Sunday, 29 June 2014

One Evening at the Mall

In todays world, I guess everyone has their own bucket list, the things they want to do. Even me, I myself have a bucket list having some crazy things that i want to do like, crash into a random wedding and mentioning you are from the food inspection department, in a flight just shout 'Hi Jack' and meeting some friend named Jack, another one is, restaurant hopping, going to many food outlets in one evening and having something at each place.
Recently I received another mail from the FBAI ( Food Bloggers Associations India ), which said, there is going to be a #FoodCrawl at a renowned mall in town, at the Phoenix Marketcity Kurla.
The event which was suppose to take place at the mall consisted of the bloggers visiting 3 places and enjoying there.

The #FoodCrawl began at The Irish House. The first destination and the starting point of the Restaurant Hopping. The Irish House, gave the #FoodCrawl a boost start, as for we bloggers, if our stomach is empty, we cant do anything, we need something to go inside and give us that kick needed.

                        
It started of with all the bloggers gathering and like always chatting around and talking with one another. We ordered for the drinks, all those were on the menu designed for us.

(From L-R) Jalapeno Margarita, The Irish Hangover, Cosmopolitan and
The Irish Trash Can.
To accompany the drinks there is always some 'Chakna' if i have to say, which is snacks, but before that, it was time for the activity which the FBAI head Sameer Malkani never leaves  a chance to get the bloggers working.
The task was that one by one, all the bloggers go behind the bar counter and make a cocktail of choice, but not like always, there was no winning cocktail here.

Mr. Always Ready - @AyeBee_Me
Miss Cheerful - @ChandniT

In the blogging family, there are people who I have assigned names, and some of the family members were present here performing the task while the others were watching them, and trying to copy some ideas.

The Photo Bomber - @BrandedBawi with me
Mr Serious - @AntiquityBlue
Everyone was trying out different different cocktails and there were all amazing, new ideas and lovely flavors were coming up. 
While the cocktails were being made, there were some people from the family, already attacking the food.


Chicken Katti Roll and Chicken Popcorn 

Some of the dishes on for the food were, chicken popcorn, amazing, small pieces, just perfect for finger foods, then there was chicken katti rolls, one of the best rolls i have had till date. Lots of flavor and the chicken was very moist.

The Chicken Tenders






Then there was another signature dish of The Irish House, The Chicken Tenders, they were so succulent, and tender like the names says.

But for the vegetarians, they werent left hungry, for them there was, Nachos and some mushrooms.
No doubt the food was amazing, and mouthwatering.




The Bloggers 'Happy Family'

The food at The Irish House for us was over, as it was time to move to the next destination, but the stop wasnt finished, there was another surprise waiting for all of us here.
SHOTS











There was a tray full of shots waiting for all of us, and we werent allowed to leave the place until the tray was filled back with empty glass.

Each person had a couple of shots as we had to finish the tray. Im sure, all the bloggers will never forget this stop, due to a particular reason.



As we were running out of time, we moved on to our next destination, where we were about to have the main course and like always a task, or a game is played in every meet up.
The next stop was, RainForest Resto & Bar. On entering the place, we just had some starters like the Prawn Cocktail, Jingha Nashela, Corn & Cheese Tikkis to start.


Jingha Nashela


           
Prawn Cocktail
          
Corn, Cheese Tikkis




















The Prawn Cocktail was a bit spicy due to the excess of black pepper, but they were soft, and cooked properly. The Corn & Cheese Tikkis seemed a bit frozen and dint enjoy the flavor much, there was not different taste which i cant explain. the Jingha Nashela, means Drunken Prawns. The name comes due to the purpose, the prawns are flambeed in front of the guest with some alcohol.
The had a very nice flavor, smokiness from the flambe, the spiciness from the tandoori masala and cooked just right.

Like I mentioned, there was a game waiting for us here, simple game, guess the ingredients. The chef had prepared a particular dish for us, and the bloggers turn by turn had to guess the ingredients in the dish right. And with every wrong answer, the participant was out, and the last one to survive and get the maximum ingredients right was declared the winner and awarded a prize.

RainForest White Sauce Pasta
A simple dish, Pasta in white sauce with lots of vegetables. The list of the ingredients were already written on a paper and handed over and there were in all 17 ingredients. 
Tasting started, each blogger started guessing the name of the ingredients, one by one people got eliminated, as the names were getting over, it was difficult to guess more and more. Finally it came down to two people and one of them was declared the winner. But the runner up was also given the prize, as a token of living up to the competition and not giving up till the end. 

It was late, and we were running out of time, so we decided to skip the main course, as we had spent a little extra time at The Irish House. Also we were all full, as we had a bit more at The Irish House which was not the plan, but never the less, the activity was completed, some food as had and it was time to move on to the final stop for the evening, like in a 3 course meal it, starters, main course and dessert. 
It was time for "Kuch Meetha Hojaae". We headed to Dunkin Donuts, where the meetha was the donut and the coffee, ice tea, whatever needed. 

