Hallelujah! A star is born. It has risen in Kala Ghoda. It sparkles with flavour, authenticity and nostalgia and recreates the Levant. What is the Levant? A place? a flavour? a region which serves up tastes of all cultures in the southeast corner of the Mediterranean? All this and more. And the three month old Rue du Liban not only serves up these authentic flavours but does so in a refined, gracious fine dine ambiance. Read my detailed review on whatshot.in.
Shhh! There’s a new wine bar café in town. Surprise, surprise…there was no hype or hoopla surrounding it’s launch. But then keeping a low profile is in it’s DNA as it’s been sired by the simply named Kala Ghoda Café.
Read my full review in today’s Bombay Times!
Quirky, cheery décor (please see photo) in this Kala Ghoda Cafe meets Hollywood. Art work of famous Hollywood stars on the walls and chairs et al. Wooden steps lead to a small mezzanine section.
We’re rejoicing. Or should I say “re-Joss-ing”? Here’s a Mumbai restaurant which redefines “standing the test of time”. Having magnetised foodies in Kala Ghoda for eleven years, Joss shut down only to be reincarnated as the modern “Joss by Farokh Khambatta” in Santa Cruz.
“Ireland se aaya mere dost, dost ko salaam karo”. A couple of months ago, our very own rocking Irish House (the largest one yet) set up in Andheri. More than a year ago, the first of these Irish triplets was born in Phoenix Mills, followed by Kala Ghoda. Ive eaten and “happy houred” at all, also given a thumbs up verdict as we did in our latest Andheri checkout. Richard Koszarek is famous for his steaks, pork chops and beans, while Amrita’s mutton pickle is legendary.
The well-traveled foodie couple Amrita and Richard Koszarek not only spend a lot of time in London but Richard particularly enjoys the pubs there. They say Yes! to The Irish House.
Everything in this predictably themed, wooden-decored space is larger than life; from the expansive, high-ceilinged hall to the TV screens. Brick walls with trademark Irish house posters (take time to read them Beer Ladder, the Whisky Wall, Beer Kegsand thePost Box, Community tables…you name it.
FOOD & DRINK
Large (that word again) portions of deep fried fare (be it the blistering chilli poppers oozing cheese, or the fleshy mushrooms crunchy with pine nuts) is tasty. On recommendations from (@mihirsagar @dina_bshah @harpr iya_kohli
@abbas_974@thebombayfoodie) I try the Chicken tacosBeer Can Chicken cordon bleu and Grande nachos, pail of Popcorn et al . Chicken tenders are better in Kala Ghoda but otherwise all the rest of the fare satisfies.Well-stocked bar, with 42 types of beer from across the globe (draught beer is served in Kegs & Towers) Richard recommends the Erdinger wheat beer and Stella Artois. Try the innovative cocktails (Irish Trash Can, Irish Car Bomb)
The oven was not working the night we were there so Richard couldn’t get his Steak ‘n Kidney Pie. Too many deepfried, overdone starters. The large wedge of oversweet Irish Chocolate Torte and the Kahlua Mousse were avoidable.
Packed, bustling and vibrant…Ive checked out all three Irish Houses at different times of day and night.Each time, I found that when the high-ceilinged space is sufficiently crowded, it has a lived-in, age-softened feel.
And when most of the generously portioned dishes appealingly complement the atmosphere, it hits the sweet spot. No gourmet flashes, it’s mostly a mix of pub stalwarts comfort foods at comforting prices. Happy hours ( 5 to 8pm ) add to the happiness. Want a cheery, beery, noisy time ? (age no bar) this way please !
The Irish House, 1st floor, Fun Republic, Opp. new link Road, Andheri (West) 61046161
Open, 12 noon – 1am
RATING FOOD 3.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4
Meal for 2: Rs 2000
A TASTE OF EMMYCITEMENT
I’m eating and drinking Emmycitement…er excitement. Here, in Hollywood, this glamorous land of eternal sunshine, the air is so thick with excitement over the high-voltage Emmy awards that I could slice it and pop it into my cocktail glass (which I do too). And its evident through all my eatingsbout (from the Voltaggio brother’s “Ink” Nobu’s first ever restaurant “Matsuhisa” to the king of chefs Wolfgang Puck’s “Spago). But it’s in the iconic rockstar “Sunset Marquis” where for over 50 years not only have Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners, legends (including our very own Bachchan family) stayed but their bar manager and actor Tony Nuncio has been making waves in Hollywood with his latest creation of the cognac based cocktail “Breaking Dad”. Not only does it celebrate the Emmy winner of 2013 of the same name but also George Rosenthal’s love for cars and his son. Bacon and seasalt popcorn compliment the drink and Im excited to be in Los Angeles on the night of the Emmy awards!
P.S. Ive been overwhelmed and overjoyed by your response via instagram posts to my request to #dinewithrashmi. Im so sorry that Ive been away so long and unable to keep my promise. Will surely do so as soon as Im back.
Tea salon, patisserie, chocolaterie
I confess. I’m a dessertaholic and a chocoholic. So, I conduct three tasting sessions at this new French-inspired Patisserie, Chocolaterie and tea salon. I land up in La Folie, when I go to do a clothes trial (her boutique is next to La Folie) to the dynamic and multi-talented Shaina NC’s boutique. This to walk the ramp (with Vivek Jain) for the mammoth 7000 audience, celebrity studded fund raiser for Cancerpatients for which Shaina made time inspite of her hectic electioneering. I do a marathon hour long tasting with patissieur extraordinaire, Cordon Bleu trained Firoza Moos ( pay bill of Rs 5015). The third tasting feedback is on twitter and instagram.
THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Another confession…I don’t know the French language at all, inspite of spending years in Paris while writing my foodbook. So interpreting “La Folie’s” French words is tough, but Ive had the good fortune to interview and taste all Sanjana Patels French mentor’s (Alain Ducasse et al) creations. Less than two months ago, I not only ate Pierre Herme’s patisserie but also flew down to Delhi to anchor Pierre Herme’s interview for a national magazine’s conclave.
Wedged into Kala Ghoda La Folie is a small, stark space with tables and a dark wood bench running along one wall. It seats 8 to 10. Quite a contrast to the ornate French La Duree with it’s jewel box looks.
There’s a catwalk here too…behind the glassed off counter, gleaming superstar desserts preen and strut… pralines, truffles, macarons, entremets ( that French for textural layered desserts) theres a huge choice of teas and coffee too.
Hero #1 is the“100% Chocolat” dense and moist with a dark chocolate cake base, crispy praline, bitter chocolate mousse capped off with chocolate fondant. Heroine #1
Rouge Velour (big fat, bright red rose) moist, zesty lemony sponge cake with strawberry compote Supporting hero #1 Infinite Caramel seasalt cream with hazelnut praline and milk chocolate. Child star#1 Colorful candy cake layered with Mentos, Éclair Nutties and marshmallow.
Full marks to La Folie’s slim chocolate squares…single origin Venezuelan and Equador chocolate truffles. Macarons (lemon grass and basil, pop rock candy ) delight.
Timing: though they say they open at 11am, at both our tastings, they were not open till 12 noon. A lot of the menu is not available…Black Forrest, tarts, Viennoiserie, cookies, tea time cakes and hot chocolate. Some of the non-chocolatey patisserie, like the raspberry litchi Damask,mango lemon Pabana are too gelatinous for my liking. Some complain about the high price.
La Folie’s Sanjana’s French-grounded creations bridge the classically saucy decadence of the past and the progressive derring-do of a new generation.
She treads the right middle ground between hyper-imaginative artistry and molten chocolate pandering. Ofcourse it is expensive ( Rs 215 to 235 for a pastry, Rs 75 macaron) but worth it. Now, if only the whole menu was available, the opening timing fine tuned, some of the desserts less gelatinous. I fell in love with it gradually, not all at once. The experience had a sweetness all its own.
TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM FEEDBACK
Thanks for your poetic responses to La Folie, space constrains me from printing all “ To call La Folie “superb” is an understatement” (@nehads12) “game changer” (@priyamganeriwal) “Taking desserts to a whole new level” (@brandedbawi)“Every penny is worth being spent…world class ingredients ( @nehathacker07) “Better than Pierre Herme (@ urvashipunwani) I love (@priyashamdasaninichani)“definitely one of the best in the country” (@theglobalfoodie) Thanks @etiennedmarques @mewsaliday @foodiebevdi, Manan Modi for your feedback.
@stuli1989 way too expensive. too rich (@ virajsahah)
Disappointing mango tart (@brandedbawi)
. But those interested please see twitter, instagram @rashmiudaysingh for dessert pics and responses.
La Folie 16 Commerce House, Rope Walk Lane, Next to Trishna. Kala Ghoda, Fort Ph 6772 2181. Daily 11am-11pm.
RATING FOOD 4 SERVICE 3.5 DECOR 3