food review

Review: Hai Bao

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Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Asian

I’m a “Shabu shabu” fan. Dunking thin slivers of raw beef (preferably Wagyu)  in a pot of boiling broth on my table and then pampering my palate with the pristine flavors and textures has been one of my passions around the world. Alas!  this Japanese “Shabu shabu” comes to Mumbai’s “Hai Bao” in a totally different (mainly seafood, veggies added on) but flamboyant avatar to Juhu’s new eatery. It has it’s fans (like the family I bump into here) They’re totally hooked  “The concept is cool, shabu shabu a knockout, addons are superb, it’s a filling yet light meal” say the well known dashing fashion designers Riyaz and Reshma Gangji who along with Aman and Ananya  eat here regularly.  Also checking out this new restaurant is the brilliant Chef Himanshu Taneja, passionate and adventurous foodie wanting to try out all that is new in the city.  Hai bao has serious detractors @chingypatel (Absolutely avoidable! Terrible food and service! People get enticed cause the Shabu Shabu concept is relatively new in India.) @TaariniNB

(you have to pretty much cook their own food, including the meats. Kinda painful.)

The truth lies somewhere in between.

DÉCOR

Profusion of plants (mainly artificial) in this  sea facing, high-ceilinged restaurant with wooden furniture.

FOOD

You name it, they got it. Over the past few months they’ve added on plenty of Chinese dishes especially for the Indian palate (Vegetarian soups, Paneer soya chilly, Chicken crushed pepper, chicken Sichuan pepper. Many vegetarian options too.) Their version of “Shabu shabu” dunking and cooking raw seafood and meats in a choice  of broth ((Tom Yum/ Laksa /Clear Seafood ) with 24 varieties of sauces is a filling, tasty  option. Try the Hanbun combo ( dumplings, fish fillet, cuttle fish, prawns, chicken, eggs and a range of vegetarian  options like pakchoy, shitake mushrooms and broccoli.You could opt for the barbecue grill on the table too. Try the Prawns in shells  enlivened with garlic and mellow with butter, well made

Scallops in white sauce and an okayish panfried pomfret. Attentive service under Leo Pinto, (Ipad menus, fancy call buttons connected to waiters wrists et al ) add  a dimension to the experience.

MINUS POINTS

Some of the raw seafood (for the Shabu Shabu) is not fresh. Thick skinned Chicken kothay, Veg kothay. Avoid the insipid  Laksa broth, the tasteless Hokkein rice. Stay clear of the oversweet and strange desserts, be it  the tender coconut with strands of fresh malai jellied and reset in a hollowed coconut shell or the syrupy sweet mango pudding.

 

MY POINT

“Profusion” accurately describes Hai Bao… from the number of dishes, cuisines, versions of “Shabu Shabu”, dipping sauces to the number of plants here.  Since opening they’ve hiked up set lunch price from 499 to 599 and 999 (with Shabu shabu). The non veg Shabu shabu meal, enough for 4 to 6  (priced between 1100 to 1999) and veg (Rs 750). Generous portions.  Authentic flavors give way to robust, spicy Chindian ones. Adaptation, thy name is “Haibao”.

 

HAIBAO , opposite Ramada Palm Grove, Juhu Tara Road, Ph 26101800

Open lunch and dinner

Meal for 2 Rs 2000

RATING

FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

 


 

YOUR REVIEWS OF HAI BAO

Your reviews are invaluable. A zillion thanks. Been flooded with your twitter and instagram and mail reviews (rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com, @rashmiudaysingh) Sorry unable to print all your reviews due to space constraint.

MUST GO @crazyloveshoesOh amazing! Just amazing!!

@meghna0205Omg I’ve been dying to go here for ages!

@mumbaifoodieBeen there twice last month! Really love the shabu shabu concept.

@foodavalanche ( the shabu shabu tastes brilliant though it’s for a min of 5 or 6 – keep some space for the the laksa soup & their coconut desert.)

@sozzlebeeShabu shabu finally in india.. Went thete almost 6 months back.. Lovely selection of seafood n meats… Quantity definately humongous.. Got excellent service but drinks need to be worked on bigg time…

DON’T GO @vanillachic89Not the best option of people who love to eat meat but aren’t great at cooking it – the taste was great but too much effort – and ended up feeling more stressed that relaxed.

@chingypatelAbsolutely avoidable! Terrible food and service! People get enticed cause the Shabu Shabu concept is relatively new in India.

@duhitachadhaAvoidable!!

@AssLikeNat
avoid
@swetasmishra
#Haibao very very avoidable. Dodgy meat, insipid broths and rather cloying service. Pity because its a good concept.