Everyone enjoying the meetha at Dunkin Donuts


Some got themselves donuts to eat, som got hot coffee, some got cold coffee but everyone being a foodie and having a sweet tooth, there was something or the other with everyone. 



Times up, everyone got a bit of drunk, full from eating and satisfied by the meetha. But never a meet up is over without a group photo and the best time was, after eating lots of food and looking a bit fat. :P


From L-R -  Mohit ChotraniFoodBloggerAIChandni TolaniZenia IraniAgnishwar BanerjeeAjit BalgiBhisham MansukhaniBhaktis Banter, & Jubin

It was done, everyone was leaving the Mall, then the started the Good Byes, the Good Bye Hugs and all, but there was one thing we were taking with themselves, i.e the memories of the evening, the friendship, the fun and the entertainment. This was all possible because of the FBAI Founder - Mr Sameer Malkani, along with Phoenix Marketcity Kurla and the people representing the mall, specially @LoveAmruta, who was with us all the time, roaming and telling us what is to be done where. 
A big Thank You to all the people i met, it was a fun experience, and a memorable day. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Som Tam





Everybody now a days has become health conscious and wants to stay fit with the surrounding. Everyone likes to have some roughage or salad before their meal which is a part of their daily diet. The salads don't need to be something exotic and stuck to a particular recipe, it is just what is there, one should eat it. 
Here I have taken the tradition Thai Salad 'Som Tam' and given it my twist. 


Ingredients - 
Green Bell Peppers - 1 piece
Yellow Bell Pepper - 1 piece
Red Bell Pepper - 1 piece
Raw Mango - 1/2 piece
Cucumber - 1 piece
Onions (sliced) - 1 piece
Mint Leaves - handful 

For the Dressing - 
Olive Oil - 50 ml
Lemon Juice - 15 ml
Red Chillies (chopped) - 1/2 piece
Garlic (chopped) - 1 clove
Fish Sauce - 1 tbsp

Method - 
1. Take all the three bell peppers and cut them into juliennes.
2. Take the raw mango and cucumber using a peeler, take out thin strips and cut them finely using a knife into long strands, like spaghetti. 
3. Put all of them in a bowl and keep aside. 
For the Dressing - 
1. In a bowl, take the chopped garlic, red chillies, lemon juice, fish sauce and mix well. 
2. Pour the Olive Oil little at a time and keep whisking. 
3. Adjust the seasoning with salt.
To assemble - 
1. Take the vegetables, drizzle the dressing on top and mix well and serve. 
2. Do not dress the salad in advance to avoid it from getting soggy. 


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Review - The Spare Kitchen

Being a foodie, I always like to try a different restaurant every time I go out. 
Now a days in Mumbai, there are so many restaurants come up, its very difficult to choose which place to visit. 
There is a restaurant on every corner of the road I would say. Also due to so many upcoming restaurants, there is a big competition these days and each restaurant tries to served the best food ever in order to survive in the market. 

It was that time of the month, when me and my friends meet up for a monthly dinner which is for sure fixed apart from other small food joint visits. 
This time it was me, who had to choose the place to visit and after this I started a bit of research, what is good where, any new restaurants coming up and a lot more on it.
So I came up with the place The Spare Kitchen, located on Juhu in mumbai. Being heard alot about the places from fellow friends, blogger friends and on social media.
It was a bit difficult task to convince my friends for the same, as they don't like to experiment places like me, but they finally agreed to it. 

One good thing was that i was able to make my reservation on a social account of theirs, which gave me a first good impression. 
As I arrived, I was taken to my table, and had to wait for a couple of friends to come, as me another friend of mine reached early.

The ambiance of the place was pretty nice, simple nothing much done but a comfort feeling could be obtained. the lights were nice and dim, I would say, it is like a romantic place to go with your loved one for some time together. 

While waiting for others to arrive, we ordered a simple assorted papad platter to start with. 
As soon as it came, I was surprised to see it, as it didn't even seem like a assorted platter, it was a platter of masala papad. 
When I told this to the server there, he bought us some roasted papad cones, which were uncooked and very disappointing, that how can a person be served raw food. 

I called the manager and told him the same, he replaced it and got the order replaced and this time it was the correct assorted papad platter which again had the masala papad and some other types of papad, which were nice. 
While the papad was being had, awaited people arrived and we were confused on what to order, as it was a huge menu and confusing. 
It took quite a while to decide on what to order next as a starter. Being almost half done by eating the papad, we just ordered one starter, the Non-Veg Platter, which consisted of 4 different types of kebabs, namely Malabari Lamb with baby gunpowder uttapam, Gilafi lamb seekh, Sesame Chicken Seekh and Chilli Garlic Chicken Tikka. 



