17 April 2017

A Taste of Japan in Mumbai

I am a huge Japanese food aficionado. I crave sushi in the middle of a random day at work. I dream of beautiful bowls of ramen - each put together so intricately and painstakingly such that they resemble a piece of art. I swear I cried a little bit when I saw the Ivan Ramen episode of Chef's Table. And Wasabi bhujia is my current obsession in life. You'll get the drift. 

My interest towards Japanese food started after I begun reading Haruki Murakami novels where the author interweaves food so seamlessly into the narrative. My love affair with Japanese food started during my trip to Singapore last year where I ensured I tried the best South East Asian cuisine this foodie paradise has to offer. Lots of sushi, sashimi, ramen bowls, and rice bowls that the locals call Donburi or 'Don' were devoured. 

I'm always on the lookout for good (re: authentic) Japanese food in the city and there are very few places that serve the real deal. So when The Leela offered to host us for some Japanese food one evening, I cancelled all plans and made my way over to Andheri East. As a part of their recurrent Cherry Blossom Festival, the property is serving up a variety of Japanese delicacies all this month at Citrus - their global dining restaurant. Now while I couldn't make it for the Cherry Blossom flowering festival in Japan this year, the food festival at The Leela would have to suffice. 

7 April 2017

Brunch Diaries - Le Pain Quotidien

Brunch on Sunday > Clubbing on Saturday

If there is one mantra I strongly live by, it has got to be the one above. There is nothing like waking up late on a Sunday, fresh as a daisy without a heavy hungover head, and spending the rest of the day indulging in the best of food and drink. I dream of summery white dresses, mimosas and sangrias, a runny Eggs Benedict on a bed of ham, waffles that are crunchy from outside - airy within, and conversations that last the entire day. My long standing affair with Sunday brunches has been documented on this blog time and again. Last Sunday was no different - we visited Le Pain Quotidien at Bandra Kurla Complex for their Sunday brunch and sampled some of the new dishes on their specially curated summer menu.

The interiors of LPQ epitomise simplicity and class. Minimalist wooden furniture, interiors that are bright and beaming, with large glass panelled walls that allow plenty of sunlight to shine through during the day. Not to forget their large community tables, a concept which they pioneered in the city when LPQ started off years ago. 

On My Table - Spicy Mushroom Tartine, Mediterranean Platter
The 'farm to table' concept is resplendent in every dish that LPQ puts up. The ingredients are organic wherever possible, all produce is fresh and wholesome, and a meal here satiates you without the guilt. Le Pain Quotidien translates to 'Our Daily Bread' in French which is clearly reflected in their freshly baked in-house loaves and other bakery products.

4 April 2017

Travel the World with Tasty Treat's Firangi Bhujia

This is the era of fusion food where we're seeing western classics being incorporated with desi flavours. And we've also witnessed Indian dishes getting modified to imbibe tastes and techniques of the west. The more we travel, the more we're exposed to world cuisines and the more we enjoy this amalgamation of desi-videsi

Attempting to do just that is the brand Tasty Treats with their innovative Firangi Bhujia series of snacks. This comfort food which we've all grown up on, gets a makeover in four different avatars after travelling all over the world. The flavours include a Wasabi variant representing Japan, Schezwan representing China, Peri Peri representing Africa, and Barbeque representing America. 

Humble bhujia does a world tour
The Firangi Bhujia depicts the perfect example of global diversity; it's a dish that has traveled the world, infusing world flavours yet it remains true to the Indian roots. Comforting yet foreign at the same time. Priced at Rs. 45 this is a perfect snack for a number of occasions. 
  • With IPL just around the corner, pair it with a chilled fizzy drink on a summer day, sit back with your friends and watch the match. 
  • Serve it along with some masala chai for some tea time chit-chat with your gal pals. 
  • It's also versatile enough to be incorporated into simple dishes. Try a Peri Peri Bhujia Tamatar sabzi - a twist on the Kathiyawad Sev Tamatar sabzi. Or else whip up a quick raita with a bhujia flavour of your choice. They'll also go really well on top of canapes.

31 March 2017

My March Food Favourites

It felt like the month of March would never end. If an Ashutosh Gowariker movie was a month, it would be March. But all these never ending days, meant one thing. It meant a lot of food was eaten, some of which I blogged about previously. (Read about Pradeep Gomantak Bhojnalaya here. Also read about two new bar launches that happened last month here.) A few have made the cut and are featured on my March Food Favourites list. Read on!

 1. If you're looking for a South East Asian foodcation - Shizusan Shophouse and Bar, Lower Parel
When every third restaurant in the city doles out Pan Asian food, what do you do to stand out? You make your dishes the star, you let your food sing without any gimmicks - which is exactly what Shizusan Shophouse and Bar does. The entire three storeyed space is modelled on the concept of a South East Asian shophouse - a traditional business cum residential building. The decor has intricate Asian elements without being garish, and made me fall in love with the space the minute I walked in.
The menu is extensive, pictorial and elaborates on the history and ingredients behind each dish. The average food aficionado can spend an hour reading the menu, educating themselves, which is exactly what I did! Fill yourself up on their dimsums, baos, and sushi selection - each one better than the next. Their Lobster Moneybags steamed dimsums had the perfect outer casing without being too rubbery or disintegrating too easily, with a lobster filling that was seasoned just right. The baos are pillowy soft that make you want to take them back to bed with you, stuffed with meats like Peking Duck and Pork Belly that represent South East Asian cuisine perfectly. With four dimsums to a basket and two baos to a plate, you only wish there was more.
Everything on their menu right from the tapas to mains to their desserts highlight dishes that are native to SEA culinary heritage, painstakingly put together by Chef Paul Kinny. Here you'll find the Chilli Crab from Singapore, the Malay-Thai Massaman Curry, a Korean Gochujang Buri Bop, Adobo Braised Pork Belly from the Phillipines, a Bread Pudding made from the famous Singaporean Kaya Jam, the Hong Kong Egg Custard Tart...we could go on! They also do a Milo Milkshake, which I drank copious amounts of during my time in Singapore. Go on a little foodcation with Shizusan, and explore the cusine of South East Asia. Highly recommended!
Shizusan Shophouse and Bar, Skyzone, Ground Floor, Near Lifestyle Gate, High Street Phoenix Mall, Lower Parel, Mumbai

26 March 2017

Take a Trip to Drunky Town With These New Bars

With restaurants and bars sprouting all around the city like moss during monsoons how does one determine which bar is worth your time, money and most importantly worth those calories. Yours truly recommends trying out these two watering holes among all the new entrants the city has seen this month. Read on, and then drink on! *hic*

1. Swey, Worli
Perched on the top floor of the now defunct Atria mall in Worli lies Swey - a sprawling casual dining bar where you can nibble on appetizers under the open sky and drink cocktails with the sea breeze in your hair. What I loved about Swey the minute I walked in was the sheer magnitude of the space - large and spaced out unlike most bars in the city where you're bumping elbows with the drunk on the next table.
Their signature cocktails come strongly recommended. My pick of the night was the Kale and Hearty - a vodka, spinach, cucumber, kale and ginger mix - that definitely tastes better than it sounds. Why have your greens when you can drink them mixed with alcohol? Another favourite was the highly potent Tequila Surprise - a tequila, kiwi, jalapeno concoction. What I loved about the cocktails here was that they were generous with the alcohol quotient which is a rarity nowadays.

(Left to Right): Rechado Fish Tikka, Cajun Chicken Pizza, Bottle Masala Chicken