food

Review: Kitchen Garden by Suzette

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I’m celebrating. With gratitude. Here’s one more superb Bandra restaurant (after Sequel) which serves up healthy, tastyfare. Gluten free, Vegan and Non vegetarian options.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

Double Veggie Wow

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Harsh Shodhan with Sonal Pakvasa and Jayshree Thacker (in yellow)

Our hunt for home bakers and caterers continues. And everytime I think that our Times Food guide has them all, I get pleasantly surprised. Like the new age, stylishly modern vegetarian gourmet catering by Harsh Shodhan, which I taste in the hostess with the mostest, Sonal Pakvasa’s elegant dinner in the garden. Pesto khandvi, hummus on edible spoons, mini handvo with chilli jam delight, and enjoying these is the uncrowned queen, Mumbai’s doyenne of vegetarian catering and food,   vivacious Jayshree Thacker. Her iconic restaurant and catering has magnetized Mumbaikars for decades. Double veggiewow indeed!

Review: The Clearing House

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It sure is the coolest haute restaurant to open in the past few months. And that’s not just because it’s uberstylish and housed in Asia’s largest ice factory ( a part of it is still operational). It’s because it delivers  personalized warmth and hospitality along with global flavors.

Read my detailed review on http://www.whatshot.in/mumbai

95 Year young and Counting

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Gautam and Magan Purohit at Shree Thaker Bhojnalaya. Boman Kohinoor, Viren D’esa and Lopa Chinai at Café Britannia

I dine at the world’s best restaurants,  as part of International Restaurant award academy juries but let me put on record that for the past three decades, I’ve been a a full time fan of the two 95 year young men, founders  of my all time  favorite Inexpensive, family run Mumbai eateries…

“Shree Thaker Bhojnalaya” (Kalbadevi) and “Café Britannia” (Ballard Estate).  It was indeed my lucky day, thanks to the vivacious and ever helpful Lopa Chinai who looped in Viren Desa who conducted an information packed walking tour of  Ballard Estate. The 95 year young Boman Kohinoor of Café Britannia buzzed around tables showing his recent photo with Kate and William and their unique berry pulao continues to be the star.

I once again tripped out  on the vegetarian Gujarati, Rajasthani thali at Gautam and Maganbhai Purohit’s “Shree Thaker Bhojnalaya”. I got high on my forever favorite ghee and then on the timeless elegance of the restored Royal Opera House, all thanks to the curator Asad Laljee. All in a delicious day’s work to kickstart 2017 to a high, happy note.

Brand New Foodie Stores

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Mumbai’s brand new foodie stores.

Hot. Hotter. Hottest.   Mumbai’s foodscape is rocking. Ive been tracking it past three decades and it’s never served up so much of choice, innovation and fun. And now that your very own Times Food Guides 2017 are going to press, I ate my way through a quick round up… Cookies baked on site, candies made on site, treasure trove of a Deli and an everchanging concept. Here’s the best part, (Im all admiration for  the foodpreneurs) who are getting younger and younger (Sanjana Sanghi of Popuphut is 23 years old). A quick round up of the brand new…

OH DOUGH…Kala Ghoda

Go. You must. It’s a charming cookie, icecream, coffee  heaven. It’s small (two marble topped tables and 8 bentwood chairs) but it’s powered by huge passion, dedication and a brother sister team ( Cordon Bleu trained Ritika and Lausanne Hotel school graduate Pawan Chawla). The cookies are freshly baked (on site) through the day. Everything  is home made from marshmallows to icecreams.

Go savor those saucer-shaped, perfect textured cookies, be it the regular chocolate ones or the unusual (I love tang of the cranberry balsamic, the orchestra of flavors of S’mores and  Chipzel). I love the smoked French vanilla icecream,  the dark Chocolate and even the oozing umami Pistachio Black Truffle is rcommended. Ooh la la vegan dark chocolate icecream, eggless cookies,    Superb  Ohffogato (Smoked Vanilla icecream & shot of espresso) too.

Hind Rajasthan Chambers, 6 Allana Marg, Kala Ghoda, 22631313

11.30am to 11.30pm; Monday, closed.