The Chilli Garlic Chicken Tikka has a nice flavor to it, but was a bit chewy as it was a bit overcook. 
The Sesame Chicken Seekh was pretty good, had not very strong flavors, just proper. The Gilafi Lamb Seekh, the lamb was cooked perfectly, but the cardamom was overpowering 
and had a very distinct flavor to it, which i didn't enjoy much. 





Lastly there was the Malabari Lamb With Baby Gunpowder Uttapam, the Uttapam were very soft and nice, the lamb was cooked properly and this was one god dish on the platter.




Everyone on the table were a fan of pizza, so we decided to order a big pizza, which would have been enough for all, after going through the menu, we ordered the 'Italian Mafia'
sounds like a mafia to have, it consisted to 16 spice chicken, cheese, basil and cherry tomatoes.
A person expects pizza to have a nice amount of cheese and the chicken pieces if its a chicken pizza.
It took them about 20 mins or so to get the pizza, and when it came, i could count the chicken pieces on my fingers, there was hardly any basil on it, and cheese, nothing compared to other places, I can say, that it was the worst pizza I have had till date. 

With every food, everyone needs something to drink, so we called for ice-tea, very nice, something good finally from the restaurant. I enjoyed my ice tea for sure. 
We also order the Chicken Milanese Burger and the Chicago Burger, with their accompaniments. 

The Chicago burger had mince lamb, taste wise pretty good, but the burger buns, i.e the bread was pretty huge and there was less of meat and more of the bread. 
The fries were very crisp, as i like but they were a bit more oily, we had to ask for tissue paper so that we could drain of the excess oil on the paper. 



After having all this, we were all full, and didn't feel like having anything else, not even dessert. 
Called for the check,didn't find it quite expensive, as we were thinking it would be. 

Overall experience, ambiance was pretty good, liked the atmosphere, service was below average, Did not enjoy the food personally after hearing alot about it. 
Price wise reasonable as compared to other restaurants, everywhere I guess it is the same or so. 

I would think quite a many time before visiting the places knowing that I have many options available.

The Spare Kitchen

Address :
Ground Floor, Hotel King's International Compound, 5, 
Juhu Tara Road, Juhu, Mumbai
Phone:
022 67426770

P.S. Sorry for the less picture, but all were hungry that I forgot to take the other pictures. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Mac n Cheese

Mac n Cheese is one of Americas classic and most famous dish served there.
Though it is said to be invented in Canada, but it is most served in America.
The Americans have it with almost everything, it is served as an side accompaniment or even as a main dish.
Each restaurant has their own variant, may be with vegetables, may be without it.



Ingredients - 

Macaroni – 150 gms
Cheddar Cheese – 80 gms
Parmesan cheese – 20 gms
Milk – 20 ml
Salt - to taste

Black Pepper Powder – to taste
Butter – 20 gms
Rosemary – 1 spring
Breadcrumbs - 2 tbsp


Method - 
1. Boil water in a heavy bottom pan, and season it well, add in the pasta and cook till Al Dente.
2. Strain the pasta, and keep about 2 tbsp of the pasta water.
3. Transfer the pasta into a oven-proof bowl.
4. In another bowl, mix some cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs and keep aside.

5. To the macaroni, add the pasta water, the milk, cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese,butter, the rosemary and mix well.
6. Season it well, now sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top and put in a pre-heated oven for about 4-5 mins.
7. Serve hot. 


Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Date With Kiwi

It is said that 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away', it not always apple according to me now, I guess all the fruits help in the same. For me the quote now is 'A fruit a day keeps the doctor away'.

One fruit that comes to my mind when it comes to the health factor is the Golden Kiwi from the land of Kiwis - New Zealand.
New Zealand is one place, known for its amazing food, fruits and wines. It is said that the best lamb meat can be found in New Zealand, the best Kiwis can be found in New Zealand and more, some of the finest wines can also be found in New Zealand.

Recently there has been a tagline, that I have been hearing 'Wake up to the Golden Kiwi​ Sunrise at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC'


So I got a chance to visit Sofitel Mumbai BKC, where the hotel infuses Golden Kiwi in all its outlets this season. Enticing your taste buds to the flavors of this exquisite and lovely fruit, for which the hotel will make innovative creations to pair up the flavour of the kiwi with others.

Before that, first some information about the Golden Kiwi.
The Golden Kiwi is a luscious bold fruit, easily identified because of its smooth skin. It can be held at an eating firmness for several weeks at between 0.0°C and 1.0°C. This is a key feature of this new variety which improves convenience and consumer eating experience. With a refreshingly sweet and a slightly tangy taste, it forms a great combination.

