Food

Rajus Malvani Mejwani

Posted on

Malvani

Go on. Steer clear of over-hyped, over-priced restaurants.  Bypass  the fancy-schmancy ones. Forget  fusion-confusion, tasting-wasting menus. Instead, veer off the eaten track with me.

HIGH ON NO-FRILLS

Over the past three decades of my tracking Mumbai’s restaurant scene, its the “Hidden gems” the “no frills” “family run” eateries that have always kick started my adrenalin  to immediately start trawling Mumbai for more. Not only have I written countless columns but even dedicated chapters and even volumes of my Food Guides to these.

Read my full review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

Rajus Malvani 3
The original Foodie Kunal Vijayakar at Raju s Malvani Mejwani 
Advertisements

HISTORIC PARIS ON A PLATE

Posted on Updated on

Come feast with me! Get high on the “Bohemian” the “historic”  the “artsy” Paris. Here, on the “Rive Gauche” the left bank, centuries of history still breathe in the old brasseries and Literary  cafés where  the legendary artists and poets dined.

“A bite of history” takes on a whole new meaning in Paris.  Here, on the left bank, I eat at the cafes where  Jean Paul Sartre, Hemingway to Lenin and Trotsky were regulars.(played chess). These world famous literary cafes are immortalised in paintings by Picasso, and are the setting of many a novel Hollywood movie too.

It is here, on the left bank, too, that Hotel Lutetia, the first grand hotel of the Parisian Rive gauche opened  in 1910. I had no idea that “Lutetia” is the Romans’ name for Paris.  Did you know that  the motto for  Paris was – “fluctuat nec mergitur”, or “she is tossed by the waves but doesn’t sink” – like a ship proudly moored on the riverbank is reborn. The heartbeat was restored to the most Rive gauche of grand hotels.And the historic grand Lutetia with it’s magnificent maritime themed exterior and interiors is proud symbol of Paris herself.

The idea here is to evoke the atmosphere aboard grand yachts of old with the varnished wood along all the the columns throughout the space.

Here, there is a choice of the finest of gastronomy in the restaurants. From the classic and reinterpreted dishes to the triple Michelin starred  chef Passadet’s Brasserie Lutetia.

OF EDIBLE MONSIEURS, MADAMS AND MADEMOSEILLES

It is the charming view of  historic Paris that is visible from  Lutetia’s rooftop (please see photograph) and the brilliant  chef Benjamin Brial interprets the spirit of Paris, the classic and beloved simplest of dishes, be it “Croque Monsieur” or “ Croque Madame.

It’s a double feast … of the heartstoppingly beautiful city view and of the brilliant chef Benjamin Brial s reinterpretation of Classic Parisian dishes served way back in 1910 in Parisian bistros and cafes. And even mentioned in many a literary masterpiece. Evocatively named Croque Monsieur (French for Mister Crunch) and Croque Madam (Madam Crunch).  While, the Croque Monsieur is made of bread, cheese, ham and sometimes sauce, the Madam has an egg topped on it too.

Having eaten my way through Paris researching the worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by The Times of India), I sniffed out the vegetarian version of Croque Madame…and aptly enough its called Croque Mademoiselle  

 It’s a lighter delightful version: made of the same bread, but with melting cheese.Begin with thick, slices of white sandwich bread. Stuff it with slices of zucchini. Grill  slices of Zuchini, add herbs and cheese. You can drizzle some mustard, add more cheese. Bake it. Add a dash of nutmeg.  Your delicate  Croque Mademoiselle is ready to eat..

MICHELIN MASTRY

The spirit of the literary and artistic quarter of Saint-Germain-des-Prés is in the air once again at the  famed, historic Brasserie Lutetia!The brilliant third generation, triple Michelin starred chef Gérald Passedat is re-establishing Brasserie Lutetia’s  old-world charm. The most unique, maritime-inspired Mediterranean dishes dazzle. I get high on  the  three Michelin starred Mediterranean dishes.

Under the spacious double height ceiling in a relaxed space done up Art Nouveau and Art Deco, the most delicious, hearty, vibrant authentic brasserie fare is served up.

The signature Provençal seafood dishes are capture the briny sea’s rapture. I cant stop eating the unique lusciously marinated jaffa avocado in erotic union with mango, citrus and caviar.

Chef Pasadet’s traditional bouillabaisse, spiked with saffron,  is afloat with the freshest of seafood. There is drama on our table as the  whole stuffed sea bream is flambéed with pastis at our table. Plenty of the freshest of hand picked oysters, Pistou soup, redrice. The sweet finale of the traditional mille-feuilles and traditional cakes is an experience that comforts and dazzles too!

