Tag Archives: chinese

At home,with home-style Vegetarian food : Gokul9

Gokul is a name many of us in Mumbai are familiar with. A place in Colaba which has been around for decades and is known to be a hotspot for good quality and wholesome, Mangalorean food and drinks.

Dinesh Pujary and Vandana, the son and daughter of Mr. Jaya Pujary, the founder of Gokul, have started Gokul 9 a small, but cosy vegetarian eatery in the adjacent lane.

The place is colourful, has vibrant and aesthetically done interiors and spells comfort from word go. The menu is exhaustive and one is spoiled for choice.

While there is a large section of South Indian delicacies, there is comfort food galore- soups, burgers, pav bhaji, sandwiches, pizza, and even a thali. There is something for every palate and age group.

The South Indian food here is unarguably the piece de resistance. The aromatic hing in the piping hot sambhar wafts through the air even before you taste a spoonful. The flavours are spot on and the chutney is comforting as it is replete withe home style flavours. Palak dosa, cheese bhaji dosa, butter spring dosa, are worth a try as these are innovative albeit with a traditional touch. The masala dosa of course is the all time winner on the menu.

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The cheese khada pav bhaji is indulgence personified and not-to-be-missed. The Mumbai Special section with favourites like sabudana khichdi and misal pav will make you nostalgic.

Among starters, the mushroom manchurian and soya bean chilli dry, are unique. For those seeking  a quick bite, sandwiches, burgers, pizza options abound.

Office goers throng to satiate themselves with the value-for-money thali. Rotis, rice, Indian gravies, Chinese dishes, too find a place on this varied menu.

Round off your sumptuous meal with a refreshing and creamy kulfi.

No alcohol here of course but juices and milkshakes aplenty to choose from.

The food here is fresh, made with good quality ingredients and easy on the stomach and wallet. Nothing causes discomfort and uneasiness. The kitchen appears squeaky clean and hygienic.

The service staff is warm, polite and alert. One literally feels at home here. I left with a smile of satisfaction.

Rating : 4/5

 

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House of Aroma : Lemon Leaf

This truly was a case of taking your neighbourhood eatery for granted. Lemon Leaf has been in Andheri West, Mumbai for a while now and I have never visited it. During the Chinese New Year, when an exciting menu was on offer, I decided to check this place out.

On a weekday evening too, this place was buzzing. Upon entering there was a positive and warm vibe to this restaurant, which I instantly fell in love with. Ameya’s professional and warm welcome, added to the feel-good factor. We were off to a great start.

The menu for the festival was limited but complete with something for everyone. My Golden Corn & Crabmeat Soup was a delight for the palate. Mildly spiced and yet, delectable. It boasted of distinct crabmeat flavours. Set my taste buds tingling alright.

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The BBQ chicken Baos were equally well-made. Steamed to perfection and a generous amount of BBQ chicken enveloped within. Quite filling actually.

The Chicken Siu Mai was aesthetic to look at and packed with flavours. Flavoursome and replete with a myriad textures, it provided the right bite. The accompanying sauces were equally adept at wowing the palate.

Chicken Siu Mai with Pickled ginger

The other options on the menu were 3 Mushroom Dumpling with mushroom broth, Pepper fried Chicken Piccata – with pickled vegetables and so on.

The service I noticed, despite the packed restaurant, was prompt and efficient. Kudos!

For main course, we were recommended the Hakka egg noodles and it paired exceedingly well with our shredded chicken, in a piquant and spicy sauce. The liberal amount of chicken in the sauce along with an oh-so! generous portion of noodles proved to be a meal that satiated us.

We rounded off our meal with a Hazelnut chocolate pot with toffee sauce and a dollop of Vanilla ice cream. I loved the panache with which it was served to us. The hard outer shell of the chocolate pot melted with the hot sauce and gave way to the creamy mousse within. A well-presented dessert and decadent to taste as well. Only the vanilla ice cream could have been creamier.

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No additives, no MSG, no artificial flavours. The food at Lemon Leaf indeed surpassed my expectations. I was glad I had finally discovered this restaurant. This visit was definitely just the beginning.