Some Key Benefits of Golden Kiwi:

· It gives the taste buds a tart flavor

· It is safe for diabetics as well as health conscious individuals

· It has essential vitamins and minerals making it a full meal

· Containing actinidin, the fruit helps in digestion and relieves bloating.

Enticing one’s taste buds to the flavors of this exotic fruit; Sofitel Mumbai BKC culinary expert has combined the goodness of the Golden and Green kiwifruits to prepare a menu of exquisite beverages, appetizers, mains and desserts. Some of the dishes to celebrate the Kiwi festival features an intriguing Kiwi roll (Golden kiwi, carrot, glass noodle in spiced fish sauce or Honey pepper soya sauce), a delicious Kiwi Bruschetta (garlic brushed, kiwi, avocado and chilies), a scrumptious Kiwi Quinoa Salad (healthy salad with quinoa, kiwi, celery, tahina, tomato and spring onion), a zesty Kiwi Roesti (sweet potato, shitake and carrot, leek, mushroom and kiwi ragout) and more.

It was an afternoon, when I reached the place and noticed that there was a friend of mine as well, and many other who were invited in order to dive in the flavors of Kiwi. I was welcome by the Director of CRIESSE Communication - Mr Dennis Taraporewale.
Everyone got into getting to know each other, there was interaction, luck me, I got a chance to meet the General Manager of the Hotel - Mr Biswajit Chakraborthy. It was a pleasure talking to him and getting to know him. 

Soon the event started and everyone gathered around the bar and took their seat. It started of with , Mr. Indrajit Saha, Executive Chef of Sofitel Mumbai BKC telling us something about the event and how the inspiration of using the fruit Kiwi came from and how it was used in various ways. He also gave us some knowledge about the fruit, the benefits and the dishes which were to demonstrated today. He also mentioned that, “We at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC are always in the process of creating healthy options for our connoisseurs and guests. The SunGold kiwifruit is a luscious bold fruit, easily identified because of its smooth skin. With a refreshingly sweet and a slightly tangy taste, it forms a great combination for a number of dishes. Having a low glycaemic index and low calorie content, the fruit is Diabetic friendly and helps in maintaining ones weight. The nutritional value provides one with the essential nutrients for growth and vitality.”

Along with Executive Chef - Indrajit Saha, we also had the hotels Mixologist - Kelvis who was going to demonstrate, some of his drinks creations with the Kiwi fruit.



First on the menu was the Kiwi Bruschetta, a traditional Italian starter to which a different twist was given using simple ingredients like Kiwi, Avocado and some Garlic.
Must say that it is one of the best Bruschettas I have had till date, it had an amazing flavor, buttery texture from the avocado and a bit of sweetness from the Kiwi which balanced it out and took it to another level.




Then there was another healthy dish demonstrated by the chef, there is a traditional salad, 'Som Tam' which has a dressing of fish sauce, cilantro stems, garlic, lime juice and palm sugar and is a thai papaya salad and consists cherry tomatoes, beans, peanuts, chillies.
But the chefs at Sofitel Mumbai Bkc had given it their twist and replaced the cherry tomatoes with the kiwi in it to make it a 'Kiwi Tam'.
The salad was very refreshing, had a crunch from the beans, the sweetness from the kiwi, the sourness from the raw papaya and the smell from the cilantro stems, which all made it just a perfect salad to have .




After the 'Magic' was over by the chef, it was time for the Mixologist to show his tricks behind the bar, where he actually belongs, which is the playground for him.
To start of with, it was the Kiwi Mania.
The Kiwi Mania consisted of the puree kiwi, mango pulp, sour mix, some vodka and basil. It is said that 'with simple ingredients, the true flavors and the feeling of having the dish is realised.'


To end the show, there was one more drink which Kelvis showed us, known as the 'Kiwi Cooler'.
This simple creation consisted of just mint leaves, kiwi pulp, sour mix and soda water. 
With the help of this 4 ingredients and the brains, there was an amazing drink created by Kelvis.
The drink was just lacking little flavor of the Kiwi, I was not getting the taste that much, but it was a good drink I would say, not great.



But there is one thing, when there are big foodies around, how can we leave the table without another drink, so me and other foodie bloggers along with me asked for another drink, my all time favorite 'Mojito' but not a simple one, it was a 'Kiwi Mojito'.
While Kelvis was making the drink, there was some chit chat going on with him and getting to know about the other flavors that will go along with the kiwi fruit.
I must say, that the 'Kiwi Mojito' was one of the best drinks I had tried, and the best Mojito till date.

This was a Food Event, how can the foodies leave the area without trying out some food ?.
There was some snacks prepared for the bloggers and the people invited, and all the snacks had an element of 'Kiwi' in it. There was use of kiwi in each of them in some way or the other.


