Here’s a feast to beat all feasts. It pampers all my senses…there is light, sound, dance, music and ofcourse food. As though all this were not enough there is also the worlds tallest building and the worlds biggest choreographed fountain to keep me company. If the accompanying photograph had a video and sound track, heres what you’d see and hear… glittering and shimmering fountains leaping and swirling and twirling into the evening sky as different colored lights bathe and sway with them. These fountains dance to music and Whitney Houston’s husky ”I’ll always love you” echoes sensuously as the fountains sway to it’s melody. And as though blessing it all and taking the ringside seat like a benevolent all-caring Pasha is the worlds tallest building, The Burj Khalifa which shimmers glamorously. And right here while feasting on this spectacle I am feasting on the freshest of fare created by the brilliant Executive chef Alain Gobeil . All this is the glamorous Zeta Restaurant where the heart of Dubai seems to throb in all it’s glory. In many different ways.
THE FOUNT OF GREAT COOKING
What are the ingredients of great cooking? I not only learn about them but also taste them here. I am feasting on spectacular food which matches the location, There is freshness, there is tang, there is texture, there is flavor and Canadian Chef Alan Gobeil’s global travels and training shines through all his cooking. Here, he conjures (only apt word) modern Japanese fare with plenty of Sushi, ceviches, salads and tartares. And with us too is Cynthia Munoz from Peru, a country known for it’s great and vibrant cuisine with many a choice of ceviche. We discuss the absolute necessity of freshness and the chef points out that it is imperative to buy the best you can get. “Don’t alter it” he stresses, “don’t overload it, respect it”. Yet another tip from his is to concentrate on ingenius pairings. Like for instance the prawn avocado salad has wedges of orange in it, also crunchy flying fish roe. “You must add crunch to your salads, use whatever you like or whatever you have readily available.” He says. This touch of his is evident in all his creations. As Cynthya points out the food here is light and refreshing and not greasy. As we nibble and talk, the
The Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest choreographed fountain system set on the 30-acre manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, at the center of the Downtown Dubailights up with its thousands of lights and colored projectors. Whoa! It is now shooting water up to 500 ft into the air and what a range of music it has… from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. Even
parkland, the worlds biggest mall, homes and nine hotels surround this man-made Burj Khalifa Lake. Including the swanky Address Downtown hotel where I am getting a taste of Dubai. Modern, fresh, cutting edge and gloriously spectacular!!!
ZETA SALAD RECIPE
50 gms Prawn, poached and chilled / 60 gms Avocado /10gmsTomato/ 100 gms lettuce/ 40 gms orange segments/ 5 gms chives/ a few sprigs of mixed cress/ 5 gms spring onions/ 5 gms tobiko (flying fish roe) optional/ salt and pepper to taste.
Cocktail sauce dressing:
500 gms Mayonnaise/ 1 ml Tabasco/ 200 gms tomato ketchup / 5 ml lemon juice/ 5 gms fresh red chilli/ salt and pepper
Mix all ingredients together to prepare the cocktail sauce dressing, adjust seasoning and spice to taste. Toss the chilled prawns in the dressing. Place the prawns on a plate and assemble the salad by placing in an attractive manner all ingredients in and around the prawns. Garnish with tobiko, cress, green onions, and place dots of cocktail sauce dressing in a few areas. Enjoy!
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
Whats going on? Why has Bandra’s newest restaurant been proclaiming it is a “Latin American fine dining restaurant”? Help! I am seriously questioning my own knowledge of geography. Does Latin America include Italy and Japan et al? Ofcourse, this cuisine does have influences from all over the globe. But confusion gets more confounded when the waiter in Asado tells me that “pasta is a Japanese dish”. Thankfully, my guest Pierre Ortoli has not only lived and worked in Buenes Aires as has Dr Mathilde Richou osteopath but her father also has vineyards in Argentina. Our review follows
Kitschy or cute? Handpainted walls recreate a quaint Latino town in this 65-seater. Clear blue skies, fake birds perched on fake lamp posts too. Outdoor seating too. Casual, relaxed ambiance.
So don’t get stuck on the label and go looking for “Latin American” fare (they do have a few names of dishes from there. No ceviches). You’ll enjoy the flavorful edamame truffle risotto, okayish beef empanadas. It’s the Brazilian beef steak (Rs 2000 plus) done rare that dazzles. Both our desserts…churros and Tresleches were just about okay.
Stodgy Kataifi prawns and vegetarian flautas. Ditto for the veg wraps. Fatty pork spare ribs, though Bbq sauce delicious. All the Vegetarian dishes we tried were limp and floppy. The servers were uninformed about the cuisine.
Asado “Mumbai’s first Latin American fine dine” doesn’t just flit tentatively across a few borders but knocks down a whole bunch of them altogether.
It bops around the globe and serves some okayish though expensive dishes and wines (our bill for three was Rs 14000, with wine). Our meal began with great expectations and ended with a whimper.
P.S. But then I walked outside onto Bandra’s SV road and found myself wanting to give Asado the benefit of the doubt. It has the location. It has the enthusiasm. With better judgment, research, a lowering of prices and a Latin American trained chef perhaps it could live upto it’s ambitions. We wish it all the best!
