOW TO BE MY FOODIE DATE? Should you want to be my guest and dine with me, please email rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail,com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh and hashtag #dinewithrashmi. I will get in touch when Im back. And even as you read this, I am in Singapore as jury chairperson of my region, attending “Asia’s 50 best restaurants” awards (crossing my fingers for our Indian winners). Watch this space!
Indian Cafe & Bar
We are rejoicing! Many reasons…not only is it a joyful experience but there is distinct joy in the food too. There is a palpable youthful vibe not just in the ambiance, the staff, the diners but once again, in the food too. Bombay Canteen celebrates India and ofcourse Bombay. Much like my brilliant world renowned artist guest Jaideep Mehrotra whose works embody the melting pot of cultures in our metropolis, a melange of the eastern & western sensibilities. Like the Sachin Sculpture at Sasmira Junction, which pays tribute to a local lad using state of the art material to create it.Both, he and his lovely wife Seema feel that ‘Bombay Canteen’ has both these elements and manages to capture them well in their flavours and presentation.
Walk into this airy 4,000 sq. ft of brilliantly done up space and be charmed by the Bombay nostalgia in this unfinished “bungalow” with it’s stained glass, long rustic bar, printed tiles, manually lettered pricing boards.Thankfully it does not degenerate into a themed cutesy cafe,
space, Kudos to the Busride Design Studio.
NYC to MUMBAI
This Goan chef, worked in Mumbai and took NYC by storm way before glamorboy Vikas Khanna. I first met Chef Floyd Cardoz fifteen years ago, when I had been flown down to NYC by Asia Society for a panel discussion on Indian food with the icons, Madhur Jaffrey and Danny Meyer. I ate with Danny Meyer at “Tabla” , Floyds introduction of Indian food to America and loved it. A couple of years ago, i ate at Floyd’s “Northend grill” and came away disappointed. Both have since shut, Floyd still straddles both continents (Whitestreet in NYC and Bombay Canteen here). This one marks his return to and celebration of Indian cuisine. Along with Chef Thomas Zachiaras they use only local ingredients (many not served in restaurants) and evolve Indian cuisine by making it “cool”. Their passion shines through.
Flavors and textures do a rocking jugalbandi! Like the crisp Arbi tuk and mugra chaat. Goan pulled pork does the dandiya with theplas. Eggs Kejriwal get yummier with Kerala coconutty chutney. It begins with the “chintus” (tiny floating snacks much like David Chang’s Ma Peche) super
Unda Curry Devilled Desi Eggs, paper-thin lotus-root fryums. Chhotas (salads, tacos and more) Badas (
Spiced Grilled Chicken Kaleji ) and we also ask for the “Patiala” ( large sharing dishes) fish. Chef Zachiaras’ coconutty My uncles mutton curry delights. Whoa! the rum-spiked Gulabnut, is Floyd’s improvement on the cronut, but for me its the fleshy guava tan ta tan ( tart tatin) with it’s red chilly icecream that works the magic. A fully stocked bar,c raft beers by The Gateway Brewing Co are the other upsides.
My assistant calls to book the table in his name (I never book in mine) and is told they are booked up till 9.30pm.He persists and finally secures a booking for 7pmand for atleast the first two hours the cafe is more or less empty. The loud music jars and keep getting louder. Multi-Grain Khichdi, Steamed Kokum Idiyappam, banana deep fried pakodas
are ho hum. Infact, the vegetarian fare does not sparkle as much as the non veg one. Milk Braised Kashmiri Raan not available.Ice Cream Sandwich and masala chai popsicle sound better than they taste,
Balle balle! Indian cuisine gets its much needed complement of playfulness, modernism and global sophistication. Thankfully no molecular gastronomy here! No chicken tikka masala either! Sure they don’t ace everything, the portions could be larger, the vegetarian fare more finetuned. Accessibility is the guiding ethos, it is a go-to, drop-in (open for dinner only) canteen for enlightened food lovers on all budgets. I love the way this canteen marries locally sourced, serious food with an ultra-casual, spontaneous dining ethos, Eating here feels unencumbered, honest and joyful…that word again!
P.S. I just hope this brand new Canteen keeps it up.