Some of the snacks were a simple Tomato Sandwich with Kiwi, and as I had the first bite, I was astonished, with the amazing flavors.
Another was the tried and tasted not tested the Kiwi Tam Salad, it was very refreshing and I couldn't stop having it after already tasting it once.




After all this, it was time for the Bye Bye and Meet you again and all the See Offs, which I guess is one of the things people hate at such places where there is amazing food, amazing people around, fun and interaction.

This event was only possible because of people I met, who made it amazing, and specially Sofitel Mumbai - Bkc for hosting it and promoting the fruit in such a way and spreading awareness that a lot more can be done with a simple but beautiful fruit like 'Kiwi'.

A very big thank you to the staff at Sofitel, for the lovely hospitality, the arrangements made, the amazing knowledge provided and having a fun, interactive and lovely day.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Spaghetti A La Genovese

The dish is traditionally made using linguine pasta, tossed in pesto sauce, boiled and sliced potatoes and beans to finish.
In the dish, the pesto sauce is not cooked over the flame, but when the hot pasta is put over the sauce directly, it gets cooked a little bit which keeps the taste of the fresh basil intact.



Ingredients - 
Pesto Sauce - 35-40 gms
Spaghetti or Linguine - 130 gms
Boiled Potatoes - 20 gms 
Beans - 20 gms
Salt - to taste
Parmesan Cheese - 50-60 gms
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - to drizzle on top.

Method - 
1. In a bowl, take the pesto sauce, the boiled beans, and sliced boiled potatoes and season it with salt.
2. Boil the water and season it properly with salt, and add in the pasta.
3. Cook the pasta till Al Dente.
4. Once done, strain it and add it to the pesto bowl and mix well, making sure that the pasta is all coated with the sauce.
5. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese and drizzle olive oil.

Note - 
1. Parmesan cheese can be replaced with normal processed cheese.
2. The beans and the potatoes can be avoided.



Friday, 6 June 2014

India Se Vietnam Tak

Everyone knows that a true foodies loves to try out all the different kinds of food.
May it be Chinese from the east, Italian from the north west or the simple food from the country of Vietnam.

Recently it came to my notice, that Sofitel - Mumbai was having a Vietnamese Food Festival, in which Chef Dao Van Son came all the way from Vietnam in order to show the authenticity of the food.

He has worked with great chefs all over the world, also worked with 2 restaurants having Michelin Star which is an ultimate dream of a chef to work or have one himself. He is currently working as the Executive Sous Chef at Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Hoh Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His creations are with basic ingredients, traditional spices and more to the roots, with clean flavors.

After learning and doing some research about Vietnamese cuisine, what I noticed was that the food with made with simple ingredients and is healthy along with aromas and lovely flavors.

It feels so great when you receive an invitation to enjoy and experience the food at the Vietnamese Food Festival at Sofitel - Mumbai. Excited and waiting for the day to come so that I can enjoy another delicacy

'Pondicherry - The Cafe' was the restaurant where the experience took place. I visited the cafe and was greeted and taken to the seat, where the Restaurant manager came and gave us an idea about the festival. I got to meet Chef Dao Van Son and spoke to him, but due to bit of a language barrier, it was difficult to communicate much, but there is a saying 'Food Doesn't Need A Language' 


Chicken Pho
After looking at the range of vietnamese food, it all started with the well known dish 'Pho', it was brought by the chef himself, which is an honor for a person like me.
The dish was a soup, with the perfect chicken broth, the perfect boiled chicken and the flat noodles along with the accompaniments which altogether made it a perfect dish.
This was like one of the best soup I have had till date. The flavors were simple, there was a spiciness and a bit of sourness from the lemon.

Lychee Martini


To accompany every food, there is a drink to go with it. When it is about Vietnamese food, how can the fruit 'Lychee' not be used. We had the Lychee Martini which looks quite amazing and tasted like it looked, but the alcohol content was a bit more which was killing the lychee flavor.


Shrimp and Vegetable Spring Roll with Peanut Sauce

I wasnt done with the soup also, chef brought in another delicacy from his kitchen made for us, it was the 'Shrimp spring rolls with homemade peanut sauce'.
The rolls had an amazing freshness which came from the vegetables and the peanut sauce complimented the rolls beautifully due to the buttery texture and the nutty flavor. One negative point that was there in the rolls was the rice paper in which the veges and the shrimps were rolled was a bit chewy.

The salad display counter

For the Vietnamese Fest, there was a huge variety of food kept on the counter from which one was the salad counter. It was decorated beautifully and looked amazing. There were variety of salads from the region of Vietnam displayed on the counter.

Chicken and Pineapple Salad
One of the salads was, the Chicken and Pineapple Salad, sounded weird but tasted amazing, the sweetness from the pineapple and the spiciness from the chillies was just a perfect balance.
Vegetable Salad With Tuna











Another salad was the Vegetable salad with Tuna. The salad consisted simple ingredients but was full of flavor and had an amazing texture from the crunchy vegetables.



