Restaurant Review

Restaurant Review: Makhan

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MAKHAN

Marwari, Gujarati, chaat

Dissapointing. That one word sums up the whole review of Makhan in Kalbadevi. I love diving into the cacophonic, colorful Kalbadevi area, but my excitement to check out this new pure vegetarian eatery from the Brijwasi mithai chain was short-lived. Sadly.

DÉCOR

Functional décor marks the smallish air conditioned space with it’s mithai counter running alongside. Stainless steel tables and  ochre walls complete the decor. A narrow staircase leads to the even smaller mexanine area (open for dinner only.)
FOOD

MakhanI ate alone… with determination and (you’ll agree) with optimism and hope.  Please take a look at the accompanying photograph…I   tasted my way through all those dishes (with the hope of coming across delicious ones, the eternal optimist that I am). But it is only the Delhi dahi bada papdi chaat (I hold close up) drizzled with tamarind chutney and squishy and crisp under the chilled dahi that delights. Crisp pappad chudi and  the robustly spiced Samosa chaat are just about above par.

They also serve Upvas food (which includes French fries) and  thalis. (Rs 130  to sp Rs 240).

 

MINUS POINTS

The Marwari and Gujarati fare (which I absolutely love) is either  undercooked, overcooked or just plain dull that no measure or mingling of seasonings could save it.

While the Kair sanger  is okayish the accompanying parathas  are greasy, the stuffed pyaz paratha  is doughy.  My most favorite Dal batti and it’s soggy churma disappoints. As does the watery Gattey ki sabzi with  oily thin ajwain paratha. Jodhpur’s famous Mirchi vada  is crisp  but  stone cold. Can the silky superb Gujarati kadhi actually be rendered so tasteless? Ditto for the Punjabi kadhi and the stodgy Gujarati Handvo. The bhaturas  are plump but kacha and the cholley tasteless. Ofcourse,  the Dhansak is not even a pale imitation of the Parsi original. I could go on listing the dishes I ate, but suffice it to say that  it’s all below par and all the accompanying rotis, bhakris, parathas are undercooked and overgreased.

Parking is impossible.

MY POINT

Im a Kalbadevi area addict. Shree Thacker Bhojnalaya tops my reasons for popping in to this throbbing, pulsating part of the city.

Im a fan of the exquisite gourmet vegetarian Gujarati and Marwari cuisines. So that’s why I determinedly ate my way alone through Makhan’s menu (paid Rs 2000, no credit cards accepted) .  Generously portioned dishes, modestly priced (meal for 2, Rs  300- 400), swift service but none of these reasons make up for the food which lacks luster. And which (heres that word again) disappoints.

 

Makhan 192/194 Kalbadevi Road, Opposite the Cotton Exchange, Kalbadevi (2240-2597). Open  noon- 11pm. Meal for two R300-R400

RATING FOOD 2 SERVICE 3.5  DÉCOR 3


 

 

CHEAPANDCHEERFUL

Been flooded. Overwhelmed. A zillion thanks for all your recommendation on twitter, email and instagram Awesome recommendations from South Indian Udipis to Bengali Roll places, and from Chaat corners to Dessert shops, we’ve got it all.

@HungryMumbai @WheelsOnOurFeet @rbhotica @DelishDirection @Rulerofmind @RassiBomb @ZeniaIrani thanks ever so much. Sorry cant thank each and every one of you, due to space constraint, but look forward to hearing from you on rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh and eating about with you too.


NEW, NEWER, NEWEST

Tried. Tested. Tasted. It doesn’t get any better than this. Find out the latest about the greatest, know all about the brand new restaurant openings from the chotta to the motta all delivered to you with  speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness. “It’s the best biryani in South Mumbai” posted @abhinitk (on my instagram account, I still have to find out his full name) I went instantly to check out this newest, cheapandcheerful eatery and takeaway which has just opened in South Mumbai. It’s called Kyamiyaa, its seriously small, is it worth dashing down to? Is it Value for money? …  to find out more you have to log onto Timescity.com. What you waiting for?   Go for it. Tcity.me/kyamiyaa.

