Monthly Archives: August 2014

Delhi’s Guppy Now In Mumbai

It is always a delight to dine at the Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mahalaxmi. Even more so, because it reinvents itself each year, by having a new pop up. First it was the lip-smacking Greek food with Thalassa and the vivacious owner-chef Mariketty Grana and now it is Guppy by Ai, with Japanese fusion cuisine from a popular Delhi based Olive brand restaurant. What particularly appeals to me is how the entire decor is changed and the place transforms itself according to the cuisine being served. Kudos!

 

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There was an exhaustive a la carte menu and a drinks menu, but we decided to skip that and settle for the fixed menu. Less confusing and it offered a great deal of variety too. I opted for a Miso soup( can never resist that) and it was flavourful. as always. Comforting and gentle on the palate. The Mushroom suimono- clear soup with mushrooms was equally delightful. The vegetarian sushi always surprises me and it did here too. It was well rolled, filled to perfection and boasted of authentic flavours. The wasabi, horseradish and soya completed the experience. The non vegetarian sushi of the day was with tuna and was lip-smacking of course.

But what took me by surprise was the salad. Perked my taste buds instantly. The tangy flavour and crunchy texture were married perfectly. Full marks here. The service was prompt, the ambience, vibrant, yet relaxing. 20140810_140503

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Flat udon noodles with mushrooms and chicken arrived next. The fragrant garlic sticky rice enticed me from the bowl itself. My jumbo prawns and the chicken teriyaki complimented these as if they were made for each other. We relished each morsel. A plethora of flavours burst open in our mouth, yet, not overpowering. The prawns were fresh and succulent and the crispy layer on the chicken, imparted an interesting texture to the dish. We were satiated.

The dessert platter with teeny-weeny cakes, was a tad disappointing. Bite sized to the extent that the flavours were non existent on the palate. Maybe serving one or two items, but of a bigger size maybe a better idea? The herbal green tea to round off such a delicious meal, made us feel less guilty. A good inclusion in the menu.

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Tapping your feet to the lively music, enjoying your food and the ambience is all a part of being at Guppy pop up. It is a dining pleasure, you will not want to miss. So make the most of it while it is there.

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Being Social…..

The Impresario Group and particularly the man behind it, the entrepreneurial and culinary genius, Riyaaz Amlani never ceases to surprise me. He has done it yet again. With Social.

At first glance, Social at Colaba in Mumbai, appears to be a modern café. Perhaps a restaurant? Once inside, you discover there’s more to it. Social is an all day café and bar where you can work and play. Yes, it allows you to relax and unwind with friends, do your work seriously (albeit with a bit of fun!) and meet and interact with people, something we are increasingly ceasing to do, thanks to technology.

Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD Impresario Handmade Restaurants says “Social is a response to the needs of today. Coffee shop clones which have been projected as the “Third Place”, a place away from home and your work/college, no longer completely address the needs of their audience. They have become monotonous and uninspiring.  With Social, for the very first time in restaurant history we have introduced the Second Place concept, an inspiring space where you can both work and play. I am thrilled to bring Social home to Mumbai.”  So are we Riyaaz!

Environmentally responsible, 100% upcycled and creative use of old furniture- that’s what Social boasts of and is perhaps true to it. The Cocktail Kitchen ( I like that name) is the centre of attraction. Quite literally! An interesting place to look at where bartenders whip up your drinks in a frenzy. Never a dull moment.

The unusual names of the dishes in the menu immediately catch your attention, as does the affordable pricing. Chef Gaurav informed me, “The menu at  Social combines ingredients, cultures and presentation styles from around the world to open up your taste horizons and let your mind make connections that you wouldn’t ordinarily make. Here’s where street food from the world gets as much spotlight as a gourmet meal.”  What makes the food even more interesting is how it’s served – depending on what you order, it could arrive on gramophone records, enamel plates and even wooden spiked boards.

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I loved the way my Oreo mud pot actually came in one. That added to the sinful experience I assure you. Rich and creamy, with the Oreo thrown in for good measure to add a little crunch to it. It was extremely filling and value for money.

The Thai sweet chilli fish bao was as interesting as it seemed on the menu. Delicately flavoured fish with a dash of spice. Just what I needed in that rainy weather. Perked up my taste buds instantly.

The Prawn sesame on toast was a tad disappointing. Although the kaffir lime and lemon grass flavors tingled my palate, it was a bit too oily.

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The menu is truly an exercise in choices and has snacky stuff as well as filling wholesome meals, easy on the pocket. Biryanis, burgers, sandwiches, Oriental food.  A good mix of vegetarian and hearty non vegetarian fare.

The breakfast section in the food menu is lip-smacking too and am surely heading there one Sunday morning.

 

Although I stayed away from the cocktails, the menu is whacky and varied. The Deconstructed Moscow Mule served in a (mule) mug, with a beaker tied up in muslin cloth with smoked Vodka and a pipette with bitters sounds like fun as does the Reaction is served in a glass beaker with an injection syringe full of Vodka and Blue Curacao. The cocktails are definitely going to be the biggest draw at Social.

The youth are going to love this place, as are we freelancers. A great venue for eating, drinking, collaborating and meeting like- minded people.  It’s time Mumbai became Social again.