Tag Archives: herbs

Delectable Global Flavours & More…….

Villa 69 at Juhu Circle, has always intrigued me, but somehow I have never stepped in. The new menu beckoned me and I finally experienced the place. Chef Dev Singh Negi has launched a new South East Asian & Mediterranean menu, incorporating seasonal flavours. That was reason enough for me to pay a visit.

The pristine white plush interiors of the Cafe appealed to me at first sight.  The place spread lavishly over several thousand sq ft. is a treat for the eyes. The fine dining area with a dance floor is chic and sophisticated. There is also an outdoor seating area. It is obviously a popular place with the younger crowd.

With a wide variety of options to choose from and indulge, Villa 69 promises to treat your taste buds with fascinating flavours. The new menu was fairly exhaustive with soups, starters, salads, pizza, pastas, main course and desserts. And plenty of vegetarian options. The drinks menu was an exercise in choices, but we decided to skip it altogether.

Our sea food laksa soup was eclectic. The coconut milk was subtle, compared to several places where it overpowers the flavours of the sea food and other spices. The hallmark of a good chef, I thought immediately. Generous amount of sea food laced the soup replete with spices et al. Heart- warming and flavourful. We had got on to a good start.

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Harissa fish with hummus came next. I am not a great fan of basa fish so thought I will not enjoy it, but was wrong. The chef had astutely pepped up the otherwise bland fish with spices and flavourings. The onion rings offered the right amount of crunch. It ignited our taste buds and we looked forward to our main course.

Chef Dev Singh Negi, I noticed, uses herbs like Tahina in several dishes. He has been inspired by global cuisines and has amalgamated several dishes in his new menu. Balinese dishes like Ayam Pelalah, a Balinese BBQ chicken, Aubergine Pate, Tahina Chicken Skewers, Cottage Cheese Piccata, were other items on the menu as starters. The presentation of all dishes was like poetry on plate. Chef Negi definitely has an eye for details.

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The Mushroom Pepper chicken in the main course was delectable and sumptuous. A value for money meal with a chicken breast, veggies on a bed of mashed potatoes and an interesting sauce. The Pan Fried noodles in a light soya sauce, that I sampled were equally a treat. Lots of chicken pieces and a fair amount of veggies too. The noodles were just meant for my taste buds. No MSG or artificial flavours. Perfect.

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We rounded off a wonderful meal with a jar dessert – a choco molten cake. Gooey and rich, it transported us to heaven. There was a red velvet one too which we skipped.

The service is attentive and prompt, the ambience relaxing with foot-tapping music and Chef Negi’s menu, the raison d’etre to visit Villa 69. I am so glad I did. It was definitely an unforgettable dining experience. No run- of- the- mill stuff here.

 

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Pizza in the Metro

Bandra is abuzz with activity again on the culinary front, as international  Neapolitan pizzeria chain, Pizza Metro Pizza, has opened on Ambedkar Road. It is not just another Pizzeria for sure. It is different. Some more Italian food for us in Mumbai.

As you step inside, this cheerful, vibrant eatery, it’s easy to forget you are in suburban Mumbai. Copper fixtures hanging on the wall, the mural sketch of an Italian market place, bright floor tiles, complete the picture.

The international brand owner Chef Diego Palladino brings with him the Italian love through his original metre long pizzas. Mumbaikars are going to love these, but at a whooping cost. The pizzas are not only served with chilly oil & Parmesan cheese but their chefs are flown down from Italy as well. So much for an authentic experience.

We started with a salad, cherry tomatoes, rocket & parmesan, which was light and fresh. Pretty basic and ordinary, actually. The metre long Pizza arrived next and completely bowled us over. Well presented too. Mozzarella, gorgonzola and salame. A terrific trio. The Cheese like Parmesan, goat cheese & Mozzarella are used in the pizzas, we were told. Panna, another pizza with ham, mushrooms, salame, mozzarella and cream is sinful and luscious in its flavours. The freshness of the ingredients is evident and enhances the taste of the food. The dough is made fresh each day from the finest wheat, hand-stretched and cooked on the stone of a wood burning oven. Somehow one does not miss chicken in the Pizza menu, which is a typical Italian tradition. Oodles of beef, pork and seafood toppings tantalise your palate.

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Although we decided to skip the pastas, there are a wide array of those on the menu- both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Fresh tagliolini, with cream and sage, cognac flambé in parmesan wheel sounds exotic and is a special inclusion in the Mumbai menu.

The tiramisu was pure decadence but unfortunately they had run out of the other desserts so we could not sample those.

The service can be stepped up a bit. The young Italian chefs are warm and friendly and it is a delight to watch them a work. The food is undoubtedly of exceptional quality.

It’s a great place to visit with family and friends, especially on the weekend, but one that you need to plan. Not an impulse visit kind. It definitely burns a hole in your pocket. College kids are going to steer clear from this one. But if you are a Napoletana pizza lover, you can’t resist this.

A herbal-icious menu

It’s healthy to use herbs in your cooking and these enhance the flavour and taste of the food too. I often tend to use many herbs. But an entire menu based on herbs? That’s no mean feat.

Sudhir Pai, Executive Chef at HolidayInn Mumbai InternationalAirport never ceases to surprise me. He is doing a herb festival called Herbalicious at  Saptami, the all day dining restaurant. He has thoroughly researched how these herbs were used in ancient times and introduced a menu inspired by herbs. I was curious, and was lucky to sample it beforehand and am truly impressed.

The menu which comprises of dishes prepared with thyme, tarragon, parsley, rosemary, mint, fennel, brahmi and many more is bound to be a treat for food connoisseurs. The menu consists of red and white meats, prawns and other vegetables preparations. So it’s not as if it is only boring, insipid vegetarian fare.

 It starts tomorrow and is on till May 31 for lunch and dinner. Soups such as Kerala kootum healthy curry leaf drink, Carrot and roast garlic soup baby fenugreek sound interesting.  Grilled tofu chimichurri with cucumber and avocado salad, Thyme and garlic scented prawns on a bed of mango couscous salad,  Supreme of chicken basilico with garlic cream cheese and pesto char-grilled served with fondant potatoes and broccoli, are to my mind exciting dishes and are being cooked in a healthy manner. A must-try for food lovers. 

A great one for fish, I’d recommend Prosciutto wrapped pink salmon fillet with wilted spinach and  dill lemon beurre blanc, Roast Vietnamese basa with beetroot bacon and horseradish dill cream. For those who enjoy red meat,  Rosemary and parmesan crustedNew Zealandlamb rack with red wine jus and garlic mash is perfect. For vegetarians there is Feuilletage of eggplant parmesan chunky tomato sage sauce. A dessert using herbs?  White chocolate rosemary with mango yolk dome. Whew! Chef Pai at his creative best.