REJUVEN-ATE, CELEBR-ATE

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I raise a toast with the  delicious“Iron man” juice and ask a few questions: Can delicious also be nutritious? Tasty food be   healthy? Contradictory? Not possible? But worth finding out, don’t you agree? After all, food delivers the much-needed energy and the vitality to work and to enjoy life in all it’s manifold aspects. And so it’s been my life-long quest to find food that combines taste with health. And especially in restaurants. Having eaten my way through all my travels around the world and through all my 33 books, I have to admit that very, very few restaurants serve up food that combines these two aspects. Most coax flavors and enhance textures with dollops of fat, frying to a crisp, layers of cream and so on. India’s  restaurantscape continues to grow and expand with multiple cuisines and options. And each year, as I research The Times Food Guides I eat non-stop in restaurants here.

  CAFE WELI-DELI

Rejuven-ateYou can imagine my delight when in the heart of bustling South Mumbai, I find  a cafe, an oasis of calm which creates, innovates and serves up the most amazing spa menu. And this is a glassed off space ( outdoor verandah et al), surrounded by trees. This jewel of a  open-through-the-day café is part of the Taj’s Wellington Mews, their swanky serviced apartment property. Sure! You can imbibe the tranquility and coffee and snacks but even more exciting is the light and delightful menu of the Jiva spa complemented by a variety of fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Ofcourse, the comprehensive short menu with it’s sandwiches and pastas also offers a flavorsome Goan prawn curry and the ever popular Chicken kathi roll.  But it’s the healthful yet yummy Steamed Sea Bass, the  Mediterranean-spiced Chicken Breast  and the healthy Wholewheat Ravioli with Spinach and Mushroom and Stir-fried Spring Vegetables served with Tofu that Chef Shrutika Koli excels in. Here I not only trip out on their crisp salads, but also their  addictive roasted pumpkin soup spiked with cumin and the homestyle drumsticks.

From chef Shrutika Koli and the dynamic, health-buff Parveen Chander Kumar, who helms the serene spa and the property, I get a rejuvenating taste of health.  “The soup is full of antioxidants”  explains Parveen  and I chip in “and what a unique lingering whisper of cumin it has”.

P.S. The Iron Man is a refreshing apple, guava and pear juice. Weli Deli’s  Pineapple and Ginger with Mint and Celery is another favorite of mine too.

 

 


 

HEALTHY COOKING TIPS

Chef Shrutika shares some of her tips and recipes with us.

·       Always use only seasonal and fresh vegetables and  herbs,  instead of canned or dried ones.

·       While making  juices of fruits and  vegetables try and squeeze last minute without adding any sweeteners .

·       ·         ·        Try to best capture flavors retain the nutrients in food without adding excessive salt and fats

·       Cooking with minimal heat and a la minute tossing of food help to maintain  colour and texture of food .

·       Avoid excess use of all the white food stuffs eg. Sugar , salt , rice , milk, refine flour …..

 

CUMIN SCENTED ROASTED PUMPKIN BISQUE

Ingredients:

Amount   Measure  Ingredient                       Preparation Method

500          grams              pumpkin red

15            grams              cumin seeds                    roasted and powdered

15            milliliters        extra virgin olive oil

10            grams              sea salt                    to taste

10            grams              pepper corn                     crushed

20            grams              shallots                    chopped

20            grams              garlic                               chopped

20            grams              leeks                                chopped

 

Preparation:

Peel & cut pumpkin in to wedges. Marinate pumpkin with olive oil, salt, peper  & garlic.

Roast marinated pumpkin in the oven until well-done. Puree the roasted pumpkin to a fine paste.

Sauté garlic, shallots, leeks, cumin seeds & add pumpkin puree. Add vegetable stock, and seasoning.

Simmer the soup till smooth and creamy. Strain and return to fire.

Check for seasoning, color and consistency. Serve hot garnished with roasted cumin powder.

