Friday, 25 July 2014

Charcuterie at Artisan

Food is such a things, the more you eat, the more you want, and with so many different varieties coming up and new things, a foodie like me wants to try everything. As there is a saying, 'People live to eat', and I'm one of them. Recently there was something different, out of the box happening in town which Sofitel - BKC did. There are hardly any hotels or restaurants which promote food, like they do. This time it was Charcuterie, which was made in house, with varieties of sausages, cold cuts and much more on the display. 

What exactly is Charcuterie ?

Charcuterie  is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products, such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines,pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork Charcuterie is part of the garde manger chef's. Originally intended as a way to preserve meat before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors derived from the preservation processes.

Being a chef, I love to try all types of food and experiment with it. So I was invited to try the in house meat and the charcuterie which was made by Chef Hans, originally from Germany, but has traveled the world, learning, making and teaching others on how to obtain the best flavors, the texture and the technique behind making the perfect cold cut, sausage or terrines. 

There was a special one on one meet up with the chef arranged, where one can interact with him, learn, gain some knowledge and for a person like me, some tips on making the best sausages at home or at work.
Sofitel has quite a few outlets, but there is one amongst them which stands out of the other, Artisan, its like a small hangout place, which changes its moon through out the day, for each service, the breakfast it has a different atmosphere, then lunch it again changes and finally for dinner it turns into a lounge kind of place with some music and dim lights.

The moment i arrived at the hotel, was greeted by the Marketing Manager of the hotel "name" and the Pr agency wale, and then was escorted to the place and while we sat,  the Exe. Chef, Chef Indrajeet came and gave us just a overview of the whole program and the reason behind the promotion, how it is done and some here and there talks took place. After Chef Hans arrived, got busy talking to him, and while going through their special Charcuterie menu, and being a bit confused, Chef Indrajeet suggested that he would design a platter and send it over with some drinks to compliment it. 

As i was along with a friend of mine, @ToxicBaker , both of us got busy talking to Chef, while the food was being prepared.
Inhouse Cold Cuts

Range of In-Housesausages

Exotic Cold Cuts
We went around the place to see the display of the sausages, cold cuts and the meat. Guided by Chef Hans and he explained beautifully, how the meat is made, where is comes from and different types.

After returning back, we had the food waiting for us and we waiting to dig in to try the mouthwatering meat.

To accompany the food, there was a drink which is always needed.
MeatLoaf and Cold Cuts

Beef Chorizo, Chicken sausage with mash potatoes
and sour ground
The meat platter dint just come in simple, to give it a weight, there was assorted breads and 2 types of mustards, that is, the french mustard and the grain mustard.
The grain mustard had a bit of a tangy taste while giving the spicy taste as well.

Where as the french mustard, im sure everyone must have tried having this at home or some other restaurant. For me, eating a cold cut or a meatloaf, just simply wasn't enough, so I tried to take some of the assorted breads, applied some mustard and made it a sandwich to fill up my stomach, as just some cold cuts wouldn't do it do me.

The Chicken Sausage wasnt that impressive as i had thought, but the Beef Chorizo Sausage was excellent, spicy, flavorful and perfectly cooked which was going very well with the sour ground and the mash potatoes

While, we were having the food and interacting with Chef Hans, we asked me, where all he has worked and how many years of experience he had.
Hearing the answer, I was shocked for a moment, 45 years of experience, making sausages, cold cuts, and lots more. He has almost worked all over the world, from Germany to Egypt to the whole of Africa.
A person with great experience, knowledge sitting besides us and sharing the knowledge, the feeling is priceless.
After some interaction, some food and some drinks, it was time to end the session. Overall I personally left the place a bit disappointed and not satisfied. May be next time I have a better experience.
Thanks to Sofitel - BKC for arranging such a great event where I could learn a lot and meet the chef in personal. 
The Charcuterie Menu

Overall, enjoyed the session with Chef Hans, but to be honest, the place dint live upto the expectations as I had in my mind.
There was something missing.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Review - The BirdSong Cafe

With so many restaurants coming up in bombay, people are forgetting the old jewels and the old, small, hidden restaurants.
The amount of restaurants in Bombay is quite high and each having their own speciality. There are restaurants who are know for the food, some for their ambiance and service, many of them are classified as heritage as they have being tested by the time, some are cafes with lovely ambiance and food.

Recently I was going to meet an old friend of mine, and I mean really old. We decided to meet over for some light snack cum dinner. After talking to quite a few friends and suggestions from people around about a good restaurant with wonderful food, the place chosen was The BirdSong Cafe. 

When I looked at the place, it seemed like it has been hiding from me since a very long time, it looked really good, and a bit on the expensive side if you just peek inside.
As I entered the restaurant with my friend, we took the table, and sat. The place seemed like a perfect location for a date or a romantic dinner, I would say.
Dim lights, wooden chairs and tables, simple and short menu, not very exotic but very simple, just the way I like a restaurant to be. There was not much of decor at the place.

The server handed over the menu and we ordered just tow dishes, Tomato, Basil and Cheese Sandwich and Spaghetti in Chicken Cream Sauce.

Meeting a friend after a long time, so for sure, there had to be lots of talking and to catch up what going on in each others life. The Tomato, Basil and Cheese Sandwich arrived, and it looked just amazing, was an open sandwich but still simple plating, not very great presentation, but taste wise, just beautiful. The flavors were balanced, the bread was nice and crispy, just amazing.


So over to the next dish, the Spaghetti in Chicken Cream Sauce, took a bit of time to arrived, but we were in no hurry. Again, simple plating and presentation. Taste wise, the pasta was cooked perfectly, it was spot on, and it is a bit difficult to get the pasta absolutely right. The chicken was tender and juicy, but personally, i don't like pasta with lots of sauce, like the one served here, but taste wise, I would neglect that and eat.

With the pasta over, we were done with the meal and wanted nothing more but to go home and rest.
Paid the bill, left and had a really good experience here
Over all, lovely ambiance, perfect for a date or romantic dinner, delicious food, taste wise as well as quantity wise, price wise, quite reasonable.

I will for sure make a visit to this place soon, and I would say, it is worth coming.

The BirdSong Cafe

Waroda Road, Behind American Express Bakery,
Near Jude Bakery, Hill Road, 
Bandra West, Mumbai - 50
022 33487845

Sunday, 13 July 2014



A healthy salad from the Mediterranean region, made from the most easily available ingredients. 
It is one of my favorite salads.
When I was working, I use to have a bowl of this salad everyday and still love it. Try it once, and I am sure you will make it over and over again. 


Ingredients - 
250 gms - Parsley chopped and chilled.
50 gms - Chopped Tomatoes.
50 gms - Chopped Onions.
20 ml - Lemon Juice.
50 gms - Bulgur
Salt and pepper to taste. 
20 ml - Olive Oil
30 gms - Chopped Mint.

Method - 
1. In a bowl, take the Parsley, Tomatoes, Onions, Mint, Bulgur, and mix well.
2. Add the Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Season, and mix well.
3. Keep in the fridge to chill and serve chilled.

Note - 
1. Bulgur can be substituted with the Buckwheat soaked in hot water. 
2. The salad can be had without the use of Bulgur also.
3. Remember to chill the chopped parsley.

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