Tag Archives: lunch

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

 

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A little British, a lot Bengali

The majestic grandeur of The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar at St. Regis, Mumbai, replete with a colonial feel is unmistakable. The aura this place exudes, befits the kind of food that is served here.

Currently running a special British Raj menu available for lunch and dinner till 31st May, the offerings celebrate Anglo-Indian cuisine, albeit with Chef Gopal Krishna’s twists. From JW Marriott Kolkata, this chef’s menu naturally leans heavily on Bengali cuisine, so he is serving the Anglo Indian cuisine of Bengal.

Anglo Indian cuisine may have common roots, but differs subtly in each state in terms of spices and the usage of local ingredients, incorporated over a period of time. Being from Kolkata myself, I was of course not complaining.

The Anglo-Indian cuisine which evolved in the Dak bungalows, Army canteens (Mess), gentleman’s clubs and the Indian Railways kitchens has been faithfully included in this menu.

The Daaber Jol which was nothing but fresh coconut water, rejuvenated me, as we settled down. Later, with my meal, I relished the Gondhoraj lebu shorbot – a refreshing cooler made with lemon and sugar, for which I have a tremendous weakness.

A Yellow lentil soup with apple, curry powder and cream, was what I began my meal with. A creamy texture, yet one, which offered a bite. It was absolutely comforting and a great way to begin a meal. There was an option of the celebrated Mulligatawny Soup too.

Dhungari Murgh Tikka

Kumro phool bhaja aka Crisp Fried Pumpkin flower, Dimer Devil Crumb or fried potato filled eggs, Betkir Paturi Mustard, poppy and coconut flavoured steamed Bhekti fish, were some of the starters, characteristic of Bengali food, that I sampled.  The essence of the flavours was captured to perfection. The dimer devil boasted of the right amount of masalas in the crust, just as the way it should be.

Subz Dum Biryani

What blew me off completely was the simple, but fragrant Dak bungalow chicken curry, a mildly spiced chicken curry from Anglo Indian cuisine. It was the quintessential Anglo Indian curry, I have grown up eating in erstwhile Calcutta. It opened a floodgate of memories for me. The only thing missing was simple steamed rice. Rotis and parathas don’t do justice to this preparation.

Dimer Dalna – an Egg curry with potato and spices, was equally authentic and well-made. Balanced flavours all the way.

Vegetarians need not despair. Mochar ghonto or Banana flower cooked with potato and coconut, is delightful and mildly flavoured. The core ingredient was intact and nowhere overpowered by spices. There are several other dishes to choose from as well.

The menu also includes few of Sahib’s signature dishes like the Satwar piste ka shorba  orToasted pistachio and asparagus cream soup, starters  like Broccoli dak bangla  and kasundi mustard.

We rounded off our meal with Bengali desserts like the Ledikeni – a cottage cheese dumpling fried and soaked in sugar syrup, Mishti Doi or the Jaggery flavoured homemade yoghurt.

A meal I would not describe as strictly Anglo-Indian, but inspired by the cuisine nevertheless. What struck me as praiseworthy was Chef’s tribute to the flavours of Bengal in an authentic manner. And I was pleased as punch at having savoured one of my favourite cuisines- Bengali.

Rating : 4/5

 

 

 

Small Plates, High On Flavours

Sometimes dining at a restaurant can prove to be a strain on the wallet and that is why, a foodie like me, welcomes concepts like the Small Plates Week by Cellar Door Hospitality.

Powered by Insider, a 10-day culinary event on till June 26th, this features 15 of Mumbai’ s finest informal dining restaurants, offering small plates at a uniform price across the city. Kudos! This way diners can sample a wide variety of the restaurant’s culinary offerings.

I opted for Burma Burma, the popular Burmese food eatery at Fort, Mumbai. The menu for Small Plates Week features a minimum of 6 vegetarian and non-vegetarian savoury dishes each and 4 desserts and the one here too, was varied. What’s more, one could order each small plate on the menu and reorder servings of any particular small plate they enjoyed. No wastage, this way and I absolutely endorse that.

