Tag Archives: sauces

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

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This Taste of Lebanon Still Lingers…….

Falafel’s, the Lebanese Haus, I heard had undergone a menu change. Why I wondered, as I loved its offerings anyway. One of the few places in Mumbai serving authentic Lebanese fare, albeit with a bit of a contemporary twist. A new exciting outlet at Gowalia Tank in South Mumbai  was what was the reason. And yes, there were some menu changes too, but, with the regular favourites in tact. Now that was a huge relief.

Their commitment to healthy, quality fast food has made them a favourite of many and I am no exception. I decided to check it out. I made my way to the small, bu swank QSR outlet at Gowalia Tank.

The falafel section in the menu, had increased, with some exciting options. There were some new multi-grain wraps too.

I opted for the Greek falafel and my colleague for the Mexican one. Mine came in a whole wheat pita and his in a wrap.

Hummus Platter

The falafels were crisp and the filling absolutely authentic. The soaked chickpeas were well grounded and seasoned with onions,spices like parsley, garlic, cumin and coriander et al. The fresh and juicy salad and sauces along with it were equally delightful. An exciting array of flavours flooded my mouth. An extremely filling meal it turned out to be.

The repertoire of hummus and dips that have been added are astonishing. I particularly loved the spicy tirokafetri.

The lemonade too was much more refreshing than before. It clearly has undergone a makeover.

Chocolate Nachos with vanilla ice cream is a new entrant. The dessert section now looks good. The nachos, made in-house are exquisite. Perfect texture and taste. Swathed in chocolate sauce, these were sinful. The ice cream however was a bit disappointing and took away the oomph factor from the dessert.

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A special mention must be made of the Oreo Date smoothie, which was more of a dessert for me rather than a thirst quencher. The balance of the two main ingredients was perfectly achieved. Not too sweet and yet, the taste of the dates was evident. Utterly refreshing. Kids are going to love this one. Full marks here to the chef.

The menu has a myriad options to tantalize various palates. Salads, wraps, hummus platters, combos, little bites. A plethora of options to choose from. There are Jain dishes too. For Lebanese cuisine to make this offering. is indeed unparalleled.

The overall experience at Falafel’s was a memorable one, both in terms of service and for the palate. I can’t wait to have one closer home in Oshiwara again.

Rating: 3.5/5

No Hollywood, Only Pizza Please!

Pizza is something I am always game for. For most if us, it is our comfort food.  And a special menu called ‘Hollywood on Your table’ at California Pizza Kitchen, the fine-dining restaurant, sounded even more exciting.

Hawaiian Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Pizza, Jamaican Jerk & Chicken Pizza, Deli Style Bistro Pizza are few of the new entrants in the much loved pizza menu. I was looking forward to these.

My Mango Mint Ecstasy arrived first. It was a tad too sweet and doused with ice. The Spicy Sonora Pizza, was not a very great start. The salsa did not compliment the paneer. The home roasted corn, and black bean salsa, failed to tingle my taste buds. The chicken version of the same pizza, did nothing much to salvage our taste buds. The next one, Jamaican Jerk chicken was a lot better. Distinct flavours, pleasing to the palate. The Vegetarian pizza with oodles of spinach,  was a pleasant surprise. Maybe because of the generous amounts of parmesan cheese, unlike in the other pizzas.

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Hawaiian Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Pizza came next. No scope to go wrong here either. Perfect pair as always. The highlight of the evening was the one which unfortunately came last – Deli style bistro pizza replete with capicola Ham, Canadian bacon, sausages et al on a thin, crisp crust. Alas! If this had come earlier in our meal.

The new menu was a bit of a disappointment, or maybe I went expecting a lot more out of CPK, as I normally love their fare. Some pizzas were too bland and insipid, others had less cheese, or the sauce combination was not upto the mark.

 

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Too full, I decided to skip the pastas completely.  Those looked appetizing though. Spaghetti Carretierra and Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Spaghettini, are the new entrants. Check them out.

California Delight 215, the desserts was the star of the evening. The white chocolate, strawberry and dark chocolate mousse with cranberries and almond prailine was delightful.

The specially created menu will be available at California Pizza Kitchen starting February 24 – March 16, 2014. Pernod Ricard and Absolut partner with California Pizza Kitchen to ensure that Hollywood is a part of your drinks too!Men In Black will no longer be just a movie and Long Beach a place you want to visit –these are divine new mixes that are on their cocktail offerings. So hurry up and partake the  Hollywood experience this week!

