3 Vegetarian Must-Haves; Foodmantra for the WoW factor at Hakkasan

The beauty of Cantonese food is truly in its simplicity. Unlike the Indie-Chinese preparations that we are accustomed to, Cantonese food is not greasy or spicy. The spices are only used to compliment and enhance the flavor of the dish but they don’t dominate the flavor of the main ingredient. It is one of the eight traditions of Chinese cooking, perhaps among the most nutritious styles of cooking. Ingredients are used at the peak of their freshness; in fact some restaurants across the world also have aquariums to ensure freshest seafood. Steamed seafood and lightly greased, crunchy stir-fried vegetables are among my personal Cantonese favourites.

 

After a certain 2016 resolution I made to have mercy on my stomach and opt for light, nutritious choices, I was really glad that I had an opportunity to sample a Cantonese menu; the WowTables Fixed 4 Course meal at Hakkasan, Mumbai.

 

If you are ordering from the Ala Carte menu at Hakkasan, a meal for two comes to around 4000 rupees. So, at first when Wow tables contacted me, I did not understand what was so great about the Wow Tables experience if I would end up spending roughly the same amount for a meal for two! Isn’t it the same thing?

Actually, no, it is not the same thing as ordering from the Ala carte menu. There are a couple of advantages that you have, the first being that you don’t need to pay a penny in advance. Wow Tables or the restaurant does not charge any advance payment for the meal booking. Everything from the table to the set meal can be pre-booked online so your dining experience is smooth and stress-free.

The other advantage in my opinion is for a lazy, lazy evening where in the best of the restaurant’s selection is already hand picked for you, and you don’t need to spend several minutes figuring out the best option on the menu. The best part though, is that you get to sample more variety at the same price. The fixed menu offers each person 2 small eats, 1 main, 1 rice or noodle, an option of dessert and a glass of wine or martini. This range of dishes would cost you more if you were ordering straight from the ala Carte menu. Anything you order over and above these options in the fixed menu is charged extra.

 

The #Foodmantra Top 3 WoW Factors in this meal were the Crystal Dumpling, Mock Duck Salad (Perfect textured Soyabean meat for Vegetarians) and the Lotus Stem Stir Fry was amazing. I also enjoyed the Pakchoy dumplings, Duck Wraps and the Ginger Fried Rice a lot. The service was prompt, courteous and warm. #Foodmantra for this menu, do try out the vegetarian textured soyabean meats, it is unique and interesting.

 

 

 

 

Ziya’s New Rustic style Menu – by Chef Vineet Bhatia of Michelin Star Indian Restaurant, Rasoi

 

 

 

I had never imagined that Indian food could look so good, until I saw this.

 

I grew up eating mom’s mouth-watering dal kachoris with raswale aloo, gulabjamuns with kulfi and matar paneer with aloo parathas. While Indian food is etched in my memory as the best food there is, I have always imagined it to be presented in a rustic fashion. There is a certain appeal in eating kachoris in patras (bowls made with dried leaves) or gulabjamun and kulfi in mitti kulhads (earthen bowls). Even so, it isn’t how I would ever imagine Indian food to be presented at a world-class restaurant to Diplomats, Princes or Rockstars.

F10

It is a rare talent to preserve the essence of a cuisine, to allow the flavours in a plate to reflect its origin and yet, plate it like a piece of art. Chef Vineet Bhatia is an inventor and also, a researcher whose work has helped me, and several other young professionals look at Indian food in a new light. His association with the Oberoi Hotels and Ziya, in particular is very long. If you look at the Ziya menu over the years you will see the evolution of Indian cuisine in their plates.

As styles of presenting food evolve over time, you can see the reflection of popular global food trends in the way Ziya offers its menu. What I loved about the menu that was introduced recently by Chef Vineet at Ziya, was the echo of our roots in every plate. While he has always kept the integrity of the cuisine intact in his creations, he also manages to add Oomph! in his dishes. Whether it is serving curry leaf tempered prawns in an uneven coconut shell, or the theatrics of sprinkling burnt onion powder on a pumpkin seekh kebab entre or even his signature childhood memories sweets platter, his plates always manage to take your breath away.

The secret is his deep understanding of the local food and techniques that he has built by traveling and researching Indian food over the years from great cooks scattered in remote areas across the country. His culinary vision of Indian food has resulted in the growth and evolution of the cuisine. Many have taken inspiration, many have tried to ape him blindly, but each time he puts food on your table, you can’t help being in awe.

The rustic style of Ziya’s new menu appealed more to me because it brings that same sense of contentment as when I ate those patras of Kachori & Aloo or those Kulhads with hot gheewale gulabjamuns with ice cold malai kulfi. My favourites on Ziya’s new menu

Grilled Curry Leaf Prawn with fried idli & coconut chutney

1

[Vegetarian Fried Cauliflower]

2

Macadamia nuts crusted Aubergine with peas upma and kokum chutney

[Non Vegetarian Chilean Sea Bass]

3

Sesame crusted Chicken Tikka on a bed of Chowpatty Bhaji with fried Idiyappams and edible flowers

[Vegetarian Paneer Tikka]

7

 

Pumpkin Dill Seekh with edamame & red pepper Koshimbir and chickpea spring onion tava pulao sprinkled with Burnt Onion Powder

5

[Chilli Burnt Butter Lobster]

6

 

Achari Bharwan Lauki with raiwale aloo and vegetarian spinach Galouti kebab with saunf ki makhni

8

[Non Vegetarian Achari Tandoori Lamb]

9

 

Coffee Halwa with Gulabjamun

IMG_20151119_155544

 

Sweet Platter with Chhena Rabdi, Banana Bread Donut, Orange & Chocolate Panacotta, Chocolate dipped Mysore Pak, Cashewnut Kulfi and Bitter Chocolate.

