foodies

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.

Review: The Korner House by Chef Vicky

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Happily many a new restaurant are giving priority to our well-being. Like The Korner House where the brilliant chef, author and TV host Vicky Ratnani even offers up “bowls of health and flavor” (Please note flavor is given equal importance.)

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

Review: Toast Bistro & Bar

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Located within air-kissing distance of T2 airport, this rooftop Toast’s bar driven bistro-plus menu is smartly calibrated. The ratio of hearty to lighter fare, is just right. Don’t go looking for gourmet fare to this urban young bistro.

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

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Home Talent

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Its been my passion! Past three decades I’ve been collecting deliciously useful and usable information which you can’t get for love or for money.In Chennai and in Mumbai. I’ve compiled many a Times Food Guide of these home caterers and bakers. From ordering cakes from chefs who work out of home, health tiffin dabbas fabulous seafood to more.

HOW I GOT TO THIS PRICELESS INFO

I did this through word of mouth, through readers calling and writing to me, through my Foodline, and the latest through email and twitter too. Now I know what Columbus must’ve felt like. Except that he, the compulsive explorer, did not have the benefit of twitter… like I do! Here’s how I went on my voyage of discovery: I tweet requested for recommendations of favourite caterers, dessert makers, tiffin dabbawallahs and shops.

HERE’S HOW I DID IT…WHATS HOT TASTING SESSIONS

Anyone who bakes or caters professionally out of home can take part. For the past 3 decades, I have been regularly conducting these sessions (in Mumbai and Chennai) in order to discover and encourage home talent. I get flooded with instagrams, tweets and mail requests. We hold “tasting sessions” where we invite all those who had gotten in touch with us. They brought along their goodies and we try, taste and test each one.

HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT…

Should you want to be be part of this “whats hot tasting session” please email your details (background, specialities, pricing, home delivery, contact details) torashmiudaysingh2016@gmail.com or instagram or twitter @rashmiudaysingh email anjalisharma966@gmail.com Call 9884065010.

It was in my latest “Whats hot Tasting session: that  I got a taste of Chennai’s amazing home bakers and caterers.

AUMLY

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AUMLY’S DIPIKA AGARWAL WITH RICHA GOENKA AND EXECUTIVE CHEF DHARMEN MAKWANA ; AUMLY S KOZAMBHU PAROTA SANDWICH AND STRING SPAGHETTI WITH JHAAL MUDI.

Fabulous fusions. All home made. Creative, innovative and yum. Be it one where Italy tangoes with Kolkatta street food or whisky infused icecream. We loved the Innovative string spaghetti sparkled with spice and with Kolkatta’s popular street food, jhal moodi. As also the unique and tasty North India meets South India Kozambu parota sandwich. The Black label infused icecream was deliciously heady. Helping me with the tasting was Leela Palace’s  brilliant executive chef  Dharmen Makwana. We sampled it all Badam halwa cup to Rice kesari moghlai malai kofta and it was a delight to meet her fashion desinger daughter Richa Goenka too.

It’s not just all this that the creative Dipika Agarwal conjures up but also many a healthy and organic option. organic rice flour for Rs 63/- a kilo, homemade and preservative free chocolate and hazelnut spread at Rs 210/- a jar, coconut macaroons made from organic coconuts from her farm and baked in a wood fired oven for Rs 84/- for a pack of 6, multi-grain pao buns which go well with vada and bhaji for Rs 15.75/- a piece.

Order by Wednesday to pick up by Friday.

Ph. 89 39 77 43 19. Address: 12-Z, Rutland Gate, 4th St, Aroshree Kailash, Ground Floor. 48 hours notice required.

OH MYY

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OH MYY’S APARNA PHILLIP AND HER HOME MADE SAUCES.

Looking for delicious salted caramel sauce? extra fudgy hot fudge sauce ? and that too home made and preservative free? The dedicated and talented Aparna Philip from “Oh Myy” has  them all for you. These are great any which way you like them, lick them, slather them on bread, on a biscuit or top up your sundae.  She also makes a rich, lemony and tangy lemon curd which goes well with a hot buttered toast or  as a filling for tarts, crepes, cakes or meringues. Check out Oh Myy’s honey roasted peanut butter  which can also be give a savoury twist by adding some spices to make an exotic satay sauce.

Contact Aparna from Oh Myy!  @ 98410-29931.

India Shining Globally

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GLOBAL POWER COUPLE. Mukesh and Vandana Luthra at COYA

The world is distilling itself on my plate. I write from Dubai, where Im dining at brand new Caribbean, Peruvian, Modern Indian and more. But it’s the India-shining factor which is dazzling me here.I dine (again)  at the finest Peruvian restaurant  in London and Dubai, Coya. Vibrant authentic Peruvian cuisine seduces. Here are the surprises,  not only is it owned by the Indian brothers Gulu and Arjun Waney, even  their executive  chef is Sanjay Dwivedi. Creating international waves too are my charming dining companions.  Global power couple, Mukesh and Vandana Luthra, pioneers of the wellness and beauty  industry. The globetrotting gourmets jetset between South Asia, Middle East, Africa, India and  Uk tending to their everexpanding company. No wonder Padmashree Vandana Luthra has been on the Forbes and Fortune list of the 50 most powerful women in business. Powering this global business, the dynamic Chairman Mukesh  shared the most amazing insights about global food too.

From ceviches sparkled with Peruvian chillies to raw fish hamachi with Kolkatta’s jhalmudi and that at the brand new, stunningly beautiful Jaan. Perched in the penthouse of a swish downtown hotel,  maestro Farokh Khambatta’s Jaan, is Dubai’s hottest opening. It dazzles with it’s tantalising  repertoire of progressive Indian creations. Yet another Indian is making global waves. Jai hind!

Review: All Stir Fry

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At the heart of All Stir fry is the “eat as much as you like”,  wok which is cooked up in front of you.

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

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