Tag Archives: burgers

A Haven for Chocolate Lovers

Desserts are decadent and chocolate ones even more. As The Chocolate Heaven opened its second outpost in Mumbai in Borivali West, I decided to check this one out as I have never visited the first one at Vile Parle West, near Mithibhai College.

A small but cosy place greeted me, with wooden tables and seating. The menu surprised me as I thought, being a dessert boutique it would only offer desserts, but I was wrong. Sandwiches, burgers, pizza, this place had them all. Of course the highlight here are the waffles, pancakes, shakes, coffees, hot chocolate and more.

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Our Mushroom burger arrived after a long wait. The roasted mushroom flavours were completely masked by the red chilli that the burger was doused in. As a result one could not taste any of the other ingredients.

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The pizza topped with penne more than made up for the burger. It was cheesy, well-baked and the penne added an interesting texture to it. The well-spiced pizza perked up my taste buds instantly and was supremely comforting.

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The caramel hot chocolate was delicious, but alas! Not as hot as it ought to have been. The texture too was diluted and it could have been creamier. There were several other options as well.

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The dark chocolate Belgian waffle was sinful but the chocolate could have been a bit more generous. The pancake was the piece de resistance for the evening. Well made, the toppings were generous and the flavours mouth-watering. It was unarguably, one of the best I have had in a while.

The offerings at The Chocolate Heaven struck me as ideal for college going kids rather than gourmands. The savoury stuff was definitely fast food and the desserts good, but again not extraordinary. More of a melange of good ingredients, carelessly assembled.

However, easy-on-the-wallet and with immense variety,  good quality ingredients, this place is definitely worth a try for foodies, especially when sweet indulgence is on your mind.

Rating: 3/5

 

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The ‘Theory’ of everything delicious

The novel dining experience this place always offers has been taken to the next level with the entry of Chef Clyde Comello, an immensely talented chef. Theory at Kamala Mills, Mumbai, now offers a newfound “theory” of  a hearty and varied lunch with global offerings.

I decided to check this out for myself. The menu, albeit limited to facilitate quick decision and thus speedy service struck me as interesting. Small plates, with chef’s own innovative twists caught my eye.

I began with the beer and cheddar soup. Not only was it aesthetically presented but the flavours tantalized my taste buds. Sans any cream the texture was creamy and the flavours in harmony. Comforting to the core, especially in the current weather.

Cheddar and Beer soup with a drizzle of chilli oil, served with crispy garlic toast

The carefully crafted menu included Nicoise salad (served with Herbed kulchas, housemade mustard dressing); Plum salad (mixed lettuce, raspberry vinaigrette); open sandwiches like the Charred corn & Avocado; Grilled peach & prosciutto (Whipped mascarpone & feta, pumpkin spread); Move over bagel & lox (Chive mascarpone, activated bamboo carbon bagel and a lot more. There are abundant options for vegetarians too.

Theory's chicken burger made with a deboned leg served with apple slaw and orange marmalade

As I took a bite of each dish that I sampled, the ingredients were unarguably the hero. These shone through and through. Nothing overpowered these. The cooking methods used were simple and uncomplicated.

The surf and turf is a carnivore’s delight. The amalgamation of flavours and textures in this paella-esque dish, bore a testimony to Chef’s prowess.

The burgers were robust and hearty and satiating all the way. The quality of ingredients used were superlative. Chickpea & walnut (Grain mustard aioli, multigrain bun, fig jam); Theory chicken burger (Chipotle aioli, apple slaw, orange chutney); Buff burger (Jalapeno spread, emmenthal cheese) are some unique offerings. Of course my vote instantly went to the Chickpea and walnut one which I thought was a great innovation.

The meals here are heart warming and the portions generous. No where does monotony set in as chef ensures enough variety in textures and flavours.

My barley and edamame risotto was one of the best I have ever had- far superior to some classic Italian ones too. I always laud innovation and this one was a perfect example of that and more.

A risotto of Barley and edamame with artichoke purée and jalapeño chutney

 

One can relish one’s food with fresh fruit ingredient cocktails,  without the usual synthetic sugary syrups, with a touch of spritzers that are refreshing. Non-alcoholic spritzers like Carrot-Ginger-Parsley, Orange-Bell peppers and even Green-Apple and Fennel are equally alluring.

I rounded off my meal with pot de creme which was a bowl full of gooey chocolate in smooth and creamy mousse-like texture.