Bombay Canteen, Kamala Mills, S.B. Road, Lower Parel, Open for dinner only 7:00 pm – 1:00 am
Ph 49666666 Meal for 2 Rs 2000
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 4 DECOR 4
Vegetarian bakery, patisserie and cafe
Are you a vegetarian who does not eat eggs ? Read on and you will be happy you did. Over the years Mumbai has spawned many a shudh vegetarian Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Mexican, Italian, multi-cuisine restaurant. This is the very first dedicated Patisserie-Bakery-café serving not just vegetarian but “eggless-vegetarian” fare. “it’s a brilliant idea. India has the largest population of vegetarian Hindus in the world” opines my guest and blind date, London’s Michelin-starred Benaras restaurant ‘s Atul Kochhar (see box) To check out the patisserie I invite two gorgeous French ladies, Stephanie d Aboville who curates unparalleled access to Paris and beyond. Francette Harrison, a French “Jain” (she does not eat onions and garlic). She has moved here ever since her husband has been heading the Four Seasons and knows Mumbai amazingly well. We also meet two regulars Hiloni and Surabhi who swear by this café.
The large glassed in TRP stands right opposite the Phoenix High street. It is well light, airy, has an open kitchen and many a counter stacked with pastries, breads and cakes.
This includes eggless and gelatin free desserts, breads, croissants, burgers, sandwiches a few multi-cuisine light meals too. Amongst the savories, the soft paneer bursting with peppery notes is everyone’s favorite. Our Jain Francette loves the 3 jain sliders. The masala corn served in a cone is chatpatta good. The opinion starts getting sharply divided when it comes to the sweet stuff. The chocolate bar is everyones favorite.
The rest are not our favorites, But here again, the “eggless-vegetarians” like Hiloni Punatar point out that the
Madagascar mousse Chocolate mousse bar
and Raspberry princess are the best eggless desserts you can get in the city.
While some of the savory dishes like the Patti samosa are too spicy or too stodgy, the vada pao is okayish, the khao suey lacklustre. Many of the desserts are too stodgy, not light enough, the macarons chewy.
Kudos to the Guptas for catering to the niche vegetarian consumer (theyve set up pure vegetarian Mexican, molecular gastronomy restaurants too). In TRP, there are over 65 varieties of eggless and gelatin -free pastries and desserts. Here are some reactions on my instagram and twitter page… @anupa30Eggless macaroons is just absurd ! This is echoed by
@divyabarmecha and @chefkunal . say @chef_sandeep @tulsi78 “it is heaven for me as I always wanted to try macarons cos of eggs couldn’t try”. So while some of these desserts are yum, many more do not match up to the ones made with egg, but they do fill in a huge need out there. “Eggless vegetarians” this way please!
The Rolling Pin
Janta Industrial Estate, opposite High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.
Open 9.30 am to 11.30 pm
RATING FOOD 3 DÉCOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5
Meal for 2: Rs 800
Kya idea aaya! I love hunting. Hunting out lesser known foodie joints. Over the years, Ive been finding differenct ways of doing so. But 29th january’s idea was unique! Id already sniffed out “Kamdar sweets” in Prathnasamaj. And met the young entrepreneurial owner, the young Jimmy Thakker (Parsi nahi, Gujju chhe). I had bought yum undhiyo by the kilo (Rs 360) from him. So I requested him to not only help me check out the colorful cacophonic Prathnasamaj area (I love it) but also dine with us. One happy coincidence led to another. My guests Arjun Divecha high-flying financial genius from SanFrancisco, along with the foodie couple Amrita and Richard Kozarack first popped into Jimmy’s shop (we bought lots of savory and sweet stuff) . Then Jimmy took us to the brand new Vihar café, further round the corner.
Perched on the corner of the intersection (opp Tewari brothers) Café Vihar looks very handsome from outside. Inside it is a brightly lit, canteen like space with wooden tables and benches. The mezanine level (going to serve Mexican, Italian etc) was not ready when we visited.
While the basic South Indian fare is better than the rest of the dishes, it is nothing exceptional. Crisp vada, flavorsome sambhar, a tasty Chilly cheese rawa dosa are worth trying.The Bissi belli though overloaded with cinnamon is tasty, as is the Lemon rice and crisp ragi dosa (on offer are palak to nutella dosa). The banana stuffed Mangalore buns have the perfect sweetness, plumpness and crispness.
