Monthly Archives: November 2014

Warm n Soothing Winter Drinks at Costa Coffee

It is almost December, so winter should actually be round the corner, but unfortunately in Mumbai it isn’t, yet, we are all gearing up for the winter season and festivities. So, I was delighted to learn that Costa Coffee has launched a range of indulgent hot beverages for the season. I have a weakness for such drinks, so went to try these out.

STICKY_TOFFEE_LATTE

The winter warmers include Hot Spiced Apple, Salted Caramel Latte and Sticky Toffee Latte. All three sound exciting and made me drool. I opted for the Salted Caramel Latte. A regular size was big enough and the cream on top looked like a mastery in art. I stirred it, weaving it into my coffee and then took a sip. The caramel flavours were pronounced and the sweetness was just right. No, I did not need to add any sugar. But the coffee was a wee bit less hot than I would have liked it to be. The refrigerated cream had done the trick I guess. Maybe one should try it without the cream next time? I definitely will.

My next drink was the ultra luxuriant,  Hot Spiced Apple. Ah! the aromas of cinnamon and star anise filled my nostrils. It smelt inviting. It was piping hot, just the way I love it and the spiced apple flavours were soothing. This one, imbued with the goodness of spices is the perfect winter drink. Reminded me of mulled wine actually. Apt for a chilly Christmas eve. I only hope the weather in Mumbai gets to that. At Rs 200, I thought it was value for money. The other two, I was told were priced at Rs 180 each.

The service with a smile and alert staff at Costa Coffee always appeals to me. You never need to catch their eye, they are always “ready” to serve a customer. The Lokhandwala outlet is one of my favourites as the place is always vibrant.

So am going to be off caffeine, at least when I am at Costa Coffee till end December and make the most of the Hot Spiced Apple winter warmer. So what if there is no winter 🙂

What’s Brewing? Good Food Naturally !

Team Brewbot strongly believes that with great beer you need great food, hence they ensure to use the freshest and highest quality of produce. It may seem like PR spiel when you read this on a press release, but once you have experienced Brewbot yourself, you will know how sincerely this mantra has been adhered to.

Long after it opened in a popular lane in Andheri West, I finally made it to Brewbot on a weekday for dinner. I could feel the passion Ketan Gohel and his partner, Ansh shared for this place. Animatedly, they explained the concept behind it and where they would like to see it go. Sadly the third partner, Anand, who is also the Chef, was on leave that day.

Roasted beet and goat cheese salad with caramelized walnuts, was what we started with. The rocket leaves were fresh, crunchy and had their characteristic peppery flavours. The goat cheese simply melt in the mouth and the other ingredients played their part to perfection, lending the flavours and crunch. The Goat cheese lollipops stuffed with dates and jalapenos, were heavenly, in one word. A generous burst of cheese in the mouth. Something no one should ever miss.

Goat Cheese Lollipops at Brewbot

The rugged and industrial looking place has its own charm. The quirky Bot quotes and installations, enhance the experience. The place has been designed by the popular, Ayaz Basrai of The Busride Project.

The menu looked like it had something for everyone. Sliders, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, complete meal- pasta, risotto, et al. What struck me was that it was not the usual run-of-the-mill fare. Exciting. The Mussels section is a highlight as eateries rarely serve Mussels.

Having their own farm that grows and produces exclusively for this eatery cum brewery, Brewbot has a cutting edge over their competitors. And it was evident from the quality of food we were sampling.

The jerk chicken sliders, made a pretty picture as they came in a set of three. The chicken was juicy and succulent and the flavours were palate tickling. The bread was made in house. Flawless. I noticed there were interesting options for Vegetarians too.

I had barely recovered from the perfect taste of the sliders that the Ham & Olive thin crust Pizza came to wow my palate. The toppings were liberally embellishing the pizza and the flavours were subtle and not at all overpowering. One could relish the flavour of each ingredient. Full marks here too. The portions were hearty and the pricing affordable.

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Although there was a lot to choose from by way of mains – chicken roulade, lamb bolognaise, pork schnitzel, we decided to skip those and head straight to the dessert.

Coffee creme brulee was what Ansh suggested and rightly so. I am a great coffee and creme brulee fan so the combination could not have been more apt. It turned out to be a great bet. Creamy with rich coffee flavours, it was delectable. The hard layer of caramel on top was crunchy and well-made too.

It was after ages that I was enjoying a meal that was all so perfect. Even if I tried to see and taste things critically, I could find no fault. Brewbot has taken me by surprise and swept me off my feet, oops! palate.And on my first visit I had only sampled the food. The beers have to wait.

Apart from great food, the service is prompt, alert and unobtrusive and the ambience relaxing. Since it is located fairly close to home, I am going to become a frequent visitor at this eatery and brew pub. Got to try the mains next time!

Worth Going To This Panda!