IMG_20151119_160701

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Beer Or Not To Beer ; The Beer Cafe, Mahim

Must TRY

Gateway Freshly Brewed – Stout & Indian Pale Ale.

Must Try – Koliwada Chicken here

Koliwada Chicken at Beer Cafe Mahim

Koliwada Chicken at Beer Cafe Mahim

I was recently invited to eat and drink at the Beer Café Mahim. These review experiences are always nice. The staff treats you well; they recommend their best dishes, therefore universally acceptable and enjoyable dishes. The men behind the bar counters, as well as the men behind the stove are well prepared and extra careful with your food and general experience.

I think it is rarely that one can go wrong with serving beer. When you do boast a menu that carries a 32 varieties of Beer including some freshly brewed lagers by Gateway, Beers from Japan, China, Germany even Spain, there’s noting left for a beer lover like me to question.

For the food, they first threw a big name – a menu curated by Chef Saby. Oh! I said, everyone knows Chef Saby, it must a good menu then. And it really was, give me some batter fried chicken Koliwada – desi style, serve some decent pizza to go with beer and I’m happy. Frankly, who isn’t?

After all, what does one expect from a place that serves beer and fried tit-bits? Good music [check], lots of space to fit as many friends as possible on weekends [In Mumbai? Are you kidding?], and cooked food [check]. But all this was of course a week after the place opened, on a quiet Monday evening. I really recommended this place to a lot of my beer lover friends, boasting about the variety of beers the menu carries. Some of them even visited the place thereafter.

Recently, an old college mate reviewed the Beer Café Mahim, the hangout being fairly close to my old college, IHM Mumbai. I would say we Hospitality snobs are usually picky about what we put into our mouth [no punn intended]. This college-mate of mine found a piece of chicken that was pink near the bone, half the beers on the menu weren’t available, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience for him in general, quite contrary to my own experience during the review I did couple of months ago.

Would I visit Beer Café Mahim again? Most certainly, everyone has their off days, my experience here was good and I would like to know how well they are maintaining their quality of food, service and stock of beer. You’re probably doubtful, even confused by my mixed opinion. Good then. Make your own opinion about the place. Grab a beer, enjoy a slice of pizza after a long day at work, it’s the perfect place for that, even if you decide against it, you’re still going to enjoy that beer!

The truth is, it is easy for me to tell you that you must, must visit this place I went to, like I told all my Beer lover friends. They have 32 types of beer, some yummy fried snacks and a decent pizza for a Friday night. But, if they haven’t maintained that stock of beer, their quality of food and service then you’re probably going to curse me in your head and not take my word for it the next time.

It is never just about good or bad. It is about consistency. It is about maintaining that quality of experience over several visits. Roughly the same set of people would be visiting the same place over and over, specially with a place like this where you tend to build a comfort zone. It is how well, Beer Café maintains that level of customer satisfaction, whatever it takes.

With the location of this place being right in the heart of the city, and so close to the colleges in the area, I know that it will work [hush, hushh below 21s] and why not, it is a very easy-to-choose place with the brand name, beer and all. I just hope that when you and I visit Beer Café Mahim, we are served well-cooked food and as many types of beer as they have promised to us on the menu.

Restaurant Review: New Thai Food Menu Haaochi Sun N Sand, Mumbai

Name: Haaochi, Sun N Sand

Location: Next to Novotel, Juhu Beach

Date of Visit: 12th December, 2014 (Dinner Hour)

What is your relationship with food? Do you look at it with honest love or passionate lust? You see, this questions becomes very important when you drool over butter chicken, but it is pure love when the item that you’re drooling over is Broccoli & Waterchestnut Dimsums – without sauce. As for me, my relationship with food started out as lust, pure greed and the have-it-now attitude but slowly it has grown into deep love. And one can only hope that yours will too, after this meal.

I first visited Haaochi, the Oriental restaurant at Sun N Sand, Juhu last year, right after its opening. Ever I always remember this place for its tea and dimsums. When you think of going for an extraordinary white tea with golden tips or think of gorging on gorgeous dumplings with subtle notes of flavour weaved in textured stuffings, think of going to Haaochi. After my extraordinary experience with the tea and dimsums at this place last year, I was really excited to taste their new menu with which they have recently launched Thai food.

One thing that is worth noting about this place is that the food and menu at Haochi has an edge. While they understand the Indian palate, common preferences and design their menu for our taste, it is still not a common menu. It is certainly not common food. Haaochi does their food differently, and not in the modern “playing with concept way” but they just make every dish very well. You can see study, balance and patience in each of their dishes. While I am not a fan of the slightly crowded ambience, I always enjoy the food because sometimes it is the hardest to do common favourites that well.

For instance, whether it is the succulent – Wild Catch Black pepper prawns from the new menu or that gorgeous piece of art that is called the Broccoli & Waterchestnut Dimsum, the flavour in every dish, doneness, freshness and texture is just perfect. I have cooked in restaurant kitchens and I have cooked at home, so I can tell you that this is food cooked with love. May be it helped that we were there on a weeknight, so there wasn’t a crowd.

It may as well be that they were taking special care back in the kitchen but the new menu was not that regular old satays and Thai Curry rant, it was really new, and different and had the right balance of flavours. Like any other Thai food it was fragrant but designed for the Global Indian taste buds. How often do you hear that “Mieng Kham” or a Thai paan is being served at a restaurant? Not very often. In fact I had never tried this chaat-like Thai style appetizer before. It was a betel leaf served with five bowls of accompaniments, lime, peanuts, plum sauce, ginger and spring onion. I won’t say it tops my chaat list but it was interesting. Then came the spare ribs, charred, with were way to sweet for my liking and a wee bit tougher meat than I like. This was followed by the wild catch prawns from the new menu, topped with browned lemon grass julienne and my hot-favourite crystal chicken and vegetarian dumplings from the old menu.

