Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dine under the stars n sky!

It is always a pleasure to dine outdoors in Mumbai and what better season than now? It was a delight to step into Flames, the al fresco dining place at Hilton Mumbai. The restaurant had just opened in November and will be open till March.

Chef Merajjudin Ansari, Executive Sous chef has decided to give the menu a makeover. This year, guests will be able to indulge in inventive kebabs and biryanis inspired by Awadhi spices and flavours. I was intrigued.

The menu looked wholesome and appealing. An interesting amalgamation of kebabs, biryani, served with dal makhni. A complete meal. Of course vegetarian and non vegetarian options abound. Chicken kebab marinated with cardamom and cashewnuts, called Noori Kebab is what we started with. The marinade was flavourful and unique. Kesari jhinga was again a delight for the taste buds. The prawns were well-grilled and the saffron added the right zest to it. Chapli Kebab, lamb mince kebabs flavoured with dried pomegranate were exquisite. On the lines of a shammi kebab, yet, different.  For vegetarians, Firdousi aloo is delectable and Vegetable Galouti Kebab, made with yam, plantain and pumpkin spiced with black cardamom was a real culinary treat. Chef Meraj, clearly believes in innovation. None of the kebabs had overpowering spices. A lot of emphasis was laid upon presentation too.

Firdousi Aloo copy

 

The bread basket comes with the kebabs and had warqui, laccha, methi parathas, roomali rotis. The chicken dum biryani, which came last, was the best part of our meal. One of the best biryanis I have eaten in Mumbai. The spices were well-blended to create a magical flavour. It was moist, zesty and not at all oily. We were satiated.

Desserts include delicious creations like Barwan Gulab Jamun filled with Dark Chocolate, Jalebi sticks with Chocolate Rabdi, and Butter Milk and Star Anise Panna Cotta with Grand Marnier Chantilly. I personally did not enjoy the gulab jamuns as I felt the chocolate interfered with the gulab jamun’s indigenous flavour, instead of enhancing it. The baked yoghurt with mascarpone cheese and saffron was delicious and a class apart.

Barwan Gulab Jamun filled with Dark Chocolate copy

Flames is open every day for dinner, from 7.30 pm to 11.30 pm. So, if you like to dine under the stars and sky, trust me there can be no better place and the Awadhi delicacies too are unparalleled.

 

Pizza in the Metro

Bandra is abuzz with activity again on the culinary front, as international  Neapolitan pizzeria chain, Pizza Metro Pizza, has opened on Ambedkar Road. It is not just another Pizzeria for sure. It is different. Some more Italian food for us in Mumbai.

As you step inside, this cheerful, vibrant eatery, it’s easy to forget you are in suburban Mumbai. Copper fixtures hanging on the wall, the mural sketch of an Italian market place, bright floor tiles, complete the picture.

The international brand owner Chef Diego Palladino brings with him the Italian love through his original metre long pizzas. Mumbaikars are going to love these, but at a whooping cost. The pizzas are not only served with chilly oil & Parmesan cheese but their chefs are flown down from Italy as well. So much for an authentic experience.

We started with a salad, cherry tomatoes, rocket & parmesan, which was light and fresh. Pretty basic and ordinary, actually. The metre long Pizza arrived next and completely bowled us over. Well presented too. Mozzarella, gorgonzola and salame. A terrific trio. The Cheese like Parmesan, goat cheese & Mozzarella are used in the pizzas, we were told. Panna, another pizza with ham, mushrooms, salame, mozzarella and cream is sinful and luscious in its flavours. The freshness of the ingredients is evident and enhances the taste of the food. The dough is made fresh each day from the finest wheat, hand-stretched and cooked on the stone of a wood burning oven. Somehow one does not miss chicken in the Pizza menu, which is a typical Italian tradition. Oodles of beef, pork and seafood toppings tantalise your palate.

Metre long pizza - Pizza Metro Pizza copy

Although we decided to skip the pastas, there are a wide array of those on the menu- both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Fresh tagliolini, with cream and sage, cognac flambé in parmesan wheel sounds exotic and is a special inclusion in the Mumbai menu.

The tiramisu was pure decadence but unfortunately they had run out of the other desserts so we could not sample those.

The service can be stepped up a bit. The young Italian chefs are warm and friendly and it is a delight to watch them a work. The food is undoubtedly of exceptional quality.

It’s a great place to visit with family and friends, especially on the weekend, but one that you need to plan. Not an impulse visit kind. It definitely burns a hole in your pocket. College kids are going to steer clear from this one. But if you are a Napoletana pizza lover, you can’t resist this.