This value-for-money lunch with extraordinary quality and an imaginative menu is bound to perk up the taste buds of diners. I certainly left the place, happy and well-fed with a deep satisfaction of having enjoyed my lunch.

Rating : 4/5

 

The Real Taste of America in India

I am not a big fan of American food I confess. Big burgers, sandwiches et al do not excite me at all. I much rather eat global comfort food.But when The American Joint a vegetarian eatery opened in BKC Mumbai last year, I was intrigued. Unfortunately I was unable to visit the place, so decided to remedy this by going to the newly opened second outpost in Borivali West on Link Road. And to my utter glee I discovered it offers an interesting mix of American food and raw Indian flavours. That is not all, I loved the fact that they use only organic fruits and vegetables and serve food free of chemicals and preservatives. Kudos!

The ground floor section was buzzing with people on a Monday night. I was impressed. The first floor too seemed packed and the third section on a raised level is where I was seated. The cheerful vibe and decor in green with elegant ceiling lights caught my fancy immediately.

Interior 5

The menu looked attractive and the food reasonably priced. Oodles of cheese in most of the dishes. That is what struck me immediately. But then it is American comfort food we are talking about. Sandwiches, burgers, pizza, some avant garde fare, desserts, mocktails and shakes were attractively presented in the menu.

The  creamy baked potato soup doused with cheese was warm and comforting. I was speechless as the luscious flavours filled my mouth. The pita bread and hummus was perfect too- both in texture and flavours. The olive oil on the top however could be a tad less.

Try Some Feta with your Watermelon

The In-house veggie burger was  tasty, but a bit messy and ought to be served wrapped in paper, as it might be easier to handle. The salads are fresh and bursting with flavours and are everything a salad should be.

Pick The Greek

The food is well-presented in a fun and quirky manner which of course seems to be the order of the day.

Vegggidilla  – tortillas made with in-house flour caught my eye although I did not try those. Chole rice bowl – a meal of spicy chanas and rice can be both comforting and filling. College goers and fans of fries are going to love the exhaustive section with a variety of fries.Indulgent and sinful, but innovative too. The San Francisco Garlic and Sweet Potato fries sounded very unique.

Club Sandwich

The flavours and good quality ingredients shine effortlessly in each dish. There is clearly no compromise there. The service staff although affable and polite requires some more training as it is only the first week of this new outlet.

The  dessert section offers ample variety. The Ferrero Nutella mousse made in house was the piece de resistance undoubtedly. With the texture of a soft fudge, laden with nuts and crushed cookies, it is the stuff dreams are made of for chocoholics.

This restaurant clearly has a lot of potential and promise, once it overcomes the minor hiccups that occur when a restaurant opens. It is a great family dining destination as well the perfect hotspot for youngsters to relax and unwind over good vegetarian food.

Rating : 3.5/5

 

 

Burgers anyone?

Burgers in India have evolved. Today, burger chains in India as well as five star hotels serve the best of burgers at par with the ones we get abroad. Big, value for money with interesting fillings made of fresh high quality ingredients.

Mexicano Burger

I was thrilled to see  that McDonalds has recently incorporated so many Indian spices in the burger bun.  This new variant is truly welcome. McDonald’s  new range of ‘Indi’ McSpicy burgers actually give consumers a kick of Desi spice with the unique flavor of Hari mirch sauce, made of Green Chillies – one of the commonly used ingredients in Indian Food.

Indi McSpicy Chicken

Originally from Hamburg in Germany, Burgers are now globally eaten and accepted.The varieties in burger patties today are plenty too. Chicken breasts grilled to perfection, sautéed in  interesting sauces, well made, delectable  fried chicken or paneer patty,  and even tofu. The options are endless.

Whether it is a classic meat burger or its healthier counterpart the Soybean burger , one can experiment with herbs and spices for an unusual result.  And chefs and burger chains alike, are doing that.

Chefs now experiment with toppings like Avocado salsa instead of melted cheese and fried onions. Instead of normal white bread you now have a range of healthy options to choose from.

MINI-BURGERS

I remember eating innovative stuff at the Leela Goa. Moong bean sprout patty, tamarind chutney, baked tapioca chips, coconut and cucumber salad, Shiitake, tofu and rice patty, sesame bun. Yes all this instead of the usual oily and unhealthy options we commonly indulge in. 

Woodside Inn Andheri does some great burgers. Loved their festival of global burgers from across the world, some months ago.

