Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Review – Wich Latte
Pic Courtesy

Culinary Muse has been gallivanting all over Mumbai in search food that would make her yell ‘Yummy in My tummy’. Now, It feels like full circle to be back to Colaba, her Alma Mater in some sense, and gauge through causeway not jewellery, not clothes, not artifacts but some pet pooja!
Pic Courtesy

Pic Courtesy

After you have passed, the usual hangouts like Leopold, Montegar and the once rumored to shut Café Churchill, you will notice Wich Latte, right opposite the Parsi haven Curow Baug. Started in the fag end of 2007, Wichlatte was set up to give a New York style café experience with white, yellow and coffee interiors. Today, it seems to have a got a new lease of life with Green & Purple hues, that make it look more like a garden than a café. They have retained the high tables & chairs and the open kitchen which is good thing though.
Coming to the food, since this place just a hop and skip away from mine, this is an account of the multiple occasions that I have been there.

Cream of Brocolli Soup

A must have there are the Soups which come in bread bowls like the Chowders in San Francisco. They have a different soup every day and the one to die for is the Chicken Soup – thick, creamy broth with pieces of chicken. Scooping the bread (from the bowl) drenched in the soup has the most yummylicious taste on this planet. Paradise is made of things like this. But they don’t serve this everyday and they apparently don’t have a fixed day for the soups. So all of it depends on your luck L. The other soup that is good is the Cream of Mushroom, Cream of Brocolli, Cream of Peas (yes don’t make that face) and Cream of Carrot (no its not puky, and a good excuse to have your vegetables and eat it too). The only one that I thought should not be had is the Cream of Tomato – it’s pathetically sour and too peppery!

The next, is what they are most famous for, no prices for guessing – The Sandwiches! They have international ones and also their own signature one’s, you also have an option of making your own sandwich.
The Tuscan Verde is a good option –with chicken and basil pesto. Quiet Filling and Yum! Clintons Wich – chicken salami topped with tomato salsa in a Panini on the other hand didn’t impress me much! The tomato salsa in it wasn’t quiet tomato salsa!  The usual Chicken Hot Dog is also a good option. On the Veg front the Focassia Funghi is good– sautéed mushrooms, sprouts, parsley all wrapped in rosemary focassia with this yummy tang of balsamic vinegar!

Fussili Pesto with Chicken

In the mains, the Arabiatta Penne was to die for! And if you’re lucky you still might get it. But I guess the food is really unpredictable, the last time I went there the Arabiatta was tasting more like tomato sauce than the homemade thick tomato concasse that you would expect. The Pesto Fussilli – is brilliant with basil, creamy and nutty flavor! They serve 2 pieces of garlic bread with the pastas.

A great accompaniment with all this is their Lemon Ice Tea. The used to do Pizza’s and they had this yummy Chicken Pizza but unfortunately they have stopped.

In the desserts the Blue Berry Cheese Cake is to die for. Love the fact that it’s shaped not like a slice but like a round pudding with a thick layer of cream cheese that just melts in your mouth.

On the whole the place has good food, albeit a bit unpredictable and not so well managed. For e.g. they don’t have a fixed day for a particular soup! So I can never go there hoping for a Chicken or a Brocolli Soup!
Warning: They also have no sign that says “We do not accept credit cards” and don’t have that facility. So Visa really doesn’t have any ‘power’ here!

A meal for 2 would cost anywhere between Rs 300 – Rs 500


Food: Good but sometimes Unpredictable
Ambience: Dil Garden Garden Ho Gaya
Service: Courteous

Quicktip: Good option place to grab a quick bite or even experiment with making your own sandwich.

The Co-ordinates

Wich Latte
Shop No. 4, Ground Floor, Western Breeze Building, Colaba, Mumbai

Phone: 65254827, 65265047

Timings: 9:00 AM to 11:30 PM

Food Type: American, Snacks, Desserts

Serves Alcohol: No

Payment Methods: A BIG NO

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sravan Especial

Review: Golden Star Thali

“Mehndi te vavi malave ne
aeno rang gayo gujarat re
mehndi rang lagyo re”

Errrr I am sorry. It’s just that Sravanno Mahino che and am in the mood for Gujarati song, dance and of course Gujarati Thali.

So we head to Churni Road to try this place called Golden Star Thali. To be honest, I haven’t really enjoyed thali in years. The last one I had was at Samrat, which was beyond insipid. I hated the greasy (read: almost soaked in oil) vegetables and ‘it’s so sweet it goes right to your ass’ dals.

But on insistence of my family, I thought why not give this a try!