THE PERFECT PUMPKIN

  • Very low calorie (100 gms of pumpkin has 26 calories)No saturated fats or cholesterol.
  • Pumpkin has many anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin-C and vitamin-E.
  •  but rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins.
  •  Recommended by dieticians in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.
  • High quantity of Vitamin A, a powerful natural anti-oxidant.
  • Plenty of  B-complex group of vitamins.
  • A rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

TIMELESS SPLENDOUR BY THE GANGA

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sonar toriThis ain’t no restaurant, it’s a timeless experience. I step in and out of nostalgic centuries, seamlessly. By the serene river Ganga (in the village of Raichak, an hours drive from Kolkatta) stands “Sonar Tori” a mindblowing restaurant which I discovered  two years ago  (now I know what Columbus must’ve felt like) and then went back and shot  as a judge for the Times Now Foodie TV show. Did I just call it a “restaurant”?  It is much more. It is a tribute to the old and rich Indian tradition, it is an art centre, the Bengali idiom has been  infused into the coastal architecture of the place in a contemporaryfashion.

Sonar Tori is a visual recreation of the of the rich and layered facets of the socio- cultural- literary – ritualistic elements of Bengal; There is conservation of nature and culture here. The nostalgia of yesteryears has been infused by the usage antique articles and utensils and whoa! The multi-layered and flavorsome Bengali fare delivers magic.

 

SPRAWLING BY THE RIVER

I was floating on air with joy here. The sheer melding of the beauty of nature with manmade buildings is a triumph of art and science. The existing grooves and water bodies have been  conserved. Minimalist thatched roof buildings have been  built without disturbing a single tree or water body.  Around the 11, 000 sq ft restaurant there is a a scattered look with walkways connecting them.  Walk in to the restaurant which sprawls languourously on many levels and like Alladins cave, fabulous rooms keep opening up one after another. The Rabindranath Tagore room (main dining area) the Shisha Bar,  main bar, an open air dining area and a sit out by the riverside here. There is also a separate cozy Private dining area within the restaurant.

I cant peel my eyes off the amazing collection of old windows, doors, old photographs, nutcrackers, betel boxes, traditional accounting books, 4 poster beds and trunks. Rabindranath Tagore’s famous poems and sketches adorn the ceilings, as do vintage chandeliers,  old-fashioned handheld fans and other bric-a-bracs adorn the interiors, all put together to create nostalgic grace.

 

“It has been a privilege to say the least, to have been privy to the myriad sensitivities and sensibilities of Bengali cuisine” says the brilliant Harsh Neotia, the driving force behind it “and to offer the assimilation of years of gorging on both the palate and tradition”. His gorgeous wife Madhu Neotia shares his passion for it and works hands on here as an advisor.

 

THE JOURNEY OF BENGALI CUISINE

 

How does the brilliant Chef Sumanta Chakrabarti manage to  showcase the  influence of the Mughals, Europeans and of course the indigenous agrarian ones in his Bengali menus?

He explains that the much relished Bengali fare like polao, kosha mangsho, korma, kofta have been derived from Mughlai cuisine. The Nawab of Awadh (then Oudh) who took refuge in Kolkata during the British Raj brought with him hundreds of cooks and masalchis (spice mixers) who brought in chat, chop & cutlet, pauruti or bread and more.

I find out more about Ghotis (the people of West Bengal who  use poppy seeds liberally) and Bangal  ( from East Bengal

who favor dal and fish).
 Ghotis prefer fish bred in ponds or estuaries, like magur and topshe while Bangals prefer fish from big rivers. But the hilsa or ilish is a universal favorite. And Chef Sumanta Chakrabarti, Mathemetics Honours, Bachelor of Architecture and a master in hotel management, combines years of working with Indian and international masterchefs to seamlessly deliver an amazing experience. He serves three varieties of cuisines, namely Zamindari, Grameen & Musalmanir. Each one is served in different metals of thalis and in it’s own pristine orders. Freshest of seafood catch, flavorsome of curries, plumpest of rotis, sweetest and most delicate of milk based desserts…it’s a never ending feast for the senses. I can fill a book about it, instead I request the chef for his recipes. Should you want more please email me (Rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com, twitter @rashiudaysingh )

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SONAR TORI RECIPE

Channar narkol paturi

Fabulous recipe of chenna steamed in a banana leaf

1 portion

 

 