Green Mango Salad with Seafood

Green Mango is one of those fruits which I love. When I saw this salad, I had to take it and give it a try. There was an additional bonus with the green mango, seafood.
The salad had some shrimps and squid. I dint get the taste of raw mango much, that sourness was missing, it was the only thing missing, if that sourness would have been there, it would have been a perfect salad.



Sauteed Noodles With Bean Sprout
Noodles are one of the staple foods of the Vietnamese cuisine.
Here the noodles were just simple, tossed with bean sprouts and had some vietnamese flavor to it.
I enjoyed the noodles, it was one of those dishes I enjoy eating and specially when using the chop sticks.







Fried Rice With Vegetables 

When it comes to fried rice, I like a some garlic and spicy, after all, almost every Indian loves spicy food.
The Rice here was great in texture, due to the vegetables in it but taste wise it was lacking something. 



Sauteed Baby Corn With Mushroom





Mushrooms being my favorite dint let me move ahead without taking a serving of this. It tasted amazing, the garlic flavor which i wanted, the spiciness which i needed and the flavor had to be there.
It was one of the best i had here.





Sauteed Bok choy with Garlic




Not a big fan of simple vegetables, which made me skip the Sauteed Bok Choy with garlic.
Another reason for me not having the dish was, it didn't look very appealing to be honest.






Grilled Chicken With Spices

Chicken, one of the meats which everyone loves, also it is one of the most selling meat.
Here there was amazing Grilled Chicken with Spices and it was juicy, moist and tender.
The flavors were amazing, and i was thinking, how can an amazing dish be created with simple ingredients.





Braised Duck in Light Curry Sauce

When i was working, there use to be duck made everyday and i use to eat it almost everyday.
Here I couldnt miss the Braised Duck in Light Curry Sauce.
Some how the curry wasn't that great, but the duck meat was as usual amazing and so tender.




A meal is never complete without having some dessert. Being a sweet lover I had to try the desserts from Vietnam.
Being unknown about the Vietnamese food, and the dessert served, I tired out the desserts kept.



Vietnamese Desserts

There was fresh fruits green bean in consommé, coconut and lotus in jelly, coffee jelly, orange jelly.

The fresh fruit green bean in consommé dint look that appealing, so I dint try that out, but tried the jelly.






Assorted Vietnamese Desserts


 
 
The coconut and lotus jelly was something different which was actually amazing.
The coffee and the orange jelly somehow dint impress me and I personally dint enjoy it.
 
 
 
 
 



After having a glimpse of the Vietnamese food and gained some knowledge, I plan to visit the country to learn more about it and try out more of their food.
1thing I learnt about Vietnamese food is that, with the use to minimal, fresh ingredients, how a dish is taken to another level.

This was possible because of Sofitel - Mumbai, who gave me a chance to experience the food and enjoy it.
It was an amazing evening spent with them and the an amazing time spent with the food.








Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Burmese Food With Burma Burma

In a place like Mumbai, there are new restaurants coming up every now and then. Due to this there is so much of competition out there and also its very difficult to find a good restaurant to eat.
There are so many options to eat, but for vegetarian folks, there are hardly any places. It is very difficult to find a restaurant in Mumbai that will serve amazing and pure vegetarian food cooked straight from the heart.

Then comes up a restaurant, 'Burma Burma', one of its kind restaurant serving hearty Burmese food, and it being I guess the only restaurant serving that in the town. The place is not even a month old and they have made a place in everyone's mind and heart for one of the best serving foods in town.


Another mail from the FBAI in my inbox with an invitation to the next FBAI meet-up of what I call Bhukads - foodies which was going to take place at 'Burma Burma', a place open at Kala Ghoda - Colaba, Mumbai.
The place located inside a lane and a little difficult to locate. But once the place is located and entered, it seems like it is a different world totally.

The place being small in area as compared to many restaurants in Mumbai, was nice, cute, sweet and gave that homely feeling which I guess everyone needs when dining out. I often want a place to dine in which is a home away from home.

I visit the place with another blogger friend of mine @drishtipursnani, the moment I entered the place, it took me to a different world itself, look at the interiors, the ambiance and the color shade gave me a feel of being in Burma.

                                   

The place had the feel of Burma, there were traditional burmese umbrellas on the ceiling quite colorful and of different shades.
Then there were something similar to rollers, on the wall which had some designs from Burma, which gave the wall another dimension in itself.


It was also told by the owners that it took them about a month to carve the wall itself to get that authenticity of the burmese region and give it that look.




While we all were seated, everyone started to interact with each another, getting to know them. The menu came and honestly speaking I was totally confused on what to have, then i hear that there is already a 6-course meal planned for us, a 6-course meal, isnt it too much was the question i asked my self, but it also gave me a relief that I dont have to choose what to have.



