We’re rejoicing. Or should I say “re-Joss-ing”? Here’s a Mumbai restaurant which redefines “standing the test of time”. Having magnetised foodies in Kala Ghoda for eleven years, Joss shut down only to be reincarnated as the modern “Joss by Farokh Khambatta” in Santa Cruz.
Cracklingly new. Shiningly new. Newingly new. Now, that Ive hammered the message through about this brand new Italian restaurant, let me tell you that I got to know about it not through a PR release or chef, but through my long-distance call to my very knowledgable foodie-dynamo buddy Dilip Joshi who has answers to all (almost) my questions.
Nudged into the armpit (almost) of my most beautiful T2 airport (Im quite crazily in love with it) the brand new JW Marriott glitters. Walk past the shimmery lobby with dripping chandeliers and youre in for a surprise. The sprawling, high ceilinged, dimly-lit dark wood, very handsome and macho restaurant is a total contrast to it. A pleasant contrast. An open kitchen bustles into view and two staircases lead into the bar area on the mezzanine.
Traditional Italian. Short menu. No pizzas. No Ossobuco coz no beef (ofcourse) Im told their chef is from Naples, but was on leave when we ate here. Food was still good. Which is a super sign. For starters, the Buratta (Rs 695) (from Bangalore) was voluptuously creamy, kissed by basil pesto and a must try. It was the superlative sea bass (Rs 1595) baked in parchment paper, flavorsome with lemon sauce and clams that was the star of the show. Delicious Pepper spring chicken rosemary potatoes pickled chillies (Rs 1295). Huge big sharing portion of delightful tiramisu (therefore priced at Rs 650).
Okay! since it is not even a fortnight old, there being no Gelato no Proseco no Grappa is understandable. But why was the spaghetti alio olio so limp and overcooked? And the
Scallops in Butter brandy (Rs 745) with grit in them? Vegetarians need more dishes, please. The side dishes of vegetables do not count (though our side dish of green beans was yum) The sommelier was knowledgable, helpful, though the wine list could do with more Italian wines.
Though Romano’s homestyle Italian menu and cooking aren’t particularly adventurous or inventive, (not enough vegetarian dishes) it’s dishes do a deft, unusual seesaw between heartiness and delicacy. These strengths and the restaurant’s macho cozy setting will take Romanos a long way.
P.S.Even though only a fortnight old, it was already quite packed.
ROMANO’S JW Marriott Sahar, IA Project Road, T2 Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport
RATING FOOD 3.5 DECOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5
Open for dinner only
Meal for 2: Rs 5000
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!
North Indian. Molecular Gastronomy.
Taaza Khabar: A month old pure vegetarian Indian restaurant goes the Molecular gastronomy way. I was lucky enough to have dined at Ferran Adria, Spanish wizard’s El Bulli (it is now shut) and also at the London’s Fat Duck, Spain’s “El Celler de can Roca”, Stockholm’s Oaxen where I was blown by each one’s amazing creations using cutting edge scientific techniques, ingredients and methods to make the familiar look unfamiliar and vice versa. The question always remains: does this unlikely transmogrification of ingredients and other cerebral shenanigans taste good or not?
This Lower Parel 100 seater restaurant seems to have been kept deliberately non descript ( semi-industrial fit-out with exposed brick walls) to keep the focus on food.
Ever had a vada pao which has a mousse aerated by infusing nitrogen in it?chutney in edible plastic pouches ? Quivering explosive orbs of papdi chat with coriander chutney foam? Happily, they also taste good. As does the pao bhaji fondue. The passionately dedicated owner Aditya Gupta studied up and ensures the use of liguid nitrogen, dry ice, dehydrator a( for dahi bada and dhokla. Siphon for chilli palak soup, alginate bath and more. Rose caviar partners The chocolate flower pot is filled with rasmalai and saffron mousse and sprinkled with pista chocolate soil. Regular North indian fare marks the mains, be it Paneer Kadai, Veg Kohlapuri, Amritsari vadi aloo or the must try dahi pakodi. Gluten free & multigrain Rotis too.
