Monthly Archives: May 2013

Upbeat & Interactive : IBAR

Not a great one to drink, I am normally not very excited to step into a bar, because the food there is obviously not the mainstay and thus nothing to write home about. However, IBAR at Bandra West, Mumbai proved me wrong.

The Interactive Bar started by young entrepreneur Lakhan Jethani, who is the Director, is certainly a must-visit place if you enjoy unusual drinks and food. Well- versed in bartending and molecular mixology himself, Lakhan dishes out great Chocolate Martini, Kamikaze Shot with a beer and lime foam and Mai-Tai, to name a few. He clearly enjoys being behind the bar and knows the pulse of his generation – the youth.


The Apple Sangria with black grape caviar – with strawberry and tequila infused jelly that I was sipping was refreshing and visually appealing. It was fun selecting one’s menu from the IPad that was handed over to us. The Cajun Spiced potatoes, with their sweet buttery flavour complimented the spicy Cajun. Served with a blue cheese dip, these were luscious.

Mushroom Foccacia

I have a weakness for sea food and the tequila glazed prawns completely bowled me over. The spirit is heated in up in a glass and poured over the dish flaming in front of the guest. That created even more magic.

There was more of sea food. Beer Batter Fish Fingers came next. Fresh sea basa fillet, marinated with olive oil, chives and coriander, salt pepper coated with a beer batter and deep fried served with fries and tartar dip. You can’t go wrong with fish fingers anyway. The surprise of the evening was the Mushroom Foccacia. Coated with an olive tapenade and topped with wild mushrooms, it teased my palate beyond comparison.

Chef’s special kebabs were equally a treat and the chef thus proved his versatility. The newly introduced Sushi was a great hit. Salmon and cream cheese sushi appealed the most to me. And surprisingly vegetable California roll came a close second. The sushi had distinct flavours, were neatly rolled and the wasabi tasted just right.

The main course is understandably limited but the place does have some good pastas and risottos, as well as Thai curry and rice.

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Aesthetically a well-done up place, it is a fun place for youngsters to relax and unwind. And yes, for the first time I found the finger food at a Bar to be delicious and imaginative.


Balti Prawns: Recipe





1 onion, chopped into four pieces

2 garlic cloves

1 inch ginger piece

coriander leaves or kotmir

Juice of two limes

1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds

1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)

5 large tomatoes cut into wedges

700 gms prawns cooked

salt to taste

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp garam masala


In a food processor, mix onion, ginger, garlic, coriander, lime juice, coriander seeds and methi seeds, Blend into a thick paste. Heat oil in a kadai/ pan, add paste and fry for five mins. keep stirring. add tomatoes, cook for a few minutes till soft. add prawns, cook gently till done. sprinkle garam masala, salt and serve with rotis or bhakris.

Tantalizing Tuscany flavours

You cannot help but like Chef Davide Cananzi at Mezzo Mezzo, JW Marriott, Mumbai. His simplicity and ingenuity strike you immediately. Well-travelled and  with a rich culinary experience in the hospitality industry, he lets his food speak for him.

This May, JW Marriott Mumbai invites Italian food gourmets to savour and relish this unique and original cuisine from the region of Florence. Starting this exciting food festival, Chef will take over the mantle of the fine dining Italian restaurant, Mezzo Mezzo at JW Marriott Mumbai, which will now serve authentic Tuscan cuisine along with exotic wines.

Simplicity is the hallmark of Chef Davide’s food and he indeed delivered what he had promised. For once, Italian food did not feel heavy. The flavours were subtle, yet distinct and the textures, varied and interesting.

Code di gamberi in guazzetto al pomodoro e vinbianco suletto d’asparagiverdi e scaglie di Parmigiano (Stewed prawn tails in tomato and white wine sauce served on green asparagus with Parmesan shavings), which came first,  set the tone for the rest of our delicious meal.




Risotto con funghi di bosco e melagranat (Risotto with wild mushrooms and pomegranate), wowed our palate with its interesting flavours. It was truly a unique pairing. Homemade fetuccine with rock lobsters and white figs was as exotic as it sounded.

For the non-vegetarians, the Tuscan Food Festival offers La Griglia (The Meat Grill) that will boast of Rosticciana (Grilled Pork Ribs), Agnello scottadito (Grilled New Zealand Lamb Chops), Bistecca di manzo (Rib Eye Steak) to name a few which will be served with Mashed or Rosemary Roasted Potato and Grilled Vegetables.  Not a great fan of red meat, we decided to skip these.

Branzino (Grilled Sea Bass Steak), Grilled Calamari and Grilled Salmon are a delight for sea-food lovers. And I relished the grilled calamari.