POPUP HUT…Kemps corner

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Pizza in a cone, gourmet kulfis, tea tasting…everchanging excitement here. Walk through a narrow alleyway to get to this seriously small space. The brain child of 23 year old Boston and London educated Sanjana Sanghi , this curated marketplace promotes and provides a retail platform for budding chefs, food entrepreneurs and culinary experts. And happily offers newness to us customers too.  Till the 20th of December you can look forward to Chado tea (sip-sit-shop of a 100 loose leaf teas), In January it will be the unusual “Coney island” pizza in a cone, by 26 year old Bharat Advani. Since they opened, they’ve had home made organic icecrams, Thai street desserts, Natural-Homegrown and Artisanal products by Anirban Poddar’s Shophop (Id popped in here and bought some too)gourmet kulfi’s by Pistascia and more.

Kwality House, next to Crossword, below Kemps Corner Flyover. 9819334698

Open 12 noon to 11pm

A SALUTI …Bandra

Khuljasimsim.A gourmets  treasure trove. It  specialises in obscure International Ingredients like guanciale,Truffle salami, to Wakame to Porcini to free range eggs and elderflower syrup.
You’ll find it all…selection of cheese – cow, sheep, goat & vegetarian,  cold cuts – turkey, chicken, pork, duck, seafood. All meticuloursly sourced by Sapna Lawyer who honed her skills in India’s finest Fortune Gourmet Specialities pvt ltd and worked in Spain and Dubai too. Lagos born Milanda, patisseur extraordinaire (Bollywood superstar clientele too)bakes all the desserts (cupcakes, Brownies, Apple & Cinnamon Streusel loaf cake to Eclairs) here. Also pestos, stocks, dips, salad dressings and more. And conducts Gourmet Cooking Classes too.

Shop No. 1, Shahina Apts, Pali Mala Road, Pali market

PAPABUBBLE…Lower Parel

Go to this colorful candy production “theatre” where handmade candy (from Spain)  is not only made  but you can also get it customized. Choose your color and flavor  and get your name written inside (yes your read that right) each candy or on the lollipops too (only remember to give them enough advance notice).  Great for kids and adults.

Once again it’s two young owners Samir Gadhok  and  Avani Raheja  whove brought in this variety of colors and over 40  flavours (watermelon to  strawberry,   Paan Masala and Kala Khatta too). There is rock candy, marshmallows…but I loved the lollipops and with every lick, I regressed to my happy childhood.

Level 3, Palladium, 462 Senapati Bapat Marg. +91 22-40235077

Hours: 11am to 9pm

ENROUTE MAGICAL MACHU PICCHU

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super luxury dining on the train with Andy Montufar and chef Orozco

Am I in a glamorous 1920s Hollywood movie train? Or an Agatha Christie thriller? Dining on gourmet food in this plush, gleaming dining car in the uber luxurious Belmond Hiram Bingham train by Orient Express, is a dream come true. Its speeding me through breathtakingly beautiful everchanging Peruvian Andean landscapes to the mystical Machu Picchu. Im sure you’ll agree with me, that food gets infused with a magical quality when we dine on a moving train. Add to that gourmet food (cooked in the state of the art kitchens in the train, vegetarian options too),finest of wines, immaculate service, white linen, petit fours, freshly brewed espresso and Im in heaven. A well-stocked bar, live music and Pisco sour lesson complete my joy. Almost. Meeting the gallant Andy Montufar Oquendo and Orozco the chef on board who conjures chef William Paniagua recipes magnifies my joy. A fittingly memorable, delicious, journey to one of the new seven wonders of the world. It’s a wonder in itself too.

P.S. The train is named after Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911.

My Paradise Peru

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Dining at the most Romantic South American resort, with Thomas Moons and Tula Casteneda.