Some dishes are just gimmicks—and lackluster to taste too. The Pani Puri served in test tubes and syringes, being a case in point. Slushy with masala, Rajma in the mains. The Bubbling kulfi ( liquid nitrogen et al) is all show and no go, with over sweet, synthetic sauces. I just couldn’t get myself to try the soap cake with it’s Dairy foam. No alcohol.
I commend this pure vegetarian eatery’s efforts ( starters and desserts) at Molecular gastronomy ensuring measured eccentricity. These dishes validate the experimentation and they reflect a thoughtful, equilibrium between what’s merely edgy and what’s tasty.Not always cutting edge, some dishes tip over into gimmickry. The North Indian mains are predictably comforting and so provide the much needed balance. Jaded vegetarians looking for newness this way please!
SpiceKlub, 8A Janata Industrial Estate, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (W)
Open 12 to 4pm 6.30 to midnight.
Meal for two Rs 2000
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3
I’m a beginner…an excited, fumbling one. I’m savouring Spain and sharing Spain as I tweet (tweat) Instagram and put delicious bits and bytes on Facebook and WordPress. I’m even writing this column on this big fat phone which I bought a couple of days before landing in Barcelona.
So here I am in Barcelona, the city of culture, knowledge, creativity and innovation, the capital of Catalonia, where Spanish genius has been nurtured over centuries…be it Gaudi or Dali or Picasso or Ferran Adria.
300 EL BORN
It is only in Catalonia that even the war which they lost (in 1714) is celebrated by Michelin starred chef Jordi val in his restaurant “300 el born” with typical Catalan dishes, which I enjoy as much as meeting him.
BAR BRUTAL CAN CISA
I went straight from the airport to the hot, happening, new bar Brutal Can Cisa in the old city, not only are amazing Catalan Tapas served but also only “natural wines”.
Perfection marks the three Michelin starred Carme Rustadilla’s masterpieces. The 62 year young Carme weaves magic in her seafront restaurant. Each dish is a work of art and artistry and our three hour long meal is a memorable parade of 23 courses. Bliss.
At “Tickets” the El bulli – Adria brothers, vibrant and fun tapas bar with a twist (and what a twist) wizardry and skill results in quivering spheres which implode with olive flavour, artichoke ravioli, the world’s first gourmet beer and more. It’s a treat to meet Silvia Albert Adria.
At the Adria brothers Peruvian-Japanese fusion “Pakta” I am blown away by the ceviches and sushi withPeruvian overtones
BODEGA 1900, a vermouth bar is a nostalgic return to the good old days and honest, simple flavours of anchovies, potato chips and rustic dishes delight.
A visit to the hallowed home of chocolate since 1906 and I can’t stop eating the rich, dark chocolates and the bakeries signature velevetty cream encased crisp “Cremadata” and hot chocolate.
A pop into the city’s oldest fruit and vegetable market BOQUERIA, completing the ritual of the grilled green onion dipped in Salbitaxada with Chef David Romero of Barcelona’s oldest legendary hotel; The Majestic and dinner on the communal table of Garrega’s family eatery complete my short, hectic stay here. Next stop?The “Worlds best restaurant” “El Celler can de Roca” and it is a part of CatalonIa. Viva Catalonia!
PS Looking forward to receiving your advice, how-tos and tips on Twitter and Instagram @rashmiudaysingh
Please look carefully. No! its not a genies lamp ( spewing smoke) that you are seeing in the photo. But I still held it in my left hand and clicked the camera with my right hand. Reason? This liquid nitrogen smoke is at once a symbol of magic and science that Mumbai’s latest progressive Indian restaurant uses to coax surprise, taste, texture from it’s dishes….
Article featured on Bombay Times