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
Coming soon: The Times Nightlife Guide 2015. Ive been researching and writing these annual nightlife guides for over a decade. This inspite of the fact that I am an early-to-bed-early-to-rise person. So, every year, I stay awake through many a night and do several night life rounds with Mumbai’s young party-birds who guide me.We pop in unanounced into the city’s nightclubs, discotheques and lounges checking out the buzz, music and ambiance. This time two gorgeous San Francisco based sisters, who redefine “beauty with brains” sparkled my night as we not only checked out Exo, but also celebrated their father, Arjun Divecha’s birthday. He is not only a high-flying global investor but also a discerning globe-trotting foodie and co-owner of the legendary Froghollow farm. Stanford graduate, PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, vivacious Mia is a foodie, and world traveler. Vibrant Zai, metalworker and designer’s handcrafted furniture and home goods business is all set to take off in SanFrancisco. They not only thought that Exo is world class but we also had a fun time (see photo).
We loved the stunning view from the sexily glamorous, Exo. It pulsates and rocks on the 37th level of the Palladium hotel. Floor-to-ceiling windows, Ossler chandeliers, leather upholstery and foot-tapping music by Exo’s resident DJ Madoc are some of the key highlights of this twofloored nightclub.Rishi Acharya’s haute spot also plays host to some of the most popular guest DJs specializing in different genres of music. A few weeks ago, I had also popped in here for a sundowner only to find it packed and throbbing with the uber stylish guests.This time, we nibbled on their okayish snacks (they were from the Pan Asian Mekong Kitchen, next door).Guzzled on the premium booze ( Do ask for their signature cocktails, Spectrum and GQ.) Arjun cut the birthday cake (swiftly and thoughtfully served up by Exo staff) we danced as the music pumped up and left to check out two other nightplaces. But not before concluding that Exo lived up to it’s name… The word “Exo” comes from “exosphere” suggesting height and an out of the ordinary experience.
■ Palladium Hotel, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Ph: 61628000
Open from 18.00 hrs to 03.00 hrs Thursday through Saturday 18.00 hrs to 01.30 hrs Wednesday and Sunday. Cover charge: Rs 5000 per couple (on weekends)
DÉCOR 4 BUZZ 4 Nightout for 2: Rs 8000
Jai Ho Japanese! While my favourite “Narisawa” (Tokyo) continues to reign supreme as Asia’s best, Aamchi Mumbai has adapted to this cuisine surprisingly well too. From the Northern end, especially Bandra (Kofuku, Aoi) to the dagger-shaped southern tip. Here Taj’s Wasabi has been holding it’s own past ten years, Tetsuma came along to stake a claim but gave way to the Mediteranean Pier. Now once again (four months ago) a Japanese restaurant reared its head in Colaba, And that too with an elaborate menu. So I do an elaborate check out, eat here twice. Once for lunch ( Rs 5000 for 2) , and then again with a foodie family ( I pay around Rs 20,000).
Bela & Micky Dalal– affable, well-travelled foodies, lovers of the simplicity & sereneity of their rustic Alibag home along with their dapper sons and the lovely Nishita Murarka dine and opine for me.
New age entrepreneur Rohan Dalal’s unique subscription based home delivery service that provides medicinal, nutritional and daily care products across greater Mumbai is in huge demand.
Talented and handsome Jay Dalal, works at one of India’s premier consultancies plans to venture into the digital market and as DJ continues to rock his New York tunes across town.
Dedicated to fitness (Bela – yoga & fitness enthusiast) the whole family are dyed in the drool foodies and we systematically eat our way through the menu.
Walk into Colaba’s latest Japanese restaurant and be charmed by its rich yet understated elegance. Copper lattice-work columns, Italian chandeliers, opulent leather and suede sofas with chrome-and-wood tables and the textured stonework sushi and cocktail bar. Dramatic bright lighting and a birdcage table at one corner makes for a perfect setting for the food that follows.
“To die for” sushi “Oh my God sushi” …sounds gimmicky but most of it is actually all about innovative drama. Rolls set on fire, buried under heaps of crushed tempura, spider rolls, others that look like a caterpillar and so on. Through it all, they retain their texture and
flavour and play to popular tastes with cream cheese, mayo, et al. James Biaka consultant chef here (ex Tetsuma and now Kofuku, Hengbok) ensures there is succulent pork belly, Buta-No-Shogakaki sliced pork intensely flavoured with ginger and soya sauce on the menu. Looking for a more expensive
experience? Ask for the superb Miso Black Cod. Plenty for vegetarians…flavourful Mushroom Rice(Hot Pot Rice with Bop Sauce)Edamame Dip, Veg Kimchi Soup, Quinoa Salad and Avocado Dragon Roll. End with the Vanilla Panna Cotta and Butterscotch with the perfect kiss of sweetness.
