Tag Archives: brunch

Casual, boozy and indulgent brunch

This smokery and charcuterie, The Boston Butt at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, is known for its good food, flavoursome and stylishly presented with high quality ingredients. I decided to check it out for myself on a Sunday Brunch.

The ambience is relaxed and the place pulsating. The live music on a Sunday is a sure-shot attraction.

The bright and cheerful place with a spacious layout and chic decor adds to the charm.

The brunch menu is limited but allows you a decent amount of choices. One can begin with a cocktail and the beer float with ice cream is an insta hit. Of course there are other options too.

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The smoked bbq chicken pizza was delightful and a great way to begin for sure. This brunch does not have a spread laid out before you on a table but is served to you at your table. Luxury I say!

From the raw section, I opted for the house-cured & cold smoked sushi grade blue thread fin indian salmon, apple-fennel slaw, cream cheese, shallot oil, mini bagel. It was exquisite in both presentation and flavours. It got my vote instantly. Others can opt for cobb salad or esquites.

The small plates section offered abundant options and was enough to confuse me. The bourgeois P.I.G: smoked bacon chili jam, mini brioche, mascarpone was the right choice. The in-house brioche was soft and pillowy and the bacon jam, a testimony of great flavours. A lip-smacking combo, is what I could say for sure.

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Smoked mozzarella, batter fried & wok tossed with chili, garlic, scallion, was my other choice and there too I was bang on. The smoked flavours imparted a unique texture to the mozzarella enhancing its taste and the chilli and garlic added the right amount of zest.

Cottage Cheese Steak

The quality of ingredients used in each dish struck me as first-class and outstanding. This place obviously has an edge over many for the way they smoke their meats. One of the best that I have experienced in stand alone eateries in Mumbai.

 

Carnivores can rejoice and celebrate real meaty treats here.  The tbb brunch smoked platter: smoked pulled chicken, smoked pulled pork,st louis style smoked pork rib, bbq-beans, coleslaw, pickles, bbq sauces, was any meat lover’s delight. Perfectly smoked, the variety of meats provided an amalgamation of textures and flavours and the sauces and pickles, further teased my taste buds. My piece de resistance for the afternoon this was.

Just when I thought I had savoured the best, my dessert swept me off my feet. The skillet chocolate chip cookie, with vanilla, salted caramel & chocolate ice creams, enveloped my palate and I was experiencing food coma. The cookie is the best I have had in a long time. Sinful and decadent, to say the least.

The service staff can be a bit more alert, else, the experience here is outstanding.

Mesmerized with the flavour offerings and the quality of the food, I left The Boston Butt to enjoy the rest of my Sunday even more.

If you enjoy good food, a great ambience and foot-tapping music, make sure you do not miss this Sunday brunch with a difference.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Morning Well….spent!

Wellness. Well, that word means different things to different people. To me, wellness, denotes, a healthy mind and body. For which of course, one needs to eat healthy food, do physical exercise, have a good night’s sleep and more.

No wonder, the first time I came across the Westin Mumbai Garden City’s six pillars of wellness, I couldn’t help thinking how they had got it absolutely right. Eat well, sleep well, play well, work well, move well and feel well. And I completely relate to these. It is wellness, encapsulated, so aptly.

I have always admired the Starwood Group’s Westin brand,  for being the front-runners in the wellness space. Very few hotels are really concerned about a guests’ well being as he travels and is away from home, some times for long stretches.

Lara Dutta, as their Well-being Brand Advocate for Asia Pacific,  is indeed the perfect choice. A working lady, a mother, Lara epitomizes fitness, health and well-being and is an inspiration to many.

After having heard Lara speak straight from the heart about wellness, at the well-being movement meet, I was rejuvenated and energized sufficiently. But even more so, as I sat enjoying the array of farm fresh salads crafted specially for our well- being by Executive Chef Rahul Dhavle and his team, under the expert guidance of Santosh Johri, Director F&B at Westin Mumbai Garden City.

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Crunchy, fresh, an interesting mix of ingredients with a medley of textures and flavours juxtaposed, the salads proved to a meal by themselves. Some first time combinations and pairings I came across.

There was more to come. Purple potato gnocchi, pumpkin ravioli, beetroot risotto et al. I enjoyed the bite the gnocchi had to it and yet, was melt in the mouth. The purple potato as an ingredient, is relatively new to me, and I thought it has been brilliantly incorporated into a gnocchi. The desserts were of course decadent. But I indulged guilt free as was assured there were no preservatives, artificial flavours etc in the food served. When at Westin, you can be sure.