Apart from the menu another thing that got my attention was a beautiful centre piece kept on the table. It was like a small tea pot with I guess some tea inside. I guess everyone on the table loved the centre piece and wanted to take one with them.              

Mon Hao Hincho
The planned menu consisted of soups to began with, and there came the first soup, known as 'Mon Hao Hincho' which was a white radish soup.

The soup was of a watery texture, just perfect temperature, not very hot, not very cold, just perfect.
It had quite alot of vegetables and an amazing spiciness at the end of every sip I took.

Every one was enjoying their soup, came the owners and childhood friends Mr. Chirag Chhajer & Mr. Ankit Gupta who came together and started with the restaurant.
Ankit Gupta told us the inspiration behind the restaurant and how did it all start, what made him take such a different cuisine and give it a try, what was the reason behind the vegetarian aspect.


He mentioned, that it took him 4 years to just do the research about the cuisine, and the chef and himself had to travel couple of times to Burma in order to get the authenticity back here in India.

The reason of this restaurant being pure vegetarian is, that Burmese food consist of raw meat in huge numbers, which is not palatable to the Indian tongue.
It was seen that Ankit was with a hotel background and was working with a reputed hotel in Mumbai.
He took his working experience and his mothers recipes on burmese food, his mother being from Burma and started this place.


I wasnt finished with the first soup, there came the second soup or Hincho.

Black Sesame and Chickpea Soup


The soup was called Black Sesame and Chickpea Soup.
The soup had a very distinct flavor of the chickpea and was a soup that could be enjoyed on a rainy day without any thinking.
The Hincho, consisted of an ingredient which was quite unusual, Burmese Bean Curd also know has 'Tohu' and not 'Tofu'
The texture of the Tohu was like an extra surprise in the soup.
It was my bad that I dint get may pieces, but enjoyed the soup.
If I would have got another bowl of the soup, i have for sure had it.









Everyone likes to have a drink with their meal. The place is a Non-Alcoholic place, but has a good variety of Burmese inspired drinks to enjoy.

Kafir Lime Cooler
On that note, I ordered my self a Kafir Lime Cooler, sounds to be a bit different, but in real it was actually different and quite refreshing.

The drink had an amazing flavor from the Kafir Lime, and the a good drink to beat the heat if I have to say.
It was a drink, that i would have again, coz it was something different from the good old nimbu pani types.

Burmese Blossom

While I was enjoying my Kafir Lime Cooler, there was another friend of mine, @Renita_m who ordered another drink which looked quite interesting.
It was named Burmese Blossom. The drink seemed to the most popular on the table and many people ordered that drink.
The drink contained one of the best cooling fruit 'Watermelon'. The drink also had a flavor of rose in it which was honestly the first time I have had in a drink like this.







As soon as I was done with the soup, there came the 2nd course, another healthy option, the Salads, what i sometimes call 'gass-puss'

The salad came and all wanted a picture of it for sure, it looks great.
In Burma, Salad what i call 'gass-puss' is known as 'Thoke'

Mandalay Laphet Thoke

It was 'Mandalay Laphet Thoke', in simple terms it would be Tea Leaf Salad.
The salad had a nice crunchiness after being tossed in the dressing, which came mostly from the peanuts and the vegetables used. 
To be honest, the salad had a bit of an after taste of the bitterness because of the tea, but it was negligible. 



Tayat Thi Thoke


The 2nd salad which came to us was the 'Tayat Thi Thoke', in English if i say, it was a raw mango salad.
Somehow I dint enjoy this salad, as I wasnt getting the flavor of the raw mangoes as in my mind I had the taste of raw mango which I dint get from the salad.
This is one dish i dint like.




Samusa Thoke


When in India, I don't think that a menu can be complete without an Indian inspired dish on it.
The chef and the owner came up with this a inspirational mix between Indian and Burmese food.
They took the Indian street food 'Samosa' and the flavors of Burma and known as 'Samusa Thoke'.
The salad reminded me of the samosa chaat served on the streets.


Naan Pe Bya
There was one more extra ordinary dish which to me seemed to look like the Indian Punjabi dish 'Chhola and Kulcha'
This was know as 'Naan Pe Bya', the names of the food for once went all over my head and i dint understand the name until reading the myself.
So the dish, it was a very different kind of flavor, dint understand of what, but truly amazing. The bread was though  bit hard, but better than 'Chhola & Kulcha'.

Pauske Buns
One of the most famous dishes of Burmese food, 'Pauske Buns'.
They werent just any ordinary buns, but filled with a surprise, soft and flavorful.
We got 2 different fillings, Brown Onions and Roasted Chilli.
And Sauteed Mushrooms.
When they arrived, a friend on the table commented, " this is how the dabeli should be like."
The onions and the chilli were just perfect, but the mushrooms had too much of garlic in it and it was over powering all the other flavors in it.
Apart from that, the buns were just amazing.

