Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Royal Feast

Review – Royal China
Mumbai has always been home to some of the best Chinese fare. Whether it’s the roadside spicy affair or the finer more authentic ‘peking duck’ et all offering places Mumbai has it all!

Royal China has been in the Mumbai Chinese circuit since sometime now. Quite popular amongst the hoity toity it’s located at next to Sterling Cinema. The first time I went there I didn’t quite like what I ate. Blame it on my HR College fiery Chinese upbringing! But last time I went there, the meal was something worth writing home about. It also has Bandra outlet.

Now for all the Apple/Mac suckers and for the usual technoholics ordering at Royal China is quite a treat with an Ipad Menu. Personally I loved the experience of just holding in my hand, delicately touching the screen, to view the dishes I am about to order. That’s the best part you can actually see a picture of what your ordering making it an awesome experience.

Hot & Sour Soup

Stir Fried Chicken with Chilli Oil & Spring Onion

We start our meal with the traditional Chicken Hot & Sour Soup, a brilliant peppery and tasty broth not the one you would usually find.  The next was Salt & Pepper Prawns which was crispy batter fried prawns sprinkled with wok tossed Chilly and Garlic. Again yummy in my tummy! The Stir Fried Chicken with Chilli Oil and Spring Onion, which is actually a main course but we ordered on suggestion from our Maitre d’ and also lack of options on the appetizers bit, was good as well. Pan tossed Chicken flavoured with light Chilly oil made for delectable combination. In the vegetarian the Lettuce Vegetable Wrap is also a great dish. A mix corn peppers, crispy fried noodles is provided that needs to be filled into fresh crunchy lettuce leaf that painted with Plum Sauce

Salt & Pepper Prawns

Braised Mushroom Noodles
Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce
Lotus Leaf Wrapped Rice
In the mains we order for the Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce was delicious. The Lotus Leaf wrapped Rice had a beautiful aroma emanating and with a taste so ambrosial it could give the whole Hrithik Roshan in Spain Combination of ZNMD a run for its money . The Braised Mushroom Noodles – pan-fried noodles on a bed of Lettuce Leaf topped with braised Shitake mushrooms was a divine dish! Nothing like I have had before, this dish is a must have especially for the lovers of Shitake Mushrooms.

For dessert we had the dulcet Banana in Toffee syrup – crispy batter fried bananas topped with honey and sesame seeds served along with Vanilla ice cream. The crispy exterior, the hot goey banana interior combined with chilled ice cream made the dish saporous! Not for the diabetic or calorie conscious though!

All in all the experience at Royal China was great. I think with a menu like that, Royal China manages to cater to the growing sect of discerning foodies and is doing especially well at it taking by the crowd that started to fill the place on the day I went.

An average meal for two would be a mere Rs 800 – 1000 per head
Quicktip: If you love your Chinese and want to eat it too! Royal China is a must go. The Lotus Leaf Rice and Braised Mushroom Noodles are must haves!

The Co-ordinates

Royal China, Behind Sterling Cinema Building, Hazarimal Somani Marg, Fort , Mumbai
Phone: 66355310, 6635531, 22077513, 22072492
Timing: 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM to Midnight
Food Type: Chinese, Pan Asian

Serves Alcohol: Yes

Payment Methods: Credit Cards Accepted

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aamchi Maati Amche Mansa

Review – Prakash, Dattatrey, Panshikar
Having lived in Mumbai and Maharashtra for all of my life, it was a pity that I got introduced to the native cuisine just recently. Yes, the credit goes to my friends (stop feeling proud while reading this). So a little about the cuisine – it isn’t only about batata vada’s and puran poli’s. There is much more to offer both interms of nutrition as well as tastewise.

A couple of Sundays back a group of friends and me headed to rediscover the cuisine. Having the Maratha’s in the group was quite a bonus. They helped us get familiar with the food and it’s nitty gritties (ok now seriously guys get over yourselves). So we headed to Dadar, the centre of all Maratha/Shiv Sena activities in Mumbai.

We started off with Prakash – an authentic Maharashtian eatery about 10 -15 minutes away from the station. Legend has it that this eatery was going to shut sometime back, however the tiger himself a.k.a Bal Thackrey requested the owner to keep it going. For this I would personally like to thank Mr. Thackrey or else I would never get a taste aamcha jevan. The ambience of this place was simple with wooden tables and chairs. The waiters wearing white dabbawala caps and, a pen on their ear coming to note your order. The menu is a laundry list of some 35-40 items and doesn’t get into describing it’s fair making it necessary to go with someone who is familiar with the cuisine.

We started with my all time favourite ‘i-can-eat-this-anytime’ dish – Sabudana Vade – the soft innards made of sabudana/sago pearls, crushed peanuts, mashed potato and hint of chilly coated with crunchy golden brown exterior was delicious. It was served with coconut chutney again with a hint of peanut. The dish is a Maharashtian staple mostly eaten during upvas/fasts. The next was the Kotambhir Vadi – fritters made of Kothmir or Cilantro and chickpeas again with a hint of crushed peanut – healthy and yummy snack. The Thaalipeeth – a roasted roti/pancake kind of dish made from multi-grains, the colour of which reminds you of dung however taste was fiery and simplydelicious. The garlic-ginger flavor added zing.