Fish or chicken burgers always catch my eye as these are fairly uncommon. Am not a meat person anyway. A chewy meat patty which some burger chains often tend to serve is a strict no no. A juicy, succulent burger is something we all enjoy.

Add-ons like sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, melting cheddar cheese and bacon rashers add variety even to an ordinary burger.

I am all for these fusion burgers rather than the age-ol’ classic burger. Innovation is fun and it is great to tease your palate with unusual flavours and textures.

And yes I love sliders or mini burgers too. Easy to eat and one can try our several different ones. And these make a pretty picture too.

I am now craving a burger. And you?

 

 

Be Desi, Buy Desi : Desi Deli

I am a great one for lauding the efforts of home chefs. No wonder Lolita Sarkar, who is a home chef turned entrepreneur, intrigues me and we decide to visit her newly opened, lil’ eatery in Bandra Reclamation, called Desi Deli.

Lolita herself, greets us warmly and patiently explains the concept behind Desi Deli. An Advertising film maker turned entrepreneur in the food space. Impressive. She has always enjoyed cooking for large numbers at home parties and strived to create something new in her dishes. With friends and family, relishing her hot dogs, Lolita began taking baby steps in this direction. A few pop ups across the city, gave her the much needed confidence and then, Desi Deli happened. A logical outcome of her passion and talent.

Wild Thing

The eatery is ordinary, just a few tables, but the menu, excites you immediately. Her interpretation of Desi Deli, delicious Indiagenous food, is appealing. The menu clearly reflects the creativity of an Advertising professional. The choice of words is unmistakable

We decide to skip the Classic desi hot dogs- Amar, Akbar and Anthony denoting, vegetarian, chicken and Pork versions. . Globe trotting desi sound more interesting.  Sonorian, Venetian, Mexican, and yes, even The Goan Desi are some of the options. These come in Vegetarian, Chicken and Pork. Grilled pineapples in a tangy lemon sauce, with peppers et al catches our fancy. Lolita agrees to making a chicken version, as we are not keen on Pork.

Lamb burg

The burger, she suggests. The Tangy Chic Burger. Seems exciting enough. Our burger arrives. The presentation is neat, not extraordinary. A bite into it, gives us a taste of a succulent, juicy chicken pieces and oodles of tangy flavours. Delicious. The freshness of the ingredients is evident. We enjoy it thoroughly.The accompanying fries, more like the Bengali aloo bhaja made of finely shredded potatoes is delectable.

The Hot Dog pales in comparison. The Killer red sauce (so reminiscent of a Goan masala) and lemony sauce do not marry well. The flavours and textures are clearly mismatched. Maybe we should have tried something else? We decide to move on.

While the quality and creative twist in both these is unquestionable, the size of the burger and hot dog, given the price, is unappealing. These are not filling enough and at Rs 275- 300, these are far from pocket-friendly.

We skip the wraps or Tamales and settle for a Ghugni Souk with Mutton, a dish which has its origins in Bengal. Can I resist that? of course not. It has a Moroccon twist to it with the cous cous. I like that. I expect ghugni with couscous, but it turns out to be the opposite. The plate is full of cous cous with a a small helping of mutton infused ghugni in the centre. But the taste makes up for my disappointment, if any. Flavoursome and comforting. The cous cous complements the ghugni. A perfect example of creativity an imagination. Filling too. The house deli fresh salad along with it is crunchy and tingles our palate. This dish gets my vote.

The Usquebaugh blend ice tea that I am sipping is too mildly flavoured and watered down. The hint of tea is not enough even to tease my taste buds. Lolita has warned me of the delicate flavours, but being from Bengal myself, I am acquainted with those. However, this one does not fit the bill.

Screwpine Aam, Begum in crepe, Modak redux, Trucker tycoon. Yes, these are the interesting names of the desserts in the menu. Being a chocolate fanatic, Trucker Tycoon is quite obviously our choice. Tawa toast oozing with chocolate and mascarpone cheese, the dessert promises. I am taken by surprise. Two tiny pieces of toast with the filling. That too not generous, given the price. Reminiscent of what mothers make at home for kids with Nutella.

Lolita personally oversees every order and chats with her guests. Her central kitchen in Khar seems well managed and her staff here too is efficient.

Conceptually, Mumbai needs a Desi Deli with robust and unique hot dogs and thus, while Lolita’s efforts and creativity deserve a pat on the back, the pricing and portion sizes definitely need to be re-looked at to make it viable for customers.