120 gm    Chenna – Bengal cottage cheese

50 gm      Grated coconut

2 tea spoon Ginger Paste

1 tae spoon Garlic Paste

3 nos       Green chili paste

2 tea spoon Mustard paste

1 pinch    Black cumin seed

1 table spoon  Khoyaa

1 no         Green chili slit

To taste   Salt

½ tea spoon    Sugar

1 no         Banana leaf

2 tea spoon Mustard oil

 

Blend with the end of the wrist chenna into smoothness, and then add the grated coconut, ginger paste, garlic paste, green chili paste, mustard paste, khoyaa. Mix the entire ingredient nicely.

Crackle the black cumin seed, sprinkle on top, wrap the mixture in banana leaf, add green chili slit on top and drops of mustard oil and seal the banana leaf. Serve preferably with bangla pulao

Steam it for 4-5 minutes

NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE

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NEW YORK FOOD GUIDE

Pardon the blasphemy: I write from the original Biblical Paradise. I am convinced that it was this very Big apple that Eve tempted Adam with. So here’s a teeny taste of  New York’s vast, tentacled food scene’s eternally evolving everythingness. My son Dhruv and his friend Tracy help me check it all out…from the low and high, faddish and fun, diabolically tasty, heartbreakingly expensive to the cheapest… happily vegetarians have plenty to eat everywhere.

NYC CULT FOOD AND STREET FARE

Go on. Take to the streets and you’ll be spoilt for choice, from calzones, falafel t to combined papaya juice/hot dog stands corndogs, grilled chestnuts and more. Go for the steaming, paper thin heaps of pastrami overflowing from a sandwich ( Katz Deli ) Manhattan is pizza lovers haven. Lombardis (Spring street) is still my choice though you can pick up a slice most anywhere. A BITE OF HISTORY NYC is where  the Delicatessan (Deli) was created by the East European jews as also the Reuben sandwichSteak Diane,Vichyssoise  and the Waldorf salad . Cronuts being the latest. Crunch on the apple and walnut rich Waldorf salad at the Waldorf Astoria  like we do or step back in time in the old-word charm of Café Carlye (76th and Madison) where music legends have played, we were lucky to hear Woody Allen on the clarinet as we dined on the classic Lobster bisque and Branzino. Cant keep eating fancy ? Do what I did went into the iconic Plaza hotel’s brand new Todd English Foodhall  (1 W 59th street) for affordable fare.

GRANDSTANDS

If you have deep pockets (or like us save up and not shop) then a five hour Italian meal at celebrity chef Mario Batallis 24000 sq ft elegant  Del posto (85, 10th Ave)  is a must. I ate at Perse (Columbus Circle) last trip and found it too frilly and predictable,

FINE DINE DEMOCRATISED

Its also called the “Momofuku effect” And it all started with my favorite fabulous Michelin starred Changs  Momofuku Ssam bar (East village)superlative food. We dine with Viveka Purandare at  Will Guidara’s fabulous NoMad’s (1170 Broadway) lacquered roast chicken with truffles and foie gras to  the mindblowing simplicity of red radishes enrobed in a thin shell of butter. On my last trip we had dined at their “Eleven Madison Park”(10 Columbus circle) …astounding though more formal. OUR CASUAL FLAVORITES Innovative yet comforting Mediteranean fare at Atrio (Conrad hotel, Battery park) chef Antonio Cardoso excels here. Innovative,  inspired supercharged dimsum  at Red Farm ( Second Ave East Village) buzzing Parisian bistro. Balthazar (Spring st) are must visits

INSPIRING INDIA

INSPIRING INDIA AT JUNOON
INSPIRING INDIA AT JUNOON

Michelin starred Junoon (means passion in hindi) (27 W, 24th St) lives up to it’s name and serves up an authentic, yet elegantly modern take on Indian cuisine. And four of us speakers (Hemant Oberoi, Zorawar Kalra Rajesh Bhardwaj and me ) from the Columbia Business school food panel dine in this handsome, high ceilinged packed and noisy restaurant where the hot sexy chef Vikas Khanna creates magic. With us are Revti Gupta, Divya Surana and Kersi Shroff the brilliant masterminds of Columbias Inspiring India.