My Samusa Hincho, a soup with samosa arrived. Soulful and palate tickling this was with the tangy flavours and the delectable samosa. Nouvelle cuisine this sure was. I was off to a good start.

The three salads also struck me as unique, each with a nice, piquant flavour and distinct. The usage of Indian spices in the tempering made them even more interesting.

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The Pyaa jo kyaw, of Bengali origin was particularly interesting with the flavoursome grounded lentils, onions and coriander. The flavours were familiar and thus, comforting.

 

As we progressed with our meal, the dishes kept on surprising me with their quality and flavours.

The Naan Pe Bya got my vote instantly. The bread was fresh, hot and delicious and the perfect accompaniment to the chickpea puree with coconut milk, spices et al. It was satiating as well as palate pleasing. The spices were just right, not overpowering but teasing the taste buds a wee bit.

Small Plates Week gives the restaurant an opportunity to showcase their best dishes that represent the culinary philosophy of the establishment, while allowing diners to discover new restaurants through extensive menus.

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The Burmese steamed buns were well-made but paled in comparison to the other dishes. The Khow suey, which Burma Burma is known for did not disappoint me. Only the boiled egg, I thought was missing, as that’s how I enjoy mine.

A huge fan of desserts, that is invariably the best part of my meal. But Burma Burma could spruce up in that department. The Shway Aye was decent, but the sweet quotient needed to be more, if it is to be termed as a dessert. Oh No Thanya Paukse or the steamed buns filled with coconut and palm jaggery were a delight. The smokey avocado and honey ice cream although boasted of great flavours, was a tad disappointing owing to the ice crystals in it.The Tagy Pyi an was flat and insipid.

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Priced at INR 1,000 for lunch or dinner, per individual, exclusive of applicable taxes and service charges, the meals are a steal, given the variety and quality.

“A meal made up of small plates has some advantages – it allows diners to experience a variety of savory and sweet dishes and allows the restaurant to showcase dishes that give diners a feel of their culinary philosophy. If your ideal dinner conversation involves talking to your friends about your food, then shared plates are perfect. Small Plates Week allows diners to taste a variety of different dishes and then ask for more of the ones they liked,” elaborates Nachiket Shetye, Director and Co-founder of Cellar Door.

I could not agree more.
So make the most of it all you food lovers. On till Sunday, there is a lot to choose from.

 

 

 

 

Culinary Innovation At Its Best

Bubbles, vapours, air, unusual mixtures and textures, and more, is what I went expecting at lunch at Chemistry 101, the fun, gastro bar at Kamla Mills, Lower Parel; Mumbai. Of course I am all for the drama and excitement, molecular gastronomy brings along, provided it is done well. But alas! there was nothing dramatic or unwarranted here.

Cardiff based, Award winning Rosette AA Chef Stephen Gomes, obviously has got his food right. He may have played around with flavours and textures, but he knows them well and has  thus succeeded in creating a unique dining experience for his guests.

My lunch arrived. The menu was limited,  being a set menu, naturally. Yet, offered me sufficient options. Skipping lambs and prawns, we opted for butter chicken and shorshe bata mach. Being from Kolkata, this had to be tried. And again, for a Punjabi, Butter chicken cannot be missed. That is sacrilege.

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Vegetarians can opt for Veg Jaipuri with Cheese Foam or Kashmiri Dum Aloo with Ratanjot Foam or Paneer Makhani with Cream Foam or even Muttar methi malai with Cream Foam. Plenty of options. 

The chilled buttermilk ravioli, was gulped by us in a jiffy. I loved it. Size matters, yes, but this one albeit small, was potently refreshing and the perfect hors d’oeuvre.

The kiwi cooler was welcome, given the warm weather outside.

The kung fu paratha with egg, caviar rice, dal and butter chicken with sundried tomato foam were a part of my appetizing thali. Well-presented, these were a medley of colours, and yes, flavours and textures too, as I discovered in due course.

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The butter chicken, despite its avant garde presentation, was true to its flavours. The creaminess was unmistakable. A Punjabi can vouch for that. Equally flavoursome was the somewhat, mild, sosrshe bata mach, not as pungent as the original though.

