Sunday, 21 January 2018

“Idhar macchi ekdum fresh milta hain (The fish here is extremely fresh) “- Purandar Shetty, Manager


Harish Lunch Home, Irla     4/5
Address:  115, S. V. Road, Irla, Vile Parle West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400056
Specialty:  Manglorean Sea food
Type of Restaurant: All day bar and restaurant
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 2200/- for two with one non-alcoholic beverage each. Exclusive of applicable taxes and charges. They don’t levy a service charge
The concept of a Lunch home is popular on the Mumbai food scene. Harish is, in our opinion, one of the best. They pride themselves on the freshness of their produce, particularly seafood. Other than their own cuisine, Manglorean, they serve food from the rest of the South, Punjabi and Chinese.
Ambience
No frills, comfortable. There are two family dining rooms on the 1st floor of the restaurant.
Life’s Good, but it’s not perfect
Starters: We started with the crab butter garlic. They serve it de-shelled, on request, and we prefer not to have to wrestle with our food, unless absolutely necessary. This is an Oriental preparation in a butter garlic sauce with spring onion and fresh red chilies. On the face of it, it looks like a simple dish, but it brings out the delicate crab flavour perfectly. This is the dish that takes us back .
From the tandoor, we had the fish Noorani Tikka. This dish has boneless pieces of Rawas or Indian salmon marinated in a brown spice mix, unlike the typical fiery red tandoori masala we are accustomed to. A good sized portion, you get six perfectly cooked pieces, served with a coriander and mint chutney, shallots, lemon wedges and pickle on the side. A dollop of the chutney and a squeeze of lime…pure bliss.
Next came the Prawn Malabari Fry, a delicacy from Gods own country, Kerala. Batter fried, akin to a Prawn Koliwada. The spice mix with the curry leaf garnish is a perfect snack if you’re having a drink. 14-15 medium sized prawns, deep fried to a golden brown. So perfectly done, no condiment is required.
They do a mean prawn tandoori and a pomfret stuffed with
prawn. The latter, being a tedious dish, does takes a while to
prepare.
Mains: We had the Prawn Mallipuram with Neer dosa and Appam. Delicately flavoured yellow gravy, with a coconut milk base, this dish busts the myth that all keralite food packs a punch. We paired this with Neer Dosa and Appam, both rice pancakes, one from Mangalore and the other from Kerala. Both worked a charm. You could have this with rice as well.
You could also try the Gassi, which is a Manglorean coconut based red gravy with seafood of your choice. They also serve it with chicken and mutton. Equally interesting is the seafood Pulimunchi .
Drinks: They have a vast choice of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The cocktail selection is limited. If alcohol is not your thing, ask for a glass of chilled sol kadi-a concoction of coconut /coconut milk and kokum with a dash of chilly, garnished with green coriander. This is just so refreshing, particularly in summer!
Service wise, the servers are attentive and friendly. Do ask them for recommendations.
Insider tips
Don’t judge a book by its cover. The humble exterior is deceptive. Take your taste buds up a flight of stairs, they’ll thank you later.  
What to wear Anything Casual.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

“I can travel miles for the love of food “-Chef Milan Gupta



Taftoon, BKC     3.5/5

Address:Ground Floor, Naman Centre, Unit No.2, KBC, Opposite Dena Bank, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051