Review: THE TREESOME CAFÉ

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Fusion

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Here, in rocking Versova ( Oooh! I love Versova) I am bopping around the globe in the ten day old “The Treesome Café”. While the food itinerary is not coherent, the trip is a lot of fun. As our my Versovite guests. Foodies to the core (one is a budding chef) they not only love checking out new restaurants but also live next door to this one. It’s a fun yet inspirational evening, as in these selfish and materialistic times, it is a joy to meet selfless crusaders.

Be it the lovely Natasha Sara owner of an eclectic hair studio (which combines hair fashion with spiritual wellbeing guidance for body mind spirit) Or her friend and brilliant criminal lawyer Suman Prasad. Together, for the past three years, they have taken on the welfare of an abandoned old lady in Versova. The crusading twosome is doing this through the law and government in order to help many other senior citizens in this similar plight. Having trained as a chef, Asmita Prasad gives us her culinary insights to the food here. They all live close by and are sure to be regulars at this new Versova Cafe.

DECOR

Pleasant. A fairly small, boxed in airconditioned area and an alfresco one (total of 1300 sq ft) are done up in casual, relaxed style. Two bars, exposed industrial- pipes look and tree mural on the wall complete the décor.

FOOD & DRINK

Be prepared to get your tastebuds assaulted, cajoled and seduced.Many a bar-bite and very few main courses serve up desi-global innovative flavors. South Indian masala infuses the delicious Rajnikanth omelette, while the butterchicken gives a  spicy charge to the bland risotto.Unerringly cooked plump garlic Barcelona prawns,  thermidor sauce drenched grilled fish delight. Flavorsome Goan prawn curry, chicken cafreal and must try Kheema pav too. Innovatively plated on trays made of grey slate (the dish of  yummy baby burgers is served under a bird cage. Pl see pic). Many a creative cocktail, try the chatpatta Jamun mojito.

MINUS POINTS

Uncomfy seating, big, fat sofas crammed into a small indoor space. Not enough vegetarian options (I am told they are adding to the veggie menu)  Indie steak (paneer and dal makhani) is a mish mash, the bhel lacks zing and the so called Maldivian fish cake Bokiba is lackluster and avoidable. Chewy Chicken

Gangnam Style ( served skewered in four fluted glasses). Stodgy Shroom cupcakes  and the pizza base not crisp enough. No beef  and only one pork dish. No desserts on the menu.

MY POINT

Open through the day, Treesome café (named after the fig tree outside) is more of a bar ( many an innovative cocktail) with many a bar bite.      Although the menu has weak spots, with a few  dishes not from the heart but from a marketing plan, the gifted chef Rohan DSouza’s (who has worked with Marco Pierre White)  cooking is exuberant and  reflects a steady, precise hand.

It’s mostly a mix of pubgrub  stalwarts  comfort foods, pizzas, burgers, bhel, kheema pao et al, creatively served (sometimes over the top). Beyond  bits of mild nonsense and odd affectation are real merit and considerable merriment.  Three cheers! Tree cheers!

THE TREESOME CAFE Jewel Shopping Centre,

Seven Bungalows, Andheri
Ph 60020202

Open noon to 1.30 am

Meal for two: Rs 2000

RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5

 


 

YOUR REVIEWS OF TREESOME CAFÉ

Wow! Each one of you has made such insightful and relevant remarks (on instagram and twitter)  that I wish I could print them all. Sorry space constraints.

‏@andshesmiled1h

(Butterchicken risotto…

Ultimate indo-italian soul food)

mariyakach ( Rajnikant masala omlette is the yummiest. Great ambiance and food)

@waterdaughter1007

(YummmmYummmmYummmm…. And full of tasty fluff)

@npunjabi20

(Can eat yummiest Omlette and burger anytime of the day) @mansidavda

(Tasty Cupcake Shrooms , Orange & Lemon Grass Cooler)

@shyamalb

(Great place!! Amazing food )

The opinion was divided about the presentation (esp bird cage) many found it gimmicky, too loud,  others loved it.

@thebigbhookad@crazyloveshoes@voraviya@tarunkapoor11

@meghasarin @chicorychai@ekazloveatfirstbite

@yasmeengindodiya@antarazandc

@purplefoodie@mamatha_1@romakripalani

@cookingfiesta1  @ila_ii@ankitawagle

Thanks for your feedback @karanrajkohli @riotofflavours

@ankitawagle @simranimita @rajvi85

@pereiraaaron@d_diane@the_locamojo @shunzie

@vivekmittal23@poonampalnitkar

@saurabhhmehtalol@saumightsay

@dubai_fo0d @arunkatiyar

value your feedback. Instagram and twitter @rashmiudaysingh mail rashmiudaysingh2015@gmail.com. Waitingly yours