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Fresh fruit based refreshing drinks, attractively served in glass jars did the rounds as we chatted with the hosts at Westin Mumbai. I relished my water melon and basil juice as I braced myself to face the onslaught of the Mumbai heat outside once again. But I was now ready.

Some days, you just feel so well. Thank you Westin Mumbai Garden City.

Rediscovering Cashew-The wonder fruit of Goa

I have loved cashews ever since I can remember. Roasted, plain or in marzipans. I love them in any form. Being married to a Goan, of course I am now well-versed with the importance of cashews in Goa and its popularity, but it was only recently that I rediscovered the fruit, apart from the nut, I am so familiar with.

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Park Hyatt Resort & Spa Goa’s Cashew Trail beckoned us to Goa. I am ever willing to go to Goa, just as most of us are. But in reality, it was the cashew related itinerary, which intrigued me.

As a food and beverage writer, I was keen to know more about feni and urak, the drinks made from cashew apple and of course cocktails made with these. I was equally curious to see how Chefs infuse the cashew into a variety of dishes across cuisines. And that’s exactly what the culinary wizards at Park Hyatt Goa did. I was mesmerized.

I was in for a surprise at Casa Sarita, the Goan restaurant at the Hotel. The special five-course menu was paired with urak, feni aged one year, an Oak Cask 2012 edition feni and a Port Oak Cask 2010 edition feni. These feni selections were specially presented by the Vaz family for Cashew Trail 2015.

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I loved the passion with which Mac Vaz painstakingly explained each feni as we got ready to sip it with each course. I have great regard for Chef Edridge  of Casa Sarita, who is a master of his craft. He loves his Goan cuisine and knows it really well. Well enough to, give it his own contemporary twist. And yet, the dishes are authentic. That’s what makes him a class apart.

Chef Edridge Vaz - Casa Sarita

We began with the Assiette of seafood peri peri and Cauliflower tondak served with first pressed coconut milk and salted cumin biscotti. Exquisite flavours enveloped my mouth, as, I savoured each morsel. The spices used were 100% Goan and the modern twist to it was laudable. Light and flavourful, I relished the cauliflower tondak. The cumin biscotti added the right amount of zest to the course, in terms of the crunch. Never knew Vegetarian Goan food could be so appeasing. The Cinnamon feni sorbet meant to be our palate cleanser, was so delicious that it well could have been my dessert. Smooth in texture, it almost had a creamy feel to it.

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The highlight of the evening was the Alle Belle Cold Cheese cake with Cashew Jam. It had me spellbound. A traditional sweet of Goa, Chef had presented and served it so interestingly. It looked so appetising that my heart broke to upset his presentation on the plate. The base of the dessert was crispy and crunchy, juxtaposed perfectly with the smooth and creamy cheese cake on top. The highlight undoubtedly was the cashew jam, which I tasted for the first time ever. Chef Edridge had yet again proved his mastery. This was an example of innovation at its best.

The gourmet dinner and exquisite fenis proved to be a heady experience.

If the dinner, was an extraordinary experience, so were our subsequent meals, where cashews were so skillfully integrated into various dishes. Pulaos, curries, lentils, soups, chutneys and dips. Yes, there was cashew in all of these and more. And yet, the palate never did tire of it, even though we relished this cuisine for three days, albeit in different forms. The Cashew Trail finale brunch replete with cashew based dishes is something I will always remember and cherish. Each dish stood apart from the other. The chefs’ creativity knew no bounds today.

What can I say about the cocktails created with feni and urak? any of these were a revelation for me as I discovered several spices and seasonal fruits which were cleverly used with feni and urak to create the innovative Buenisima, Orange Sunrise and Fenirinha among others.

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Apart from savouring myriad cashew creations in various forms, the picking of the cashew apple at the Cashew farm in Valpoi and watching the feni being distilled, is something which made this trip so memorable and the experience unparalleled.

And as I sit at home in Mumbai and bite into my cashew chikki and relish the cashew nut and mango chutney, so generously provided by the Hotel, as our lil’ giveaway, I get nostalgic about the 4th Cashew Trail at Park Hyatt Goa. I had embarked on a guilt-free, hedonistic journey, but I am not complaining. For this one, once is clearly, not enough.