Specialty:  Food from places on the Grand Trunk route all the way from Afghanistan, through Pakistan, North India, Ladakh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, finally crossing over and halting at Bangladesh.
Type of Restaurant: All day bar and restaurant
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 2600/- for two with one non-alcoholic beverage each. Exclusive of applicable taxes and charges.
The restaurant endeavors to take you on a journey from Kabul to Kolkata on the Grand Trunk route, out of the history books, and onto our plates.  One of the things that connected these places was the taftan. The oldest name for this bread was taftoon, hence the name of the restaurant.
Taftoon turned out to be a lesson in ancient Indian culinary history and all the various the ways in which ingredients and cooking techniques have traversed geographical boundaries.
Ambience
Taftoon is a spacious place, all pale yellow lighting, wooden flooring and hexagonal lamps.
An open kitchen gives a view into the making of the dishes, especially the breads. There are no overt references to the cultural histories that cumulatively make up the Grand Trunk Road. Disparate design elements are strewn across Taftoon—and noticeable only if you are really paying attention, peeking at you from the alcoves and walls. 
Life’s Good, but it’s not perfect
They use a Robata grill and traditional degchis and Lucknowi lagans to send out delicate kebabs and grilled dishes.
Starters: Chicken Pakodey is a Ladakhi preparation of boneless chicken wings tossed in ginger, turmeric and honey, as the menu suggests. We guess there was a lot more by way of a marinade, but obviously, they are holding their cards close to their chest. The chicken was succulent, cooked just right and not very greasy. There were complex flavors in an apparently simple dish. A show stealer and an apt homage to a route used to transport spice.
The Galauti Kebab was originally made for a toothless Nawab in Lucknow. There are three in a serve, so order accordingly. Sharing this could get a bit inconvenient as they are served on bite sized breads. It was tasty, but a little too much chilly overpowered the rest of the spices.
Mains: Gushtaba are Kashmiri meatballs served in a yoghurt based Yakhni sauce tempered with mustard oil. The sauce is flavoursome, sadly though, the meatballs were rubbery and tasteless.  
Matke Me Rum Shaljam is served in an earthen pot. Well cooked mutton, the turnip adds flavour and complements the meat. The rum flambé is done tableside. This is a delightful, Moorish homestyle dish.
They have a good variety when it comes to bread. The Lal naan is flavoured with rogan or chili oil and sesame seeds. This one is not to be missed. The restaurant gets their name from the Taftoon. Oven baked, flavored with saffron and black cardamom, this pairs well with both the mains.
Dessert: we had the Chenna Platter which is an assortment of chenna-based sweets- sandesh (which was a mini-golf ball which had to be chased around the plate in an attempt to cut it), malai chop, kheer kodombo, gulab jamun, chomchom and malai sandwich. Other than the sandesh, the others were just right.
Drinks: We didn’t partake of the drinks, but they have a vast choice of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Their signature mock tails and cocktails looked interesting.
Service wise, the servers are attentive but could do with a little more food knowledge.

Insider tips
There is enough on the menu for a second trip.  We had the opportunity to speak to Chef Milan. His passion for food is admirable. He has invested a lot of time and effort in studying cooking methods, and tries to keep processes as authentic as possible.
What to wear Anything Casual.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

“Wait, Let me check if we have Americano”-Disinterested Waitress


The Boston Butt    1/5


Address: 1st floor Rampart Row 30 K Dubash Marg Opp. Max Mueller Bhavan, Near Rhythm House and Jehangir Art Gallery, Kalaghoda, Fort, Maharashtra 400023

Specialty:  Smokery, Charcuterie, Bar and Cafe
Type of Restaurant: All day bar and restaurant
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 3000/- for two Exclusive of Drinks and applicable taxes and charges. They levy a 10% service charge
They call themselves Indias first Smokery. What it really is is a mockery of a smoke house. The Boston Butt is the American name for a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder and is usually used for pulled pork. With a name like that, we can only  assume the meat would be fabulous. This experience is like that of a blockbuster Bollywood film with a top of the line cast that goes on to bomb at the box office. Our first look at the menu told us we’d have to return to do justice to the vast variety. By the end of the meal, it was clear we’d return for one reason only, to get our money back.
Ambience
With the exposed pipes and leather upholstery, they are clearly trying to re-create  the vibe of a pre-Prohibition era restaurant in the US. Also creeping in there is the hint of the New Orleans French Quarter. The restaurant is spread over 2 floors, the upper one has a better feel and yes, the bar.
Life’s Good, but its not perfect
They make us think of teenagers on their first trip to Amsterdam. They’ve tried to smoke everything. Sadly there is an inconsistence in cooking and more often than not, you feel the only smoke, is in the pipes overhead.
Starters. from the “raw bar”
To start we ordered what they call the house-cured cold-smoked sushi grade blue thread fin Indian Salmon, cream cheese, shallot oil and mini bagel. Quite a mouthful, right? And a mouthful that we couldn’t swallow. To make it simpler for everyone, they should re-name the dish “Salt”, because, quite frankly, that’s all we could taste. Once we got over the pale grey slices of fish (with the skin on) that looked like it was undergoing a second rigor mortis and developed the courage to pop it in our mouths, we instantly wish we hadn’t. The salinity had our blood pressure surging. Needless to say, we had it sent away.