I was curious to try Chef Davide’s Tiramisu as it is his mother’s original recipe. Indeed, the Tramisu Classico which is a traditional Italian mascarpone with cheese and coffee dessert, was the highlight of the meal. It surpassed my expectations. After all you cannot go wrong with your mother’s recipe. Crostatina di pere e mandorle tiepide con gelato all’ amarena e salsa al cioccolato (Warm pear and almond tart with cherry ice cream and chocolate sauce)  and a variety of Gelatos like Mousse Al Mascarpone E Mela Con Miele Al Tartufo (Lemon Cream Pudding with Walnut Biscuit and Olive Oil Cream), are your other options.


Don’t miss this culinary treat from May 17- June 1.  And yes, Italian food is not just pizza and pasta!

‘Jack’ of all fruits

I was never a fan of jackfruit as a child. It’s only after getting married and travelling to Goa often, that I discovered the goodness and versatility of jackfruit. Phanas they call it. Rich in minerals, dietary fibre, vitamins, it contains no saturated fats and cholesterol. so eat it guilt-free.


One can consume it as chips, as seed flour used in kebabs and puddings, in shredded form for gravies and stir-fry preparations. Not surprising therefore, that Chef Crystal Mendonca of The Peninsular Grand Saki Naka, Mumbai has created a special summer menu with several jackfruit delicacies in it. Thai stir fry jackfruit, jackfruit biryani and even jackfruit halwa. Must try some out. Chef Deepa Suhas Awchat too has created delectable recipes with jackfruit.

This spined oval fruit, is actually quite remarkable. The unripe one is edible, as is the ripe fleshy one and the seeds can be put to use as well. The fleshy part is so starchy that it needs to be cut with a knife that has been oiled.

I enjoy jackfruit chips which people in Kerala make in abundance. The fleshy jackfruit is pretty similar to chicken in texture.  Pannsachi shak is a seasonal delicacy for villagers in several pockets of Goa. I too have developed a taste for it. Once tasted a channa and jackfruit sukke on our way to Goa near Sawantwadi at a wayside eatery. The flavour still lingers in my mouth. Interestingly, the Mangaloreans prepare patholeos using jackfruit. People in Andhra prepare it with mustard and red chillies. It is fiery but lip-smacking.

A friend of mine once taught me to make jackfruit koftas and believe me they turned out really well. In fact one could safely pass them off as mutton koftas( meatballs) because of the colour and texture. Jackfruit pakoras with chutney are a perfect evening snack for summer.

Did you know that jackfruit is the national fruit of Bangladesh? I did not. Well we all learn new things everyday. Don’t we?




I have a weakness for chocolates. Who doesn’t actually?

Yes chocolates are synonymous only with desserts, but believe you me, this versatile ingredient, can very well be used in starters, in the main course too and yes, for savoury dishes as well.

Blessed with a sweet tooth, I have always gorged on chocolates since my childhood, but almost always, as desserts. It is only now that one encounters other dishes made of chocolate.

Chocolate in Mexican dishes, is commonplace, but now our Indian chefs too have taken to it, for a variety of cuisines. Dark chocolate however, is the most commonly used by Chefs in cooking. Its silky texture compliments meat dishes, thus enhancing their flavour Trust me, dark chocolate blends well with other ingredients and yet, helps them to retain their flavour, without compromising on its individuality.


Vasant Khot, Pastry Chef, Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport goes a step further and says, “It is for a chef to use chocolate differently. I love to experiment and thus have made chocolate hummus, prawn chocolate cocktail, chocolate & corn samosa, spinach & chocolate herb polenta served with white chocolate & sesame tossed squids and chocolate red chilly mascarpone puff. These excite the palate and leave the guest wanting more.”

Don’t go overboard. Use chocolate carefully and in small measure. Don’t go overboard, as too much of it can ruin the flavour of a dish completely. Chocolate teams well with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, chili, mace and lends dishes a unique texture and aroma. Perhaps that is why it has been brought into Indian cuisine too. Some chefs have used it in aloo dum and chicken tikka as well.

Cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate are not sweet at all and have more of a true chocolate quality, so you want to bring out those natural flavours instead of making them reminiscent of the sweet side of chocolate we know and love.

Oriental cuisine too has used chocolate. I have savoured Chocolate Kumquat spring rolls, which are like cylindrical molten cakes with warm chocolate oozing out of a crisp pastry shell.

We Goans, make our pancakes, stuffed with coconut and Goa jaggery. I think these can easily be replaced with chocolate. Another sure hit with chocolate would be ‘patoleos’ (sweet pancakes of moong dal, coconut and jaggery, steamed in turmeric leaves) which we make on August 15.  I am going to try some this weekend.