Tag Archives: Juhu

Japan Just Got Closer Home

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A decade or ago, I was not such a fan of Japanese food and although I was exposed to this cuisine during my years in London, I was always reluctant to try it. Gradually I overcame this skepticism and became adventurous. And voila! I discovered I took to Sushi instantly.   Ironically, it was time to move out of London. Back home in Mumbai, it was only a few five star hotels that served Sushi at that time and naturally it was quite expensive.

Fortunately for me, in 2009 came a place called Sushi and More, started by Maido India. A premier take away and home delivery joint in South Mumbai, authentic and affordable Japanese food has been their mantra. Whenever I’d be that side I would always pick up some of my favourite selection of sushi. However, living in the Western suburbs, I’d always lament the absence of such a place closer home.

Naturally then, I was overjoyed when I discovered that Sushi and More was now going to deliver in Juhu and Andheri too as it has a state-of-the-art-kitchen in Juhu as well now.

A neatly packed box with Veg sushi, wasabi, soy sauce and gari, chop sticks et al in different compartments of the box arrived and another with non-vegetarian options. Tuna nigiri, California roll, spicy salmon roll,crabmeat gunkan, classic cucumber roll, tomato and cheese nigiri, bell pepper nigiri. Oh! there was so much to choose from.

Each sushi was almost like poetry on plate. In Japan, it’s believed that the dining experience starts first with the eyes. Mine certainly was.

The crab meat gunkan  was buttery soft and simply melt in my mouth. My palate was enveloped with pleasing flavours. This one was a sure shot winner.

I somehow have a weakness for the  sushi maki roll and cannot help marvelling the finesse with which chefs create these. This one was no different. Meticulously packed and pressed and bursting with fresh ingredients.  Freshness is key to a good sushi and this one scored high on this front. The vinagared edge was there but without being overpowering.

The California roll is my all time favourite and I simply devoured the ones from Sushi and More. Each piece offered a crunch, some creamy textures and a myriad flavours.

The quality of the ingredients used, their authenticity and value-for-money are unquestionable. It is the best you can get in the city.

Their menu does not just stop at sushi. They have a plethora of choices, including Bento Boxes, Gyoza, Yakitori,Tempura, Soups and Salads, created for every kind of discerning palate, including offerings like Super Prawn Tempura Sushi roll for sea-food lovers.

What’s more, they have a large selection for vegetarians too.

 

Satiated after a filling meal of an array of sushi, I am already planning my next order from Sushi and More.

Rating : 4.5/5

Delivering from :

Juhu to Andheri Lokhandwala – +91-7045909448 or +91-9930937285
Prabhadevi to Worli – +91-8691980673 or +91-8691980873
Tardeo to Colaba – +91-7506100886 or +91-7506100887

They also deliver Via: Scootsy, Swiggy & Zomato

Shaan-e-Awadh @Jeon

A seemingly complex cuisine like the Awadhi, when simplified, in terms of flavours, can only be an achievement, attributed to a great chef. Chef Chandan Singh at Jeon, Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai, has manged to do just that. Without a doubt, the Awadhi Food Festival which begins here tomorrow is bound to find favour with foodies of all age groups.

This aromatic rich cuisine, replete with dry fruits, nuts and spices is famed for certain dishes. Nalli Nihari, Biryani, Taftan, Dal Makhani are a must, in a menu offering this cuisine. And Chef Chandan Singh along with fellow chef Amit and Executive Chef Jersen Fernandes has put together a menu, which showcases the best of Awadh.

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The gajar and annanas ka shorba aka carrot and pineapple shorba that we started with, swept me off my feet. The amalgamation of two diversely flavoured ingredients, was done to perfection. One could actually taste the sweetish fresh pineapple as well as the carrot, both immersed in subtle spices.One of the best shorbas I have ever had. It actually left me craving for more. For once, the Murg dhaniya shorba, which was also delicious, seemed plain.

The galouti kebab, the hero of Lucknawi cuisine was as expected, melt-in-the-mouth. The aroma and flavours of spices were pronounced, but not overpowering. The chicken seekh struck me as extraordinary, in terms of the flavours and texture. The seekh was firm and soft, not mushy or chewy as it often tends to be at some restaurants. The meat, laced with herbs and spices, was an interesting bit of innovation.