Limp and tasteless Akki roti. Ditto for the Amma’s appam, idiappappam. oversweet .sheera and gloopy payasam. Rasam lacks punch and the Paneer makhanwala et al not worth trying.
A pity that the South indian fare here does not pass muster. Friendly quick service, affordable price points (Meal for 2: Rs 600). They are still to get their act together and have plenty other cuisines planned. We wait and watch.
P.S MUST DO. Do you love authentic Gujju vegetarian savories (undhiyo, muthia, khakhra, rajkot se chutney…) sweets (kesar peda, raas malai) then head to Kamdar sweets. Jimmy has over 300 savory items and over 80 sweet ones. Go check out. Kamdar sweets, prathnaSamaj.
524, SVP Road, Opera House, Girgaum. 23821116
Meal for 2: Rs 600
RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3
“Smiling BKK” thats the name of the Dubai restaurant, recommended by my blind dates. Mona Lisa (with a moustache) graces this Thai eatery, ( the owner looks like Mona Lisa, we are informed). While the young luxury inventory controller Mohit Bidchandani is holding a gun (given by the waiter to call him) PR consultant Vaishali Chatterjee, trend spotter, dancer is smiling with the menu. As is Tech & digital enthusiast, travel pundit Aneesha Hingorani (thanks @petpujaris). We love the small, vibrant tucked away eatery with it’s Thai curries and fish cakes. Watch this space for more hidden secrets which my blind dates help me sniff out. Be my foodie date Instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh
Multi-cuisine Rooftop bar
Sexily glamorous. Highest in Mumbai (40th floor) Alfresco. Rooftop Bar. These words define Asilo (A-Sea-lo) perfectly. Sure! It serves a full dinner menu too (we ate our way through the menu) but it’s as a bar that it rocks. My foodie guests, architect, businessman and yoga expert, rock too. Dashing and gifted, California educated Saket Sethi has not only done Salman Khan and other Bollywood offices and homes but also huge corporate projects.
The long legged lovely Shraddha Setalvad has been developing the Yoga Kids in School Program ever since the new Government has mapped yoga back to India. Friendly, well-travelled foodie businessman Safdar Bandukwala shares his expert views as does another dapper gentleman who prefers to remain anonymous. Our review…
the dimly lit stairwell, onto the 40th floor of the Palladium hotel into a charming space sparkling with white and wood, sofas, high tables, dramatic lighting, goodlooking long bar et al.
FOOD AND DRINK
We ate our way through the menu (Robata grills, use of Josper, an elegant combination of a grill & oven) and came away with mixed reactions. Well made Scallops with Prosciutto
And Baked Brie with onion marmalade, apple confit and spiced nuts came up tops..
A fun cocktail menu… ask for the El Presidente, Sandia Picante, Apple Pie-scented Vanilla Sky. with its mix of vodka, water and cinnamon. El Verde, vodka, midori melon, sweet and sour mix .
That dimly lit stairwell, slow service at dinner are downsides. So is the overdone steak, okayish
barbecued Cottage Cheese. A lot of dishes (
Choc Profitroles and Crème Brûlée were not
available.) Oversweet Mango mia too.
Open only in the evenings, this 40th floor sprawling rooftop bar is a project perfectly suited to restaurateurs (Jay Singh, Sanjay Mahtani of Shiro, Hard Rock Cafe, CPK, Big Kahuna, ) with a gift for breathing fresh life into familiar genres and for conjuring buzz . Though there is culinary thought in the menu (Robata grill et al) the menu has more misses than hits. But then as I said at the outset, it’s more of a Rooftop bar with great ambiance, crowd and music. It really does raise the bar! Cheers!