 

 

 

LEAD PHOTO Benjamin BrialCroque MademosoilleBOX Chef Passadet at Brasserie LUTETIA

Awesome Avocado. Brasserie LUTETIA
Awesome avocado of Brasserie Lutetia

CECCONI’S

Posted on

Italian

It’shaute and happening! London, Los Angeles, NYC and now Juhu.The uber stylish and exclusive, (members only) Soho House has sashayed onto the Juhu Beach withit’s vibrant branded, Italian offspring Cecconi’s (open to all).

I admit, I was apprehensive and sceptical about dining here as Im never a slavish fan of hyped up global brands. Brand or no brand, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Would the food at Cecconis live up to thehype and hoopla which preceded it? It’s a magnet for the young (Soho House even gives a discount to those below 27 years). In order to get an accurate assessment I lunch with a globetrotting vivacious young university of Pennsylvania graduate Namrata Jaykrishnanow focussed on food blogging, writing and higher studies. 

Read my full review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

Cecconi 1

At Cecconi’s Fab fun lunch with globetrotting gourmets: Namrata Munjal and Sejal Jaykrishnam

 

WHITE CHARCOAL Progressive regional Indian cuisine

Posted on

The good Lord be praised! A reincarnation is in progress! A rebirth of regional Indian dishes in a modern avatar. And its happening silently in a gleaming new Andheri W restaurant. Sadly, its open only for dinner, so we have to brave the two hour long trafficked drive from South Mumbai to get here..My dinner companions (sportingly drive all the way)   discerning foodies are also rejuvenating healers.  Firoza Moos and Meher Davis both work wonders with their non invasive, drug free  natural solution to eliminate allergies. The dapper Jeff Davis,  Indian food aficionado, is just back after several years in Egyptwith an American oil company.

Was our harrowing, traffic choked  drive worth it? 

Read the full Article on https://www.bombaytimes.com/ to find out.

White Charcoal 1

At White Charcoal: with Meher, Jeff Davis and Firoza Moos.

white charcol 2
Chef Sandro Gamba and Radha Arora at the exclusive Manor club. 

PUNJABI TADKA of CRYSTAL

Posted on

“Hidden gems” “Holes in the wall”  eateries: are these the  kind of eateries that you’re always on the lookout for?

If “no”, please skip reading this. Ive devoted several years to sniffing these in my restaurant guides to Mumbai and Pune. And by a happy coincidence I write this review from Hongkong: am just off to do a round of these “no frills” “local” eateries.  Before leaving Mumbai, I was super excited to lunch at “Punjabi Tadka” since it’s the offspring of “Crystal” Chowpatty.

Read my full review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

Punjabi Tadka by Crystal
Global gourmet Sameer Sain at PUNJABI TADKA  OF CRYSTAL FAME, 

Srilankan HOPPUMM in Bandra

Posted on

Im rejoicing. Atlast! SriLankan hopper, kuttu, vattalapam and more are being offered in Mumbai. And this In the catchily named Hoppumm ( Srilankan Hopper meets South Indian appam). No bookings we were told over the phone. So we took a chance and popped in (unannounced) really early for dinner.

Read my detailed review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

Hoppumm 2Hoppumm 1

HIGH ON HISTORY: EDIBLE JEWELS & TEA

Posted on Updated on

“Kuch kuch hota hai” tinkles the piano. Am I hearing right? Im here in this magnificent shimmering, world famous 113 year old, London’s legendary Ritz.  Glamour and luxury waltz in the original Louis XVI style, frescoed, carpeted halls. Here the legendary afternoon tea session (booked up months ahead) is in progress as our very own Ian Gomez from Mumbai is on the piano. Hes a legend in his own right (he has played with Frank Sinatra too). The  sweet and savoury multi-course elaborate  Afternoon tea  in the high-ceilinged Palm court has been introduced here ever since the hotel opened. And it has made history and raised the bar since then. Michelin starred maestro John Williams helms the dining, ensuring every single cake, pastry, scone, sandwich is made to perfection for the Afternoon tea. Just like it has been since the hotel opened in 1907. The knowledgable tea master Giando Scann not only picks the finest loose leaf teas but also makes his own bespoke blends.