Good Old Smokies:. We ordered the smoked barbeque
platter with pulled smoked pork, the st. Louis style smoked peppery rib, smoked buffalo brisket, and the bourbon & smoked chilli smoked chicken. The pork had clearly been pulled a while ago and forgotten about. It was dry and had lost all of the succulence you would associate with pulled pork. The brisket was rather odd, fatty in parts, dry in others. The rib was ok. There could have been more of it. The chicken was overcooked, slightly redeemed by the hot sauce it came with. The platter is not even slightly worth the price.
Mains or Full plates : We were recommended the seafood gumbo. We expected a medley of seafood; all we got were some very overcooked morsels of fish and prawn. Gumbo is one of dishes that helped make the Creole-Cajun cuisine of Louisiana so famous. This dish inspires competitions and festivals. Gumbo is usually identified by its dark roux, cooked until it is a color "a few shades from burning". The one we got was more like a tomato sauce, devoid of flavour. This was served with butter parsley rice. We have to take their word of it. We couldn’t taste the butter. Having eaten and made a few in our time, this was grossly disappointing.


Dessert: We were informed that dessert would take 20-25 minutes. By now, we had no inclination to spend any more time.
Drinks: The menu looked interesting, save for the Curry scented bitch, which seemed more like a racial slur, than a cocktail. All we had the patience for was an Americano, which took 20 minutes to arrive. And when it did, tasted like the slurry that Starbucks discards after making their coffees.
Service wise, they are couldn’t care less and spent long periods of time lost in conversation amongst them selves. There were long spells wherein there was no staff at all.   
Insider tips You are best off on your own. If you are in the area and have nothing else to do and loads of time to kill, drop in and order a coffee. They’ll take 10 minutes to confirm they even have it. 
Value for money Our wallet refuses to accompany us , in the event we return
What to wear Anything with large pockets, to stash away something to nibble on while you wait for your food.


Sunday, 17 December 2017

“O Pedro is a “Happy Place” - Amit Naik, Restaurant Manager


O Pedro, BKC    4.5/5


https://goo.gl/maps/Rcr6Tc8dnTq
Address: Unit No. 2, Plot No. C-68, Jet Airways - Godrej BKC , Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (E), Mumbai - 400 051
Specialty:  Goan and Portuguese cuisine
Type of Restaurant: All day bar and restaurant 
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 2000/- for two, exclusive of Drinks and applicable taxes and charges. They levy a 10% service charge
The best way to describe this restaurant would be to call it a “happy place” While the décor takes you back in time, the food is a delightful combination of old Goan - Portuguese recipes and contemporary flourishes and flavor combinations. This restaurant appears to be a homecoming of sorts for Head Chef and Top Chef Masters winner, Floyd Cardoz. His childhood food memories, growing up in a Goan family, are more than evident in the food. After the success of The Bombay Canteen, he has indeed delivered a home run.
Ambience
The arched ceilings, wicker chairs, blue and white azulejos tiles and a swinging playlist, create a charming old world feel, making it difficult to believe that you’re in the glass and concrete business district of BKC. The lights are timed to dim as the evening proceeds, taking the mood from an upbeat party to a cheerful dinner with friends and family.
Life’s Good, but its not perfect
O Pedro’s menu brings forth meals from the Catholic, Saraswat and Portuguese kitchens. The common element is the attention to detail, which makes every dish a delight. They have Tapas-style small plates, allowing you to try more, along with the larger plates and ‘thalis’ at lunchtime.
Contrary to popular perception of Goan – Portuguese food, vegetarians have plenty to choose from. They also have a separate all vegetarian menu.
If you are not a fan of high volumes and like to hear yourself think as you eat, you may want to avoid weekend dinner, or carry a pair of ear buds. The place tends to get jam-packed and rather loud. But with the food and drinks flowing, the conversations are bound to.
Starters or what they call quarter plates: Mornings in Goan homes are ushered in with the tinkling bell of the ‘poee-walla’s’ cycle. The poee is the Goan Sourdough; served with butters in 4 flavors. You can choose to have them individually or go for all 4. Vegetarian options are ‘balchao’ and black pepper cheese. The non-vegetarian options are the pork rosemary and chorizo. Much to our surprise, we preferred the veg ones. They are proud of their poee, and rightly so. The best we have eaten, outside of Goa.
Crispy Pork Chicharones Ambotik is pork crackling sprinkled with a Goan spicy sour masala mix. It’s a small portion and is the perfect bar snack.
Aunty Castro’s fish mousse is a contemporary twist on the very traditional Portuguese sardines in tomato and olive oil. Serving it in a sardine tin is a nice touch. The rich creamy texture gives it an almost foie gras like feel.
Entrees or what they call Half plates: The Red snapper Poke is a cured fish dish, akin to a ceviche, a tartare or a carpaccio. The traditional Hawaain Ahi poke is made with tuna. It is served in chilled coconut milk seasoned with raw mango bits and chilly. Served in a coconut shell, and topped with ‘kurmura’ or rice crispies for texture, this is a dish we’d go back for.
Veal Tongue Prosciutto is cured tongue served with a mustard aioli and potato sallies(matchsticks). The paper thin slices of veal tongue take us back to Italy. Although, prosciutto is Italian for ham. The dish is plated in layers and needs to be mixed , but once you do, it’ll be gone in a minute.
Mains or Full plates : The Feijoada is a traditional Portuguese/Brazilian stew made with black beans and beef or pork. It is served here with Goan pink beans and Duck done two ways. We preferred the crispy skin and perfectly pink duck breast to the slow cooked leg. Having said that, both work well with the stew.
Dessert: The Portuguese Doughnuts are perfectly fried little dough balls dusted with sugar and cinnamon comes with 3 sauces: salted caramel with Goan Jaggery, dark chocolate with hazelnut and lemon cream.  We could not get enough of the salted caramel and the lemon cream.
Drinks:
Replicating the Goan alcohol culture was hard without the classic local brews like ‘feni’. Not to be deterred, they have created their own brews by infusing vodka with cashew and rum with ‘kokum’ (a souring agent). Their Cashew-In-Spirit is an ode to Goan home brews, while Finding Funny plays on the traditional way of cutting the pungent smell of ‘feni’ with salt.
Their Coconut Cream ale (Pedro’s Naariyal Paani) is a craft
beer which is light and with just the slightest hint of coconut, is delightful. It feels like having beer in a coconut shell.
The welcome drink, the Meri tai, which is their take on Mai-tai is served in traditional tiny port wine glasses and leaves you wanting more.
They have Portuguese wines as well: red, white and bubbly. Served as glasses or whole bottles. Not to be missed. They also have house wines.
Service wise, they are eager to please, and attentive, even if the place is packed. 
Insider tips Do ask for assistance on what to order. The servers are eager to please and super helpful. Or just put your finger on something and order it. The odds are its good.
Value for money. My wallet and tummy, both can’t wait to go back.
What to wear Just about anything, from a Hawaiian shirt to an evening gown. Everyone’s too busy having a good time to notice.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

