Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vamos Espana

Let’s Go Spanish!

Review: Arola, JW Mariott

I have been to Spain more than 12 years ago, as a kid while visiting my cousins and extended family (Yes, there are alot of Sindhi’s in Spain). A country of beaches, the sun and The Tomatina, Spain’s culture is warm and food forms an integral part of it.

Chef Ferran Adria of El Buli restaurant was responsible for getting Spanish cuisine on the world map, thanks to alot of praise from The New York Times. So when CM was invited to dine with his disciple Chef Sergi Arola, she knew it was going to be interesting

A Chef, a musician, a restaurateur and encantador senor (charming man), Sergi Arola is a world renowned Spanish Chef. His smart wit and good looks make you wonder what he is doing behind the kitchen door when he can easily pass off a leader actor (an Oscar winning one I may add).

Over some of his signature dishes, he discusses his childhood, Spanish Culture & Politics, Why India, his grandmother and his love for music.

Arola at JW Marriott is essentially a tapas bar. So everything you get here is' bite sized' appetizer kind-off food to accompany your poison. Spanish food he believes is about unadulterated flavours and locally sourced ingredients
Naan Tomato

No wonder our first dish is something known as ‘Naan Tomato’ -  tandoori naan served with salt, olive oil, tomato concasse and garlic. Sergi teaches us to how to eat this – rub some garlic over the naan add the tomato concasse drizzle of olive oil & salt and Voila. Never knew plain naan could taste so yum!

In the drinks, I start with the Sangria de Sergi – beautiful light and flavourful!

The next dish was Berenjenas – tandoor chargered juliennes of aubergine with balsamic reduction and pine nuts. Beautiful dish again, nothing can be this simple yet this tasty...

Ceps - Finely sliced Porcini mushrooms generous drizzled upon with pine-nut reduction and olive oil with a few shavings of Iberian ham. Me Gusta Mucho! (I loved it). This is one dish I can go on eating!

Patatas Bravas – A signature dish of Sergi – deep fried cylindrical potato rolls filled with tomato concasse topped with this tasty alioli. Again a great tapas to go with your drinks

Chicken Wings – The chicken wings were very ok... CM has tasted better!

I begin my main course with the Orange Flambe Gin and Tonic – A signature of Sergi, this drink is a must try at Arola. You just cannot miss it!

Steak Tatare – The steak tartare also was not great, could have beenbetter

Lobster – The lobster was yum, tender chunks of the crustacean drizzled with mild spices and olive oil

Gamba Al Ajillo – fresh prawns tossed in garlic, parsley and olive oil. Deliciously unadulterated flavours.

Seafood Fideua – Not one I would eat again, you know the sev you serve in kheer, well it was that with prawns squid and seabass. Didn't leave a very pleasant after taste in my mouth

In the desserts we had - Momento Dulce Three Miniature Deserts:

White Chocolate Mousse with Passion Fruit Granité – the tanginess of the passion fruit granite made a very happy couple with the chocolate mousse!

Dark Chocolate Souffle – warm, delicious and melt in the mouth kind!            

Yogurt and Vanilla Cream with Rhubarb Compote - a beautiful combination

All in all the three miniature desserts were to die for!

Steeply priced, each dish at Arola,  on an average costs Rs.750. So you could end up spending Rs 2500/- per head

Food: Good
Ambience: Beautiful
Service: Good

Quick Tip: When your in the mood to indulge – this is a great place for drinks and yummy tapas!

The Co-ordinates:

Arola Restaurant And Bar

Where: JW Marriott, Lobby Level, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai
Tring Tring:  - 022 66933220, 022 66933000

Timings: 8 PM to 1 AM

Food Type: Fusion, Spanish, Tapas, Appetizers
Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Day I Tossed Up Some Pizza....

Review: Pizza Express

Mumbai or should I say India is really getting up there on the Pizza map of the world (if there is any such thing as that) with the plethora of homegrown as well as international pizzerias opening up here. CM’s blogroll itself is full of pizza’s including this one!

But this time it was different, CM was invited for a Chef’s Table with Pizza Express Chef Johney Rai.  Chef Rai sports an impressive bios, a gym owner from Ludhiana who has worked at various positions in Pizza Express UK and is currently an ‘International Pizza Trainer’.
Chef Johney Rai making the signature Pizza Calabrese

So we started off by Chef Rai cooking up some signature Pizza dishes that we eventually got to taste.
Pizza Padana

The Pizza Padana, thin crusted pizza topped with 2 types of cheese goat’s & mozzarella, spinach, caramelized onions. Chef Rai finished it with a generous drizzle of garlic oil. Beautiful flavors of the cheese combined with the sweetness of caramelized onions made for a beautiful combination. Till this time I have never tasted a Pizza with Popeye’s fav snack but I strongly recommend giving this Pizza a try.

The next one was a signature Pizza Express dish The Calabrese -  The square shaped spicy Pizza  topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage put together with finely chopped red chillies, roquito peppers, red & yellow peppers and mozzarella. Finished with rocket leaves, this pizza was piquant and flavourful. Must try here

Pomodoro Pesto 

The Pomodoro Pesto - perfectly crusted thin pizza with Marinated cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto, baby mozzarella, garlic oil was simple & with clean flavours.

 Melanzane Piccante
The Melanzane Piccante was an unusual combination of marinated spicy aubergines, mozzarella, jalapenos and rocket leaves.A sort ‘baigan ka bharta’ Pizza. Not very pleasing to my taste buds.

Next came the fun part - Pizza making! Chef Rai and his accomplices taught us the dirt – kneading the dough, rolling it into flat round pittah (umm mine literally looked like a map of India), tossing it in the air, dolling the marinara sauce and choosing toppings. I name mine ‘Red Riding Hood’ – I had

Baked Cheesecake
Next came the dessert time, the Chocolate Fudge Cake seem just out of the freezer, lacked the moisture. The Banoffee Pie was ok too. The New York Style Baked Cheese Cake was quite tasty but also quite heavy. The Chocolate Fudge Glory was the only desert that made it to CM’s must have list – a glass full of caramel, ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce & brownie pieces; Simply Sinful I say!

The Chocolate Fudge Glory

Pizza Express is pretty steep; I am not sure how worth for the prize you pay. A meal for two would cost Rs 2500 without alcohol.

Food: Average
Ambience:  Good but can get noisy
Service: Helpful
Quick Tip: Go there for the Calabrese and the Padana, you won’t be sorry!

The Co-ordinates:
Pizza Express
Where: Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder, Colaba
Tring Tring: 022 66562633

Timings: 11:30 AM to 11 PM (Sun-Thur), 11:30 AM to 12 AM (Fri-Sat)
Food Type: Italian
Payment Methods: Visa, Amex, Master, Credit cards accepted
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