I m as dazzled  by the meticulously selected finest of 20 varieties of tea, today the national drink of Britain as Im by the Tea master’s recounting of  the impact of tea on social, economical and political levels.  He points out that in the Victorian era even the “tea gown” a loose informal one (as opposed to the tight corseted gowns)  was invented to facilitate their tea making abilities to pour and serve. Sipping tea takes on a whole different meaning after this.

THE ENGLISH CREAM (CRÈME ANGLAIS)

No better source to get the recipe of THE English dessert sauce then from UK s iconic  Michelin starred The Ritz’s chef. Chef John Williams. The brilliant and meticulous chef  shares  the recipe of this versatile sauce with us: Pour it  over cakes or fruits. Enjoy it  also be had as a dessert on its own in my favorite Ile Flotante (Floating island dessert)

RECIPE

Makes 300 ml sauce

125ml (4fl oz) milk,  125ml (4fl oz) double cream,  25g (loz) caster sugar, 50ml (2fl oz) egg yolks.

Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk. Return it to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the temperature reaches 82°C (180°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sit it in a bowl of iced water. Stir for 2 minutes, to reduce the temperature and prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once slightly chilled, pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required, up to 3 days.

THE ULTIMATE JEWEL OF A DISH

This is it. The ultimate jewel of a dish! That it is being presented now for Easter it is also THE ultimate Easter egg and is making history. In keeping with the globally renowned jeweller Fabergé’s history for surprise and ingenuity, John Williams has created this luxurious Eggs Fabergé dish which closely mirrors the multi-coloured Fabergé Treillage egg pendant.  He created this amazingly intricate edible work of art using the very highest level of technical expertise. He used the inside of an egg shell as a mould. A soft boiled quail’s egg is encased in a velvety lobster mousseline, decorated with a circular pattern of vegetable gems (including aubergine, courgette and heritage carrot) and represent the colours many a precious gemstone.

The edible Eggs Fabergé is served on a bed of the finest caviar and silken sauce of langoustine. And this exquisite editble jewel is part of the three-course Fabergé menu in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant during Easter Week.

Interestingly, the Mosaic Egg was one of the most technically sophisticated and extraordinary of all the Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, and took over a year to craft. It all began in 1914. The Imperial Mosaic Easter Egg was commissioned (to the jeweller)  by Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter. It was studded with precious gemstones and intricately and ornately crafted in gold with many a detail.

This Faberge egg was confiscated during the Russian Revolution and ended up  being purchased by King George V as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday The Mosaic Egg remains a part of the British Royal Collection. And now chef Williams of The Ritz has made history by adding it to the edible jewel collection!

 

LEAD PHOTO

High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef  John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez,  Giovanni Galianni

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Ian Gomez (pianist  originally from Mumbai)  flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and  chef John Williams,

Ultimate Jewel
The ultimate edible jewel
Recipe box
The English sauce

RECIPE FOR SUCESS

Posted on

I ve got it. Happy to share it. From the best of the best,  Its the recipe of the classic and perfect luscious Baba au rhum (please see photo). Ive been tasting it again and again and fortunate to dine at Alain Ducasses’ haute cuisine restaurants in Paris, Provence, Tokyo, NYC (before it closed down) and Monte Carlo (where I  shot my TV show). Celebrated  for his innovation, attention to detail and dedication to both quality and technique, Ducasse reigns internationally supreme with the largest number of Michelin stars in the world. Along with   vivacious author, philanthropist, investor Kamini Banga we celebrate excellence at the three starred shimmering temple to French gastronomy in London’s Iconic Dorchester. The dashing and brilliant Executive Chef Jean-Philippe Blondet ‘s French contemporary haute-cuisine dazzles. And the sweet finale of the Baba au Rhum seduces!

Please mail rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.comshould you want the recipe.

El Mercado 2
At Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester: Chef Jean Phillipe Blondet,  Kamini Banga and the classic Rhum baba 

EL MERCADO

Posted on Updated on

Spanish

Good news ahead! Two reasons: Firstly, Im a full time fan of Spanish cuisine. Over the years have been researching (read eating) my way through sunny Spain. Second reason: I have a big fat soft spot for family run restaurants. And so when a small (seriously small)  family-run Spanish eatery opens, its time to rejoice. And ofcourse to head there for a meal. My assistant tries to book in a fake name…its Monday. They’re closed. A Saturday afternoon sees us nattering over a fun girly lunch.

Read my detailed review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

El Mercado
Homestyle Spanish at EL MERCADO… Tarinni Shirodkar flanked by Ashlesha and Chandni Tolani.