In the mains, the fish tikki – rawas fillet in a tangy and well-spiced tomato based gravy, got my instant vote. The use of authentic Awadhi spices was a testimony of the chef’s mastery over his craft. No compromise here.

What can I say about the dal bukhara? For a minute, I thought I was at the ITC hotels. Chef Chandan Singh has clearly figured out the secret behind this coveted dish and has done full justice to it.

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The Nalli Nihari was mildly flavoured, but the spices and richness of mutton, teased the palate just a wee bit. The accompanying, sweetish taftan was the perfect pair. Everything else paled in comparison.

The murg biryani was again a treat and perked up my taste buds as I tasted the first spoonful. Well-marinated, the chicken pieces were moist and succulent and meshed seamlessly with the flavoured rice, cooked in dum style. The aroma filled my nostrils as the purdah was removed and the biryani served.

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The shahi tukra was every bit royal. A perfect finale to a great meal. The creamy and rich rabdi wrapped around the deep fried bread laced with nuts and dry fruits was delectable and decadent. The phirni in comparison was a tad bland and disappointing, although the texture was just right.

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The meal overall, was overwhelming and had actually surpassed my expectations. Being used to some Awadhi meals with dishes doused with kewra and rose water and rich and greasy meat dishes, this one was a welcome change. Simple, authentic flavours, true to its Nawabi origins. Yet, nothing in the meal made one feel heavy or caused discomfort.

I left Jeon with a happy smile, almost having made a trip to Awadh.

The Awadhi food festival is on from Nov 5 till November 15 and is a treat, food lovers should not miss.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

 

 

Very English, Very Desi

Be desi, buy desi. We, Indians, may not really be following this diktat, especially when it comes to desserts, nowadays, as unfortunately, Indian sweets like ladoos, gulab jamuns., pedas et al don’t really find favour with the younger generation, who prefer pastries, cheesecakes etc. But Ranveer Brar, along with the Dakalia family of Gangour Sweets and snacks,  Juhu are going to change that.

With English Vinglish, India’s first desi patisserie, where desi or Indian sweets are served with Western influences, Indian sweets will be fashionable once again.

Using molecular gastronomy, Chef Ranveer Brar presents the best of regional desserts in unique western ways. Fresh mango yogurt parfait with crunchy balushai sticks and smoked cardamom honey lie cheek by jowl with Doodha tartlet, with whipped kesar pista dark chocolate ganache and reduced sweetened balsamic vinegar.

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There is something for every palate in this cute little store. And I was no exception. The Sweet Potato & Gulab Jamun Cheese Cake got my instant vote, even though it did sound like a strange combination at first. The textures meshed well perfectly and the flavours too complimented each other. No where, was the sweet potato an aberration. On the contrary it lent itself well to the dessert.

The Amrakhand cheese cake unfortunately did not entice my palate. I found it cloyingly sweet and my mouth was filled with the overtly creamy dessert.

Amrakhand cheese cake

 

Pineapple halwa and hazelnut creme tart, I thought was an interesting combination. The halwa was firmly ensconced in the tart and laced my palate with a myriad textures.

Other creations include the Double chocolate pudding with khada masala strawberry compote and whipped shrikhand; and the Kheer khadam truffles with five-spiced ganache and toasted caramelized kaddu ke beej.

The fare on offer is truly avant garde and unique, something, one typically expects of a chef of Ranveer Brar’s calibre. Add to that Gangour Sweets’ years of expertise. The result is bound to be wow.

Chef Ranveer says,  “The sweet tooth  of every Indian defines and dictates every relevant moment of our lives. This sweetness just changes form and style with time. What stays is the perennial combination of spices and sweet and the passion for mithai. It’s this perennial love that we try and bring you through English Vinglish – A refined stylised balance between traditional Indian sweets and the modern patisserie is what we strive to achieve here.”

And there are not desserts only, that one can dig into at English Vinglish. Breads, soft-centered chocolates and bars, Indo-traditional Baklawas and fillet-stuffed dates, savoury delights, are also on offer.