The main dishes included Massaman Lamb Cury along with coconut fried rice. The fried rice was a fresh concept and fairly coconuty and its light sweetness paired nicely with the robust flavours of the lamb curry. The curry had great consistency with deep meaty flavours, an enjoyable addition to their menu. Some of my proud “Bangkok-return” friends might say that the food doesn’t taste the same in Thailand. These dishes are as authentic as easily accepted by our Global desi palate. If it doesn’t taste exactly the one that you had in Thailand it is because it is designed to comfort our taste buds aka Global Indian taste buds. The food must be enjoyable, balanced in flavour, consistent and pleasing in texture and theses dishes from the new menu most certainly all that. Haochi is one of those restaurants that can easily become your comfort zone. It is familiar food designed to please, the ambience albeit a little crowded, is no-frills, old fashioned and pleasing. It serves Chinese food with gorgeous Dimsums made by an expat or imported Dimsum specialist from China.

This new addition to the menu offers Thai Curries and delicious fried rice, noodles and extends that comfort zone some more. After all curry is always a welcome addition, right? Haaochi is the right place to go with family or to plan a business lunch because with the new additions in the menu there’s something for everyone, even choosy kids! When you don’t know what everyone will eat, curry & fried rice are always that safe bet that ought to be there. And that is the “That thing about this place”. If I have to describe it in 3 words, I will call it – Comforting, delicious & simple. I was at Haochi for a review invite. The new menu includes Thai food delicacies and will now be permanently available on their menu.

Rating  

Ambience : 3/ 5

Menu: 3/5

Food: 4/5

Service: Not Applicable due to Invite

Value for Money: 3/5

That thing about this place: 3/5

Rating: 3/5 – Good    

6 Wicked Ways To Drink, Pair & Cook with Whisky; The Johhnie Walker Tasting at ITC Maratha

Whisky and kebabs on a chilly evening, ahh! That’s what makes winter worth the wait. Few close friends, a dinner with colleagues or just an evening in front of the television calls for a drink, and in India we like to drink whisky. Not just any whisky, Scotch whisky. So I decided to bring in the season of celebrations with a Johhnie Walker whisky tasting at ITC Maratha, Mumbai. The whisky was paired with food from China and food from Japan by Chefs at the Pan Asian restaurant for China Japan debate on a plate.

More than wine, whisky is something we already know and love. In fact one of our prominent politicial leaders carries around his bottle of Johhnie Walker Black Label wherever he goes to dine! I know so many of my friends, even my father’s friends who like to stick to their favourite brand of whisky wherever they go. It is safe to say that whisky has been in my blood for generations. If you too love the flavour of whisky, here are 6 ways to enjoy whisky in every way. Drink, pair & cook with whisky!

1)   Cocktails

It’s not easy being the guy everyone wants to party with! Have fun being the bartender this season and mix some charming new drinks. Classics like Rob Roy are made with vermouth, angostura bitters and Scotch whisky, or Whisky Sour (Whiskey with an E*) with lemon juice and sugar have always been on the list, why not come up with new custom-made classics for your party this season.

Here is something that you could try. Adding a theme to the cocktails, like tropical, Spanish or Japanese flavours. Here’s how Johhnie Walker made their cocktails borrowing some ingredients from the Oriental kitchen.  We were welcomed with two interesting cocktails made with Johhnie Walker Black Label. The Rising Sun cocktail with a mélange of sweet, sour and spicy Japanese and Chinese flavours like wasabi and pomegranate made it very suitable for the Indian palate, it had the charm and excitement of a paani puri. The other cocktail was one called the Mao’s Tipple served in a Martini glass and made with Oolong tea and Sichuan Pepper syrup flavours.

If you want to try them out with Johhnie Walker Black Label at Home, here is how you can make them

Oriental Flavoured Cocktails

Rising Sun

Johnnie Walker Black Label – 45ml

Fresh Lime Juice – 20ml

Pomegranate syrup / Grenadine syrup – 15ml

*Soy and wasabi mix – 5ml

Fresh Egg white – 10ml

Shake all ingredients well and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a side of Japanese pickled ginger.

* Soy and Wasabi mix –

Combine equal parts by weight of light soy sauce and grated wasabi root / paste and Mirin (optional). Eg. 100gms soy to 100gms wasabi to 100gms mirin.

1

Mao’s Tipple

Johnnie Walker Black Label – 45ml

*Oolong Tea and Szechuan pepper syrup – 15ml

Sweet vermouth – 20ml

Stir all ingredients well and serve in a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a light sprinkle of oolong tea leaves and cracked sichuan pepper.

*Oolong Tea and Sichuan pepper syrup.

2 tbsp of loosely cracked Sichuan peppers

2 Oolong Tea bags 4gms each

500ml hot water

500gm of caster sugar

Add tea and pepper to hot water and let it seep for 10 minutes. Remove tea and pepper from the brew and add in sugar. Stir until all the sugar dissolves. Do NOT boil tea and pepper in water. Do NOT boil to dilute sugars.

It is hard to give-up the straight drinks of whisky, neat and perfect, yet every once in a while it is fun to mix it up! For those that enjoy the subtle notes of whisky but not the harsh taste of alcohol, here is a simple and homely recipe you can experiment with.

Bumchums

 

Scotch Whisky           1 measure

Lemon                        Squeeze half a lemon

Orange Juice  ½ measure

Mint                5 leaves, muddled

Himalayan Pink Salt (Sendha Namak)       a pinch

Sparkling water cracked ice

Garnish with a spiral of lemon

Method: Stir in all ingredients except ice in a tall glass.

Fill the bottom half of a martini glass with cracked ice.

Pour the drink into the martini glass, garnish with a spiral of lemon.

2)   What’s the Best Temperature for Drinking Whisky

The Whisky guru from Diageo, Raveen told us, ‘when it comes to drinking whisky, it’s all about temperature’. For instance the light smoky flavour of Johhnie Walker Gold Label along with notes of cocoa are best communicated when it is served ice cold. We were served Gold Label with ice water, but without a dark chocolate truffle, which it is best paired with.

Richer whisky such as the Johhnie Walker Platinum Label and Johhnie Walker X.R 21 have more intense flavours with deep fruity notes, and these are more pronounced at room temperature.

In whisky drinking you can nose the aromas 15 degrees Celsius onwards, so sipping at room temperature for richer blends where you want to relish the aromas is a good idea. Whisky tastes different at different temperatures, and it is a good idea to read the label on the bottle to drink it right.

3)   Pairing Scotch Whisky with Hot or Cold Food

9

It is not only the temperature of whisky itself but also the temperature of the food that it is served with, that adds to its flavour. This is a lot like smelling coffee beans when you’re trying out different perfumes. When you sip the whisky at room temperature and alternate it with a cold dessert, the flavours are clean in every sip. The contrasting temperatures amaze and alert your senses each time.

For instance we really enjoyed the way the cold wasabi ice cream that hits the nose and at the same time intensifies the deep flavours of Johhnie Walker XR 21 that was served at room temperature. The sharp flavour of wasabi also makes the fruity notes in the whisky definite, and that’s the beauty of a whisky drinking experience, isn’t it?

4)   Pairing Whisky with Cuisines

Japanese Seafood Soup

Japanese Seafood Soup

Juicy kebabs, spicy curries and naans with whisky are the perfect desi combination. I find Scotch whisky to be the perfect desi pairing with Indian food. Pairing is really about personal taste, you can even pair French fries and ketchup if you prefer. There’s no wrong, yet depending on the light citrusy or fruity flavours of a whisky certain foods add to the experience.

Whisky is believed to enhance the flavour of food due to its wide flavour profile. Our Indian palate is used to bold flavours like those in Sichuan style of Chinese cooking, and we enjoy our whisky with Chinese food because of the contrasting bold and subtle notes and its familiarity factor. I’d say it pairs well with Japanese food, because due to the subtle taste of this cuisine, the taste of the whisky is boosted and easier to identify and enjoy.

5)   Flaming Food – How to flambe food with Whisky?

11

This is all drama, drama & more drama! Because flaming food with alcohol is done just before serving and right in front of the guests, you can imagine the impact it creates. This lends great flavour to food too. It works best on meats and desserts. The food, sauce or cake gets the flavour of whisky and the alcohol is burns when you light it. It adds more character and depth to the flavour because the food caramelizes or chars lightly when flambé it.

Flaming sauces is an old school gimmick for fancy French restaurants. The way we like to do it here, is make flaming kebabs.

How to flambé your kebabs?

What you simple need to do is take alcohol in a ladle, carefully light it up and then pour the flame on to 90 percent cooked kebabs on a stone tile that doesn’t break, or a cast iron plate will also work well.

This does two things, one, it flavours the kebabs with whisky and secondly, it lightly caramelizes the kebabs and makes the flavour deeper.

If you do want to go about flambé-ing sauces in the traditional way, it is a great way to flavour meat and dessert sauces and here’s how you do it in two simple steps.

Two Steps to Flambeing you sauces with Whisky.

Step 1: Make your sauce, so you sauté the shallots for you steak sauce, add in the mushrooms, sprinkle paprika and stir in the cream.

Step 2: Then lower the heat, and slowly add in a cap of whisky by pouring it along the sides and stirring into the sauce. Be careful, and make sure no one, including you is standing close enough to catch fire. (Have a fire extinguisher ready, kidding!). If you do want to create more drama though, (have a fire extinguisher ready, not kidding), increase the heat on the pan, move back and pour a cap of whisky along the sides of the pan, make sure the sauce is on that side of the pan. The sauce will flame up directly for just a second, and longer if you pour more alcohol and the heat isn’t too high.

This is really all about experience, once you do it at home safely a couple of times, you’ll have the confidence to showcase your skills at a party too.

6)   Flavouring Food with Whisky

Whisky has a great flavour spectrum, with the flavour of oakwood, citrus and even herbs that enhance the flavour of the food. In fact it is believed that whisky in many ways acts like salt in its ability to enhance the flavours in a dish. I just love adding in that X factor to my food.

This is a great way to spruce up even a simple vanilla ice cream.

Foodmantra for Whisky Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice cream       4 scoops

Scotch Whisky           3 tablespoons

Honey             4 tablespoons

Almonds, sliced          6-8

Cinnamon Powder    ½ teaspoon

Method:

Mix in the whisky, honey, almonds and cinnamon into softened vanilla ice cream.

Freeze to desired consistency and enjoy!

Foodmantra for a Whisky flavoured Meat Sauce

Once you are done grilling or roasting meat in a pan, pour 3 tablespoons of whisky and deglaze the pans with the remaining tit bits. Add in some grilled/ roasted shallots and mushrooms (you can roast them on the side when your meat is cooking), add in fresh herbs and parika and sour cream to the pan. Lightly heat it up and pour the sauce to be served on the side.

You can also add in leftover marinade from the grill or the roast if you like.