I write from foodie Paradise.  And what a magnificent gigantic one.  From the frozen peaks of the Andes to the roaring Pacific ocean, the deepest jungles of the Amazon, sand dunes, ancient Inca civilizations, Machu Picchu and the bustling gastronomic capital of Lima. Each region produces a staggering wealth of produce, vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains…you name it. And this great geographic and cultural diversity has brought ingredients ranging from highland tubers to tropical jungle fruits to a complex cuisine of Spanish, indigenous, African and Asian influence. For sure this vast country translates to paradise for us foodies. Ceviche with slivers of fiery chili and corn, slow-simmered stews, velvety Amazonian chocolate. I explore the bounty of food markets, sample grilled anticuchos (beef skewers) on the street corners  and (thanks to my co-chairperson of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant Academy,   Diego Salazar) dine at the finest restaurants of Lima. But most excitingly, I check out Peru for Vegetarians (ably guided by Maria Jose, Sabrina Chaves, Elda Cantu) It’s a deliciously gourmet Vegetarian paradise too.

FROM LIMA TO THE SACRED VALLEY

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Lunching in the Sacred Valley with Chef Cesare Landau and Cesare Chiara

Please take a look at the accompanying photograph shot in the  globally awarded “Most Romantic resort of South America”. Im feasting not just on the superb Peruvian food but also on the stunning views. Dining on this luxurious rooftop with the glorious coastline of the Pacific ocean below,  is one of the many  memorable experiences that Belmond Miraflores Park serves up.  Helming it is the dynamic Thomas Moons with global experience and training as a chef too.  Lima born Tula Castaneda delights with her knowledge of  Peruvian cuisine. I lunch with them at their renowned  Tragaluz restaurant, chef Jean Paul Barbier’s quinoa tabouleh with  beetroot, mushrooms, watercress, makes a masterpiece out of potatoes with the Peruvian Yellow chilli,porcon mushrooms with truffle sauce and more. August Baert’s Tragaluz delights. Not only is the finest Peruvian chocolate used here, but their superb spa gives me a Chocolate massage too. This is definitely my idea of having my chocolate and eating it too.

In the Sacred valley ( an hour’s flight away from the bustling city of Lima) nature preens in all her magnificence. And it is here in the Belmond Rio Segredo,  that I lunch by the shimmering River Urubamba with the brilliant chef Cesar Landau. In the mellow sunshine of the Sacred valley, Chef Cesar’s creative cuisine with Peruvian ingredients delights, be it the tomato tree with water melon gazpacho, vegetarian ceviche with asparagus, mushroom and seaweed from the lake or the quinoa risotto.

I also get a superb Pisco tasting session from the knowledgable Cesar Chiara.

This award winning national drink is the purest brandy, and from the 8 grapes, two types of Piscos (aromatic and non aromatic)are made. I learn all about that famous  lemon, sugar and white of egg based cocktail Pisco sour. All this in the beautiful glassed in bar and restaurant overlooking the stunning gardens of the Rio Segredo. Close by the salt mines of Maras produce the delicious Maras salt from the ancient  times of the Incas. I can taste this vibrant salt in all my food and when it is used as a scrub in the Willka spa, it revitalizes me and Im ready to feast on Rio Segredo’s banquet again.

QUINOA RISOTTO

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Veggie Peru on a plate: Quinoa and avocado in the sacred valley’s Rio Segredo.

Here’s Chef Cesar Landau’s recipe . A delicious creamy way to  cook  the healthy, protein rich, gluten free quinoa. You can add or omit the vegetables.

Ingredients:

70 gr quinoa/40 gr mushrooms/20 gr zucchini

50 gr cream of milk/30 ml broth of vegetables/ 30 gr parmesan cheese/

2 gr chopped garlic/3 spears of asparagus/ 1  cherry tomato/

20 ml olive oil/5 ml truffle oil/Salt

Black pepper

Method

Boil water with rosemary in a pan. When the water is boiling add the quinoa. Cook for 20 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and let cool

In a frying pan, add olive oil, garlic and let cook till garlic turns golden. Then add the mushrooms, the zucchini and sauté. Then add the quinoa and the cream and let it reduce.

At the end check the salt and the parmesan cheese.Before serving, drizzle with  truffle oil.Grill the asparagus and served on  top.

