29 January 2017

My January Food Favourites

I've started the new year with a bang. I've incessantly stuffed my face with the most delicious food, explored some new haunts in the city, and rediscovered old favorites. Sometimes it becomes impossible to write individual blog posts on each of my dining experiences to due lack of time or lack of content, so I've decided to list down my favorites at the end of the month, every month. In completely random order, here are my January food favorites. 

1. Value for Money Meal Deal - The Sassy Spoon, Bandra

Now The Sassy Spoon may be known for their delicious food, but they're definitely not known to be pocket friendly. Their fabulous weekday lunch deals are about to change that notion. We had a lovely four course lunch there complete with soup/salad, appetizer, mains and dessert priced at Rs 745 ALL INCLUSIVE. (Yes, you read that right. This is not a hoax.) They did not skimp on the portion size as well, and by the end of the mains we were stuffed to the gills. Make sure you try the Coriander and Rava Crusted Bombil, the Confit Garlic Fettuccine, and the moist Carrot cake - all on the set menu! They also do a similar three course meal deal for Rs 545 and that may be worth considering if you're a light eater.



2. A Meal with a View - Boardwalk by Flamboyante, Mandwa Jetty, Alibaug

An hour long ferry ride from the Gateway of India brings you to the picturesque Mandwa Jetty. It is right here that Boardwalk by Flamboyante is housed - a stunning, sea facing restaurant that screams serenity and luxury, drizzled with a little bit of romance. The outside section is housed right on the pier, and you can look ahead at the Arabian Sea lashing while you guzzle down your third beer. The white and blue Greco-Roman inspired space is perfect for a sundowner, and the music amps up as the evening progresses. They serve some delicious grub as well - thin pizzas, smokey kebabs, and sizzling sizzlers. (Sorry. Not sorry.) Highly recommended for your next Sunday brunch, or a leisure lunch date.



3. A Regional Food Experience - Kerala Sadya at Hotel Deluxe, Fort
My very first time trying a traditional Kerala sadya, and I am so glad I did! What a delicious experience it was. A banana leaf laid out in front of us with the most lipsmacking dishes from down south. A delicious tamarind chutney, avial, a peas curry of sorts, and a beetroot pachadi made for the first course. Then rounded off with thick grained Kerala rice, sambhar, rasam, and payasam. UNLIMITED portions for 150 bucks. If this isn't value for money, then I don't know what is. We also ordered some roast beef (buff meat) on the side, which was peppery hot and succulent. Such an indulgent, delicious meal without burning a hole in the pocket. Highly recommended!



4. If You Love All Things Strawberry - The Strawberry Fields Salad from Bombay Salad Co.
Stop everything you're doing, put down your phone and rush to Bombay Salad Co. because by the time you finish reading this the Strawberry Fields salad may be off the menu. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - no one does salads like Bombay Salad Co., and no one conceptualizes salad pairings like Chef Karishma Dalal does. The Strawberry Fields is all sorts of genius - kale, roquette, and barley come enveloped in this strawberry vinaigrette topped with feta, granola, and strawberry chunks. It is the perfect blend of sweet and savoury, a bit indulgent, extremely wholesome, and very very delicious. 


5. A Meal With the Community - Republic Day Celebrations at Nowroz Baug
Republic Day 2017 is one that I will remember for years to come. I was invited to judge a cooking competition at Nowroz Baug along with senior food writer Kalyan Karmakar.
The competition spanned various age groups, various themes, though the underlying love for food remained constant. Groups of children under the age of 10 years made us tricolour sandwiches complete with a ketchup smiley. The older kids rattled off Ras Chawal recipes and taught me how to cook a Sicilian chicken breast with an orange glaze. Competitions like this inspire the younger generation to take to the culinary arts as a profession, and I could spot quite a few budding future chefs.
The adults amazed us with cooking prowess and innovative recipes. Recipes from Kashmir, Assam, Telangana and Kerala made appearances. But what stole my heart were the good ol' Bawa dishes. Gimme a plate of Ras Chawal, Farcha and Ravo anyday!

I love how Parsi colonies bring out a feeling of unity and oneness amongst the residents. This was reflected throughout the warm and happy afternoon we spent at Nowroz Baug, and this one just may have been my favourite January 2017 meal.


6. Best New Entrant - Tamasha, Lower Parel
Among the many new bars and lounges that have cropped up this month, I'd have to place Tamasha in Lower Parel as my favourite. After a successful stint in the capital, and many many Tamasha outlets later - Tamasha makes it's way to the shores of Mumbai. The entire space is very 'Dilli' - bordering on garish, with dangling bulbs from the ceiling, blingy furniture and a fleet of high end cars parked outside. The al freso section outside however, is more sober and perfect if you're looking for a relaxed evening. Want to party? Head on inside! They do a number of Tamasha signature cocktails involving the regular foams, fumes, and other molecular mixology elements. I highly recommend you try the Five Musketeers cocktail, the fiery Kheema Pav, and the Chicken Gyozas.



7. A Meal Fit for Royalty - Royal Kitchens of Patiala festival at Masala Bay, Taj Lands End
It's not everyday that you get to taste recipes that belonged to history, dishes that were cooked in royal kitchens, and try recipes shared by a real life princess. Rajkumari Sarvesh Kaur from the royal family of Patiala came down to Mumbai bringing with her a treasure trove of recipes from the royal kitchen, which were showcased at Masala Bay till the 28th of January. I was privileged enough to experience the non-vegetarian four course set menu that started off with a flavour packed Lamb shorba. We then proceeded onto the spicy and succulent Teekha Kebabs, and the oven cooked - Bhatti da Murg. The mains comprised a fabulous spread right from Mutton Aloo Bukhara (mutton cooked with plums), to Murg Kibiti (chicken cooked with honey), and Duggani Mutto Pulao (twice the amount of mutton to rice ratio). The Halwa Behzai or the Egg Halwa had the bouncy egg white texture without the strong eggy taste. This was such an unusual dessert, and the perfect end to a spectacular meal.


(The author dined anonymously and paid for her own meals at The Sassy Spoon, Boardwalk by Flamboyante, Hotel Deluxe, and Bombay Salad Co. The author was invited to dine at Nowroz Baug, Tamasha and Masala Bay. As always, the views are unbiased and her own.)

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