The dal was well-spiced and tempered to perfection and had a home-style feel to it.  Just the way I love mine. The caviar rice was a treat for the eyes, colourful and attractive. Equally comforting to the palate with the dal.

The paratha, though sinful, was delicious and paired perfectly with the butter chicken.

What do I say about the khari biscuit ice cream with jalebi mousse? A spoonful, and I was sold out. A work of art and innovation. The astute manner in which the humble khari biscuit had been elevated and used in the ice cream, was praiseworthy. The not-so-sweet jalebi mousse was the exact contrast of the ice cream in flavour and textures. Together, they wowed my palate without a doubt.

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I had been procrastinating and finally paid a visit to this place. And I loved Chemistry 101.If a simple lunch was so good, the dinner with tapas et al will be even better am sure.

Affordably priced, this thali is a steal, given the quality of food, its presentation and portion sizes.

This place is worth making a beeline for lunch some day soon.

Rating : 4/5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Lucknawi Daawat At Maya

There is nothing like upholding traditions or parampara. And even more so in food, especially with regard to our very own Indian cuisine. The Rivaayat concept which Oberoi Hotels have started at Oberoi Gurgaon and now at Trident BKC Mumbai, are thus close to my heart.

Having experienced Punjabi Rivaayat at Maya, Trident Bandra Kurla Mumbai last month, I was very curious about the Lucknawi Rivaayat by Dr. Izzat Hussain. Being from the Royal family of Lucknow and a Unani practitioner who loves to cook, this one was bound to be interesting.

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Particular about the spices he uses, Dr, Hussain does not believe in adding spices to his food without relevance or justification. No yogurt for marination for him, as he does not want to destroy the good bacteria it offers by cooking curd. Cooking for him is an amalgamation of science and art.

Our Raj pakoris arrive. A bite into the crisply fried pakoris and soft cheese fills my mouth. The kali miri or black pepper is predominant and lends these a unique flavour. The Neza kebabs, are well presented on tiny sword-like skewers and Rasika serving us explains that Neza means sword. These are supposed to caravan food according to Dr. Hussain.

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Succulent pieces of chicken, well-spiced, but not overpowered by spices, these Neza kebabs are a delight for the palate.

The Izzat Fried chicken too gets my vote instantly. Fried to perfection, there is no trace of the chicken getting chewy. Just the way I like mine. Nothing in today’s lunch is fiery thankfully.

The Patta kebabs or minced lamb kebabs, wrapped in cabbage leaves are a version of the famous Gelouti kebabs of Lucknow. Pure, soft meat, envelopes my taste buds. The texture is unique as are the flavours.

Amidst interesting food related anecdotes we bite into the Zarakhush paneer kebabs. Flavoursome, but not extraordinary.

The much awaited thali arrives, it is indeed a treat for the eyes and makes me want to tuck into it immediately. A myriad options. And there is a new combination daily for lunch as Dr. Hussain has curated a menu with over 50 dishes to choose from.

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The thali is on offer for lunch daily at Maya and dinner is a la carte for the entire duration of the festival till February 26.

The mutton chukander or beetroot mutton catches my fancy. Soft well-done pieces of mutton in a thick reddish coloured gravy. No artificial colours or preservatives in his food. The colour comes naturally from the beetroot.

The nariyal arbi too is a treat for the taste buds, soft and well-cooked. Arbi or colocasia has never tasted so good. The shahi cholas did not impress me as much.

But the highlight of my meal was the chicken with garlic or the Murg thoumb. Subtle flavours, but well meshed with the chicken and paired exceedingly well with Izzat ki roti, a signature Indian multigrain bread created by Dr. Hussain.

What struck me as extraordinary was the fact that although we were eating non-vegetarian fare, the food was not a wee bit heavy or rich. Even by the end of the meal, there was no discomfort.

