Forever grateful. That’s what I am to all of you who keep me informed about all the holes in the wall eateries (love them). Also all the new ones. Like this one today. Im thankful to Jimmy Thakkar who I met just by chance when I was buying undhiyo, steamed muthiya and Rajkot pedas from his fabulous 18 year old shop in Grant Road. This is the second new eatery he has pointed me to, so I invited him and Nikunj Patel, his diamond merchant friend to lunch with me. They’re both pure vegetarians.
I am in eight heaven ! Joyfully bonding and reviewing a restaurant with eight of my fabulous foodie blind dates (I met them over instagram when they hashtagged #dinewithrashmi) It’s a rainy afternoon and we are at Juhu’s new Villa 69 and they have come from Mulund, Andheri Vashi, Walkeshwar, Bandra .
Talented homecook Shabnam mukadam (@cookingfiesta1) brings along her most sublime mithai, Photo blogger, marketing porfessional Ritika Betala (@foodiesofindia)
CA turned social media marketer (@sanjanaj88) are among the first few to come. BMM graduate and food blogger Samina (@theCconfession)
Pro MakeUp Artist.Diane D’costa (@d_diane) Project manager Aaron Pereira @pereiraaaron and
Chartered Accountant turned Lifestyle Blogger Bhumika Thakkar @bhumika_t join us as we have an amazing time.
By day this sprawling, very white Villa (obviously the brainchild of a romantic, with cupids painted on walls) is daylight bathed. It has a charming alfresco courtyard too. By night it takes on a sizzling, dramatically lit avatar and throbs with cutting edge music.”Perfect for a date” is the unanimous comment of my guests.
In the multicuisine menu which zig zags thru continents, it’s the affordable pricing which stands out ( Av price of main course Rs 395). It’s also the flavorsome Thai curries (we try them all) which come up tops. We all love the daintily presented cottage cheese picatta in the tangy tomato sauce. Sweet spicy honey chilli chicken,crispy panko fish are all worth trying.
We ask for recommendations and check out the veg as well as the non veg dishes. Suffice it to say that a lot of it does not pass muster, oily flavourless tofu, lacklustre chicken BalineseAyam pelalah, and soggy Fiamma and Toscana pizzas) and totally avoidable desserts.
Villa 69 is one more rocking offering from the successful serial nightclub owner, Suved Lohia. The life-size statue of a horse (glittering mirrors like those in a disco ball) in the restaurant, the Bolly bashes and other night events here make it clear this is a buzz-bedecked party zone. The food has more misses than hits ( the restaurant is totally empty at lunch,) but it’s Villa 69 s sexily glamorous night avatar which is the hit.
Plot No.30 Near PVR Cinema and Oakwood Premier J. M. Road Juhu
022 6596 9669
Open from noon to midnight
RATING FOOD 2.5 SERVICE 3.5 DÉCOR 4
Vegetarian Italian, Mexican
Shudh vegetarian goes global and upmarket in Breach candy. It also crosses the Indian borders (or does it?) to serve Mexican and Italian cuisines. I lunch with a gourmet veggie twosome: a former state level badminton champion, the multi-talented, lovely Jayshree Sanghi of India’s fourth generation automobile pioneering family is not only a Kathak dancer (trained under Padmashree Sunaina Hazarilal) but a creative cook whose dinners are legendary. Equally sporty (US champ in racquetball and squash) Navin Deo, having spent 40 years in a high profile US government job is back in India and making Impactroses which have been in huge demand. Im bowled over by his long stemmed roses (see pic)with their personalized gold embossed messages on the petals. We eat our way through the entire menu: result? the roses and the giant cookie dessert are the only highpoints of our lunch.
Happy surprise. The second floored restaurants pleasant ambiance with pale purple sofas, yellow-cushioned chairs with wooden geometrical frames, simple black-and-white caricatures, and graphics.
Along with their ala carte Mexican and Italian menu they offer daily (except weekend dinners) a “Sunday food festival” (Rs 999 for one) you can order all 28 dishes. But we are told very strictly that it cannot be shared. So we get 2 of these and plenty a la carte ones too. The Picante Pizza (even a wheat-watchers one,) al dente aglio olio and lasagna pass muster. It is the giant, freshly baked gooeycrisp cookie topped with warm chocolate sauce, and the moistwarm Molten Chocolate Cake that saves the day.
Desi palate tuned fare, with plenty of cheese and ketchup.Soggy nachos, ketchupy Habanero Cottage Cheese, ditto for the quesadillas
Burrito lacks punch, overdressed salads, a strange Arabic pizza and so on. And on. No alcohol.
Open through the day, pleasing ambiance, well-presented food, attentive service are the plus points. Sure! a restaurant is in the business of making money and has to cater to all tastes but except for a few dishes, the vegetarian Italian Mexican fare bends over backward to please the Indian palate and tips over to become a mish mash of Gujjutalian and Mexidesi. Tasty no doubt!
Picante Ristorante, 401, Akruti Skypark, Mahalaxmi, Bhulabhai Desai road.Ph 23529393
meal for 2 Rs. 1500.
Open noon to midnight
RATING FOOD 2.5 DÉCOR 3.5 SERVICE 3.5
MUMBAI TO DUBAI
Khulja simsim. Your twitter and instagram messages as well Dubai foodies guide me through Dubai. It’s food scene dazzles with world class restaurants (love La Serre, Zuma, La Petit Maison). I also eat at two brand new, must-try restaurants Yuan (Atlantis) and Katsuya (Dubai mall) with Dubai-based foodie extraordinaire and global philanthropist Dr Rajen Kilachand. He also takes me to high tea (Fortnum and Mason), along with his friend the legendary Rusi Karanjia’s granddaughter, the gorgeous Faarah Mehta. I trip out on Umai (The Oberoi) cutting edge sushi and cod, Soy (Dubai mall) VFM Chinese, many a local eatery, belly dancing too. Two “first time evers” … the Awesome Oberoi’s breakfast “Lollipop waffles” (you read that right) and the fabulous traditional “pre-iftar” dinner at Desert Palm while the spectacular sun sets over the lush green polo grounds behind us. P.S Happy to share info please email email@example.com twitter and instagram @rashmiudaysingh