I really relish Oriental/ Pan Asian food and in the area where I live there is a serious dearth of restaurants/QSRs serving this cuisine. So naturally, when Go Panda, a QSR serving Oriental fare opened on the Lokhandwala bridge, I was delighted.

We trooped in on weekday night for dinner. As expected, the place was simple, a few tables and chairs outside, and a couple of high chairs and a bar style seating inside. What struck me was the glass facade to the kitchen, which allows you to peek inside. Scrupulously clean kitchen and well dressed staff handling food in a hygienic manner. I was thrilled.

To my utter delight, Nikhil, one of the founder Directors informed me that the food did not contain any MSG. I was relieved beyond words as am severely allergic to it and absolutely abhor places which use it.

Wonton Soup

Chicken steamed momos and chicken Phathimlai, were the starters we settled for and good ol’ Man chow soup. We were in for a pleasant surprise. The soup was delicious. Not the usual Man chow with oodles of vinegar and left-over chicken mince. The flavours were well balanced and it was tangy but not tart. Soulful. The momos had a delicate covering but again not the usual sticky ones. The filling too was generous and tasty.Full marks. The Phathimlai appeared a a bit salty, initially, because of the sauces but was palate-tickling alright. The chicken pieces were succulent and swathed in the spicy sauces. Absolutely loved it.

The food comes in attractive boxes. I love this as it enables you to eat on the go too and is hygienic too. Glad this trend is catching on in India.

“We thought this is the right time to launch something like Go Panda and our vision is to be the best Pan Asian cuisine quick service restaurant. We aim at providing our customers a smart, easy—to-follow menu, consistent quality, quick delivery and seeing every customer smile,” Sachet informed us.

Chilli Oyster Pot Rice- Chicken and Honeyed Chilli chicken Pot rice was what Sachet, the other Director recommended and we went along. These could not have been better selections. The earthen pots in which these are served are appealing and enable the food to remain warm longer. We could not put our forks down. The honeyed chilli chicken was crisp and had a delectable sweet spicy taste. It complimented the rice perfectly. The chilli oyster sauce was made in house and was lip-smacking with robust flavours. It enveloped our palate completely and left us craving for more.

The portions are generous and value-for-money. The ingredients appear to be of high quality and fresh.

Since they have just opened, their desserts section was not available and the Panda cooler(drink) too was not on offer yet. What caught my eye on the menu are the loaded sandwiches section. Sloppy Joe with Lamb, Grilled chicken with Ham n cheese sounded exciting. Got to try those soon. what’s more they have Panda combos too and affordably priced at that.

Phathimlai Potato

The menu offers chicken, lamb, sea food and vegetarian fare. Burmese Khow Suey and Malaysian Korma with rice are two fairly uncommon inclusions, on their menu as part of their signature meals. Next on my list.

Go Panda is definitely worth trying out. It is bound to become a habit for Pan Asian food lovers like me. The luscious flavours are already beckoning me. Tonight maybe?

A Good BIG-Inning: Breakfast at Silver Beach Cafe

Stepping out for a sumptuous breakfast is not what I would normally do on a weekday, but then, some exceptions have to be made. Silver Beach Cafe at Juhu was certainly one of them. And primarily because it serves breakfast from 7 am in the morning. An absolute rarity in Mumbai and something I am always on the lookout for.

I was gung-ho and was looking forward to my breakfast on this Thursday morning. It was meant to the be the BIG Hangover breakfast. We did not obviously have one, but were up for this breakfast alright.

Seated int he Cafe, over looking the road, minutes later, our fluffy Spanish omelette platter arrived with potato wedges, sausages n salad. The omelette was a treat for the eyes as it was for the palate. Well beaten, the egg whites were fluffy and light, with the egg yolk as the base. Garnished with veggies and cheese, served with whole wheat bread, it was the perfect start to our day. It had sufficiently ignited our appetite.

Beetroot, apple and celery juice was fresh and offered the right flavours. Not tart or cloyingly sweet. Perfectly natural. It further refreshed us, as did the orange and carrot juice.

The pepper and spinach omelette was well done too. A great combination I thought. Delicious but, paled in comparison to the Spanish omelette, which was Chef’s creativity at its best.

The menu is fairly exhaustive with a lot of options to choose from the eggs section. Keema with sunny side up, seemed interesting, but I saved it for another day. The array of fresh juices is equally enticing, as was the French Toast. If indulgence is not on your agenda, cereals withe milk, muesli are your best bet.

Affordably priced, this breakfast is bound to liven you up. Don’t miss the Spanish Omelette. It is worth the drive to this place.Hangover- 3

This Parisian influenced Cafe in Juhu – Silver Beach Cafe is done up in a swanky glass facade of French windows and intimate booth seating making it an ideal space for a romantic date. It offers other regular meals too. I am of course heading back for breakfast another day soon. Never mind the hangover!