NIGHTCLUBBING

Whoa we feasted on the  glittering 360 degree view of NYC from the swanky  Top of The Standard (848 Washington street)– formerly  Boom Boom Room –luxurious 70s-inspired glam, with starburst chandeliers, gold plated chairs et al. Equally popular is  that oasis of luxe urban cool,  Dream hotel ( Midtown West)  owned by Vikram Chatwal) exclusive puny Electric Room nightclub  And PH-D, their rooftop nightclub.

DOLLOPS OF GLAMOR

Asia is on steroids at this sprawling new Tao Downtown (92 9th Ave) loud music, seabass satay, dimsum, sake flight tasting and Patrick Duxbury insists we trip out the most decadent dessert platter. We do happily. Beauty& Essex… Walk through a jewellery pawn shop into this gem of a restaurant with sharing mutli ethnic plates. Purvi Thacker and I trip out on Lobster tacos to eggplant pizzettas Love the vibe and  Italian fare at Robert di Nero’s Greenwich hotel.The fluffy pancakes at Three Guys Restaurant (Madison Avenue) and the Greek manager proudly informs that the worlds most beautiful actress Deepika Padukone  has eaten here.


    ROOHI JAIKISHEN RECOMMENDS It was a virtual miracle: it was on Instagram that I got recommendations from Roohi Jaikishen, the discerning gourmet New York addict and followed them too. Amongst them were, Jean Georges Vongerischten at 1920s Paris meets New York, Mark hotel (super steamed shrimp salad.)  Tao, Beauty and Essex, Top of the Standard, Dream hotel Schiller and Arlington recommended by Roohi.


 

NYC CHEAPAND CHEERFUL   I sniffed out some great finds on my eatabouts all thanks to instagram and twitter (@rashmiudaysingh)  I got some amazing recommendations from NYCfoodtastic, Rikin Kadakia and many more. * Artichoke pizza on Mcdougal, *  Xian famous food’s  famous lamb burger ( St. Marks street) all for $3 *Malai Marke for Indian food beats chote nawab or bricklane * Ippudo For ramen noodles and burgers * los taco no.1  (chelsea market,) salts of 100 flavors to finger licking lobsters too. * Woorijip Authentic Korean food, for buffets with 40+ options

Restaurant Review: Buddha Belly

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Diners at Buddha Belly
Diners at Buddha Belly

I am a devout follower of Lord Buddha and was hugely intrigued by the irreverent name of Peddar Road’s brand new “Buddha Belly” eatery. What  on earth could  Buddha’s belly possibly deliver? Nirvana. I hoped.

DÉCOR

Mish mash décor with sayings of Hippocrates.  Brillat savarin and GB Shaw, photos of skyscrapers plastered all over walls. begin to give a clue of what is to follow.Seriously small, it even squeezes in a low ceilinged mezzanine floor.  Malini Patel  and Rupal Himani (who love trying out new eateries) were lunching here. While one’s daughter Malaika  cooks brilliantly, the others  Husband Divyesh cooks exotic dishes .

FOOD

No two ways about it: affordable pricing. Average of Rs 125 for 4 pieces of dimsum and an array of steamed, fried, baked, panfried dimsum. ( okayish Khaosuey  the only main course) Well made and flaky baked dimsum filled with chicken came up tops,   Fried  chicken ball with a sticky.sweet filling was good,  the surprises ?  flavorsome  vegetarian parmesan spinach dimsum, the mixed veggie crystal one. Superb  mustard sauce and lemon grass sauces. Passable coconut mousse and nutella mousse.

MINUS POINTS

Parking is impossibl.No Chinese tea served here. But tasteless sticky rice,  clumpy Suimai. Lackluster Black bean chicken dimsun wrapped in cabbage and that Edamame truffle dimsum is a soggy, sans truffle pouch. Tough chicken and chive Gyoza.

No takeway boxes available. No alcohol.

MY POINT

An open all day, well-priced dimsum joint is definitely a great concept and for that alone Buddha Belly deserves kudos. However, it falters in execution, sometimes delivering  thick skinned wrappers, at other times lackluster fillings. I am hoping these are teething troubles and our Buddha will outgrow them.