In an effort to bend over backwards to please all palates, some of the sushi rolls tip over into too much of a crunchy, saucy mish mash. Baked sushi roll,
Mountain Crunchy Roll being cases in point. Lacklustre, over-cooked Wasabi Chicken, over-salted Tofu Grilled Asparagus and thick-skinned Mochi dessert. The “chefs specials” have small portions and high prices (Rs 2000 and more per dish).
Traditional as well as fusion Japanese fare served in the dynamic and lovely Agarwal sister’s Saizen ( means ‘best’ in Japanese) Interestingly, this restaurant has two price structures while the sushi (`450–600) and many of the dishes are affordably priced, the Chef’s Specials like the Black Cod Miso are priced at over `2,000 each.
Vegetarians and Jains are very well taken care (quinoa salad, plenty of sushi et al)
By bringing inventive cooking and a few high-end grace notes Saizen answers the desires of a generation of savvy, adventurous diners (also vegetarians and Jains) looking for affordable, accessible Japanese fare.
■ 41/42, Minoo Desai Marg, Behind Radio Club, Colaba, Mumbai, Ph: 65081100
Noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11.45pm
Food-4.00 | Service-3.50 | Decor-4.00 | Meal for 2-`4000-8000
YOUR INSTAGRAM & TWITTER RESPONSES
Wow! Thanks for your reponses, i have incorporated them in my review. @garimaaj @duhitachadha
@jigarparmar and many others. Sorry cant include all names here but value each one’s views. Keep them coming please!
Our verdict: Stop wasting time analysing the name, Andheri’s four month old Brewbot is worth a visit! My four fab dedicated foodie blind dates (who I contact on instagram the evening before) from different professions dine here with me. Whoa! What fun! there’s Salonee Sanghvi ( @foodalong an equity analyst loves travelling) Poonam Kakodkar, (@poonamdk HR professional, foodie, marathoner, amateur photographer.)
Alok Verma (@chocolate_and_zucchini
a doctor-in-making, trained singer and a baker at heart)
and Sagorika Datta
Information Technologist, leaving for masters in New Zealand extreme bibliophile and tech-freak.) I savor every moment with them.
We like. “Beer factory” ambiance, exposed brick walls, gleaming gigantic copper and steel brewing vats, painted bots, TV sets et al. Alfresco seating too.
The mutli-cuisine menu offers comfort for those who want it and adventure for those who dare. Go for the Goat cheese lollipops (stuffed with jalapeno and dates), delectable salmon pizza with marscapone, unerringly cooked mussels in wine or involtini eggplant and you wont go wrong. Ask for the comforting juicy Burger, home made pasta, sweet, tangy chicken with honey chilli sauce and you wont wrong either. Outstanding chocolate foindant with a whisper of coffee, we love the caramel crème brulee (in the trio). Swiss trained, hugely talented partner and chef Anand Morwani masterfully combines flavor with texture and both with presentation.
SERVICE AND DRINKS
How do we judge the service accurately? my blind dates go in half an hour before me: are greeted by Julie the brewmaster and given attentive service. The partners, Ketan Gohel (Prince of Palitana) and Ansh Seth ensure that all goes smooth. Though their microbrewery license is awaited. the well-stocked bar and creative cocktails (beer margarita :A bottle of Corona inverted in a Margarita glass) and others delight.
Loud, very loud music. The grating sound of the frozen margarita blender disturbs. Doughy, lackluster bread, ditto for the Crab sliders. Hard Risotto balls. Bland chicken roulade.
OUR TRIED, TESTED AND TASTED VERDICT
We all love the lived-in, age-softened feel of the Beerfactory ambiance.
And Chef Morwani ‘s cooking appealingly complements that atmosphere. It’s mostly a mix of beer-bites, comfort foods and gourmet ones (molecular dishes are on the cards, as is the microbrewery and my favorite Kolsch .) We still couldn’t decide whether this restaurant was positioned to be a drinkers’ refuge with ambitious food or a proper restaurant with a particular vanity about its beer-cocktails and microbrewry. Either ways it rocks!
Note: Sunday Brunch Rs 1200- 1800
Off New Link Road
Near Infiniti Mall
PHONE 4003 4448
HOURS Daily, 6pm to 1am
FOOD 4 SERVICE 4.5 DECOR 3.5
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
AVERAGE MEAL FOR 2: RS 2500