ASADO Monorama Chambers, Ground Floor, S V Road. Bandra West
Ph 6568 6666
RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 2.5 DÉCOR 3
I can’t stop smiling! I feel great ‘hengbok” as I review “Heng bok” Mumbai’s very first dedicated Korean restaurant whose name translates to “happiness” (in Korean, ofcourse!). Never mind that the driving force chef James Biaca is from Mizoram. He has already proven his prowess with the well-loved Japanese “Kofuku”. Several research trips to and imports from Korea and voila! Bandra gets “Heng Bok”.
Simple, unpretentious décor. Two boxed in levels, simple wooden tables, a large Buddha as soon as you walk in.
Kudos for the deft use of kimchi — that spicy, tangy tangle of fermented vegetables — in many of the dishes, be it Jjigae (soups) hot pots, barbecues. They even serve up Korean sushi and Korean dimsum . And for Japanese buffs there is sashimi and sushi too.
Spicy food and pork-belly lovers this is your heaven. It’s called Gochujang Sangyupsal (pork-belly imported from Belgium is marinated in Gochujang a spicy Korean chilli paste). You barbeque it on your table (they will help you along), when done to choice, wrap it in a lettuce leaf, dab the spicy sauce and sesame oil and let the flavor bomb implode on your taste buds. The less spicy version (samgyupsal) is worth trying .They offer beef and seafood barbecue too. Chicken (dak) is served up only as appetisers Having sparked your appetite satiate it with the either of the other two classic Korean dishes…the jeongol (hot pot) or the Bibimbap ( must try rice dish). Jeongol (hot pot stew) The large hot pot brims with a spicy broth (choice of pork beef and vegetarian too) and makes for a hearty meal.
Okayish Korean sushi, Hengbok Kimbap, not as exquisite as the Japanese version (also served here). Superb sashimi (which my sashimi expert guest loved)
Even the Japchae (sweet potato glass noodles) were light and tasty, though looked like a gloopy mess.
Deep fried and almost ketchupy chicken starter,
Special dishes have been created for vegetarians and some lack flavor (the lacklustre pancake and glutinous dimsum). The tables being placed too close to each other, a closed up basement level are some of the minus points
There is a cook-it-yourself drama on the table (large hot pots, barbecue plates), there are spicy, garlicky blasts in the food, plenty of non vegetarian (Belgian pork belly, beef, octopus, squid), there is Japanese sushi and sashimi too. Though special dishes have been created for vegetarians, this is not exactly a vegetarian mecca. But it’s a great new introduction to Korean food paired with the Korean Jinro Shoju (must try). We are happy that Heng Bok (happiness) is here!
11/1, Kalpak Corner Building, Turner Road, Bandra (W), Ph 26510044/66/77,
Timing open for lunch and dinner
Meal for 2 Rs 4000
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3
Whoa! Mumbai’s restaurant jungle is getting more populated…Blue Frog, White Owl, Lazy dog, Barking deer and now Tijuana Iguana. Coincidentally, I’m writing this from Australia, home to the most amazing wildlife (which I love). At the dinner, before I left Mumbai my wild-life conservationist guest Sam Mistry explained the interesting background about Iguana, the lizard from Central America and Mexico. Not only is he a trustee of the Corbett foundation but even honeymooned with his Doctor wife Rati in Kenya. A brilliant and dedicated doctor she also makes time for regular visits to wildlife parks. Both love animals (Sam prefers them to humans) and yes! they were happy to be in Tijuana Iguana.
As soon as you walk in, through the greenlight haze, the Iguana eyes stare from the large looming poster. Three smallish rooms (on different levels) make up this new Fort restaurant, set up by American businessman Jai Lalwani, who runs hotels and similar ‘Ameri-Mex’ concept bars in the US. We stopped at the bar for a drink and moved up the steps to the tiny space with sofas for dinner.
FOOD & DRINK
A deliciously tangy Margarita, followed with well-made chicken wings
Standard Tex Mex fare heaped over with beans and cheese, be it Quessadillas or Enchiladas, Burritos. Plenty of Burgers ( try black and blue burger with blue cheese) sandwiches (Philly cheese steak). Many a choice for veggies too (including the wittily named “Patel pasta” “Peruvian paella”). Health club section ( grilled salmon and chicken too) The Simply Sinful Snickers Pie with icecream and an Oreo cookie crust, topped with caramel and fudge was a must try. Plenty of cocktails, (go for vodka melon cranberry based “The Good life” ) Shots at the well stocked bar.
My biggest disappointment was the guacamole, as it lacked texture and flavor. A lot of the dishes were just a heap of cheese and beans and lackluster. The Brownie bottom pie was thick and hard. It can get very noisy here.
This open all day, new Fort entrant promises to go from a restaurant into a Happy Hour zone, back to a diner and then into a nightclub, all in one evening. We have yet to watch their bartenders Salsa Meringue, and throw Fire and Toss bottles, but sure enjoyed meeting them much more than we did the Ameri-Mex fare here which still needs to hit it’s stride.