Delectable Asian Journey for the Tastebuds

Pan-Asian food is my all-time favourite. And a no- frill sans fuss QSR was just what I needed. Asia on My Plate (AOMP) at Bandra Reclamation, in the western suburbs of Mumbai is a haven for food lovers. There is another outlet at Lowe Parel too.

A concept food-chain by Kashind Group, AOMP is India’s very first quick service Pan Asian restaurant in town. AOMP founders Muizz Khan and Nirbhik Trehan, told me,Although, Asian concepts have long been full-service restaurants, itwas high time that the concept of QSR for our favorite Pan Asian cuisine be introduced to India at an affordable price, without compromising on health and taste.”

Ganesh, very courteously assisted us, as we entered and acquainted us with the menu for the day. We settled for the lemon coriander chicken soup. I was expecting a watery, clear soup, but what was served was a delicious thick flavoured broth with chunks of chicken. Nice and tangy, it added the right zing to our palate.

Succulent, fattened, juicy, chicken steamed momos came next. The filling was yummy. The covering perfect, unlike what is commonly served in many places. Full marks. I was only concerned about the value for money bit. 4 pieces for Rs 175 seemed a tad expensive to me.

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The main course of noodles with chicken in a luscious sauce surpassed my expectations. The sauce was unusual and flavoursome. The orange Malaysian curry was well-made and paired well with steamed white rice. Scrumptious,  and filling. The dessert, a chocolate mousse sourced from outside was lacklustre and disappointing.

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The food chain serves ready to take away Asian Cuisine prepared by exclusive master chefs who have their experiences in various Asian Countries, hence be it your special spicy thai chicken salad LAPKAI, or Japanese veg tempura. The menu includes interesting range of combos, starters, main course and deserts along with Asian-inspired fast food salads. Not surprising at all, considering, popular Chef Nilesh Limaye, is at the helm.

If you are hard-pressed for time and want a quick, yet, satisfying meal, AOMP is the place. The added attraction is that all the dishes served are green in nature which means they are chemical and preservative free. Even Ajinomoto or MSG is strictly avoided hence it bypasses your regular Chinese fast food by miles. Kudos! I like that.

Auriga: A winning combination

Modern Pan Asian cuisine is what I expected to savour, as I stepped into the newly opened lounge-restaurant, Auriga, near Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai. The elegant and chic décor bowled me over completely. The menu and the ambience both clearly are an amalgamation of Asia and the West.
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Chef Nilesh Limaye’s contemporary Pan Asian menu for Auriga intrigued me at first glance. Innovative and unique, it was. There is something for every palate. The health-conscious can safely indulge themselves in steamed Baby corn and mushroom Siu Mai, Green Leafy Rolls, Mushroom and Bamboo Shoot Tapioca Dumpling and much more. For those of us who are not counting their calories, there is a lot to choose from. Cigarillos filled with Asian Spiced Broccoli and Water Chestnut or Edamame and Exotic Vegetables in Orange Ponzu Sauce are just some of the unique dishes.
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Normal is boring, is clearly the mantra here. The flavours in each dish that we sampled were subtle yet, robust. It was heartening to hear that the sauces were all made in house without any MSG or artificial colours. Kudos. The fresh flavours and crunchiness of herbs made the food even more palate pleasing.

The vegetarian section is an exercise in choices. What’s more there is a separate kitchen for vegetarian food!

If one is in a hurry to grab a quick bite at lunch, there is a fairly exhaustive Meal in the bowl section. Khao Suey and Yellow Noodle with Tomatoes and Crispy Okra, are some of your interesting options.

Apart from some interesting Jasmine teas infused with exotic flavours, there are desserts galore. Chocolate and Mint Samosas, I thought were exceptional. Banana Strawberry Melt and Passionfruit Cheesecake are some others that are a must-try.

Kritika Nagpal’s maiden venture after several years in the hospitality industry, Auriga aka charioteer in Latin, is all set to redefine Mumbai’s lifestyle experience and lead the way.  The service is quite good, from start to finish, with prompt responses, the food lip-smacking and the ambience caters to the youngsters, as well as family crowd. A winning formula all the way!