The Johhnie Walker Scotch Whisky tasting was a delight. It was great to know so more about drinking whisky and pairing it up with the right food. I’m a Japanese food lover and inclined towards seafood. Whisky is said to bring out the aromas of the sea in seafood, so my food went nicely with the beverages that were served that evening. While I loved the modern Japanese appetizer of steamed river sole roulade with prawn coulis and miso, the main course of Atlantic salmon and a special kind of ginger called Hajikami (or something!) was only average. I was just missing my wasabi hints in the food and also sushi, which I love. Nonetheless, modern Japanese food was a good experience if you treat it as French instead Japanese cooking. The cherry tart was very appetizing but the wasabi ice cream was a winner for me, especially with that Johhnie Walker XR 21.

I did not opt for any of the Chinese dishes, because I was in the mood for something above the usual. I did try some of the garlic prawn appetizer that tasted a lot like bhajiyas, the fried rice with the main course meat looked very, desi, spicy yet appealing because of the fragrant spices and the fried ice cream reminded me of ice cream pakoras in Sharma uncles’s son’s shaadi. This so-called chinese dessert was very gharelu (home-style) for me, but if you like it, you like it. The sizzling fried rice was very dramatic as Chef Liang poured the sizzling sauce on to the rice. Every grain of rice was crispy, like puffed rice crispy and with it was a sweet and spicy sauce that reminds you a lot of american chopsuey! This dish is great for kids. Overall, the whisky was good and the food was decent, that turned out to be a lovely evening.

*Funfact: Whiskey with an ‘e’ stands for Whiskey from Ireland and the United States, while whisky stands for Scotch, English, Wales, Canadian and even Japanese whisky.

What Mumbai Food Bloggers Do & How To Get the Best Food in Mumbai?

We’re Talking About: Mumbai Food Bloggers take their food very seriously. With so many links, tweets and blogs it is hard to find what they can do for you. This is a list of cuisines they teach, the food they cater and other food assistance they provide.

I’m a Mumbai & Pune (I shuttle almost everyday) based food writer and I have been really confused about what my blogger friends teach, cater and write about. So this is to help you and me search for the right person for the food service we’re looking for. I’m going to refer to many of these bloggers by their twitter handle cause it is just easier to identify them that way. I’m sure I have missed a few, like I said it is not easy to remember, but if you want to add to this information about someone who isn’t mentioned then you are welcome to write to me about it.

 

Cuisine Queens

@Saeek (Saee Khandekar)

Writes on www.myjhola.in

I like to read Saee’s blog for her traditional Maharashtrian and Goan recipes. Known to put up easy to follow recipe videos. The popular Goan sweet Bebinca and the trick that goes into making it to home-style Maharashtrian rice preparation Masale Bhaat. Saee is also known in blogging community for her great baking and lovely breads. I hear her Ciabatta is to die for!

She conducts Baking and other Classes at the APB Cook Studio.

@BawiBride (Perzen Patel)

Writes on www.bawibride.com

She is the Parsi Cuisine queen in Mumbai. Perzen takes weekend orders for delicious Parsi dishes as well as dips and desserts. You might have to hop down to pick it unless you choose to have MyPeon pick it up for you at an added cost.

Perzen also teaches some Parsi Cooking at Studio Fifteen where you can learn Dhansak to Lagan no Custard from her.

Kalpana Talpade

Videos on Kalpana Talpade on Youtube.com

Look her up on Youtube as she teaches some rare and simple Pathare Prabhu recipes here. Pathare Prabhu is among the earliest Mumbai settlers, their cuisine is very simple yet unique. You might have heard of Sarnagya Che Bhuzne which is a simple yet delicious Pomfret recipe by the Pathare Prabhus. Here you can learn how to make green prawn curry, bhuzne and pathare prabhu sambhar masala.

Anjali Koli

Writes on http://annaparabrahma.blogspot.in

If you wish to buy Koli Masala and learn about Koli Cuisine or seafood recipes from someone from the original fisherfolk community, then go to Anjali Koli’s blog. She has some great lobster recipes, cooking Bombay duck and some never-heard-of dessert recipes that you will love.

@meg_deo (Megha Deokule)

Writes at www.gourmettable.in

www.i2cook.com

Want to order some traditional Coorgi Pork, Pandi Curry or tasty cookies for your home? Then here is whom you go to. Megha is organic food activist, bakes, writes and brings us recipes and dishes from Coorg.

Megha Deokule’s Online Pop-Up Store

Megha features a variety of items on her online pop-up store and you can follow her to know what’s on the menu. Depending on what is featured this week you can order her Coorgi dishes, cookies and cakes. You can also get in touch with her to find where to get your organic food supplies.

Bake! Bake! Bake!

There are many Food Bloggers who also bake. Saee Khandekar, Shaheen Peerbhai, Deeba Rajpal, Pojaa Dhingra (duhh-uhh), but here is a few home-bakers I know that take baking orders for cakes, cookies and as such.

@CaramelWings (Ahsrita aka Papple)

Writes on www.caramelwings.in

Ashrita, the Pilot also takes some cooking workshops in Mumbai and in Delhi, where she teaches contemporary and creative recipes.

@ScrollsnInk (Reema Prasanna)

Writes on www.sumthinzcooking.blogspot.in

Reema also conducts baking classes and writes about healthy cooking, restaurant reviews, experiments with food and contributes articles to Mumbai Boss. She occasionally also takes baking orders for cakes and as such.

@TheDessertCart1 (ShradhaAgarwalla)

Find her on Facebook @TheDessertCart1 for gorgeous cakes and cupcakes. You can order and she also conducts baking classes. Her cake decorations are pretty as a picture, especially great for children’s birthday parties.

Dips, Spreads & Jams

Life Ki Recipe (Amrita Rana)

Writes on www.lifekirecipe.com

She is the Bacon Jam girl. This girl cooks with bacon, and also makes some great dips, spreads etc for orders. You can order her bacon jam or some lovely dips for your parties or small gatherings. Amrita also teaches how to make dips and cook with bacon at Studio fifteen. You might also spot Amrita featuring her goodies at Bombay Local and other food stalls in events and fairs around Mumbai.

