Review

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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FEASTING REDEFINED

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It’s the first time ever. In less than twenty four hours, I experience the true taste and meaning of “feast” in all it’s multi-dimensional glory. Not just of gourmet  flavours, authentic  local cuisines but much much more. 
 I revel in the taste of the indomitable spirit and unrivalled cultural vibrancy of a city, of HongKong. 
It’s also a precious taste of a family legacy of the Cheng family. A tribute of deep love by the brilliant young Harvard educated granddaughter Sonia Cheng who honours the Shunde roots and life of her grandfather Dr. Cheng Yu-Tung in the magnificent Rosewood Hongkong.
I feast on HongKong’s glittering, stunning harbour view, as I do on my first time ever experience of Shunde cuisine and  both are awesome. 
I feast twice. I watch the hugely knowledgeable Chef Li cook up and then taste the amazing wok fried milk with crab and birdsnest. His skill and control of the fire and wok is admirable..And the umami caressed wokfried milk with crabmeat and birdsnest dazzles.
This in the  elegant Legacy House. 
Here, the Cheng family’s roots in China’s Guangdong province in the Pearl River Delta are reflected in the delicate Shunde cuisine served here. 
The Shunde cooking styles date back over 2000 years to the Qin and Han dynasties. With a natural abundance of produce and fish originating from the Southern China, regional Shunde cuisine is justifiably renowned for intricate, elaborate preparations that bring out the inherent flavours of the pristine ingredients. 
Home of Shunde cuisine Legacy house also serves the much-loved, Chinese favourites. I trip out on   the perfect Peking duck from Chef Li’s wok the most robust and delicious lamb and from his steamer authentic Cantonese dimsum followed by the chilled mango pudding sparkled with citrus. 
TARTS  TRAMS & CHAMPAGNE 
I get a taste not just of the finest iconic egg tart (Hongkong is famous for it) but do so while riding on the rooftop iconic antique tramcar. Its time to celebrate and Waldo Hernandez and his dream  team mind read and voila! There is champagne too. All part of Rosewood’s amazing “sense of place” curated experience. And this winds and continues into an amazing, curated, researched “Foodie journey”  of Hongkongs hidden gems. 
It’s a dream come true. Eating local with a local …for 10 hours. Continuing my passion for Delicious Discoveries Sniffing out hidden gems the best local joints serving the iconic eggtart and pineapplebun,  bamboo noodle shop, lotus root cake, dimsum  to the black sesame cake and lots more. The lovely Lotus Leung  guides me  through this nonstop discovery, peppered with wonderful anecdotes and stories and recipes Ending up at the deliciously authentic Sangkee 

restaurant (also a favorite of Sonia Chengs)

Should you want a list of the names and addresses please email me Rashmiudaysingh18@gmail.comhappy to share them with you.
TO THE MANOR BORN
In this magnificent vertical  65 storey estate
which pays homage to Hong Kong’s impressive
verticality, there are  also  beautifully landscaped lawns, verdant gardens and
terraces with fabulous harbour views. It’s a 
 homage to Rosewood’s origins as an aristocratic manor. And crowning it, is the exclusive Manor club
 I not only begin my day with the authentic Hong Kong breakfast, explore Hongkong all day, trip out on Shunde cuisine but taste the most deeply delicious hot and sour soup. And it is in The Manor club too thatI happen to meet the brilliant chef Sandro Gamba who heads up the exciting and diverse restaurants here.
And also (by a serenditpitious coincidence) the India connection.  Marc Brugger who helms the Rosewood HongKong is an Indophile who has not only spent time in India, (cooks a great fish curry too) but is also married to an Indian. 

And spearheading this amazing global Rosewood group and powering it with it’s unique magnetism is our very own dapper dynamic Radha Arora. Jai ho!

BOX

Hot and Sour Soup

Condiments:

10g Bean Curd – cut into Julienne

5g Wood Ear Mushroom – cut into Julienne

20g Dried Mushroom – Soaked with Water and cut into Julienne

10g Bamboo Shoot – cut into Julienne

50g Lobster Meat(optional)

10g Fishcake (optional)

 

 

Soup Base:

Paste Chili Bean           2 – 3g Vinegar       8g (Season to Taste)

Sugar                           3g

Dark Soy Sauce            2g

Chili Bean Paste           2g

Corn Starch                  5g

Salt                                 Season to Taste

Chicken Powder             3g

Sesame Oil                     1g

Water                              230g

Egg                                 10g

 

Method: 

Blanch all the condiments ingredients, keep aside.

Boil up all the ingredients of the soup base, add all the condiment ingredients and adjust the thickness with Corn Starch.

Finally add the Egg into the soup..