I loved the Makai – dhaniya and flaxseed bread, which I relished for breakfast next morning. It was moist and flavourful. Sweet Badam Brioche Loaf, Mini Foccacia, Curried Masala Baguette, are some of the other interesting ones.

English Vinglish proved to be a journey of rediscovering Indian desserts the western way. Definitely, one I was not really acquainted with, but happy to have embarked upon.

 

Jeon Comes To Juhu

Juhu, one of the upmarket western suburbs of Mumbai beckoned me yet again. This time, another stretch, another hotel. Hotel Sea Princess where I was stepping in after a decade or more. Nothing had really taken me here the last few years. The food was nothing to boast about but thankfully this has changed with Jeon, the all day dining restaurant that has opened recently.

Lamb stew with creamy polenta

Multi cuisine dishes is what this place serves and an extensive buffet for dinner as well. The food menu has been designed by gourmand Dharmesh Karmokar and their all day specials include a list of global and Indian favourites – Balti Spiced Chicken, Bekti and Crab Cakes, Macadamia crusted lamb rack, Mushroom Ravioli, Pizzas and an elaborate Indian menu.

A Chicken and fennel soup is what I began my meal with. Comforting, flavourful and aromatic. It appeased my taste buds instantly.

Balti Chicken

 

Chef Brian Louis recommended Balti spiced chicken. Well presented, I however found the dish did not live upto its name and was a tad too bland. The chicken skewers were grilled to perfection but lacked the zesty flavours I was eagerly awaiting.  The garlic mayonnaise served along, did not help.

The Bekti and crab cakes made up for this one though. Soft and creamy, the crab cakes were melt in the mouth with the right amount of flavour and zing to it.

The Harissa crusted Basa  we ordered for our Mains, was a pleasant surprise. Crisp, well fried and the crust lent a unique flavour to the fish. Served with pok choy and hollandaise sauce, it was a dish I will not forget easily. But the portions, I thought could have been more generous, given the price.

The ravioli in mushroom sauce was equally delectable and the ravioli was generously filled. Obviously the Italian fare here is good.

We decided to settle for desserts from the buffet and opted for a fruit custard and gajar ka halwa. The gajar ka halwa was sweet, creamy and the way it should be, but alas! the fruit custard with tinned fruits was a disappointment. The fruits, completely marred the taste of the custard. Fresh fruits would have been a better and safer bet.

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Overall, Jeon with its lively ambience and chic decor, great service and good food has the potential to become a dining hotspot in Juhu, if a bit of tweaking is done.

Rating: 3/5

Ruka: Ravishingly Japanese

Ramee Guestline Hotel Juhu, is suddenly a hotspot, courtesy the newly opened luxury Japanese Restaurant, Ruka. The name of a bright blue flower in Japanese, this restaurant by the same name, too seems to have brightened up this property.

 

The sophisticated and elegant decor in dark colours, enhances the ambience of this chic, but warm restaurant. Guests can choose  to sit at the casual bar area,  or an intimate dining area or even opt to sit at the sushi bar and watch the chefs at work.

Chef Masato Toida at Ruka's Sushi Bar

Chef Masato Toida from Japan and his team have clearly transformed this place. In command, Chef Toida comes with 43 years of experience and is a complete master  of the art of Kaiseki, which is the detailed and beautiful presentation of a multicourse Japanese meal.

Indeed, I was blown away at the neat and intricate sushi and sashimi platters he laid out for us. These tasted as good as they looked, or perhaps even better. One of the most varied Vegetarian sushi platters, I have ever come across.  Papaya, capsicum, tofu, radish, were some of the ingredients adeptly used in the sushi. My other favourites were Avocado Nigiri, Unagi Nigiri and Temari Sushi.

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Of course I am always partial to a Tuna sashimi and this one was an absolute treat. Slicing creates texture and if the slices are of different widths, the texture of each slice will be different. This one was done with complete precision.

Tuna Sashimi

The crispy prawn tempura rolls wowed my palate. The amalgamation of multiple textures made this dish exciting. The smooth outer covering followed by the crispy layer and the melt in the mouth prawns seated within, were delectable. Mastery at its best. The rock shrimp tempura in contrast seemed a trifle ordinary today.