So I enter the almost deserted (only  6 people dining and almost a dozen staff) Golden Star Thali and notice the really simple decor. Nothing fancy, just cushioned grey chairs and wooden tables. My dad tells me that the place is owned by Parsi gentleman named Mr. Zia A. Eshraghi. Wow, I think to myself, a Parsi  running a Gujrati pure veg restaurant! Bau Fine. My father adds that this used to be an Irani cafe that didn’t do too well and hence now Golden Star Thali.  Su waat che! They have seasonal Thali’s and in the month of August they serve the Festive Thali.

So on the table there are these huge shiny steel plates with so many bowls. Counting them helped me sharpen my addition skills! There were about 10 -15(am still sharpening it) of them. As I begin to wonder what are they going to serve us in so many bowls, they first serve a glass of Chaas – not the usual Gujarati mix, this is salty and patla but quit refreshing. The next is the chutneys and pickles. After that come the FarsanPakora’s: nice and tasty but not crispy! Doklas: tricolour dokla, soft, light and yummy! Cocktail samosa’s: quite nice.
(from left to right) Moong Sabji, Paneer Mutter, Bateta nu Shak, Bhindi Masala, Dahi Kadi, Surti Dal, Roti, Pickles

In the main’s they start with Sabji’s (Vegetables). The serve Bateta Nu Shaak i.e. Potato sabji – quite a nice flavour however I found the besan pretty over powering, Bhindi masala: tasty and sumptuous,the paneer in the Mutter Paneer was quite chewy not very appetising Moong Subzi – quite tasteless.

(left - right anti clockwise) Rice Kheer, Dal Bhatti Churma, Dal Dhokli, Green Onion Sabji 

In the dals they had three varieties Surti Dal – sweet- spicy yellow tur dal which was brilliant. Have with plain rice and you’ll keep licking your fingers. Yes please don’t use a spoon it’s a thali for God sake! Would you eat biryani with a spoon? Now that would be a cardinal sin! The next is a spicy Rajasthani Dal called Dal Bhaati Churma: again brilliant flavours and goes well with chapati’s or rice. The Dal Dokhli - again sweet and spicy with peanuts and mustard seads was yummy too!Oh and I forgot the Chapatis they were soft and light just the way I like it, topped with lots of ghee.

The Gujarati Dahi Kadi – offwhite gravy made of curd was sweet and spicy with just the right consistency! It went really well with the Kichdi – again a brilliant and rich preparation of rice- lentils

We were served some Papad – which was a tad bit soggy and some Masala Kicha or Spicy Fried Wafers which was yum.

In desserts they had Rice Kheer: just the right amount of sweetness but couldn’t have much of it as I was too full and Cham Cham: I didn’t even take that in my plate, I needed help getting up!
My Dad (happy to have value for money meal) with the traditionally dressed waiter

All in all a sumptuous meal with lots of variety to choose from and not expensive at all! The cost of the festive thali was Rs 300 per head. Quite value for money. However one needs to understand certain pre-requisites to be able to truely enjoy a Gujarati Meal. Here goes –

Pre-requisites to enjoy  Gujju Meal – Culinary Muse

1.      All Food is dessert and all dessert is food, Everything is sweet

2.      Ghee is a must in everything! You need a lubricant (stop getting ideas)  for the heavy food to move down that oesophagus

3.      All the sweet sugar/jaggery in the food goes to your ass. That explains the logic of Gujju women and their big backsides

4.      Don’t go alone to eat. You need someone to pick you up after the meal

5.      While having a meal you must discuss the next meal, to prevent the heaviness of the current meal from setting in

Food: Good & Very Filling, Not for the Calorie Conscious
Staff: Amicable
Ambience: Ok

Quicktip: Go there when you are super hungry so as to make the most of it. Read the above pre-requisites before taking the plunge!

The Co-ordinates-

Golden Star Thaali

Address:  330, Raja Rammohan Roy Road, Opposite Charni Road Station, Charni Road, Mumbai

Phone: 23631983, 23671952

Timings:  11:30 AM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM

Food Type: Gujarati, Rajasthani

Payment Methods:  Credit cards accepted

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The French Kiss

Review – Chez Moi

Food always carries with it certain memories, especially when you savour it amongst people you love. To me this particular lunch did just that! A couple of friends and me have started this community called as ‘Food Caravan, Mumbai’ (Check this link & you can join us too!) as our way of discovering Mumbai through it’s food!

Bandra Station

Our first official ‘food trail’ took place on Sunday August 14, 2011. We all met at Bandra Station, and headed to Chez Moi, a bistro/café located at Bandra reclamation. Flanked by a couple of eateries like the ever famous Candies (which now by the way should be a landmark in Bandra along with The Bandra Fort and The Mount judging by it’s popularity) and some newly openend ones like Quench, Chez Moi sure does enjoy some competition.