Nanji Kaukswe
How can a meal of Burmese food be complete without a 'Khow Suey', the place had added a twist to the 'Khow Suey' and made is 'Nanji Kaukswe'.
This dish was a resemblance of the authentic 'Khow Suey', but it was a dry version of it.
Clean flavors, just cooked right, and a squeeze of lemon juice made is perfect.
It had an amazing taste of coconut, sweetness from the caramelized onions, crunch from the peanuts, which took it to another level only.

If there was a dried version of 'Khow Suey', for sure we had to have to authentic version as well.
The restaurants special, the 'Burma Burma Oh No Khow Suey'. The concept of making your own was a fantastic, everyone likes their food in a special way, some like it spicy, some like it mild.

           

So make your own Khow Suey was a good idea. We got a big bowl of their coconut milk cooked with veges and the noodles along with a platter of condiments like fried garlic, cilantro, lemon slices, peanuts and the chilli oil, not to forget.
The flavors of the dish were so clean and simple. There was like a Tsunami of flavors in the mouth.
None of the flavors were overpowering each another.
 

Lastly there was a final dish, a meal isn't complete without having rice. It consisted of Coconut flavored sticky rice served with a peanut chutney. This dish was known as the 'Kowni Mow',
the name being a bit wired, the dish wasn't. One thing that i loved about the dish was the flavor of the coconut but dint enjoy the peanut chutney much.











                   
Never thought that ingredients as simple as some Sago, coconut and jaggery would make an amazing dessert. Until recently, my opinion changed about it and it was 'Tagu Pyian'.
This bake dessert was one of the best dishes I had there, the flavor of the coconut and the jaggery was so clear, i wouldn't mind eating another one. More than the Sago, i enjoyed the flavor of the baked coconut. This is a highly recommended dessert. 

Shway Aye
When the next dessert came, i was shocked, it looked like a falooda and was a Bursmese Falooda with another complicated name 'Shway Aye'.

The 'Shway Aye' reminded me of the old day when my dad use to take us for a falooda on the srteets once or twice a week after dinner.
The difference in that falooda and the one here was the flavor and the additional element, the vanilla cake added.
The falooda also contained lots of sago, jelly, fruits and had an amazing flavor.
One bad point was that it was not quite cold enough as what a flaooda should be.

Another thing i had noticed that, there is a lot of use of coconut, peanuts and garlic in the preparations of the food. At some points, the flavors were just perfect, but in one or two dishes, they were overpowering which is a negative point,
When in a burmese restaurant having a lovely tea room, how can one leave without having their special tea. Personally not a big fan of tea, but still a friend of mine @QuirkyLogic poured some for me. But I dint enjoy it much as I dont drink tea. So on that note Ill skip this part. 
The bar cum more Tea Room.


After the meal, the owner Mr Ankit Gupta went to the place, where he belongs, behind the bar/tea room. This is a place well known to him for quite a few years as he use to work behind the bar as a bar tender.

After going back, there was something interesting taking place, he was telling us how to make tea, the secrets behind a perfect tea.
From where does the tea come and what are the qualities of them were some of the few interesting facts.
Once he started explaining, everyone got into listening to him.
He even showed us the different equipments the restaurant had, how to use them and much more.
One can visit the place and always ask him to give you a brief idea about it and he will be always ready to help.



The restaurant had amazing varieties of tea, and serving glasses, cups and more.
It was like an amazing collection to have.
One of the pots used to serve tea

The special cups used to have tea which have a vacuum space to prevent
the heat coming and not letting the customer drink.


They had a huge variety of pots, glasses and each type of tea is served in a different kind of pot and has a different kind of serving glass.

One thing while having the tea is, each of them has a different brewing time.
with every tea, there is a hourglass given which has 3 timings at which the teas can be had. starting with 3 minutes, going on to 4 minutes and lastly 5 minutes,
At every point of time, there is a difference in the taste and the flavor.
One amazing tea, 'King of Silver Needles' coming under the category of White teas is one of the most expensive in the world is available here, and is so light by taste and texture.

The event is never complete if there is no group picture, and the best place to take the picture was to stand behind the bar and say 'Cheese'




















The restaurant is a must try for all the foodies, and even if its vegetarian, it is really wonderful. The food was just perfect, the service was amazing.

At every event I always end up making some new friends like @QuirkyLogic , @salloni , @Renita_m , @Stuli1989 , @Parivartyt , @vino_squat , @ChandniT and last but not the least, Sameer Malkani, founder of @FBAI (Food Bloggers Association India) and it always a pleasure to know them.





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