Thai

Review: O:H CHA kitchen and bar

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Oh Cha

Thai / Dimsum

I’m getting high on Thai! And by a yummy coinicidence Im writing my review of Mumbai’s O:h Cha while Im in Thailland. Before leaving, (over months,)  I ate thrice at  this standalone Thai restaurant.  My okayish ho-hum first meal  was followed by two memorable ones. This was due the joining in of a new Thai chef  I was informed by the foodie family Kilachand, who have been regulars here and swear by the food.They are committed foodies, with gourmet genes. Industrialist Anil C Kilachand, (an advisor to a NGO which  teaches English to Maharashtra’s free vernacular schools ) makes time to cook and eat out too, as does his dapper son Tushar Kilachand who  runs the family engineering business. His mother Indira gives us her well-thought out  vegetarian take on the food. Equally discerning  about their eating habits as the exquisite line of childrens clothing they make are the enterprising and lovely Sunaina Patel and Mansi Kilachand.

 

DECOR

Dive into the traffic choked Lower Parel restaurant strip, go through the strange long corridor and find yourself in this pleasing space.

Faux-grass walls (an inspiration from the rice fields), slate-grey paint, colourful gladiator masks, and huge basket-like cane lanterns charm.

 

FOOD

We love the way sweet and fiery notes, soft and crunchy textures snuggle together: be it the piquant prawn or papaya salad. The delicately steamed  fish with  lemon garlic chilly sauce is as superb as the robust grilled spicy pork tenderloin. Must trys are also the airy crunchy Thai style tempura prawns. Chef Satit Chaimano’s curries delight: with coconut milk, lively with kaffir lime and lemon grass.

In the veggie section (there’s plenty,) it’s the stir fried morning glory enlivened with chilli & garlic that comes up tops. End with the flavorsome Lemon Grass Creme Brûlée The enterprising Sanat Patel keeps innovating and has added on Great Value dimsum ( ask for plump shrimp and chive, shitake)

and the weekday

Express Lunch (Rs. 599++)

 

MINUS POINTS

The dreary entrance is a put off, but once you enter it is like an oasis in a desert.There are inconsistencies…the raw papaya salad was superlative one time and lackluster the next. Ditto for the stir fried beef and the waterchestnuts in coconut milk dessert. Okayish Som Tum rice. Rubbery fish cakes.

MY POINT

This  seven month old stand alone Thai eatery is already making waves. Frequented by Karan Johar, Shraddha Kapoor, Ritesh Deshmukh, Kajal Agarwal and the Kilachands, Oh Cha envelops you in the flavors and perfumes of Thaliand. It celebrates the sweet heat of the region’s cooking preparing everything in the kitchen from scratch, including the coconut milk which is extracted in the restaurant kitchen. I don’t know what O:h cha means but (pardon the cheap pun) Oooh! It sure is accha!

 

O:h Cha Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

Ph: 6633 4455

Open for lunch and dinner.Av meal for 2: Rs 3000

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 3.5


 

FOR THE BOX

THAI ME UP

I write from Phuket, where nature is working her turqoise – blue- water and lush- green- trees magic alright, but here’s the gastronomique surprise:    Spanish  Michelin starred  magic is being conjured.  Having feasted on Thai cuisine, now its time to be blown away by the Michelin Spanish genius Eneko Atxa’s  Aziamedi. Set amid swaying palms by the stunning blue Andaman sea in the luxurious Iniala his dishes are fantastically nuanced and dazzle.   Gaggan’s in Bangkok thrills, want to  more Thai news ? mail rashmiudaysingsingh2015@gmail.com, instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh.

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.