A Royal feast: Zaffran

An entry into Zaffran at Todi Mills , Lower Parel, Mumbai is embarking upon an exciting culinary journey of North Indian cuisine. With an  all new look and design that presents a different experience, the original charm, flavours and taste, that have been the hallmarks of Zaffran since 2003 are completely intact.

Zaffran by Ice Hospitality is run by a trio: Munib Birya, Param Gandhi and Chef Chetan Sethi and is known for its outstanding Indian dishes with special touches that make even the simplest dishes a magical gourmet experience. After the first ever outlet that opened at Crawford Market, Mumbai, this is their first expansion in South / Central Mumbai.

The dining area at the ground level has an understated elegance with water bodies and cosy alcoves, reminiscent of an unfurling saffron bud. The décor is contemporary and yet spells the old world charm.

The upper level is equally plush with Bedouin inspired interiors with “mashaal” lamps lighting up your way as you make yourself comfortable under dazzling screens and shamianas.

In keeping with the Indian tradition of hospitality, the service at Zaffran is exemplary. Since we were not drinking wine, kachi kairi Margherita is what we were recommended and it was the perfect choice. Tangy and sour, it actually helped me whip up an appetite for the delicious food to follow. The Zaffrani Murg shorba, was a delight for the palate. The shredded chicken and fried onions complimented each other and the hot broth was soothing.  Easily one of the best soups I have had. The naanlets with a mushroom stuffing were cute and tasty.

Although we were eating Non vegetarian food, we were told that the vessels for non veg were reddish in colour while the silver ones were meant for Vegetarians. A nice comforting distinction I thought.

gosht seekh kebab copy

The kebab platter looked appetizing. The fillet in the macchi tikka simply melt in the mouth and was perfectly spiced. The seekh kebab had overpowering spices which doused the flavour of the lamb and was thus disappointing. The lasooni prawn was fresh and succulent, although a bit bland. Vegetarian options were exciting too. Tandoori broccoli was unique, as was the galouti. The paneer tikka was nothing to write home about.

The Zaffrani Raan biryani tantalised our palates and was cooked to perfection. The aroma filled the air, even before we tasted it. Dal makhni was excellent and reminiscent of the one at Bukhara, ITC. The kadai macchi was luscious and the butter chicken rendered me speechless.

The meal was sumptuous and the desserts were just another step towards gluttony. The zaffrani phirni had too much of saffron in it, and the rice in the phirni was a wee bit grainy. The chenna payesh was delectable and reminded me of Kolkata and my Bong connection.

phirni copy

 

Chef Chetan Sethi has painstakingly created the menu and the ingredients spell quality from word go, while the flavours and textures have been carefully blended. Dining at Zaffran is truly akin to attending a royal feast.

Taste bhi health bhi…. : Torrp-it-up Review

Torrp-it-up  has been around for a while but somehow never caught my eye. From Link Road it moved to Lokhandwala  Andheri West and now seems to be a hot-spot. A QSR brand by SGM Enterprises, it is a venture of Mittal Builders.

The Manager at the outlet has a pleasing and affable manner. He patiently explained the difference between torrp and tartine and then took my order. Wraps of course I was not interested in.

Chicken Herb garlic Torrp in a multigrain bread is what I settled for. It was crunchy and delicious. The first bite itself, made me realise, I was going to relish my meal. The torrp was well -grilled and the tangy olives with the chicken, along with numerous veggies were a great combination. The meal made me feel healthy.  The other torrps in the signature section included, CBLT, Chicken Pesto and the International ones were tuna, grilled chicken and so on. Vegetarians have lots to choose from as well. Tofy, aloo, soya, they have them all. One can have any of these as wraps too.

Tartine copy

 

The Tartine or open sandwiches, looked inviting too. Paneer, chicken tikka, chicken Mexican were some of the options.  For the health conscious, there are salads and soups to choose from and the soup changes daily.

I sipped an Ices tea instead of a cold coffee which was on offer too. The desserts include a Christmas cake now, and a chocolate brownie and chocolate volcano. There are several combo meals to choose from. They are open for breakfast too and that is really tempting and rare in  Mumbai. The egg torrp should be worth a try am sure.

Prateek Mittal- MD of S.G. Mittal Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. after completing his education in the UK 5 years ago, returned to India and being a major food connoisseur he then decided to venture into the F&B industry 3 years ago with the launch of Torrp-it-Up. His vision is to have multiple QSR brands under his banner over the next few years and soon further expand deeper in the F&B industry. If this is any indication to go by, then he is bound to be successful in the F&B business too.

The place is affordably priced and owing to a unique self service QSR concept, where customers are offered the ability to custom-make their own meal, it is a delight to visit.

 

 

An Oriental Treat: Mahjong

I had heard so much about Mahjong, Ramee Guestline Khar, but somehow never paid a visit. The excitement was thus doubled, as we entered. A warm welcome by Oscar Mendes the Manager, and we were seated on a nice corner table. The place was obviously popular, as it was buzzing with frenetic activity.