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What can I say about the biryanis- both zaffrani and tursh? The aromas wafted into the air as the lid of the serving dish was lifted. Well-marinated pieces of mutton and the rice grains, separate, yet, homogeneously blended in the ghee and masalas. The chicken one was also delightful, although biryani lovers normally prefer gosht only. The light yellow hues came from the saffron only as opposed to the yellow colour we are used to in Mumbai.

Phirni, was what we rounded off our meal with. The consistency was a tad diluted as compared to the ones I have had in Punjab and Bengal, but Dr. Hussain insisted that’s how it is meant to be in Lucknow.

Flavourful and surprisingly light food which delighted all the senses, excellent company of Executive Chef Bhasin, Dr. Hussain, Shimareet, Kalyan and exemplary service by Rasika, made it an afternoon well spent.

Rating : 4/5

 

 

 

 

Eccellente pasto!Italian food at its best!

I can keep waxing eloquent about Italian cuisine, one of my favourite global cuisines. Across India, there are a few places that serve really good Italian fare, but La Terrazza at Hyatt Regency Pune, bowled me over completely.

The decor and ambience beckons you immediately. The place exudes warmth in abundance. We were seated on a corner table with a nice view.

Cafe LT 20009 Final

The set menu for lunch seemed fairly exhaustive. And given the options, it was value for money too. Salad, soup, Pasta/pizza and a veg or non veg main course and of course dessert. An extremely generous menu, I thought this was.

Our Mushroom broth with porcini mushroom and chicken arrived. Aesthetically served. Piping hot, just the way I love it. And the aroma of the mushrooms filled my nostrils. Comforted me, instantly. A few sips and I enjoyed the well-balanced flavourful soup thoroughly.

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My Mesclun salad (with olive, sundried tomato, parmesan shaving and balsamic dressing) was light and palate-tingling. Fresh and robust flavours oozed out of the high quality ingredients. Full marks here too.

Our potato gnocchi with AOP(aglio olio e pepperoncino) sauce and liberal amount of chicken was delightful. The chef recommended the sauce and we loved it. It complimented the creamy potato gnocchi. An artful pairing this was.

Not  a single dish was heavy and made us experience discomfort. Each morsel was being relished by us. The staff was attentive and the service warm and unobtrusive.

The grilled chicken with creamy polenta was the perfect choice. Succulent breast of chicken, grilled to perfection yet moist, was the apt match for the creamy, coarse polenta. The portions struck me as generous.

The meal had proved to be a memorable one but even though I was satiated with the vast flavours and textures I had experienced, I could not say no to the Tiramisu, my all time favourite dessert. And this one was worth trying. Soft, creamy, wit the right hint of rum and mascarpone cheese, it just melt in our mouths. This was truly a grand finale to a lip-smacking meal.

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This three course lunch at Rs 675 plus taxes is a steal. Any lover of Italian food should not miss this opportunity to gorge on choicest Italian delicacies for this price. And throw in a glass of red or white wine and pay only Rs 100 extra. Incredible!

Office goers too can partake this delectable filling lunch in the afternoons, away for a short break from work. I wish I lived in Pune!

Rating : 4.5/5

 

 

 

Drumstick Brinjal: Recipe

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Drumstick Brinjal

Ingredients:

1 medium sized brinjal

1 drumstick

4 tomatoes finely chopped

1 inch fresh ginger piece chopped finely

Fresh coriander leaves chopped

2 tbsp oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander powder

Salt to taste

Method:

  • Cut the drumstick into 4 pieces and cook in water with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Cut brinjal into small pieces and also cook in water with salt and turmeric powder
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin sees till they pop.

  • Keep on low heat, add cumin, coriander, chilli powders and immediately add the ginger and tomatoes. Add salt.
  • After 2-3 minutes, add the cooked vegetables and stir well.
  • Cover and let the vegetables cook over a low flame, for 5 mins in the gravy.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis
  • Cut brinjal into small pieces and also cook in water with salt and turmeric

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin sees till they pop up. On low heat, add cumin, coriander, chilli powders and immediately add the ginger and tomatoes.  After 2-3 minutes, add the cooked vegetables and stir well. Let the vegetables cook over a low flame, for 5 mins in the gravy. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis