Monthly Archives: April 2012

My favourite Pic(O): Cafe Pico

It’s not everyday that I am ready to traverse such a long distance, even if it is only to go and check out a new restaurant. But I actually did so, when I heard good things about Café Pico in Masjid Bunder at Le Mill.

Although the approach to the Café is quite run-down and the surrounding area leaves you wondering what a Café offering a global gourmet experience, is doing there, but once you step in, you forget where you are.

I too was amazed to see the elegant Café Pico, as part of Le Mill. Instantly I was transported to the UK. It did not look like anything that I have ever seen in Mumbai. Of course the décor is minimalist and yet, chic. It has the look and feel of a no-frills yet, informal café abroad. The place instantly makes you feel comfortable.

Politely made to sit, I was handed over the menu. The menu certainly did not read like the usual fare one expects to see in restaurants serving global food. Spanakopita fromGreece, – spinach and feta cheese stuffed into a pastry and baked. Korean pancakes, Homemade Ravioli, Semolina pancakes with lentils and feta cheese, Tagliata Di Manzo- sliced tenderloin served with a mixed herb salad, Spicy Mozambique Chicken. The menu was clearly unusual. “We’ve tried to include the best of dishes from all over the world, in fact from lesser known countries,” Arjun Gadkari, one of the partners informed me. The salad and sandwiches section in the menu was equally versatile. Fig, Rocket & Pecorino salad, Raw mango & cumin pilaf salad, falafel with tomato salsa. Their breads are all made in house.

The Korean pancakes were delicious. The pancakes were made of yellow lentils, carrots, spring onions and had a distinct flavour. The sesame dip served alongside was the highlight. In fact I tasted a lot of their dips made with hung curd, aubergines and so on. The fig and rocket salad I sampled was refreshing light and  healthy. Yes, the accent is on “nutritionally balanced, everyday food.” It maybe gourmet food but healthy it is.

The presentation of the food struck me as I went through each course. Truly, at par with some of the good eating places in the city and reminiscent of many inLondon.          

The Pavlova was to die for. The Meringue used was the best I have ever tasted. The Peanut Butter cake named after Arjun’s nanny Ludy, is another great option for those who don’t like their dessert too sweet.

Head Chef Nicole is a Gordon Ramsey protégé. Not surprising therefore, that the food is global in the real sense.

The Company is the brain child of two young professionals Arjun Gadkari & Abhay Jaiswal who are obviously passionate about food and came together to share their culinary experiences and create something new.

Café Pico is a place worth a visit, no matter which part of Mumbai you live in or are a visitor to the city.  The global culinary experience that you’re treated to, is worth all your efforts. It is value-for-money, given the ingredients used, it is not your run-of-the-mill global food, and the presentation deserves full marks. Check it out.

Apparently they have an elaborate Sunday brunch for just Rs 800. I am definitely headed back there soon.  

 

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Unplugg- Wine dine & retro Review

It can easily be missed, if you are not observant. Yet, to those who know Uncle’s Kitchen junction, in Malad, it is an address you can easily find. In fact it is a part of the Uncle’s Kitchen management.

Upon entering, the smoking section, puts you off at first, but climb the stairs and a nice seating area and bar awaits you. The view of the busy street in the evening is nice too. The music is an instant attraction. Peppy and vibrant, it has you tapping your feet in a jiffy. The menu is quite unusual. A lot of continental fare, pastas, pizzas and yes Indian food too.

The chicken steak with a red wine n pepper sauce, is exciting. Well done, it come with garlic flavoured mash potatoes, veggies. Equally unusual is the Chicken Hiberian, boneless chicken pieces in an interesting white sauce with herbs. You can have it with rice or with mashed potatoes. Rosemary chicken, a breast fillet with rosemary herb is delightful. The Indian fare is nothing to write home about. Other dishes include, Moussaka with chicken and layers of aubergine, a Korean barbecue chicken and so on. The meat and seafood section is also exhaustive.

The prices seem steep but once the dish arrives, you know it is value- for- money. The food is great, good service, plenty to choose from for those who drink. The music keeps you hooked and you linger long after you meal is over. A fun place and a haven for food-lovers. Check it out.

 

 

For that steaming cuppa & more: Cuppa Joe

The word coffee spells magic for me as I am a die-hard coffee fan. The steaming cuppa always allures me, so when I heard that a new café had opened onCarter Road, Bandra, Mumbai, I knew I had to pay this “neighbourhood café” a visit.

 A cute little bright café, confronted me as I opened the door and walked in. A bright smile and a cheery hello. My day was made. I settled on the table for two on top, instead of the cosy tables a flight of stairs below. Would go there another day I thought, with my girl gang.