Ketty House,  Near Vama, ,Pedder Road Ph  65651545

Open all day. Meal for 2: Rs 800

RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Restaurant Review: MEKONG

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Global superstar chefs Vineet Bhatia and Gaggan Anand at Mekong
Global superstar chefs Vineet Bhatia and Gaggan Anand at Mekong

It’s a record. Two “first time evers” took place while reviewing Palladium hotel’s much awaited “Mekong” which opened some months ago. I ate the first-meal on the first-day they opened (something I never do). But did so, because two globally acknowledged superstar chefs  were in town. Id eaten in  Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatias London restaurant and tripped out on his reinterpreted traditional Indian classics. Not only been blown by Bangkok based Gaggan Anand’s masterly use of molecular gastronomy in his progressive Indian cuisine but recently also cheered him for   making it to the AsiasTop 50 restaurants in Singapore. It was at this lunch that Gaggan Anand  met his hero Vineet Bhatia for the first time.  Vineet jetsets between his   restaurants in ten cities, writes  books and does TV shows.

” Yaar, Vineet is a pioneer. He has inspired me” gushes Gaggan as the stud in his ear glints as he leans forward to hug the senior chef.  The wine authority and witty Sanjay Menon joins us but prefers to be incognito. The  afternoon sparkles with their joie de vivre. Unfortunately  this joy does not extend to the food as well.

Could it be  teething troubles? So I ate four more times (paid through my nose). Except for a minor tweaking, my review remains the same.

DÉCOR

Feast on the spectacularly dramatic 37th floor view (let in by the magnificent glass windows) of the Mahalaxmi Racecourse and the sea. Happily, the theatricality here doesn’t go over the top. In this sprawling restaurant, large lamps, wine walls and Oriental artifacts seem as authentic as they are flashy. The lighting is subtle yet bright.

FOOD

 

Like the name (Mekong, named after the river) the good-looking menu meanders through Vietnam, China and Thailand but it meanders too much and so confuses and makes decision

making difficult. At each meal, the starters score over the mains. Tangy, sweet salads (Pomelo, Raw Papaya), a variety of plump dim sum (great at one meal and not so at another) and deep-fried Vietnamese rolls. Traditional Thai soups, Tom Kha Gai and homestyle Tom Yum delight. Plenty of choice for veggies, robustly spiced Ma La-style Chicken, vegetables, prawns in XO Sauce are the plus points.

MINUS POINTS

Mekong’s kitchen has ample skill. It just doesn’t have nearly enough discipline. In many entrees, the meat or fish  is so modestly portioned, overcooked or just plain dull that no measure or mingling of seasonings  save it. Mekong’s Steamed Fish is overcooked, the calibration of some dips, sauces and soups not quite right. Noodles with Seafood and Lamb in Yellow Bean are ordinary. As are the desserts. Vietnamese Pho Bo is conspicuous by its absence (though there is a Vietnamese noodle soup)  Spring Rolls lack the refreshing crunch of vegetables. Music from the neighboring bar is loud and intrusive.

MY POINT

We go there expecting a lot. We go to celebrate the sweet heat of and perfumes and flavors of Thailand, Vietnam and China ’s cooking and come away with mixed feelings.

On my fourth (most recent meal,) there was marginal improvement in some of the dishes. Also  some of the dish-prices had been tweaked downwards, others  hiked upwards.  A new dimsum chef was in place and new desserts were expected. Attentive service, well stocked bar.

Sure! Mekong is

located sky-high (literally) with prices to match, now if only the food would keep pace.