@Shivzi (Shivani Tolia)

Writes on www.shivanitolia.wordpress.com

We know her as the Yellow Butterfly.

We know Shivani for her sandwiches, dips and Mexican cooking. Shivani takes orders for her dips and spreads and takes sandwich and dips classes at Studio Fifteen. She too features her food in stalls during events and fairs in Mumbai. In fact you may even spot her with Amrita as they feature some goodies together is certain events.

Party Chef for Gourmet Catering

@little_chefB (Bhakti Mehta)

Writes on www.littlefoodco.com

I recently heard a lot about the Mexican delicacies Bhakti dished out at a dinner she hosted. You can get in touch with her for Gourmet Catering in your home, when you’re hosting a big group or a small event. Bhakti also teaches how to dish out party food and host a great party at Studio Fifteen. They offer World cuisines including Italian, Mexican, Asian menus, you can visit the website and order as you like.

Health Food

 

@Miss-i-sippy (the girl behind Missisippy)

Find her on www.missisippy.com

You might have seen the variety of Muesli, snack bars and other healthy items for the fitness conscious. These products by Missisipy are available on the Big Basket and few other online grocery stores in Mumbai. For health tips you must follow her and try some yumm health food.

Vegan Chef – Harini Prakash

Writes at www.tongueticklers.com

If you are looking for vegan recipes, gluten-free food and other diet restrictions related food, then Harini will help you with what to get, where to get and how to cook it.

Health Cooking ClassesKhusboo Thadani of KWeigh teaches at Studio Fifteen.

Writes on www.kthadani.com

 

Home Kitchen Coaching

 

Anisha Bangera

Writes on www.thoughtsonaplate.wordpress.com

If you are new to the kitchen but enthusiastic about setting it up, what to cook and where to buy, then Anisha can coach you for delicious cooking in your own home. She will assist you in buying food and then teach you to prepare it.

For Men Who Would Like to Learn Cooking

If you want to learn how to cook like a man, sorry, that didn’t come out right, let’s try it again. Men, who love food but don’t know how to cook, can learn the art of dishing out some delicacies in a cookery class from men who love food. Don’t worry if you’re an amateur cook, these guys know where you’re coming from and they will be able to help you out. I’d send my man to a class like this! It is sure to teach him a thing or two about impressing his ladylove and filling his stomach on Sundays.

Nikhil Merchant

Writes at www.nonchalantgourmand.com

Teaches at Studio Fifteen

Shekhar Ghidiyal

Teaches at APB Cook Studio

 

Cocktails

Entertaining guests and love hosting parties at home? Why not learn some creative cocktails to better the weekends!

Nikhil Merchant teaches at Studio Fifteen

Photography

Deeba Rajpal is a food stylist and photographer who is also passionate about baking.

She write on www.passionateaboutbaking.com

Joy Manavath, you may know him as the @theliteratefool on twitter

Is professional photographer who teaches how to photograph food in Studio Fifteen.

Salonee (@Beach_Bom), is a food blogger who takes great pictures or you may know her as a photographer who write about food and travel. She is also a fitness trainer. She writes for Mumbai Mag.

She writes at www.bellyfirst.wordpress.com

Food Stalls

If you want to put up food stalls in an event or organize a food fair, then you should get in touch with Insia Lacewala (@1ns1a) from the Small Fry Co.

Contact them on www.smallfryco.com

Print Journalists

Prachi Joshi (@DelishDirection)

She is a travel, food and lifestyle contributor for burrp, National Geographic and other travel publications.

Rushina Ghidiyal (RushinaMG) Contributes articles in HT Café.

Roshni Bajaj (@RoshniBajaj) Food Critic for HT, contributing editor for Vogue, India and a Mumbai Boss Columnist.

Shakti Salgaonkar (@shaaqT) is freelance writer, was earlier writing for DNA. The author of Imperfect Mr.Right and she continues to write about food.

Cooking Studios

 

APB Cook Studio

Rushina Ghidiyal’s APB Cook Studio holds cooking classes, caters corporate events, holds corporate classes, cooking competitions and festivals. You can also buy gourmet food items, variety of teas and as such from their well-stocked pantry. This is where you can also buy the famed and much talked about foodles by Rushina.

Studio Fifteen

Is hosting so many different cooking classes. I think I must’ve mentioned them at least thrice by now, talking about some of our favourite food bloggers. The have bloggers teaching different cuisines, home-cooking techniques and even Chefs like Nachiket Shetye and Gresham Fernandes teaching the technical of cooking.

Meet some more Mumbai Foodies

These are some Mumbai food bloggers you ought to follow for info and also cause they are fun and interesting.

Charis B (@CulinaryStorm) for her friendly manner also some tried and tested recipes.

Adarsh Munjal (@theBigbhookad) to know where to find bugs in your food, some sarcasm and hardcore food criticism.

Abhishek Deshpande (@Desh) for very interesting food and travel stories, very descriptive writing literally takes you to the place with him.

Madhumita (@SassyFork) I love reading her experiences in all the food festivals she has been to, and continues to visit and write about. She brings Indian food back to our home and shares so much we don’t know.

Kalyan Kamarkar of finelychopped, Shaheen Peerbhai of The Purple Foodie and Rushina Ghidiyal are among Mumbai’s favourite food bloggers who each have their own interesting style of writing and we love reading about their food and travel experiences. While Kalyan’s stories are about food and the people around food, Rushina likes to share recipes, and has a very conversational and friendly style and Shaheen’s expertise from Le Cordon Bleu sets her apart in reader’s eyes.