Cookieccino, sounded yummy and irresistible. I loved the sound of it and yes the description too. A coffee with a freshly baked creamy cookies in it. Wow!  The Tuscan Chicken Panini was what I opted for as my stomach gnawed with hunger. It proved to be the right choice. The freshly baked Panini bread was soft and delicious. The semi-hard, aged cheese fromSouthern Italy, Provolone simply melt in my mouth as it generously covered the grilled chicken breast. The veggies and red onions were crunchy and a perfect complement to the cheese and chicken. Filling and value-for-money. Other options on the menu include wraps, sandwiches, salads and pastas. The menu is exciting and offers some great dishes, rather than the run-of-the mill stuff. To beat the heat there are Ice beverages and Fizzlers too.

 Glad I was still a little hungry as I had to do justice to the exotic red velvet cake. Truly one-of-its-kind. A must-try.

Cuppa Joe is going to be a place to watch out as it has a great location and the food and service too show a lot of promise. A lively place with vibrant colours and a pleasant ambience. It beckons you immediately.

They also have their very own bakery and patisserie where they make cakes and pastries for special occasions.

The brainchild of two enterprising brothers, Vardhaman and Rushabh Choksi of Escobar fame. They are die-hard Indians and want to give their people an Indian experience at par with international standards. Good vision I must say. I have to go back soon for the giant cookie monster and yes the breakfast too soon.

Grillopolis in Kurla

Grillopolis, the Mediteraanean restaurant, in Andheri West is now in Kurla too. The Resturant opened with much fanfare on Wednesday April 18 at Phoenix Market City, Mall at LBS Marg, Kurla. The best grill delights from Turkish, Lebanese, Moroccan, Portuguese, Spanish and Greek cuisines can be sampled at Grillopolis. This restaurant never disappoints. The starters comprising prawns, chicken, an intersting Yam n green peas cutlet, Mushroom quiche, followed by Spanish Paella, Grilled Quail,  Roasted chicken drumsticks, and more, in the main course buffet, were a delight for the palate. The desserts like the saffron rice pudding, mousse, were however a bit of a let down except the Turkish baklava.

Despite the crowd, the service was efficient and quick. All in all, an enjoyable evening. Waiting to go back again.

Quick Stuffed chicken : Recipe

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts( 400gms)

Two onions finely chopped

15 Olives finely chopped

4 cloves of  garlic finely chopped

1/4 tsp Rosemary

1/4 tsp Thyme

a pinch of Oregano

Worcestershire sauce

Olive oil

salt to taste

Method:

Thaw chicken breasts, slit horizontally making an enevelope, apply salt and marinate.

Saute onions in olive oil, add all the herbs, chopped olives, garlic, sauce and mix. Fill this mixture in the chicken, brush chicken with olive oil and grill for 22 minutes ( 11 mins each side) till brown. Serve with mashed potatoes or garlic bread.

summery salads

Salads are no longer just boring tomatoes, cucumbers or even sprouts.  A little creativity can make them go beyond the ordinary. Yes, even if it is a vegetarian one. Summer is an excellent time to enjoy salads made from fresh produce from the farmer’s market or your own garden. One inviting aspect of summer is, a table full of fresh salads. For many foodies, salads are a big turn-off as they as labelled as diet food. But I disagree. I love salads and enjoy them as much as any other food. They are healthy (well, almost always), delicious, fresh and crunchy. A colourful mix of whatever young lettuces, tender greens, herbs or other seasonal produce is freshest and most abundant in the market should be used. And so much can be done with salads.

Fruits can be added to vegetarian salads to make them even more interesting. A summertime staple, watermelon is inexpensive and refreshing. It’s also good for you because it contains lycopene, a winner in the antioxidant arena. Apples make a savoury salad when combined with mushrooms and greens. Pomegranates add a zing to the salads as do oranges and pineappple. Just give me a salad–vegetables or greens–tossed in a flavourful vinaigrette in summer and am happy. That’s summer one-dish dining for me.

I am not a great one for salad dressings. Especially mayonnaise. I prefer a simple lemon juice dressing, which makes the salad super-refreshing. Also try yoghurt. It is a great low-calorie option and versatile too. And if you are making a salad of cooked ingredients, you may add the dressing earlier so it penetrates the ingredients and flavours the salad completely.

Cheese, nuts, raw vegetables, potatoes are some options. Of course, non vegetarian ingredients include chicken, shrimps, red meat, the list is endless, but in summer, meat is best avoided.

But my all time favourite is, fresh shredded vegetables, topped with ground peanuts, all bathed in a salty, sweet and spicy sauce. Yummy. C’mon I am heading to have my salad for lunch.

An Interesting Recipe: Borscht

Hi everyone, I tried this recently and it turned out really well. And mind you, am not a great fan of beetroort at all. An interesting way to consume beetroot and yes, healthy too.

It is a Russian soup made of beetroot. One can serve it clear or thick.

Borscht

Take a large bowl and saute onions (1 large), 1 carrot, cut into pieces, 250 gms raw betroot, sliced, fennel and celery(1 stick, roughly chopped) and one bay leaf. Cover for a while. let it cook on slow fire. Then add vegetable or chicken stock and stir. Remove from fire and take out the bay leaf. Cool it. Liquidise the rest of the mixture. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper. Garnish with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream. Seve hot.