Rooftop, Palladium Hotel, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel, Ph: 61628000
Timings: – 5.30pm to 1.30am
Cover charge of Rs 2500 per person ( Friday& Saturday after 8pm)
RATING BUZZ 4.5 FOOD 3 SERVICE 3 DECOR 4
So what if the name of this restaurant is not accurate and has nothing to do with the location? This Silver Beach cafe is located in the landlocked cacophonic Fort area. It gets a thumbs up from my well-traveled witty foodie guests. Theyre a bunch of school friends, each one doing brilliantly professionally. It’s a delight to lunch with them and hear all their wisecracks, so I request Neil Ramchandani to describe the experience in his own inimitable spoofy style. Here goes…”Seated at the table are London-based private equity entrepreneur and part-time circus bear, Rohit Dhote; Mumbai-based shipping tycoon-cum-professional wedding dancer, Rishabh Sheth; Chicago based jet-setting consultant and Gujju fashion icon, Romanch Dalal; his younger sister, Saumya (soon-to-be Googler and ruler of the tech universe); and University of Chicago MBA student/maker of exquisite yet unsettling hand gestures, Neil Ramchandani”.
Walk through the unassuming exterior into a warm, two-floored inviting space. Sit in the high ceilinged ( exposed wooden beams,) first floor which is bathed in daylight flooding in through the large glass windows.
The menu zigzagged to include a vast array of dishes which is usually not an encouraging sign. But, happily most of the dishes delight. Pasta cooked al dente and a cohesive and delicious filling of the Spinach and cheese ravioli to fish in harissa sauce with just the right amount of kick to it. Must try the thin crust pizza with sundried tomatoes, olive, and pesto. The gooey chocolate pizza with marshmallows makes for a sweet finale. However, the classic pepper and garlic fondue, Argentinean frittomisto (fried calamari), Quessadillas, enchiladas and Turkish mezze platter are okayish.
On the downside, the South African PeriPeri chicken was slushy and lacklustre. As was the molten chocolate cake.
The wait staff was courteous and attentive (our order of roast chicken was not served) but could have shown a better understanding of the menu.
This charming new, two-leveled Fort cafe serves reasonably priced World cuisine, from breakfast, through fondues to chocolate pizza. Appetizers (Rs. 300,) mains (just under Rs. 500.). Well stocked bar too. To end in Neil’s words “For these “foreign-returns” who were finding out that an idli from Santosh Sagar costs a dollar these days, the pricing was modest for the service and ambience offered”.
SILVER BEACH CAFE 16, Murzban Road, Near Sterling Cinema, Fort, 22037356
Open through the day
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3 DECOR 3.5
ORIENTAL (Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese)
There were many questions: Where could well-traveled foodie businessman and the Consul general of Srilanka get a quick working lunch? Oriental cuisine? Well-priced? Brand brand new in South Mumbai? Heres one answer: Mainland China Asia Kitchen.
Both my guests have plenty in common, a discerning palate, both are born in Srilanka, speak Sinhalese. While, the charming bachelor, Safdar Bandukwala hails from a prominent business family there and is Mumbai based, the vivacious Saroja Sirisena, is the multi lingual Sri Lankan Consul General here. Interestingly, Saroja holds an expertise in global nuclear disarmament, cooks brilliantly and speaks fluent French. Safdar travels to the Far East for work and knows Oriental cuisine really well.
Both epitomize the Island spirit, are friendly and great fun and we had a great afternoon.
Colorful, vibrant ambiance in this Palladium mall eatery, buzzing
open kitchen et al.
This second baby of the Mainland China group serves up the popular dishes of Mainland China and also some Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Burmese ones. Happily, the tasty, crunchy corn cakes, unerringly fried Bekti, robustly spiced chilly fish are as good as the steamed plump, moist veg dimsum and the fragrant Thai curry.
The Feathery Sponge is drizzled
with luscious sweet caramel to wickedly flavourful effect.
Overcooked prawns in Hunan sauce. Soggy sushi, lackluster salad and Khaoswey. The one in their Goregaon branch was much better as was the Dynamite tofu and the satay.
Hard dense chocolate rolls
This is the second MCAK, it is (the first in Goregaon). Both have identical menus The food continues to be a mixture of appealing and ho-hum. But it almost always delivers
high-impact flavors (presentation better in Goregaon) at relatively low-impact prices, (Rs 1000, meal for 2). I repeat, Anjan Chatterjee’s Mainland China’s Asia Kitchen is not about fine dining, but Fun dining.
MAINLAND CHINA ASIA KITCHEN
Open lunch and dinner
MAINLAND CHINA ASIA KITCHEN
3RD FLOOR, PALLADIUM, LOWER PAREL.
Meal for 2: Rs 1000
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5