The word chez moi literally means ‘At my house’ in French and when you enter this quaint, almost hole in the wall café , it’s like you have stepped into a time machine that transported you to the French Country Side somewhere in the Victorian Era. The walls are painted white in a make shift manner and you can still see the wood through it. There are ancient curios, wall hangings, gothic clocks, Victorian and contemporary painting and even a book shelf on the walls. It literally give you the feel that someone from ancient Europe has invited you back in time and to their house. Beautiful, Eclectic & Surreal.

We are seated next to the bar, by joining around 2-3 tables. Yes there are just about 6-7 tables in the entire place and a counter with some stools. We are served a menu that’s is actually spiral bound fashion magazine (that too in a different language) with a printed menu stuck on some pages! Quite innovative but can get a tad bit confusing also the fact that the magazine is in a different language beats the purpose!
Anyhow after we are able to  figure out the menu, we observe that it has quite a good blend of French and Italian dishes. As a policy Food Caravan doesn’t do drinks, however it also seemed to have an impressive collection of blanc et rouge vin as well.

The Brocoli & Walnut Soup

Chicken Neptune
We order for our soups, the Broccoli and Walnut Soup looks great but on stirring we notice that the swirl of cream does not mix well and almost breaks forming pieces of cream in the soup, and the taste on the whole was quite bland. The Butter Corn Soup – had a nice thick consistency with the rustic taste of corn and a hint of lemon, a good option for the Vegetarians. But the Chicken Neptune, was actually what I can call a culinary revelation. A thick broth with chicken slivers, creamy texture and a hint of nutmeg. This is what Bruce Almighty would call B-E-A-utiful.
Chicken Roulade


For starters we have the Vegetarian Bruchettas – finely chopped fresh tomato, herbs and cheese on toasted bread slices. Will give them credit for doing a good job at that. The next was Chicken Roulade – a cold cut and French signature dish. The word roulade originates from the French word "rouler" meaning "to roll". Typically, a roulade is a European dish consisting of a slice of meat rolled around a filling, such as cheese, vegetables, or other meats. If I had to draw an Indian parallel to it, it would be patra. The Chicken Roulade at Chez Moi was delectable with pounded chicken, cheese and herbs rolled in slices of chicken served with the most amazing kind of salsa sauce.

Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes and Vegetables

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Big Fat Indian Buffet

Review – Jewel Of India
It’s a beautiful pleasant Sunday afternoon, and ma famille and moi head to this typical family restaurant to celebrate my favourite uncles Birthday!

Jewel India, located in Mumbai’s posh locality Worli, which is home to the serene Haji Ali, beautiful and breezy sea face and big wigs like Nehru Science Centre, Atria Mall and our very ex Aviations Minister’s Ceejay House and now the Famous Sea Link.

The restaurant, Jewel of India is located within the confines on Nehru Centre and is humongous. At the entrance we are greeted by ethnic paintings of women of Rajasthan. The entire restaurant infact gives you a very traditional Indian feel with its high ceilings of intricate wood carvings and chandeliers, white walls combined with wooden furniture and paintings that tell tales of folklore.

The restaurant is packed when we enter with quite a few people mostly families waiting outside. Thankfully we have done are bookings.

After greeting my relatives, I hover to the buffet to check the spread. The spread is very limited. Now that isn’t necessarily a bad thing - the usual ones that are never ending get you all confused and then you tend to over eat to make most of it. However at the first glance, I am quite disappointed with the arrangement of the dishes. While chaat and dessert counters  are separate the main buffet table starts with Scrambled Eggs (yeah I don’t know what is that doing in an Indian Buffet) followed by Mashed Potato (now am convinced that this isn’t purely Indian), Sausages, Fish Chilly after which the buffet directly moves on to Paya (goat trotters), Chicken gravy and again coming to a Chicken Kebab. There didn’t seem to be any order to the food arrangement. Even after the Chicken Kebab there were assorted breads and Corn Flakes! Wonder what they were thinking!

Anyhow, I picked up my plate and scurried around to get some food in it to quench the rodents in my stomach! I started with the Pasta Salad – farfalle pasta tossed in some vineggerette, garlic, olive oil and bell peppers. I liked the flavor but the pasta seemed hard not cooked a la dente! On the vegetarian side there was Kothambir Vade – quite a horror story! I am sure if some devout Maharashtrian was present they would want to puke at the 90% besan mixture!