■ Palladium Hotel, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai, Ph: 61628422

12.30pm to 3pm, 7.30pm to 11.30pm

Food-3.50 | Service-3.50 | Décor-4.00 | Meal for 2-`6000

 

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EATOUT WITH ME

Im traveling all month, but waiting to be back in town and invite you to eat out with me all  you amazingly well informed foodies who have been tweeting fabulous recommendations for #cheapandcheerful eateries. Wish I could thank each and everyone of you, but I cant (space constraint), so here are a few regular responders,  the tummy tales @elsonsequeira @RassiBomb @joymanavath @ChandniT @kneadwithlove  @DebySharma @pratishthakhan @AjitBalgi @ScrollsNink @doughmydear@akzey@ChantChameli.  All of you, please do keep mailing your recommendations (rashmiudaysingh2014@gmail.com) and tweeting and instagramming them @rashmiudaysingh

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GREAT FOOD NEWS

Our very own Indian restaurant, Amaya in London has made it to the Daily Mail’s Worlds Top 100 restaurant list. Congratulations Camellia and Namita Panjabi. and Ranjit Mathrani. You make India proud.

Restaurant Review: Townhouse Café (European)

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townhouseI’m rejoicing. Countless new restaurants are opening up and their baby steps are being dissected by even more countless food bloggers, twitterati, instagrammers and more. It’s a good sign that we are truly involved with our food. It was not like this when I started writing about food thirty years ago. Then food writing was considered unfashionable. Thankfully, things are getting better.

DÉCOR

“Wont you take me to honky taoooownnnn” blares as I walk into the first floor of this small heritage building (built by a French architect), nudged right next to Sterling cinema. I walk past the ground floor café area into the charming, high-ceilinged, wooden-beamed, tiny, dimly-lit, olive green-walled bar with posters.

FOOD

Townhouse Café  doesn’t encourage you to take mincing bites of measured portions. It exhorts you to dig in to it’s comfort food. To crunch into it’s perfectly deep-fried dishes (great accompaniments to alcohol) be it the Golden Fried Panko Crusted Mushrooms or the bucket of deep fried squid and prawns. Plenty of pasta dishes, half the menu is vegetarian (do ask for the well-made Scallion Crepes and Aubergine Red Pepper Sandwich). While leaving, I bump into owner Anuja Jatkar and her foodie passion and that of her young team shines through, two particularly good fish dishes – the Fish and Chips Burger (crispy fish patty, velvetty tartar sauce within soft buns) and Perfectly Grilled Basa (lemony buttery sauce). Okayish brownie with ice-cream. Go to tipple, imported draughts and interesting cocktails (try fresh coconut water mojito). Check the happy hours.

MINUS POINTS

Only one dessert on menu. Some dishes on menu are not available. No pork belly or pork belly sliders available. Scrambled truffled eggs are soggy and not enough truffle oil.

MY POINT

I was happily surprised by the charming European Townhouse ambiance and comfort fare here.

Plenty of deep-fried comfort fare, but there’s a balance between heartiness and delicacy and plenty for vegetarians. Charming ambiance, comfort food at comforting prices. If in the vicinity, its the perfect open all day, neighbourhood bar.

Meal for two: RS 1,800 approx

Rating: 
Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Décor: 3.5

 

Townhouse cafe

16, Murzban Road, near Strerling Cinema, Fort.

Timings 12 pm – 1:30 am

Call 022-2203 7356

Restaurant review: Eddies bistro (European)

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pic for blog2What a wonderful world. I repeat. What a wonderful, helpful and yummy world. I’d never met these young and brilliant food bloggers and yet on the basis of my SOS tweets and Instagrams, they came across gallantly to help me hitchhike into the alien galaxies and solar-systems of the internet et al.

EDDIES… AN EDDIFYING EXPERIENCE

Sorry for that cheap pun but my lunch in this new, small Bandra eatery was just that… eddyfying. The dynamic and articulate food bloggers Chandni, Pratishta, Anuja, Roxanne and Kumar (please read the Box, “My Tweet-hearts” ) patiently showed me not only  the nitty gritties of tweeting and blogging and all that goes in between, but also shared their views on Eddies. Please take a look at the accompanying photograph, if it had a videotrack attached to it, here’s what you’d see… my charming guests with their cell-phones (of all shapes and sizes) taking photos of the dishes, me taking furious notes of all they advise, plenty of eating. So, what follows is a truly democratic restaurant review.

DÉCOR

Airy, cheery, narrow and smallish. The  blonde light wood and mirrored interiors give it a casual-comfy, all-day-dining bistro vibe.  A couple of plasma screens complete the décor of the well-used small space.