Each dish struck me as poetry on plate and painstakingly created by the chefs. The ingredients were fresh which is the key to any cuisine, especially Japanese cuisine.

The Mushroom Hot Pot rice was served traditionally in the pot in which it is cooked. The aromas wafted in the air and filled my nostrils as the lid was removed. Comforting subtle flavours of the  truffle oil, miso and exotic mushrooms enveloped my taste buds. The soft, warm and almost mushy rice melt in my mouth. This was easily the piece de resistance this evening.

Seasonal Mixed Salad

The food menu  at Ruka offers a compilation of unique yet traditional specialties. On the menu are signature dishes like Saikyo Miso Marinated Cod, Roasted Lobster with Shiso & Ponzu Butter, Rice Hotpot with Grilled Chilean Seabass, and Scallop Gunkan.

For those who enjoy their drinks. There is a lot to choose from as well. A range of stylish signature molecular cocktails showcasing elements of science and art with the use of gels, air foaming, dehydration, and layering with tools like vacuum sealers, blow torches, nitrogen guns, are what the bartenders will enthrall you with.

Omakase Dessert Platter 2

What do I say about the coconut custard that I rounded off my meal with? It was love at first sight as I saw the foamy dessert with fruits and a layer of custard right below, placed before me. Creamy, sweet and light, it was an absolute surprise for my palate.

Ruka is bound to redefine Japanese cuisine in Mumbai. Light, simple flavours, characteristic of Japanese food, artful presentation and well-informed service staff. Dining at Ruka is  indeed a pleasure.

The only place of its kind in the Western suburbs, Ruka is certainly going to ensue that Juhu is a much sought after address from now.

Rating : 4.5/5

 

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.

 

Belly Belly Good!

 

Buddha Belly. The name itself intrigued me and I was curious to check out this new eatery. What added to the mystique was the fact that Buddha Belly is formed on the basis of a belief in 3 core principles: Healthy Food with Integrity – Using the finest, highest quality organic ingredients, with a complete rejection of preservatives, Innovation of Food and Dim Sum for everyone – to ensure the highest quality and finest dim sum is available to as many people as possible. Way to go!

With these thoughts in mind, I entered the Juhu outlet. Small, but well laid out and appealing. The décor was simple but the place had a unique energy of its own.

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We began our meal with the refreshing Lemon grass iced tea- sweet n tangy, it perked us up. Chicken sui mai. The steamed dim sums arrived in a basket. The aroma was appetizing and made me hungry. Soft and well prepared, the filling was delectable, as was the covering of the dim sums. Spinach prawns roll was unique and lived up to its appearance. Subtle flavours and the combination of spinach and prawns was a winning one. Full marks here too. The chicken and chive gyoza, although fried, was a treat for the palate.

Each dim sum was better than the previous one. The quality was undoubtedly good. The dips served along were fiery but perfectly paired. I particularly enjoyed the lemon grass one. Limited menu, but enough to satiate a dim sum lover, trust me.

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The brainchild of Arjun Singh Ahluwalia, Buddha Belly is indeed a haven for dim sum lovers like me. Shockingly affordable by today’s standards, the taste and quality are unparalleled.

Chef’s famous Luo Bo Gao arrived next. Made with radish and carrots, the base reminded me of our own Kothambir wadi in Mumbai. And yes, it was as oily. The taste although outstanding, this one did not favour my palate owing to the high oil content.

The lemon grass sticky rice which I always relish anywhere, bowled me over. It was authentic and flavourful to the core. Interestingly served too in a banana leaf. Kudos to the chef.

Sadly, the chicken khao suey did not excite me. Presentation: full marks, but the flavours did not match upto the ones I usually enjoy. Disappointing. The coconut milk based gravy was too thick and bland. And yes, the boiled eggs were missing. cannot get the one I eat at Auriga out of my mind.

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This one dish apart, it was an enjoyable culinary journey which I revelled in thoroughly. The staff is alert, cheerful and quick. Good food n paisa vasool.

Passionfruit, nutella and coconut mousse are the three options from the chef’s stable. For a change I decided to skip dessert as I wanted the taste of the dim sums to linger longer.