Kothambir Vade
Aadu Adi (pic courtsey Rohan Moorthy)

The Misal was served minus the pav here don’t know why. The culmination of sev, grains, pulses, lentils, fried poha, onions, and ground spices was heaven in our mouths. The Aadu Adi or what the Gujarati’s call as Patra was nothing like I had had before. The crunchy rolls actually gave the sqishy sawgy one’s you usually get a run for their money. We also had the usual Batata Vada which was beautiful with it’s thin and crispy besan coating the soft melt in the mouth spice laced mashed potato mix. In the beverages we had Piyush, again a Maharashtrian signature drink which was diluted version of shrikhand. The saffron laced thick drink was refreshing yet filling at the same time.

We moved on to another famous Maharashtrian Restaurant called Dattatrey located about a 5 minutes walk from Prakash towards the station. A look at the menu and you could see that it was a twin of the one a Prakash in addition was the south Indian fare. We asked for Kanda Poha but the waiter disappointed us by saying it was not available. So we ordered for Sabudana Puri which wasn’t actually what was supposed to be. It was more like a sabudana vada albeit an inferior cousin of the one we had in Prakash. On much insistence of Maharashtrian friend we had the Dudhi Halwa. Yeah I know what your thinking, the thought of Dhudhi/bitter gourd was making me puke too. The halwa should be renamed to Death by Sugar with an extremely overpowering taste of mawa and jaggery. Well datatrey was quite a disappointment after Prakash.

Pic courtesy Rohan Moorthy


We moved on, now going more towards the station. There was huge this crowd gathering outside a shop. The shop was Panshikar – a sweat meat shop pretty famous for it’s shrikhand and kharvas – a sweet made from milk of a lactating cow. There is no seating arrangement in this place. Just a few tables. Warning you are not allowed to eat on the glass tables. We ordered of Piyush again – however this one could not match up to the one we had at Prakash. The karvas which is a native version of crème caramel laced with saffron was soft and melted in mouths. The shrikand too was brilliant.

An average meal for two would be a mere 150 – 200
Quicktip: Go get your dose authentic Marathi jevan, at no frill yet delicious eateries. The portions are small for single people so go on a rainy morning for breakfast/brunch with your friends, enjoy some cha and snacks!

The Co-ordinates

·         Prakash, Shiv Sena Bhavan, Next to Kithe Hall, Gokhale Road, Shivaji Park, Dadar West , Mumbai
Phone: 24304921,
Timing: 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM

·         Dattatrey, Ranade-Gokhale Road Junction, Dadar (W), Dadar West , Mumbai
Phone: 24304921,
Timing: 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Food Type: Maharashtrian

Serves Alcohol: No

Payment Methods: Cash only

·         Panshikar, Panshikar Samarthdugdhalaya 47-B , New Popatlal Building, Ranade Road, Dadar West, Mumbai
Phone: 24328507, 9322232155
Food Type: Sweet Meats & Farsan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Idol Worship

Review – Joss

The word Joss stands for a Chinese deity or house idol. I can’t seem to figure out why Farrokh Khambhatta, chef & restaurateur would name his first fine dining restaurant that but nevertheless Joss definitely seems to have created a niche for itself amongst restaurants serving oriental fare. Located in the art hub of the city – Kala Ghoda, Joss was incorporated in the year 2004. With it’s unique menu boasting of Oriental Crab Bisque, the Crisp but Tender Peking Inspired Duck, Nonya Bamboo Chicken, Balinese Clay Pot of Zucchini, Young Corn, Broccoli, it adds a level of panache to fusion cuisine.

The restaurant spans over 2 floors, very spacious with a swanky décor of South Asian Wooden curios. The plush white interiors with mellow lighting and wooden furniture make for a very pleasant dining ambience and mind you it is always very crowded so better get you reservation in order. Co-ordinates given below.


We start with Chicken Khowsuey, one of Joss’ signature dishes. Yes I know Khowsuey is more like a main dish but for my family & me it’s a soup and something with which we always start our meal with when at Joss. The Joss Khowsuey is actually more of a broth with the right consistency not very thick not very thin unlike the thick versions served at places like Flamboyant and Busaba. The dish is combination of brilliant flavours and exquisite taste. I prefer this khowsuey to any other, I have been served as yet.

In the appetizers, we order for the Water Chestnuts stuffed in Corn Curd with Lemon Chilli Dip – imagine water chestnuts surrounded by soft almost cotton like pureed corn on the inside and crispy on the outside served on a spoon and lightly drizzled with lemon chilli sauce. Beautiful and yummy!  The Korean Barbeque Chicken is more like Moghlai Chicken Tikka, not something you would expect at an oriental restaurant!