"I could stake anything for the steak" - Sumo

Stacks And Racks, Malad     4/5
Address: Shop no.1, Ganga Niwas, Chincholi Bunder, Opp. Lakozy Toyota, Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400064
Specialty:  Burgers, Ribs, Steaks
Type of Restaurant: All day bar and restaurant or Adda
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 1200/- for two with one non-alcoholic beverage each. Exclusive of applicable taxes and charges.
Reminiscent of an American Diner, this is one of Malad’s coolest hangouts. The newest “it” place could have you waiting for a table for a substantial amount of time, especially if you want a seat inside the restaurant, away from the Link road traffic. But the food is worth the wait.  
Ambience
The look they are going for is American Diner. From the American flag to images of Elvis and Madonna, down to the menu, their love for all things American is apparent. But it really is all about the food.
Life’s Good, but it’s not perfect
Starters: The Burgers are great. The larger ones can get a bit messy to eat, but that’s what tissues are for. Everyone is too busy to notice the mess you are making anyway, so eat away!
The All American Sweet & Spicy BBQ Chicken Wings is on the sweeter side, but then BBQ chicken tends to be so.
The Beer Battered Fried fish could do with some more flavour. Skip this one if you’re here for the steak.
Mains: The pièce de résistance here is hands down the steak. The pork chops can get a bit dry. The tenderloin (served with a bordelaise sauce and veggies), the ranch style( with creamed spinach and potatoes) and the carpetbagger (stuffed with celery and shrimp, served in a red wine sauce) are all delicious. They make them to order, so do specify how you want it done: rare, medium-rare, medium or well done. We like ours medium rare and they managed to get it right.
The T-Bone is a large serve and great if you are really hungry.
For the pescatarians, the Grilled Fish Steak with Indian Salmon or Rawas is a great option. The creamy mushroom sauce it comes with is drool-worthy.
The Barbeque Pork ribs are cooked to perfection with just the right hint of smoke.
The Jambalaya is great if you are someone who must have rice with your meal. This medley of chicken, sausages, shrimp and vegetables may disappoint if you have had the original.
Dessert: The Philadelphia cheesecake is a wonderful end to the meal.
The Stacks and Racks Special is great if you like chocolate. Chocolate cake with ice-cream is almost always a crowd- pleaser. It could be a bit much if you have done justice to the rest of the menu.  
The Apple pie a la mode has tasty pie filling. The crust is a bit too thick, which makes the overall dish a bit dry.
Drinks: They do not serve alcohol. Some of the food, the fish and chips or the onion rings, for instance has you wishing you could reach out for a chilled glass of beer. But once you get busy digging into your meal, you don’t miss it at all. The iced tea is great. You can try the pink lemonade as well, it’s interesting.
Service wise, they could be a tad more attentive.
Insider tips
Value for money. They have their own loyalty system, hashtag loyalty. Download the app for free stuff/discounts on subsequent visits. Go there once, and the odds are you’ll return.
What to wear Whatever you please. 