A Glo(bell) Culinary experience : D’bell Cafe n lounge

India Bulls Centre at Lower Parel may not seem like a place where you’d go to eat, but of late, it houses some of the best eateries and pubs.

D’Bell cafe and lounge is an interesting combination of The Pulsating Lounge and a Cozy Cafe. So clearly, there is entertainment, music and good food being offered by D’Bell.

We make our way into the café for a Sunday brunch. The cafe is spacious, well-laid out and elegant. The decor is minimalistic, but appropriate.

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The spread looks interesting, albeit limited. We begin with an Iced Lemon Tea. Refreshing. The sea food salad is a treat, with liberal amounts of fish, squids and prawns. The dressing too is just right. The chicken salad with mayonnaise is good, but not extraordinary. The cream of chicken soup is embellished with generous amount of chicken cubes. In fact doused with it. The soup is well spiced and enjoyable.

The starters come next. Fish cakes are what they are called, but are actually more of fish tikkis with oodles of potatoes in them. Disappointing. The chicken mince balls in BBQ sauce are a delight for the palate. Soft and melt-in-the-mouth. First rate. We skip the begetarian starters.

The main course is not overtly exciting but the chicken crumble proves us wrong. It is well made, the layer of caramelized onions gives it a sweetness which compliments the spicy chicken. The top layer is crumbly enough and the coarse texture is delightful. The Thai veg green curry with cheese which we try is a tad too thick. Pairs well with steamed white rice. There are noodles and pasta too as well as a fish preparation.

The desserts too are boring and fairly insipid.

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D’bell serves good quality food, provided excellent service and has a good ambience too. The menu needs to be a little more varied and interesting. With options galore today, one may not want to come here, given the limited food choices. And thus it is not a value-for-money brunch either.

 

On other days it has breakfast, lunch and dinner too ranging from the Mezze Platter, Wasabi Prawns and Crispy Shrimp Tacos to the Asian eef Stew, Eggplant Cannelloni and Cottage Cheese Satay.

 

With Karaoke, Retro Nights and Classic Rock along with the best live performances in the city this lounge is one where you can let your hair down while enjoying a good drink!

 

So clearly, if you are a music lover you could head to the lounge, whereas foodies like me would choose the Cafe.

 

 

The World on Your P(a)late @Pondichery Cafe!

My visit to Sofitel BKC was long overdue and there could be no better occasion to head there, than for the sumptuous Sunday brunch at Pondichery Café, the all day dining outlet at the Hotel. With over 120 gourmet delicacies, I had to brace myself to experiment and indulge. One look at the vast array of display counters and the buffet spread ranging from Continental, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean, I knew, it was going to be a memorable gastronomic journey.

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Mezze, Sushi, Teppanyaki, Terrines, Salads, Tandoor and a Consome counter. Whew! I did not know where to start from. Food apart, the pleasant demeanour of the affable chefs, smiling service staff, was a pleasure to see.

We decided to start with the detox juices and fruit shooters. Yummy. And yes we had embarked upon a healthy culinary journey. (Or so we thought!) The salads were equally inviting. Chaat, Grills, succulent Chicken Doner Kebabs, Dumba Biryani, Banana Dosa, Pan seared Foie gras parfait  as well as made-to-order pizza and calzones, beckoned us. There was something for every palate.

We savoured the delicacies at a leisurely pace. The teppanyaki sea food and chicken were particularly outstanding. I loved the way the asparagus and poached egg were presented. The salmon was grilled to perfection and paired well with the chicken. The stir fry veggies with noodles too were a palate pleaser.

The variety of the fare was unparalleled. I was really impressed with the global food section with some typical French delicacies. In keeping with their Indo-French fusion, the Indian dishes too were extraordinary, especially the Dumba biryani, which was innovatively served.

Although after the mouth-watering brunch, there is no scope to eat desserts, but not indulging in those, is a greater sin at Pondichery Café. The spread is one of its’ kind and the Pastry chef, gently coaxes you into trying everything.  Gâteaux de meringue de chocolate, Coriander de meringue bavarois, Linzer cake with homemade strawberry jam, Baileys cheese cake, Saffron crème brule, were some of the treats on offer.

It was one of the most amazing culinary experiences this year. Or shall I say the best so far? Relaxing amidst the dramatic Indo-European interiors, with great food, prompt service, courteous staff and a cheerful ambience, it was indeed a memorable Sunday. Now need to try the other Restaurants at Sofitel BKC too !