REVIEW: GOYAA

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Global

Discovery. Again and again, that’s the  word that kickstarts my adrenalin. Be it while researching the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris or Indias first  city restaurant guide. And todays’ restaurant gives me that same tingly, happy feeling. It sits quietly in Byculla. Elbowed into the printers compound, in one of the warehouses. It faces a Parsi chawl (yes  there is such a thing) and yes! we did get lost trying to find it (because of some road closures) and ended up in Ghoddopeo village.  We had a super time with great fun foodies. Yes! we will return. And make it a point to do so on Saturday… for the live-jazz night.

DÉCOR
Having negotiated your way into the winding Byculla lanes,  Walk into a low ceilinged reception area. And then wham! the  warehouse’s highceiling, with  amphitheatre-like steps comes as a surprise. There is a glassed in open kitchen, grey-toned industrial chic, Nikita DSilva ensures that the focus is on the food and the only   pop of colour are the bright green plates.

FOOD
Our server in a black uniform (like the rest of the servers) brings us the comprehensive short menu of what he calls “upscale comfort food” and when we ask for a a huge number of small and large plates of baos, burgers et al advises to slow down. A riveting parade of dishes begins …complimentry sticky rice balls with tangy sauces, prawn wafers with a dense bacon sauce.
Tart, sweet, salty, fruity bursts  pop in many of the dishes.  We love the refreshing juicy watermelon tucked into the Belgian pork belly bao with goat cheese enlivened with ginger coriander dressing.
Sweet persimmon chutney sparkles the charred broccoli served with airy burrata foam
Orange segments  top the cast iron cauliflower, under a layer of mashed potatoes with Vadouvan butter, Citrus pesto in the seabass, guava in the pork belly… unexpected marriages. Fleshy moist eggplant plump with  flavour and kissed with sweetness
Delicious dessert of PB & J–peanut butter mousse with  textured peanut brittle on a chewy macaron base. Must ask for this dessert…Pillows of marshmallow  bursting with blenders pride whisky over a callebaut mini molten lava cake sprinkled with miso caramel…Umami heaven.

MINUS POINTS
Open only for dinner. Uncomfy chairs.The location is at once a minus and also a plus point. They do have valet parking. Thick skinned duck dumpling and chewy pork ribs are avoidable.
Please note, no take-aways and no kids.

 
MY POINT
Tucked into one of Byculla’s warehouses, Goyaa has a wonderful feel of  discovering a hidden secret.  It’s a grey minimalistic high-ceilinged space. Vibrantly seasoned and creatively composed with unexpected flavour combinations  upscale comfort  food of baos and more (plenty for vegetarians).
Not all of it works. Dishes priced at
Rs275 to Rs350 (the most expensive being Rs 450)
. The whole experience (including getting lost due to the closed road) is an exciting story.  “Goyaa” is the Persian word for the art of telling a story. An unpretentious delicious story!
PS The twist to our story? we find out at the end…our unformed server is Siddharth Somaiya the brilliant 30 year old owner chef.

Goyaa, Unit No 2, JAK Compound, DK Cross Road, Byculla (E).

Rs 2000 for two.
Open from 7pm to 1am.
RATING FOOD 3.75 SERVICE 3.75 DÉCOR 3.75

LILT-Modern Asian| Bar room

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Modern Asian
One more new restaurant opens in the Lower Parel  area. It announced it’s arrival with hype and hoopla as the culinary hot-spot, serving “modern Asian with an Indian twist” . It’s “Lilt Modern Asian” and there is an obvious 
investment of money, time and dreams. We popped in unannounced into a more or less empty restaurant. Does Lilt have a memorable harmony? Or does it strike discordant notes? Read the full article on https://www.bombaytimes.com/
LILT 1

Review: Le Cinq

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

It’s been my passion. Over the years. To track excellence  and celebrate it. And while doing so…it’s the unexpected that kickstarts my adrenalin. And here  in this magnificent  Parisian landmark, I thrill to expect the unexpected. For almost a century, George V has been the epitome and the definition of Parisian luxury and elegance.

Le Cinq, it’s gastronomique restaurant been showered with three Michelin stars continuously. The sheer stratospheric excellence impeccable luxurious detailing has set a global benchmark. It has been home to the who’s who of the world. Located in the most luxurious part of Paris (where its secret aristocracy has lived for ages) the legendary Hotel George V reigns in its Franco-British aesthetic splendour. And amidst this exquisite Parisian splendour are two superlative surprises…Le George a down-to-earth Mediterranean restaurant   and an amazing all-vegetarian menu in LOrangerie, it’s other restaurant.

A DOWN TO EARTH MASTERPIECE

Simply superb. Superbly simple.No two ways about it. It’s the worlds most luscious onion, plump with flavour and melt in the mouth too. It took the brilliant chef Simone Zanoni  four whole days to cook it to his magical secret recipe, handed down to him by his grandmother. And this is just the beginning of the amazing masterpieces that’s sashay in. The brilliant young chef focuses on organic, local and grows his own vegetables and herbs. I taste one amazing creation after another infused with the chef’s personal influences and inspirations, such as the signature Le George dish the onion tarte tatin with parmesan sorbet. His creation of the Tomato tart with cacciopepe icecream dazzles.