Rating : 3.5/5

 

 

Delicate Dumplings and Robust Chinese Breads: Mamagoto

My favourite Pan Asian cuisine restaurant, Mamagoto has a whole new menu with Dumplings & Chinese Breads. A lethal combination really, considering I love both.

Hearty comfort food with varied ingredients, textures and flavours, is yet again the hallmark of this new carefully crafted menu. There is a lot of variety and some of the offerings are unusual and relatively unknown. The vegetarian options too are plenty.

Jungle Shrimp Dumpling

Jungle dumpling, with a green coloured covering made of potato starch et al, arrived on our table. Soft and spongy, the dumpling melt in our mouth. The shrimps were soft and made for a great filling. Our taste buds really came alive. There is a vegetarian version of this too.

One can never go wrong with a Gyoza  or pot stickers as they are popularly known. The Old school gyoza proved us right. The chicken dumpling was light and had a flavoursome filling. Served with momo sauce, the right amount of zing was imparted to this dumpling. I specially love their thin covering and marvel how chefs keep it intact despite the generous filling.

My palate was sufficiently tingled with these two dumplings and I was looking forward to the rest, as Chef informed me there were 8-9 varieties to follow.

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To break the monotony, Chef sent us the Cheesy Veggie Bun. Steamed to perfection, this one reminded me of the ones I had eaten in the Chinese Market in Calcutta for breakfast quite often. The filling was a treat- stir fried pak choi, pine nuts, spices and cheese. The creamy cheese complimented the crunchy pine nuts. Pak choi added a unique flavour to it, making it an innovative fun bun. But yes, wholesome too.

The traditional Peking dumpling was something I was waiting for. Simple, with no fuss, this one was a delight. The chicken filling was tasty, but unpretentious. Dipping it in vinegar, soy and red chilies gave it a bit of a boost, although it was wholesome and delicious on its own too.

Chinese Chicken puffs were heavy in texture. Literally too. Minced chicken wok tossed in a 5 spice aroma and baked into a puff. Although well made, I think I preferred the good ol’ lighter dumplings. What struck me was how each dumpling was distinctly different from the other in appearance, flavour and texture. Full marks to the chef.

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The Tokyo Metro Mantou aka Chinese bread with aubergine for veggies and chicken for the carnivores, deserves a special mention. I have had nothing quite like this one ever before. Innovation at its best. The crumb crusted aubergines were a class apart. The typical slimy texture of aubergine had been so well masked and yet, the flavours were intact. Of course the chicken version was naturally better, although less innovative, I must admit.

I loved the way the menu was an amalgamation of classics and yet, the chef had added his own contemporary twist to these. Indeed laudable.

Each item on the menu was more unique than the previous one. There was a storm in my taste buds, as I relished a medley of flavours and textures.

The Grand Finale to the meal I was told, was the the seasonal Mango Coconut Sago Pudding.But alas! I was a bit disappointed. The sago was too tough, a bit undone. Should have been soaked a bit more perhaps? That took away the flavour and taste of the dessert. The mangoes on top too were not overtly sweet and so the dessert proved to be a bit of a dampner.

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But we were not complaining as our taste buds had been treated well with the dumplings and Chinese breads. I wanted that memory to linger longer in my taste buds.

Affordably priced, given the exotic fresh ingredients, used, this menu too is value for money. If these lil “pick me ups” or dim sums are what you enjoy, this new menu is just what you may be looking for.

Rating: 3.5/5

Of aromas and delicate flavours: The Oriental Wok

Oriental food is my weakness. My taste buds love to be teased by the sauces and flavours in Chinese cuisine, in particular. To commemorate the Chinese Year of the Sheep, The Club D.N. Nagar Andheri West, Mumbai is hosting a Chinese Food Festival at The Oriental Wok, their Oriental Restaurant and I decided to give it a shot.

The bright ambience and decor in red and gold was befitting the occasion. Seated in our favourite corner table, we were relaxed as we sipped our Jasmine Tea. The regular menu at this Restaurant is a delight and varied, but the festival menu too, was well-planned and exhaustive. It catered to all palates.