Bombay Mutual Annexe, Rustom Sidhwa Marg,Gunbow Street, Opposite Residency Hotel Fort
Open 12 noon till 01:30am
RATING FOOD 3 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5
I really do value your views and recommendations. I am not only constantly requesting for them via email, twitter and instagram but also reach out to you (by inviting you to dine with me on blind dates). And today’s restaurant review is an example of what I love to do … walk up to diners and request their views (and photograph them, like today). The reason is simple, your views reflect accurate unbiased experiences and help me keep a finger on the pulse of the city. Also inspite of my taking extreme care (booking under a fake name, sending my guests ahead to order) if I am recognised, then the whole experience changes. So getting the views of the diners already eating in the restaurant is invaluable. Like these of the lovely, lively diners… Rakhi Samptani, Jayshree Adtani. Reshma Adtani Aradhana Singh, Chandni Tolani
Dr Mohsin Thanawala and Dr Anushree Shiralkar
The review that follows incorporates all our views.
The interestingly named “Fat Mans café” crouches between many other tiny eateries on the restaurant strip behind Leelavati hospital. A cheery vibe, cozy white walls, a board with “Fat man’s rules”, pretty patterned tiles and upholstry complete the décor. We like.
It’s zigzagging menu goes through breakfast, soup, salad, appetisers, burgers, sliders, pizzas mains and dessert. I ate here twice, the hearty egg bowl framed by a rustic blend of creamed spinach and herbed tomato sauce, has improved. A tasty grilled tomato pesto sandwich, Beef sandwich enlivened with caramleised onions, al dente Fettucine, okayish Grilled chicken, here. Ask for the well-made chargrilled chicken burger (fried egg et al) Black white mousse cake, refreshing orange cream slice, Dark Chocolate Mousse Cup are delightful.
Slow. Agonisingly slow service . My favorite Eggs Bendict served on bread, sans sauce hollaindaise. Styrofoam like potato mash with the grilled chicken, overcooked mushrooms, lacklustre pancakes,
jacket potatoes overloaded with a slushy cheese. Soggy, apple crumble.
We all love the name of this tiny café. The cheery, white-walled ambiance too. Open through the day, eggs, sandwich, burger kind of menu here. The opinion is unanimous that though not exceptional or outstanding, most of the dishes are tasty, generously portioned and moderately priced. I ate here twice and the food had defintiely improved . However, at all times, the service was slow. The side-effect of being called “Fat man’s café”?
Fat Mans Café, shop No.9
ONGC Building No.3
Near Lilavati Hospital
Open 11am to 12.30am
AV MEAL FOR 2: Rs 1500
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 2 DÉCOR 3.5
Bengali, chinese, North indian
I love Kolkatta and also Calcutta (just got back two days ago). And so the opening of Andheri East’s “Kolkatta Calling” has me and the charming Naina and Dr Bhabatosh Sahu very excited. We not only have a long discussion on Bengali food (he cooks brilliantly) but I am floored by the fact that this genius did not complete school (studied till the ninth standard) but went on to complete his Masters in H.R. Phd in management (from prestigious institutes), is a professor in IIM. Fellow in Wharton and heads up a cutting edge company which is driven by high end chemistry and makes building blocks for DNA/ RNA, I love these happy ending stories, does our restaurant review have on?.
Frayed copies of “The adventures of Tin Tin” (in Bengali, please note) nakshi pakhas (traditional hand fans), Tagore poetry scrawled on walls…make up the décor. Old Bengali songs resound in the in the very rustic small eatery with it’s benches, Pepsi fridge and wall clock.
We bought some of the popular Kolkata-based farsan brand Mukharochak (kept in a shelf for sale)
Bengali, Chinese and North Indian fare here. Stick to the Bengali starters (chops, cutlets and rolls) in the appetiser section. My favourites Bekti paturi and prawn malai curry have just the right balance of texture and flavour. The succulent mutton in the robustly curry Thakur Barir Pathar Mangsho
just about passes muster. MINUS POINTS
Skip the Gobi Manchurian and Chilly Chicken on the menu.Avoid the dry and tasteless Kobiraja, as also the Cholar dal. Sadly there was no Radhaballabi or mochar ghanto. Very sadly too the sweets were dry and tasteless be it the rossogulla or the Payesh.
Rustic ambiance in the small eatery tucked into Andheri East’s crammed streets. Okayish and moderately priced (Rs 1000 meal for two) Bengali fare with disappointing mishti. Maybe it was just an off day for them, so I am making plans to go back with my Bengali gourmet buddy Kalyan Karmakar (@finelychopped) meanwhile do share your experiences with me (firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh)
Near Sher-E-Punjab Colony and Tolani College of Commerce
Open noon to 3.30pm, 6pm to 11.30pm
RATING 3 DECOR 3 SERVICE 3.5
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
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.
Profusion of plants (mainly artificial) in this sea facing, high-ceilinged restaurant with wooden furniture.
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.
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.
“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
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 (email@example.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.
#Haibao very very avoidable. Dodgy meat, insipid broths and rather cloying service. Pity because its a good concept.