Having worked with Gordon Ramsay, Chef Zanoni now helms Le George which has  been making waves ever since it opened and also received i. Le George serves up Mediteranean magic

And does so amid shimmering priceless Baccarat chandeliers, mirrors and Lalique crystal. Healthy and light fare  is all about “harmonious cuisine from the heart”  an amazingly balanced and healthy menu (plenty of vegetarian too).  This  Le George more than lives up to the royal legacy it has inherited, after all it is born to the iconic George V, the hotel of kings and the king of hotels.

RECIPE

PASTA PERFECT

Chef Zanoni’s pasta is perfection. He generously shares the recipe

Tortelli Ricotta Lemon and Mint Recipe

Dough :

-550g of flour type 45

-350g of egg yolk

-5g salt, 5g olive oil

Ricotta stuffing:

-500g of ricotta

-70g grated Parmesan cheese

-40g of pecorino grated

-20g of egg yolk

-Sel, pepper PM

Make the dough by mixing all the elements with the robot cut, knead, well squeezed and let rest in the fridge 2 hours.

Make the stuffing by mixing all the elements in a container and then remove in pastry pockets.

Spread the dough using a rolling mill to have a parte about 2mm thick, arrange the dough on the worktop and prepare hazelnuts of ricotta stuffing the size of your cookie cutter on the half of the dough then fold the dough on itself, then cut the tortelli with the help of your cookie cutter.

Cook the tortelli in salted water for 1 minute,

prepare a pan with water and half-salted butter, a pinch of pepper and 2g of organic Sicilian lemon peel, remove the tortelli in the pan containing the mixture then finish cooking in the pan and at the end added chopped mint, then set on plate.

 VEGETARIAN WIZARDRY

Great news! The one Michelin starred Lorangerie is presenting the most fascinating and gourmet vegetarian menu Ive ever tasted. When I wrote and researched the Worlds first vegetarian guide to Paris (published by Times of India and partnered by GeorgeV) I ate my way through my beloved city for two years. But this is the first time I actually watch the creation and innovation of a series of stunningly sublime vegetarian dishes.

And I do so in a modern conservatory of 7-metre high glass and–steel structure, which blends seamlessly with the architectural Art Deco style of the hotel with stunning views of the Courtyard  dotted with orchids.

Creative Sublime wizardry of simplicity… finest of seasonal ingredients dazzle. Take a bow brilliant chefs!

The genius Christian Lesquer of their gastronomique restaurant  and Alan Taudon  coax amazing flavors out of the freshest and finest of vegetables and present them with panache. Delicate gems of wizardry dazzle. And sparkle!

Along with Jean Claude Wietzel  we taste our way through the concise, seasonal menu in which tradition is updated thanks to elegant, perfumed notes and a delicate blend of flavours.

The chefs  reliably turn what’s already enjoyable into something very remarkable. And pure vegetarian too!

 

REVIEW: SOUTH BOMBAY BAR

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In Worli’s Atria mall, South Bombay bar, nestles right next to my most favourite movie hall. Enter a large (really large) hall. Look up to admire the ceiling with Bombay’s map, there’s an island bar,quirky signages and dramatic lighting.Loud (really loud) music.Read my detailed review in today’s Bombay times or on whatshot.in.

At SOUTH BOMBAY BAR with the gorgeous trio Gayatri Chona, Meha Patel (centre) Nidhi Negandhi

 

REVIEW: PLUM BY BENT CHAIR

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Questions: Is this a home décor store which serves food? Or is it a restaurant which sells home décor? 

Ans: Yes to both. In the intriguigingly named “Plum by Bent  chair” it’s possible to  eat your salad and buy not o that funky plate  (a skull wearing headphones) it is served on and also the chair youre sitting on. 

Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

shop and dine: Behman and Lynne Homjee at PLUM BY BENT CHAIR

REVIEW: IZUMI

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Go for it!  it’s unpretentious. It’s in a seriously small space. It’s Seriously good. My kind of place.   It doesn’t take bookings and seats only 15 we were told. So  my Japanese food expert buddy and i reached there at 5.57 pm. Ate our way through the menu. Verdict: Bandra’s IZUMI lives up to it’s hype.  Read my detailed review on whatshot.in

 

REVIEW: SOI 69

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Good news! Breach Candy  got it’s own Thai sidestreet (Soi). It perches on the fourth floor and has chef co-owners Seefah  and Karan (who wowed with their  no-frills erstwhile “The Blue” in Bandra).  Bringing them in is celebrity restaurant- nightclub tycoon Rishi Acharya. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in