As for me, I do this! After training as a Chef and working in Industrial kitchens I went to Nottingham, where I studied Broadcast Journalism and ate lots of steak, fish n chips and duck confit. While I was there I also shot a few food features like Chicken Tikka Masala Conquers Britain, where Food experts like Michelin starred Chef Atul Kochhar, British Food Expert Glynn Christian and TV Chef Manju Malhi contributed their expert insight about Indian food in United Kingdom. Since then I’ve been working for Food Television in India, and most recently Masterchef India. The food scene in India has changed so much over the past decade; it is hard to ignore the number of people that are contributing to increasing food awareness in our metros.

For me the biggest credit goes to popular television shows like Masterchef Australia, Masterchef India, food channels and shows TLC and NDTV Goodtimes. TV has brought about awareness about world cuisine, and the world food market is now greatly contributing to our routine diet. I’ve read about all that is happening around and about food in Mumbai, and I believe that this list will help us find the right food people. If you come across someone new and interesting on the block, do let me know so I can add him or her in.

Reaching For The Michelin Star; How to Cook Like these 10 Michelin Starred Indian Restaurants

A decade ago, you and I had no idea what a Michelin starred restaurant was, and honestly I did not even care. We were happy with our good old Dal Makhani and Chicken Tikka Masala serving restaurants in the neighbourhood, and what Mrs. Sharma or Mrs. Verma said would decide the next weekends dinner plan. As a child I understood that eating at a restaurant in a luxury 5 star Hotel was, and has been a big deal, people would also get excited to eat in dimpled Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurants in smaller towns across India. In Mumbai, Punjab Grill by Jiggs Kalra was among the first few Indian restaurants that were identified by the name of the Chef, until two years ago.

I think the first time my mother ever heard the word Michelin star must’ve been during the introduction of Chef Vikas Khanna in Masterchef India. He became a household name in India and after that other Chefs who have earned this honour slowly started becoming popular. Now Indian Chefs like Vikas Khanna or Vineet Bhatia have entered our living rooms & TV sets. We are now getting to know more about them and the concept of a Michelin Star restaurant.

So, What is a Michelin Star?

Michelin is in fact a tire company! The Michelin star was introduced over a hundred years ago as a guide to encourage road trips in France. At the time, one Michelin star meant that it was safe to eat in that place without having to take digestion pills, two Michelin stars meant it was a good place to eat at, if you were passing by and three Michelin stars meant that the place was so good, “it’s worth adding an 20 extra miles to your trip and take a diversion for it”.

Now, the Michelin Star inspectors and the criteria restaurants must fill is a big hush! Hush! Thing. Michelin Inspectors are the he-who-must-not-be-named people of the restaurant industry around the world, they have a set of rules and framework that they work within. There are few selected cities around the world that come under the Michelin radar, while Shanghai and HongKong are in the Michelin radar, restaurants in India are yet to make their place.

Indian Restaurants Around The World That Have Earned a Michelin Star.

Restaurants in India might not have made a mark in the Michelin world yet but Indian restaurants studded across the globe certainly have. Here are 10 restaurants from around the world that have earned a Michelin star for their Indian Food.

United Kingdom

Tamarind

In 2001, under Chef Aul Kochhar Tamarind earned its first Michelin star. Tamarind has maintained its Michelin star, now under Chef Alfred Prasad who features traditional Moghul Cuisine and tandoor cooking along with contemporary creations.

Some specialities the Tamarind selection carries.

Benaras

A fine Indian fine-dining restaurant since 2003, Benaras earned its Michelin star after four years in 2007. Chef Atul Kochhar’s Benaras restaurant features traditional preparations from his motherland with a modern twist. I’ve been to Benaras a few years ago for an interview I had conducted with Chef Atul Kochhar. I still have pictures and glimpses of that menu which featured venison and quail delicacies, otherwise unheard of on an Indian restaurant menu.

Here are few dishes they feature.

Rasoi

When it comes to Indian food, Chef Vineet Bhatia is Midas. Everything he touches turns to Michelin! Rasoi in Chelsea has held a Michelin star since 2009. The items that feature are Global Indian, such as a Stilton lamb tikki and goat cheese samosa.

Here are some Rasoi delicacies.


Quilon

After nine years of hard work, Chef Sriram Aylur earned the first Michelin star for Quilon in 2008 which features western coastal food from Kerala and Goa.

Check out some great dishes

Amaya

Is an Indian grill with Tapas-Style food by Chef Karunesh Khanna, it has held a Michelin star since 2006.

Have a look at what they serve!

Lobster at Amaya

Lobster at Amaya

Trishna

This sister of the Mumbai seafood restaurant Trishna, that has patrons from around the world, earned its Michelin star under Chef Karam Sethi who was earlier working in Rasoi. The famous King crab among other delicacies are worth a mention.

Zaika

Earned a Michelin star in 2001, when Vineet Bhatia was Head Chef here for producing dishes that changed the perception of Indian food globally.

New York

Junoon

Chef Vikas Khanna’s restaurant Junoon earned a Michelin star for the third time in a row. While this Masterchef India’s adorable and humble judge (P.S. for him I would work on that show again for free!) needs no further introduction, he has won accolades for his books and research on Indian cuisine. He also earned the oppurtunity to prepare an Indian feast for US President Barack Obama.

Have a Look at what earns a Restaurant a Michelin Star

Tulsi

An Indian menu created by Chef Hemant Mathur features street food as well as Tandoori cooking. See what they serve.

Geneva

Rasoi

You might have realised by now that every restayrat that is touched by Vineet Bhatia gets a Michelin star. Well, here is another feather in his hat. Rasoi in Geneva also earned its Michelin star soon after it opened it’s golden gate. Well, what should I say, some Chefs just know how to cook to impress!

