Restaurant Review

Rajus Malvani Mejwani

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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/

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The original Foodie Kunal Vijayakar at Raju s Malvani Mejwani 
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CECCONI’S

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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/

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

 

WHITE CHARCOAL Progressive regional Indian cuisine

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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.

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

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

PUNJABI TADKA of CRYSTAL

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“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

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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/

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EL MERCADO

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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.

REVIEW : TOWN HALL

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Can something as mundane as a  “Townhall” (a building which is the seat of a town government)  be glamorous, rocking and buzzing? Yes! yes! when it comes to Mumbai from Delhi it most certainly is. Beloved of Dilliwallas, this Townhall comes complete with it’s South Delhi legend, partner chef Augusto Cabrera (sushi maestro). It’s reputation precedes it and a lot of the young restaurant going lot make an immediate beeline for it.

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

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At the rocking Townhall, With the  fabulous foodie five: Jay Dalal,  Shrey grover. Aishwarya Mariwala Maneka Grover and Anchit Nayar

MIZU…A MODERN IZAKAYA

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Welcome Mumbais first  Izakaya!

I first  fell in love with an Izakaya in Kyoto’s Nishiki market “Izakaya is our Japanese pub with homestyle Japanese food” explained Yamamoto san my foodie blind date with whom id dined at the buzzing  Izakaya. The difference is that Mizu boldly and cheekily serves a layer of Indian flavours with Japanese  recipes  and techniques.

Read My full Review on https://www.bombaytimes.com/

 

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MINISTRY OF CRAB

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Crab and prawn cuisine

LEAD PHOTO

Hype. Hoopla. Awards. Crowned Srilankas “best restaurant 4 times in a row. Ranked 35thbest in Asia 2019, Maestro Dharshan Munidasa’s “Ministry of crab”  finally opened two months ago in Mumbai. Having had many a magnificent meal at the Colombo flagship, I was apprehensive about it’s Mumbai debut. Can the same high standard of live Mud crab be maintained? Will the fluffy woodfired Srilankan “kade” bread be as addictive? And wont the  Mumbai vegetarian be disappointed? The Colombo MOC has only veg side dishes. It offers only  three desserts and we Mumbaikars have a sweet tooth.  In short, Is there hope behind the hype?

BOOKED & COOKED

This is the first time that my ploy ( of my assistant booking in a fake name) did not work. Reason? Since we were six diners, they insisted my assistant  give   credit card details. That would’ve given my name away. So we  cancelled. We tried reserving many a time later, but it was all booked up.  And much later just two of us booked there. Under a fake name. Ofcourse!

 

DÉCOR

Majestic. Housed in a tall stand alone  corner building in Khar. A glamorous highceilinged space with arched glass windows. A sweeping staircase takes you upto the mezzanine bar. On the ground floor the  show kitchen takes centre stage. Railings and fluting, wallpaper and mirrors are art deco-inspired. Kudos to Basrai for the artful use of  tropical woody natural materials

 

FOOD

Go on. Get ready to make slurping noises, put on your bib and crack that perfectly cooked crab bathed in (my favourite)  bold lusty pepper sauce.

Take your pick ( Crabs  sizes, small, medium, half a kilo, XL,  the OMG and 2kg Crabzilla.) Pair it with pepper sauce, olive oil and chilli, soy, or garlic butter  and do lick your fingers,  every now and then.

My other addiction is the Prawnzilla served in a  glistening  pool of  the bold garlic chilli sauce.

Appetiser? Go for the crab salad scooped into a luscious avocado with a whisper of wasabi, perfect Crab cakes with raw mango sweet chutney. Must ask for the baked crab risotto, a masterly balance of  texture and flavour.

Vegetarians, youre in luck, delicious Coastal Indian dishes infused with coconut ( Goan curry with baby aubergine,  mangalorean gassi)   japanese style stir fried greens too. Keep space for a happy ending… “story of cocoa” . brilliantly presented in a giant cocoa  bean pregnant with

bitter chocolate mousse and coconut gel. Equally good is the deconstructed  spongy version of French Toast

sparkled with sago pearls and burnt butter icecream. Superb vegan icecreams and signature granitas too.

 

 

MINUS POINTS

Crabzilla was not available when we dined there. Kade bread baked in an  Irani bakery did not match up to its Srilankan counter part. Singapore Chilly crab sauce needed it’s sweetness to be toned down.

Lacklustre vegetarian ishtew and an oversweet Black pearl dessert were the other minus points.

 

MY POINT

Peel away the hype, take away the highprofile cricketing legends  partners with chef Dharshan Munidasa) and what do we get?  A seriously great restaurant dedicated to using only the highest quality of wild caught, even-clawed lagoon crab. Only live fresh crabs are used. And this shows in the glistening sweetness enhanced by the perfect cooking  of each crab (no matter which sauce you pick, it has oomph). Vegetarians are taken care of, as are those with a sweet tooth. My apprehension of maestro  Chef Dharshan Munidasa not being present in Mumbai is proved base less by the brilliant young chef Jerry Simon Thomas who ensures consistency in quality and recipe. Except for a few dishes which disappoint MOC Mumbai more than claws it’s way to meet up to expectations.  Be ready to shell out  high prices for stratospheric  quality. After all, we are in a three-levelled, high-ceilinged glamorous crab heaven.

 

 

MINISTRY OF CRAB

442, Chitrakar Dhurandar Marg, 14th Rd, Khar West

⋅Open 7:30PM

 +91 77108 98811

RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.75 DÉCOR 4

Meal for two Rs 8000

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