Sunday, 3 December 2017

"We customize everything to suit the Indian palate"-Siddarth K,Sous Chef

Lima, BKC    3.5/5 


Address: 2, North Avenue, Maker Maxity, BKC, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051
Specialty: Ceviches from Peru, Grills from Brazil and Street Cuisine from Mexico
Type of Restaurant: Lounge bar
The details above are from the restaurant/their website and are subject to change at their discretion
Price Range: 3000/- for two Exclusive of Drinks and applicable taxes and charges. They levy a 10% discretionary service charge

The city’s first and probably only Peruvian restaurant is a little slice of Lima, along with a bit of Brazil and Mexico, influenced by China, Japan and Korea and modified to suit the “Indian palate”. Confused? Apparently, so are they 

Ambience As you enter, the first thing that strikes you is the artificial grass on the ceiling. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks. Its really there. Overall pleasing, the décor is a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and what have you. A reasonably large bar if you are looking for an after work tipple. Well-spaced seating, pleasant lighting and music that allowed conversation, made for a comfortable setting.




Life’s Good, but its not perfect
The location works. Bang in the middle of the Business District, it’s a good place for a working lunch or a relaxing drink after work. Nothing on the menu shocks, surprises or even thrills your palate. Good quality, fresh produce. Good variety for non-vegetarians. Vegetarians are catered to as well, though sometimes at the cost of taking liberties with a ceviche or a tiradito, dishes which by definition, are made with raw fish, but are served up with baby corn, asparagus, mushroom and zucchini. The Chinese Cantonese influence on Peru is apparent in the Chifa options, as is the Japanese in the Nikkei.
Starters: The Lamb taco was melt in the mouth perfection. One serving has 3 pieces, but you could easily put away more.
The Korean influenced Chicken Gochujang has a tad too much honey, presumably to tone down the potent hit of the gochujang chilly. This is served with a green tomato salsa, which is more of chutney, but tasted good, nonetheless.
Mains: The Chicharron is a Lima style fried pork rib. Fantastic portions, amazing produce. Tantalizing dry spice rub on the outside. But, that’s where it ends. The flavor doesn’t permeate through and the whole dish is difficult to finish. We couldn’t, and we LOVE pork.
Dessert: Baklava, Firni and Vathalapam jostle for space in the dessert section along with the more traditional Yucca Tresleches (which is made with fresh cassava root and 3 milks) and the Enamorado ( a rather delightful concoction of baked chocolate mousse, Pisco, coffee and dark chocolate)
Now, the Indian desserts, we understand. What was the Middle East doing in the middle of things?
Drinks: As is the case with the food, the drinks menu offers pisco (brandy) and cachaça (similar but NOT the same as white rum) from Peru. The main difference in production between the two distillates, is that rum is made with boiled sugar cane juice (molasses). Cachaça, however, has historically always been made ​​with fresh sugarcane juice, called garapa.
They do, however, offer a fair selection of cocktails based on these two, along with the staple options available elsewhere.
Service wise, they are eager to please, without constantly hovering, and concerned if something’s not to your liking.  An extra half point for service.

Insider tips Do ask for assistance on what to order. The servers are fairly knowledgeable when it comes to what goes into the food, thankfully.  
They have an 8 course meal for 2 called the ‘Lima Grand Fiesta’ which comes with both veg and non-veg options and a glass of house wine each.

What to wear it’s a lounge bar, so, its not its necessary to wear your Sunday best. We wouldn't show up in our pajamas either. 



"We customize everything to suit the Indian palate"-Siddarth K,Sous Chef

Lima, BKC    3.5/5  https://goo.gl/maps/1puc9WAcoT52 Address: 2, North Avenue, Maker Maxity, BKC, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051 Spe...