Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Interacting over Latin Indian Food & Chocolate Martini

Meet-up with Rohini Dey & I Bar Review

The IPL season is finally over! I particularly am very happy. First of all I don’t understand why cricket is played? Secondly you come up with a series called the IPL  by the ICC, the great Indian Cricket Circus, the basis of which is ‘entertaining’, money-making and selling. I am surprised at the public outrage over spot fixing. The IPL is a form of ‘reality show’, which by the way is fixed, the outcome pre-decided. Hype factors are weaved in everyday to make it entertaining. Sad reality, but the truth. Let’s accept and move on....

On a more cheerful front, I had the opportunity to meet Rohini Dey – ex World Banker, ex McKinsey economist, who left the corporate world (which by the way is treating women like shit #Phaneesh case) to start her own restaurant. Not just any other run-of-the-mill Lassi the Parothe, Chinese or Japenese but a Latin-Indian restaurant. Yes where Latin America’s fiery sauces meets India’s gravies, where tandoori meets steak & where kheer meets pudding! Sounds like a east meets west story but Rohini actually pointed out a lot of similarities in the cuisines – use of fiery spices, need for coconut stew or a gravy-like base and and use of peculiar ingredients like tamarind (imli)

Rohini talking animatedly about her cook-off
Rohini had come to India to host a cook-off, the winners of which will be work at her restaurant Vermilion (New York, Chicago) and get pay packet of upto $70,000 to start with.

She spoke to us about her journey of becoming a restaurateur, the Bengali and Mallu dishes that inspire her menu at Vermillion and how she now wants to put Indian cuisine on the world map. But not in its stereotypical curry & biryani way but with twist of Latin flavours to it. On being asked whether she looks at getting Vermillion to India. She almost naturally quips, if you finance it! Ah well, Rohini, I am anyways loosing monthly salary to Mumbai’s ever increasing and ever so expensive restaurants. Don’t push it, I say!

Moving on to the pub we met up at – I Bar. Located in the ‘sacred’ galli of Bandra Reclamation,  (sacred cause it also houses Candies, yes THE CANDIES) I BAR is this hip new joint with interactive tables and I Pads for menus. Hence the name – Interactive Bar!

The Menu at IBAR sports some really tempting concoctions, bar food along with some mains.
We start with the -


Fries with 5 dips: Crispy potatoes with 5 kinds of dip. The dips are refreshing from the otherwise boring options of mustard & tomato. A must try at this place

Pesto Prawns: While the prawns were fresh, there was something very off about the colour – hulk green & taste. A definite no no

Tequila Prawns
The Tequila Prawns – beautiful king sized prawns marinated in potent liquor. Beautiful silky taste!

Coconut Crusted Chicken
The Coconut Crusted Chicken – chicken strips served in a fancy martini glass drizzled with mustard, the chicken can get a bit soggy, but not a bad dish
Salmon Sushi

The Salmon & Cream Cheese Sushi – this is one of the best sushi’s I have tasted so far in Mumbai. Beautiful balmy smoked chicken rolled in sushi rice.

Cajun Spiced Potato

Crispy Cajun Potato – Umm I didn’t like this at all. A bad version of what Sindhi’s make called ‘Tuk’. Totally avoid

Special Kebab - An Iranian preparation of kheema pattice, this was smooth & melt in the mouth!

Camembert Jalapeno – Literally cheesy, melt-in-the-mouth again

Mushroom Focassia – Beautiful crunchy bread topped loads of mushroom pate. Delectable
Veg Wrap

Vegetarian Mexican Wrap – Extremely sweet. Must stay away to avoid diabetes

Prawn Tempura – crispy, crunchy & yum! All you would expect from a tempura!

In the drinks –
Chocolate Martini

Chocolate Martini – Was yum! But I don’t know how the liquid nitrogen added any flavor to it


Kamikaze- Lemony & refreshing

Black Grape Mohito – Yum yum yum!

Apple Sangria with black grape caviar with strawberry and tequila infused jelly – too fancy Naam Bade, Darshan Chote

Gimlet – My favorite, zesty, rejuvenating

We end  our meal on an extremely sweet with the Chocolate Cake – again stay away to avoid diabetes!