How to Cook like a Michelin Starred Indian Restaurant? Changing the Perception

Know Where to Stop; Masala is not Master

There are Curry Houses across London and around the rest of the world that serve run-of-the-mill Indian food. Chef Atul Kochhar said in an interview I conducted few years ago, that people don’t understand the use of spices and flavours in Indian food. In a Chicken Tikka Masala they add tomato chutney and coconut milk, they don’t know where to stop. The flavour of the ingredient itself should not be masked by the loud masala which is heavily loaded with spices. The flavours should be clean and balanced.

Importance of Presentation

The pictures you have seen must have made it evident that the food presentation should adhere to global standards of food presentation.  Colours should be clean, the layout neat and the assembly creative.

Out of the Box Dishes & Ideas 

Creativity and imagination in adding that X-factor to the food is of utmost importance. Modern techniques are often used to re-create Indian classics. The different elements of flavours and texture come together on the plate and distinct flavour of the elements are well pronounced.

Food from Michelin Star Indian restaurants is inspiring. In an Exclusive ‘Q n A’ with Mr. Zorawar Kalra, Managing Director and Founder of Massive Restaurants, he talks about Indian Cuisine Version 2.0 and how he would like to earn a Michelin Star for his new brand Masala Library. Read on to know his aims and strategy as he journeys forward towards a Michelin Star. Will the food of Masala Library match up to Michelin Starred Indian restaurants around the world.

Zorawar Kalra

Zorawar Kalra

 

1)     Why did you decide to go with an unconventional way of presenting      Indian food?

  1.      Indian food has been represented the same way for decades now. When you      visit any Indian restaurant across the country or even most of the renowned addresses internationally, you expect to see the food served exactly the same way like it has been for years now.
  2. Our intent with Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is to take Indian cuisine to the next level, which we have termed as Indian Cuisine – Version 2.0 and showcase it in a more international manner, while retaining the traditional flavours and method of preparation, yet adding a sense of surprise for the diner into the fray.

2)     How do you plan on taking this concept further.

  1. After launching Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra in Mumbai last week, we plan to have one in Delhi as well.

    Our aim is to get a Michelin star and hence would be looking at some international locations in the coming year.

3)     Do you think it will be well received by Indians who have developed a comfort zone with the way their food is presented?

  1. Like I said earlier, Indian food has been represented the same way for decades and it is time for us to take it to the next level. It is our cuisine, which has a rich heritage, and we are extremely proud of it. It is up to us to present it in the right manner to the rest of the world including our own patrons; no outsider is going to come to do that.

It’s just been a few days since the launch and we have received extraordinary feedback from all, the guests, media, food enthusiasts and connoisseurs, and we are absolutely confident that this is going to continue for a long time.

4)     What is the one dish your Chef is most confident about in your menu?

  1. We have spent over 8 months in working on the nuances of every single dish listed on the menu at Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra. It will be very difficult to pick out one dish from the menu. We are extremely confident that all the dishes on offer are going to bring in a unique culinary experience for our guests.

5)     Could you please mail me a copy of your menu card and the list of dishes that were featured yesterday?

  1. The list of the dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party last week is listed below. (Find at the Bottom of this Article).

6)     Also, I wanted to check with you if some of these dishes like the duck or lamb are also available in larger portions, and if they are then are they are always served like a canapé?

  1. The dishes served at the Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 preview party were all specifically done as bite size portions for the evening. In actuality, all the dishes are served in larger portions, including the Duck and Lamb, however in case of the Lamb, we serve Lamb shanks instead of Lamb boti which was served during the course of the evening. We also have Lamb boti served with the Galawat Kebab

Although there are other grading systems for restaurants around the world, such as Hatted restaurants in Australia, since Indian food has earned a name in the Michelin world, diners tend to identify more with the pride that comes from earning a Michelin. It is believed that Michelin inspectors are only a handful  and Indian cities have still not come in the radar. There has been a little progress with the Mumbai based seafood restaurant Trishna earning a Michelin star for its London based counterpart but there is still a long way to go for Indian Restaurants. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed, hoping that one of our favourite restaurants manages to catch the attention of the star watchers real soon!

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Masala Library Canapé menu

for

Indian Food Bloggers Awards 2013 Preview Party

Vegetarian

maska bun

pesto kabab, tandoori tomato, parmesan papad

yogurt spheres, papdi chaat

chole kulcha, chukki mirch, carrot pickle

sarson ka saag quesadilla, butter milk cream

kadhai paneer tarts, san marzano makhni

papad sampler

corn and fenugreek kulcha, sunflower seeds

guchchi naan, truffle oil

Non vegetarian

duck khurchan, chilli hoisin tarts

chettinad prawns, roasted coconut flakes

chicken tikka, hickory wood smoke, habanero raita

boti kabab tacos, blue cheese cream

soft shell crab 65, cherry tomato chutney

anda kulcha

prawn balchao kulcha, ‘xo’ butter

Desserts

jalebi caviar, saffron glaze, pistachio rabri

ghewar mithai cheesecake

masala library lollipops – mishti doi

paan pasand candy floss

 

 

Interesting Reads on Michelin Star Restaurants

What Does it Take to Earn a Michelin Star? – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/what-does-it-take-to-earn_b_2204599.html

How To Get a Michelin Star – http://www.hindustantimes.com/Entertainment/Food/How-to-get-a-Michelin-star/Article1-494741.aspx

Missing Michelin in India – http://www.financialexpress.com/news/missing-michelin-in-india/746577

Rasoi, Vineet Bhatia, London – http://www.viamichelin.com/web/Gastronomy-magazine/London-_-Rasoi_Vineet_Bhatia_London-b2a05ca46fb8c8b84b0ffaa9e7a6b31b-155291

Indian Michelin Star Chefs – http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/articles/restaurant-guides/indian-michelin-star-chefs