My delicious discoveries

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Whoa ! What talent! What creativity and what a variety! Each time I conduct our “whats hot tasting session”  for home chefs, caterers and bakers in Chennai I get delighted …and impressed. We conduct this just before the iconic grand  dame, The Connemara went under revamp to emerge more beautiful than ever. Today, I serve up three yummy options…from eggless desserts and cakes to ready to cook chapattis and a culinary recreation school too.

SPRINKLES

Looking for  eggless (strictly) cakes and desserts? Cake pop bouquets, dessert cups, cupcakes, brownies and more? 100%veg mousse cups and dessert cups

The forever helpful Afzal Khan not only organises everything but also helps me with the tastings. He points out that their themed cake pops and cupcakes are delicious and sure-fire kiddie favourites.

Call the talented  Ayushi & Akshita Agarwal of  Sprinkles. Both are student entrepreneurs, use only the finest ingredients and take great pains to take ensure that their patisserie delights their clients. They take a minimum Order: for mini cupcakes and cake pops minimum order is 10 pieces while for brownies its 6 pcs

Aminjikarai, near Ampa Skywalk

Phone: 9840277690

Email: sprinklescakepops@yahoo.in

FOODOLOGY

How about celebrating and learning and eating…all at the same time? Unique and interesting food classes?  Mom/Dad& Me, Couples Date Night, Kids Parties, Mom & me, Dad& me etc. Go check out this creative recreational culinary studio.

A great way to have kiddie parties and spend quality time with your kids. Entertaining and Educational Cooking Experience for Toddlers to Teens.

A delicious way to celebrate! Couples that cook together, stay together! Create a meal that will be memorable and romantic!

Take a look the fun group photograph of the founder Shree Periakaruppan as well as a few of her culinary team. From Bee Bee Martinet’s Malaysian fare to, Tasneem Ayub’s Moghlai to Neelima Sriram’s vegan and vegetarian offerings.

Damayanthi Paul, teaches Sri Lankan cuisine. Kamalika Krishmy. Winner of Superfchef is sought after for desserts, baking and Indian Food!Sumi Shroff specialises in punjabi, fusion and kids menuPreethi  Venkatramani ,Baker Shyamala Sivaraman  and ChefNaren specialises in  Arabic  and international cuisine.  The founder Shree Periakaruppan a dynamic IT professional having lived for over a decade in Washington (and honed her cooking skills) set up Foodology two years ago. Since then, she has had Chennai eating out of her hands.

3A, Second Main Road, Kasturibai Nagar, Adyar. Landline: +91 24454885 and 900 305 4885. foodologychennai@gmail.com

DESI FOOD

Here’s an amazing success story built around ready to eat chapattis.  S. Srinivasan  left his successful corporate career and his wife Uma also quit her job  to take care of the production where two other women help her knead, roll out and seal chapattis. She continues to be a foodblogger.   Giving me his expert palatte opinion, is The Conemmara’s brilliant executive chef Jaffer Ali. We conducted this Whatshottasting session The couple began by supplying 350 ready-to-eat chappatis a day. Today, on an average, the unit at Madipakkam rolls out 3,000 every day.

Ofcourse, they did not stop there.  Snacks, healthy options and more. Chapatis, Pooris, Methi Chapatis and Ragi Chapatis, made with hygienic manufacturing and packing process ensures that the  freshness of the Chapati is retained.  High quality whole wheat flour, oil, salt and mineral water are used. Organic food including samosa, ragi rolls and short eats and podis. Bulk orders, snacks for Events are all part of their repertoire.

Plot No 3032, 1st Floor, 6th Main Road, Ramnagar South, Madipakkam, Chennai 600091

Phone: 9500021540 / 9962530871 / 044-22580049

Email:desifoods.chennai@gmail.com

AN OPEN INVITATION

Are you a home chef? Conduct any foodie services out of home? Would you like to be part of our next “Whatshottasting session’? Please mail your details of work and contact to  rashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com,  instagram, twitter @rashmiudaysingh Please put “Chennai whatshottasting in the subject line.