The fresh lime soda sweet, which is such a common drink was made to perfection. Just the way I like it. That immediately gave me a feeling of comfort.

The spicy soya coriander soup with chicken was delicious but strongly reminiscent of a hot n sour soup. The starters were an exercise in choices. The potato chilly mustard was unique. But what bowled me over completely was the crispy lotus root in sanso pepper. Crisp and crunchy, it was outstanding. Among Non vegetarian starters, grilled fish(rawas) in thai stye was good and the dumplings too were delectable. The chicken in soya chilly with bone was a dampner. No bones for me to pick!

CLAY POT RICE copy

The personalised and prompt service of the alert staff was pleasing, but not overbearing. Prawns in chilly coriander sauce in the main course were succulent, and a real treat and paired well with the fried rice. The Veg dan mein noodles were interesting though a trifle sweetish. The shredded Cantonese style chicken too was not the run-of-the-mill stuff. In fact nothing in the menu was.

Cream custard was passable but the darsan was a bit soggy instead of the usual crisp ones. Tasted fine with the dollop of ice cream though. The desserts could be more exciting.

Chef Rana is truly a wizard in creating unique but simple fare. His flavours are subtle yet, pronounced. Oriental food with great taste sans MSG added, speaks volumes for the chef’s ability, as far as I am concerned. A thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Priced @Rs 499 plus taxes, it is shockingly value for money. They have lunch buffets too which are affordably priced. It is a great place to visit with the family or friends. What’s more the menu changes daily, so you will not be treating your palate to the same food. I love Oriental food anyway, so am not grumbling.

Lemon Chicken : Recipe

lemon chicken copy

 

Ingredients:

1 large chicken

4 crushed cloves of garlic

1 lemon- grated rind

100 ml cooking oil

10 medium sized potatoes

chopped parsley

salt to taste

1 tsp dried rosemary

Method:

Heat oven to 200 degrees.

wash and wipe chicken. Make four parts.

Place chicken in a greased roasting tin, skin side up. add salt and pepper.

combine 5ml of oil with crushed garlic and lemon rind and coat chicken with it. Place in oven n roast for 20 mins approx.

wash potatoes, cut into thick slices with skin on. Add these to chicken, season with salt and pepper and rosemary and drizzle remaining oil over it.

Return roasting tin to oven and cook for half an hour or so. Stir potatoes while cooking.

when done, sprinkle chopped parsley and serve hot with garlic bread.

Melee of exotic Veg flavours : Kailash Parbat

We were in for a pleasant surprise as we walked into the year-old Kailash Parbat, at Saki Naka. The elegant décor and chic ambience, took me by surprise.

It maybe a household name to all in Mumbai, but it’s new avatar is equally delightful. But what is nice that the familiar flavours, quality of food, service standards remain unchanged. It is comforting to dine at Kailash Parbat. The wholesome food experience it offers, is unparalleled.

pani puri (india) copy

We started with the Paani Puri, which is a tradition at this place and one must not miss that on any account. The puris, sev, water are all made in-house. Commendable I thought. There are other chaats too – ragda pattice, tikki chaat, Bombay basket. But the chola bhaturas are something you must-have. Those are legendary. And the assorted bhatura platter is to die for. The cheese bhatura surpasses your expectations. Pure indulgence this!

bhatura platter copy

Kailash Parbat serves a variety of cuisines ranging from Chinese to European dishes. Pure vegetarian of course, but there’s something to suit every palate. We enjoyed the Indian cuisine, but the highlight of the evening was the array of Sindhi dishes like, ‘Sai Bhaji’, ‘Koki’, Sindhi curry and Seyal Chawar. Outstanding. Spices did not overpower the flavours of the ingredients, and that really set it apart. There are sizzlers, pastas, pizza, noodles, et al, but nothing like their Indian food as far as I am concerned.

The Mulchandani brothers think of Kailash Parbat as their second home and welcome you into their home, making sure your needs are taken good care of. Manoj Mulchandani kept us company all evening and we were in delightful hands, as Chef Rajendra Agnihotri whipped up simple but delicious food for us.

The Kulfi falooda and Gulab jamun were the perfect way to round off an excellent meal. The kulfi and falooda were in harmony, but I felt the ice cream dollop was a mismatch. The mawa- filled soft gulab jamuns, simply melt in the mouth.

kulfi falooda copy

There is a sumptuous buffet for lunch daily and a more elaborate one on the weekends, very affordably priced. Dinner is a la carte, but complete value for money.

If it’s good quality, tasty vegetarian food you’re seeking, your search should begin and end at Kailash Parbat. There can be no better option, trust me.