FOOD

We all agree that what comes out of the 26-year-old chef Nishant Mitra’s kitchen are attractively assembled dishes (dips and a dessert too served in cute cutting chai glasses) that will have diners (not just food bloggers) reaching for their cellphone cameras. What goes into his kitchen are fresh and good quality ingredients. The menu is divided into small plates and fat plates and once again we all agree that it’s the small plates that score over the mains, the burgers come out tops. Ask for the “Unbeetable beet burger” squishy firm with beet and cottage cheese as well as the perfectly juicy, moist with Harissa Mayo Mini Lamb Burger . Go for the refreshing Beetroot Carpaccio (perfectly dressed with caramelised apple vinaigrette), oven-baked discs of sweet potato made zesty with an emmental cheese and jalapeno sauce. Interesting Asian flavours peep through in the chicken plank with bok choy. We polish off the velvetty panacotta and the crazily addictive hazelnut torte. Bliss.

MINUS POINTS

In some of the dishes, the flavour pallete wasn’t just bland but blurry, with not a single clear flavour coming into focus. Getting unanimous dislike votes were the gritty Polenta Fries (albeit with yummy goat cheese dips and tomato jam) and the stodgy Mac & Cheese Bites. Okayish Grilled Prawns (inconvenient in their shells) with the pineapple and wine sangaria dip, the strange marriage of the Russian Strogonoff and Italian Risotto (and the overcooked chicken) didn’t work. No valet parking.

MY POINT

Here it is.  A truly democratic restaurant review. The acid test of a restaurant: will you go back? All my guests (except one) will surely do so. Me too. Unpretentious, casual, well-presented European (with a few Asian flavours too) “small” and “fat plates”, plenty for vegetarians, must-try burgers, some salads and superb desserts. Eddies serves up comfort with a bit of spin and a dash of international sophistication, comfort with a cheeky tweak.

Meal for two Rs 1,800 approx

Rating:
Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Décor: 3.5

EDDIES BISTRO
Shop No. 6, Silver Croft Bldg,
16th and 33rd Road Junction,
Bandra (W).
Call 022-26002637

Restaurant review: BusaGo (Asian multi-cuisine)

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Rashmi_1Bandra buzzes. Before leaving for Spain, I popped into Busaba’s baby sibling BusaGo and I ate almost everything on the short menu.

DECOR
Cheery. Stamp-sized.  Crammed with five tables, open kitchen. Asian multicuisine menu and specials chalked onto the blackboard. A small alfresco area too.

FOOD
Please notice the three bottles of “Chibs multipurpose sauces” in the photo. Turn up the spice levels of your food and buy them (Red chilly is the best at  Rs 68) to take them home too. The star of Nikhil Chibs menu (the first to introduce it to Mumbai), is the velvety, coconutty Burmese Kaukswe, ladled on to either noodles or rice and sprinkled with crispy crunchy condiments and twist of lime.

Go for the meals in a bowl. Ask for the moist steamed crunchy Vegetarian Momos and Prawn Momos. The special of the day, the Bekti steamed fish sparkled with lemon is worth trying, as is the succulent, robustly spiced Korean Bulgogi. Go for the freshly squeezed “Make your own juice”,  Nespresso coffee (served in a paper cup, Alas) too. Though not authentic the Bánh mì sandwich is tasty, filling and inexpensive.

MINUS POINTS
Bland Thai curry, Madras curry powder-laden Cambodian curry are avoidable as is the Coconut nimbu pani  laced with ginger and honey. Lacklustre Kungpao with peanuts. Hard crusted, oversweet Banoffee Pie. No alcohol.

MY POINT
Open through the day, VFM (average meal for 2, Rs 500. Home delivery too). Though some of the dishes are patchy the Kaukswe and Momos are worth trying. A welcome addition to buzzing Bandra.

BusaGo

Gaspar Enclave, Shop No 11, Pali Naka, Bandra West, 400050
Tel: 6127 8897
Open: 11:30am to 11:30pm

Rating: * Food: 3.5 * Service: 3.5 * Décor: 3