Rating: 3/5

Dunkin’ Donuts & more…. is Finally Here!

I have waited for ages for this favourite donut brand of mine to enter India and then, my city Mumbai. Today is finally the day when it is here. There is one outlet in Khar on Linking Road and another in Phoenix Marketcity Kurla. My excitement knew no bounds.Even more intriguing was the invite which said an experiential workshop. I was all set.

But what I experienced over two hours clearly surpassed my expectations. Both in terms of the information shared and of course the Dunkin’ Donuts & more experience.

Their 29 th outlet in India. That really is quite a lot. But I was never initiated into what goes behind the food and beverage planning here. And that was enlightening. Dev Amritesh, President & COO, painstakingly and interestingly took us through a broad but detailed overview. I liked the fact that this brand is intentionally imperfect, twisted, bipolar if you like in its F&B offerings. Adds that element of fun to it. Normal is boring after all.

Chef Pedro D’mello and Chef Felix filled us in on the food & beverages respectively. The Heaven can wait burger stole my heart. What a perfect way to juxtapose flavours, textures through usage of ingredients. Sumptuous and filling. The burger bun was unique. Not the usual sesame seed sad bun we normally get. The bread had a ciabatta feel to it. Wholesome and flavourful. And of course the Tough Guy burger transports you to another gastronomical world altogether.

The newly launched Wicked wrap was a delight too. Wicked it sure was as there was an interesting contrast of flavours teasing and tantalising the taste buds. The succulent chicken, with the crispy nachos, soft jalapenos were married together beautifully. And yet were so distinct.

 

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Equally heart warming was the cappucino. Aromatic, robust, complex and spicy. Yes it had peppery notes to it. Had the perfect cuppa after a long time.  And of course the Stirr’accino is a treat for the eyes and the palate. The spiked ice tea was as refreshing as it was meant to be. The mace, cloves, star anise and cinnamon played their parts to perfection in lending this drink just the right zing.

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What do I say about the signature donuts? I simply love those. But prefer mine a wee bit warm. Not at room temperature, as many do. Death by Chocolate and Alive by chocolate are my all time favourites. When not in the mood for a chocolate one, try the classic cinnamon one. for fruit lovers, strawberry double delight and very very blueberry are great options too.

Had the most wonderful afternoon. There is something for everyone. Value for money, it is worth a visit. I cannot wait to go back again.

 

Champion of champions ! MUCB Burger Festival

I have never been a fan of Mc Donald’s chewy, insipid, burgers and was thus relieved when Burgs opened in Bandra. It was a pleasure eating the real burgers. I love burgers. And thus, my joy knew no bounds when Manchester United Café Bar was hosting an International Burger Champions League. I paid a visit to their Malad outlet.

The menu was exciting as there was a specialty burger from every part of the world. A treat for football fans, literally. Riveting Rooney from England was an interesting combination of beef slices, with sauerkraut, sautéed mushrooms. As if that was not enough, there were delectable potato wedges and salad to go with it. And the horseradish and mustard mayonnaise was equally exotic. My friend informed me that the burger patty was really juicy and succulent. A real palate pleaser.

There was the Donald burger from Lebanon, Yo freddy from America and even a Baichung Burger from India. Cute I thought. All these had a vegetarian version too apart from the Non vegetarian ones. And equally unusual, mind you.

Baichung Burger from India copy

But the one that stole my heart was the Barry Burger from Jamaica. A coconut crumbled crabmeat patty topped with plantain chips and cheddar cheese. It was served with Cajun potato and salad and a chipotle mayonnaise. Words fail me, to describe the exquisite flavours. Only the burger patty was a wee bit wobbly and crumbled easily. Understandably so, given the ingredients. Of course, taste wise, it was a first-of-a- kind experience.

The Adisak burger from Thailand sounded tantalising too, with a grilled red Thai chicken breast et al, but I could manage no more.

The presentation of each burger enhanced its appeal tremendously. The chef had painstakingly created each one. Much appreciated.

Prompt and efficient service are the hallmarks of MUCB Malad and it is always a pleasure to dine there. The music, ambience add the right zing, apart from the one that teases your palate. You are in for a great time. I for sure, had a wonderful evening. The festival is thankfully on till February 17, so am going back for a Adisak Burger for sure. Got to taste that one. When are you heading there?