Mushroom Sticky Rice

Broccoli Baby-Corn and Water Chestnuts in Burnt Red Chili and Soy Sauce

For the main course we order for the Mushroom Sticky rice – thick grained rice mixed with loads of butter, garlic and mushrooms – silky smooth just the melt in the mouth combination! If I had it my way I could just have this by itself. The Chicken with Star Anise and XO Glaze  - brought with a brilliant star anise aroma when served and tasted as delicious! However the chicken breast pieces, that were coated in egg, flour and fried were very chewy not very appetizing. The Green Chicken Thai Curry is good by Indian standards better than what you get at most places but can hardly match up to the authentic thai curry. The Chicken in Sambhol Curry is also brilliant very similar to the Thai Curry but again the chicken is very chewy! In the vegetarian fare there also is an equal variety with exotic ingredients like snow peas, water chestnuts, Shitake Mushrooms! We order for Broccoli Baby-Corn and Water Chestnuts in Burnt Red Chili and Soy Sauce – the flavours of the burnt chilli pieces, garlic and soy sauce totally complement each other to create magic in our mouths! The Teppan Soba Wheat Noodle on the other hand look like tape worms and are very chewy so highly not recommended whereas the Pan Fried Noodle are delectable.

Now beware because all this ‘yummness’ comes at a price. So a meal for 2 would come up to anything between Rs 1500 – 2000 per head without alcohol


Food: Great Variety and Delectable
Ambience: Good but could get noisy on weekends
Service: Courteous, they suggest well

Quicktip: If you enjoy experimenting with oriental fare, Joss is a must go. Take along a friend, a date or family (if they like experimenting that is) and you will get a taste of the exquisite. But be sure to shell out some ‘Bapu’s’ for that.

The Co-ordinates

Joss, 30, K. Dubhash Marg, Next to Chetana Restaurant, Kala Ghoda, Colaba , Mumbai

Phone: 66356908, 66334233

Timings: 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM, 7:30 PM to 11:30 PM

Food Type: Pan-Asian,Fusion, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese

Serves Alcohol: Yes

Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mediterranean Paradise

Review – Moshe’s

Set-up in 2004, Moshe’s was one of Mumbai’s first signature chef restaurants. The brain of a Jew chef Moshe Shek, the restaurant introduced Mediterranean cuisine to Mumbai with a slight East Europe twist. Over the years the menu has been revised retaining some of its signature dishes like Penne Paprika yet evolving with new dishes from Lebannon, Turkey, Israel & Italy. I remember the first time I went there way back in 2004, I tasted the Chicken Tagine, a brilliant Turkish – Egyptian dish of chicken stew served in a conical earthen pot with accompanied by cous cous. Quite a hearty meal. I don’t know whether the dish has made it to the new menu, but there are lots of other things to savour & try!

You can spot Moshe’s everytime you drive past it courtesy to small bright twinkling lights that line up the trees outside. As you walk to the porch, a beautiful alfresco ambience greets you with wooden chairs and tables. However the hot summer that hasn’t got over and unpredictable monsoon that hasn’t quite started yet compels us to the more comfortable A/C confines of the interiors. The interiors give you a feeling of entering those dimly lit English/Scotish barns with wooden flooring and dark maroon walls. The mosaic mirrors add a Middle Eastern touch to it.  They have their own bakery and patisserie giving their food a freshness and an old world organic sort of charm to the place.

The menu as I mentioned earlier boasts of not so typical Mediterranean – Middle Eastern Dishes. Quite an impressive selection, indicating a well travelled chef.

Spinach & Mushroom Soup

We order for the Spinach and Mushroom Soup – now don’t go by the look of the soup, because it’s ‘greeness’ can give The Hulk a complex! However the delicate Spinach flavor, with Mushroom juliennes and a dominant garlic taste make for a very delicious broth.

Jalapeno & Parsely Fondue

We move on to Chicken Steak with  Garlic, Watercress and Ratatouille Sandwhich served in wholewheat flatbread which was zesty with a lemony flavor. Quite wholesome and delicious! The next was the Jalapeno and Parsley Fondue which was good  - thick cheesy melt served with bread crumbs and lavache but did not match up to the Dukkah, an Egyptian style fondue with cheese, jalapeno peppers, almond and pine nuts. The nutty flavor of this fondue is just to die for.

Penne Paprika
Chicken Steak with Plum Sauce & Red Wine
For the mains we had Penne Pesto – quite bland and lacking any sort of distinguishing flavor, the Penne Paprika is delicious with it’s fiery and cheesy mix. But wat really stole our hearts is the Grilled Chicken in Plum sauce and Red Wine - A delectable dish of grilled chicken fillets served on a bed of mash potatoes and vegetables. Brilliant and so filling!

Penne Pesto

The place is pretty expensive with a meal for 2 costing anywhere between Rs 2000- Rs 3000 without alcohol


Food: Excellent
Ambience: Beautiful
Service: Not Very Helpful

Quicktip: Take a date along for a beautiful meal or just go with yours friends for a cup of coffee and melt in the mouth chocolate cookies. In the winter go enjoy the alfresco ambience. The Dukkah Fondue and Chicken Steak are a must have!

The Co-ordinates

Moshe’s, 7 Minoo Manor, Captain Prakash Pethe Marg, Cuffe Parade , Mumbai

Phone: 22161226, 22161266

Timings: 7:30 AM to Midnight

Food Type: Continental, Mediterranean, Moroccan, Turkish, Isreali, Egyptian

Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

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