On an average one starter & one drink would cost around Rs 500 – Rs 700 at I Bar. Quite a steal I say!

Food: Good
Ambience:  Fun in a party way
Service: Very Confused

Quick Tip: I Bar is a great place to have some innovative drinks & finger food. Must have the sushi, tequila prawns & chips with 5 dips & the Gimlet

The Co-ordinates:
Where: 7, 8, Gelekia, ONGC Colony, Bandra Reclamation, Bandra West, Mumbai
Tring Tring: 022 26400288

Timings: 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM (12.00pm To 1.00am On Sundays)
Food Type: Mixology, Bar Food
Payment Methods: Visa, Master, Cash, Credit Card Accepted

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Beer Belly

Review: Barking Deer

Keen observation of the Mumbai food scene, and I notice fads – It started with the  90’s where we saw Italian –Mexican fusion places mushrooming like Cream Centre, New Yorker, America, cutting straight to 2011-12 Asian restaurants like Hakassan & Yuautcha opening up; French food – Chez Vous, Chez Moi, Suzette; Spanish – Arola, Vinoteca feeding us tapas & paella. As a food lover I enjoy being in a part of this melting pot, I love being in the middle of so much confusion and so many choices!

The latest fad I witness is Beer Brewing!

An intelligent conversation post lots of beer drinking with Richa Lulla, Baker & Blogger (Knead With Love) made me realize that while Maharashtra, Karnataka & NCR have been progressive on the beer licenses front, Mumbai lags behind. Hence the sad state of affairs. But beers lovers must not loose hope – people at the Gateway Brewing Company and The Barking Deer are in the process of defeating the system and bringing you up to speed with the rest of the world with their indigenous  brands of craft beer.

Located in the commercial & lifestyle capital of Mumbai aka Lower Parel, The Barking Deer is the newest edition to the city’s drinking scene. The place gives you a barn kind-of feeling with wood flooring and mahogany hues. Walls stacked with beer books, mugs & bottles. Towards the end of this this elongated sort of bar are huge copper vessels all connected to form what will soon be Mumbai’s first Micro- Brewery. Albeit they still await licences.

The micro -brewery

Brew Master Benjamin showing us how to brew beer

So we start with the Heineken paired with Cheddar sticks & Chicken Wings. The beer was quite normal & don’t think it did too much to enhance the flavour of the Cheddar sticks & Wings. The Wings had quite a zing to it, and I found the cheddar sticks quite lip smacking with yummy molten cheese at the centre.

Heineken & Chicken Wings

Next was the Amstel Beer paired with Potato Skins & Fried Calamari. The beer was a bit too bitter. Coupled with the potato skins, which are quite bitter themselves made it even more unpalatable. The fried calamari was a bit chewy but not bad!

Hoegaarden & Potato Stew

The came the Hoegaarden – a beautiful light citrusy flavoured beer. This was paired with the Potato stew – a beautiful balmy combination. The Chicken Waterzooi – light broth was a little bland and also the veggies were a bit over cooked

Leffe Blond with Lamb Shanks (top) and Cottage Cheese (bottom)

The next was Leffe Blond Abby Ale. Ooh this was my second favourite beer. It has a very peppery aroma & aftertaste. It went perfectly when with the Pilsner drowned Lamb Shanks. In the Veg the Cottage Cheese Steak with orange reduction was very blah.

London Porter with Creme Brulee

For desserts we move on to the London Porter – black malt, very strong almost like black coffee. Too strong for my taste. This was paired with the Creme Brulee which was too dulcet. Quite a let down for desserts

A meal for 2 would cost anywhere between Rs 2000- Rs. 2500 with alcohol

The Barking Deer leaves us with a promise to bring some innovative craft beers like fruit, chocolate beer, dark stouts once it gets the licences. Amen to that.

Food: Mixed Bag
Ambience: Good
Service: Confused

Quick Tip: A great place to meet up with your mates, chat up on beer and snacks.

The Co-ordinates:

The Barking Deer

Where: Opposite Blue Frog, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel, MumbaiIndia
Tring Tring:  - 022 61417400
Timings: 1 PM to 12 Midnight
Food Type: Bar Snacks, American Fusion
Payment Methods: Credit cards accepted

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