The Veg. White sauce Pasta (wait is this Jewel of INDIA again) – penne with corn and white sauce was a relief however a very amateur Indianised version of the dish. But still a relief! Moving on to the Non veg starters the the Sausages were edible however lacked any distinguishing flavours. The Fish Chilly – crumbed fried fish tossed in chilly garlic was the next life saving dish. Crispy chunks that melt in your mouth. The Murg Shikari Kebab – succulent pieces of chicken marinated in the usual yet delicious kebab marinade was beginning to restore my faith in this luncheon. Before this I was beginning to pity my uncle, whose birthday we were celebrating. I was beginning to feel guilty of letting him celebrate his last few years before he turns senior citizen in a place like this. He too liked the Chicken Kebab. A sigh of relief!

Murg Hara Dhaniya

Rasily Paya

In the main course there was a good variety amongst the Vegetarian Dishes with Chole Bature and Paneer Makhni but I stuck to Non Veg. The Murg Hara Dhaniya looked like it was made from melting The Hulk and tasted just as insipid. The Rasily Paya was not juicy at all, as the name suggested rather it was bland. Guess I know what chalk tastes like now. The Kachi Yakhni Biryani was good however could be had has dessert if it was any more cold.

Kachi Yakhni Biryani

In the desserts the Fig & Chocolate Crumble – I know what it is to eat chalk now with this I have learnt what it is like to eat brick and cement. The Tiramasu on the other hand was yum and so was the Chocolate Cake and Jalebis. Chalo all that didn’t start well atleast ended well.

On the whole except for a few things here and there the buffet failed to live up to its name atleast in the food department!

The per head cost for the buffet was Rs 800 which included unlimited draft beer or wine


Food: I rather not reminisce
Ambience: Good but could get noisy on weekends
Service: Courteous & Prompt

Quicktip: There is a dearth of good Indian Food in Mumbai especially buffets, however keep this as your last option. If you have no option stick to eating selected stuff.

The Co-ordinates

Jewel of India, Nehru Centre, Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli , Mumbai

Phone: 24949217, 24949214, 24949435, 24949204, 24949219

Timings: 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Food Type: Confusion errrr North Indian

Serves Alcohol: Yes

Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Orient by the Bay

Review – Oriental Blossom
Taking it off from my last post on Royal China, I bring to you yet another Chinese restaurant that is famous among Mumbai’s Chinese aficionados. Tucked in the corner of Hotel Marine Plaza, Oriental Blossom serves up some authentic Schezwan and Cantonese fair.

The brightly lit interiors of Oriental Blossom are quite a contrast to most Chinese restaurants which are pretty dimly lit. Classic case of this is Lings Pavilion in Colaba, sometimes you cant see what your eating over here. But Oriental Blossom is well lit up with walls in earthy colours and bright glass windows that give you perfect view of the Arabian Sea. Quite a delight during the monsoons.

The menu is pretty exhaustive with as I mentioned earlier Schezwan and Cantonese fair.

We opt for the Hot Sour Chicken Soup which is quite delicious, peppery and soothing during this cold weather. The Chicken Wanton Soup too is brilliant – a clear broth with dumplings and pakchoy, we requested for some Mushrooms too in it and it was served to perfection.

Spicy Prawns tossed with Chilli Garlic & topped with Crispy Wantons 

In the starters we had the Spicy Prawns tossed with Chilli Garlic & topped with Crispy Wantons – which was prawns stir-fried in spices and encrusted with sesame seeds. In one word ‘Delectable’. Our next appetizer Cubes of Chicken Tossed with Schezwan Peppers – a piquant dish with chicken pieces tossed in loads for red chilli.

Veg Fried Rice & RedCooked Chicken

For the main course we have the Red Cooked Chicken – again a fiery gravy (by now there is smoke blowing out of our noses) with chicken juliennes, finely sliced ginger and peppers. Accompanied with their Veg Fried Rice, the combination was brilliant. The Pan Fried Noodles tossed in vegetables was also brilliant.

Besides the a la carte they also have a dimsum set menu over the weekends which also a great option.

An average meal for two would Rs 800 – 1000 per head
Quicktip: If you have already exhausted all you options of Chinese in town, Oriental Blossom is worth a try. Go book yourself a window seat and enjoy the rains, the scenery and the fiery fare

The Co-ordinates

Oriental Blossom, 1st level of Hotel Marine Plaza, 29, Marine Drive, Nariman Point , Mumbai
Phone: +91-22-22851212
Timing: 1230 – 1445 (Lunch) 1930 – 2345 (Dinner)
Food Type: Chinese – Cantonese & Schezwan
Payment Methods: Credit Cards Accepted

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...