We opted for the Sea Food X.O. soup to begin with. The soup was a light one with delicate sea food flavours and a generous amount of prawns and sea food. But it could have been pepped up a bit in terms of spice. A little too bland for my liking. The Chicken coriander dim sums were delectable. No disappointment here. The covering was, light and smooth and the filling, flavourful. The two textures married perfectly.

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The Cheong Fun aka rice rolls with shrimps were unique. Liberally filled with shrimps and folded well in rice flour together with potato starch, swathed in soy sauce, these were truly a palate pleaser. But a trifle heavy, I must admit. I think I prefer the Vietnamese ones a bit more.

There was a fair amount of variety in the starters. Duck rolls, Hakka lamb, chicken et al. Vegetarians too can feat on an array of starters like Tahu Choi made with broccoli, water chestnut, silken tofu or Beijing style stir-fired Chinese cabbage.

For the mains, we decided to try a fish dish and had obviously made the right choice. The slow-fried Snapper looked appetizing as it arrived on our table. The garlic pepper black sauce, filled our nostrils and made us hungry. The Tibetan style pan fried chicken marinated with spices called Tubo Cha Sha, was equally a treat. The two had distinct flavours. We paired it with the flavoursome Jasmine Rice with garlic, ginger & cilantro.

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It was a meal which appeased our taste buds and satiated us completely. Chef Kuldeep Das obviously knows how to balance textures and flavours and create something unique.

The Fortune pudding sounded inviting. Indeed, what arrived on our table certainly was a treat for the eyes. And later, the palate. Truly an exotic preparation of sweet rice, dried fruits and nuts, it was decadence at its best. Reminded me of the meetha chawal, we Punjabis make. Full marks to the chef here.

Opening a fortune cookie, if only to read one’s fortune for fun, is a ritual one must indulge in a Chinese New Year meal and so we followed it.

An enjoyable meal in vibrant surroundings, with attentive and warm service, was what we savoured at The Oriental Wok. The Festival may be extended till March, owing to the great response it has received, so if you are lucky, you too can relish this food beyond this weekend. Don’t miss it if you get a chance!

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?

Foot-Tap(ping) Music, Disappointing Fare…..

After SBX Sports Bar at Bhandup, being a huge let down, I walked into TAP, a sports bar from the China Gate group on Link Road Andheri with baited breath.

The place looked snazzy, pulsating with music and sufficiently crowded for a Sunday night. The screens projected the FIFA World cup matches and the sports accessories and bric-a-brac matched to boot.  The mood and ambience were clearly reminiscent of a sports bar. On the right track I thought.

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The service staff was lost. Too many of them running around in circles, but not really attentive to a guests’ needs. After catching the eye of one of them, we ordered our mocktails.  We opted for an Orange Flute and Melon Ball. Both the drinks to our dismay were cloyingly sweet. Not as refreshing as I would have liked mine to be.

The menu seems exhaustive- Mexican, Indian, Italian, Chinese. They have everything on offer. Yet, it is not too appealing for some reason. Too much choice maybe?

Mole Polo a chicken dish arrived as our first starter. Roasted cubes of chicken in a mole sauce – red or green.  That ‘s what the description stated.  But sadly, no one asked us our preference. We were served the red one. The chicken pieces were chewy and almost tasted insipid. The sauce, a trifle better,  did nothing to enhance the flavour. A real dampener.

The Pablano Grilled Fish was relatively better. At least it was well marinated and tingled our taste buds to some extent.

We were keen to try the Butterfly Prawns but were suggested Paprika Prawns Tonga instead. A poor mish mash of chicken and prawns, the dish did justice to neither. The chicken pieces completely overpowered the prawns flavour, resulting in a not- so exciting dish.

To play it safe we opted for a Mexican cowboy salad. Not much scope to go wrong there. Decent fare but nothing to salvage our lost taste buds. We decided to skip the main course completely.

The vibe and energy of the place is infectious and the music foot-tapping, albeit a bit loud as the hours tick by. A good mix of sports and entertainment, TAP is the perfect place to relax and unwind with friends and family but the food and service need to be stepped up for sure.