Review

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Multi-cuisine bar

Good Wife
My fab foodie blind dates…Shayan Italia (the guy making fun gestures) Pooja, Jumana, Mohit, Jigar, Hunaina at The Good Wife

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.

DECOR

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.

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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.

 MINUS POINTS

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.
MY POINT

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!

Review: BOMBAY CANTEEN

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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.

 

DECOR

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.

FOOD

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.

MINUS POINTS

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,

 

MY POINT

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

 

 

Review: THE ROLLING PIN

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Vegetarian bakery, patisserie and cafe

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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.

DÉCOR

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.

FOOD

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.

MINUS POINTS

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.

MY POINT

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.
24979952

Open 9.30 am to 11.30 pm

RATING FOOD 3 DÉCOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5

Meal for 2: Rs 800

 

Review: VIHAR COFFEE HOUSE

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Multi cuisine

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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.

DÉCOR

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.

FOOD

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.

MINUS POINTS

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.

MY POINT

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.
VIHAR CAFÉ
Girgaum
524, SVP Road, Opera House, Girgaum. 23821116
Meal for 2: Rs 600
RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3

MY DUBAI FOODIE BLIND DATE

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Smiling BKK, Dubai with Vaishali, Mohit and Aneesha
Smiling BKK, Dubai with Vaishali, Mohit and Aneesha

“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

 

Review: ASILO

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Multi-cuisine Rooftop bar

 

Saket sethi, Shradha setalvad,Safdar Bandukwala raising the bar at ASILO
Saket sethi, Shradha setalvad,Safdar Bandukwala raising the bar at ASILO

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…

 

 

DECOR

Walk up

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 .

 

MINUS POINTS

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.

MY POINT

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

 

 

Review: SILVER BEACH CAFE

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WORLD CUISINE

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”.

 

DECOR

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.

FOOD

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.

MINUS POINTS

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.

OUR POINT

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

 

Review: Mainland China Asia Kitchen TFG

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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.

DECOR

Colorful, vibrant  ambiance in this Palladium mall eatery, buzzing

open kitchen et al.

FOOD

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.

 

MINUS POINTS

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

 

MY POINT

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.

PH 24964252

Meal for 2: Rs 1000

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

 

Review: EXO

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Nightclub

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA ARJUN, MIA AND ZAI AT EXO
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAPA ARJUN, MIA AND ZAI AT EXO

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

Review: SAIZEN

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Japanese

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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.

 

DECOR

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.

FOOD

“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.

MINUS POINTS

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).

 

MY POINT

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

 

BOX

YOUR INSTAGRAM & TWITTER RESPONSES

Wow! Thanks for your reponses, i have incorporated them in my review.  @garimaaj @duhitachadha

@pranavjaveri @sakshkay @faizamomin

@jaipuriphotography @romilratra

@jigarparmar and many others. Sorry cant include all names here but value each one’s views. Keep them coming please!