Monthly Archives: September 2013

Mai Tai : Food, Fun & Friendly staff

Mai Tai, the American chain of Polynesian-themed bars, has been making waves in Mumbai for over a year now. The newest entrant is the one at Phoenix Market City Kurla. Trader’s Vic Mai Tai Lounge with its tiki carvings and wooden furniture, is indeed the perfect place to have a drink and dine at leisure. And yes, have fun too.

The Baked spinach and potato dip which Arup recommended seemed the perfect beginning. The melt in the mouth Parmesan cheese with spinach and potatoes, served with crisp garlic bread and pita bread, helped us whet our appetites. The chicken mince skewers had a delectable flavour which infused my senses. Aromatic and flavourful, these were a perfect combination with the dip. Other exciting options were Cho Cho skewers and Hawaiin Volcano sliders for meat lovers and Mai Tai crispy chicken for other non vegetarians. Vegetarians too had an array to choose from.

The large plates section too, had one spilt for choice. Burgers, Pan Asian fare- Jasmine rice with Thai curries, sandwiches, steaks. There was something for everyone. Tiki Falafel Burger, Wasabi crusted flat iron steak and Roasted Tomato Linguni, I thought were interesting and unusual.

From the grilled mains, we opted for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken. It came with the option of garlic mash, island pilaf or sautéed vegetables. Sauteed veggies were the right choice. Crunchy broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers were delicious and complimented the chicken wrapped in a divine sauce. I did not quite enjoy the fish burger as basa, does not appeal to my palate. But the burger was well-made and the spicy fires salvaged the situation.

Chef Ajay has an eye for detail and his presentation is impeccable. His world food menu is well-crafted and his flavours, authentic and robust and the ingredients fresh.

The warm chocolate bread pudding was the grand finale to an already lip-smacking meal. Soft and gooey, it just melt in our mouth and the banana slices on top made us feel less guilty

The bar menu is exhaustive, although we steered clear from cocktails that afternoon. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, the food lives up to your expectations. It is a lively, sun place to dine in. We had a nice laid back Sunday lunch. Am sure it is even more vibrant in the evenings. Check it out and enjoy.

Auriga: A winning combination

Modern Pan Asian cuisine is what I expected to savour, as I stepped into the newly opened lounge-restaurant, Auriga, near Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. The elegant and chic décor bowled me over completely. The menu and the ambience both clearly are an amalgamation of Asia and the West.

Chef Nilesh Limaye’s contemporary Pan Asian menu for Auriga intrigued me at first glance. Innovative and unique, it was. There is something for every palate. The health-conscious can safely indulge themselves in steamed Baby corn and mushroom Siu Mai, Green Leafy Rolls, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot Tapioca Dumpling and much more. For those of us who are not counting their calories, there is a lot to choose from. Cigarillos filled with Asian Spiced Broccoli and Water Chestnut or Edamame and Exotic Vegetables in Orange Ponzu Sauce are just some of the unique dishes.

Normal is boring, is clearly the mantra here. The flavours in each dish that we sampled were subtle yet, robust. It was heartening to hear that the sauces were all made in house without any MSG or artificial colours. Kudos. The fresh flavours and crunchiness of herbs made the food even more palate pleasing.

The vegetarian section is an exercise in choices. What’s more there is a separate kitchen for vegetarian food!

If one is in a hurry to grab a quick bite at lunch, there is a fairly exhaustive Meal in the bowl section. Khao Suey and Yellow Noodle with Tomatoes and Crispy Okra, are some of your interesting options.

Apart from some interesting Jasmine teas infused with exotic flavours, there are desserts galore. Chocolate and Mint Samosas, I thought were exceptional. Banana Strawberry Melt and Passionfruit Cheesecake are some others that are a must-try.

Kritika Nagpal’s maiden venture after several years in the hospitality industry, Auriga aka charioteer in Latin, is all set to redefine Mumbai’s lifestyle experience and lead the way.  The service is quite good, from start to finish, with prompt responses, the food lip-smacking and the ambience caters to the youngsters, as well as family crowd. A winning formula all the way!