Food & Drink

From where to buy sake to the newest restaurant reviews, we scout out the best of Mumbai’s culinary scene.

iChef.in: Math Major Portions Your Food
Monday, 24 November 2014 10:41

Soft, jazz music plays in the background. You stand tall and proud, taking in the aromas wafting up from your masterpiece dish that’s on the stove. You stir proudly, and take a sip of single malt from a crystal glass, while you think up an inventive plating option.

Sounds like an ideal cooking scenario? Yes!

Sounds familiar? Errr…not exactly?

Save Our Bowls

Then see iChef.in, started by siblings Chirag and Sneha Arya, with engineering and mathematics backgrounds respectively, which is a carefully calculated venture that delivers the exact portions of ingredients + recipe required to make one dish.

Sign up on the iChef website and choose from their six featured recipes of the fortnight. Place your order, and hours later (last order for same day delivery is 1 pm), all the raw materials for a meal get sent to your home.

With the help of some young chefs from Trident Hotel and other food consultants, iChef has addressed basic cooking conundrums. “When you shop for a fancy, one off meal, you end up being stuck with large quantities of ingredients you probably won’t reuse,” explains Chirag, The iChef kit comes pre-packaged with exact quantities of what you need for your cook out, to ensure minimum wastage, and maximum taste.

“We try and pick a global recipe we’ve encountered on our travels, one that’s been really popular on Masterchef and other trending dishes to keep it current,” says Chirag, who will be introducing an African stew, based on his recent visit to South Africa.

Kitchen Confidential

Attempting to channel her inner Nigella, this writer sampled the Kung Pao Chicken Tacos and Basil Spinach Risotto kits last weekend. With small packets for all ingredients and simple, pictorial representations of what the dishes should look like at each step, the kits were easy to follow, attractively put together and came with super fresh ingredients.

What’s great is that apart from basic kitchen essentials like salt, pepper, cooking oil and a food processor, the kit doesn’t really demand too much from you or your cooking abilities.

Go on then, give a fork.

Getting there: Ichef.in, call 65680555 to place your order, deliveries all across Mumbai, prices start at Rs 250 for a meal for two, last order for same day delivery is taken at 1 pm.

 
Two New Lower Parel Restaurants
Monday, 24 November 2014 10:33


A new shift begins at the mills, with two Lower Parel restaurants -  Millk and Byblos – working night and day to open at the end of this month. The former houses a café, kids’ center, spa and salon while the latter will be serving African and Arab-inspired cuisine.

Got Millk?

If you spot us noshing on a waffle sandwich, treating ourselves to a massage, and rounding it off with detox tea, then we’re probably at Millk. Taking the name from its location (Kamla ‘mill’s) and the owner, Karishma’s first initial, it also fits with the children angle. Here, you can eat at the main café, which predictably serves burgers, sandwiches, salads (think Citrus, Caesar and Feta and Beetroot), sweet and savoury waffles and crepes, pasta, khow suey and a range of milkshakes. There’s also the option of dining at the spa, with healthier food like kale smoothies, baked chips, low-fat dips and detox teas and waters. And for the kids, there’s a special menu and also a section where they can cook their own meals supervised by a professional.

Millk is opening in the first week of December at Kamala Mills, next to Please Don’t Tell, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.

Byblos

We’re told that our first meal at Byblos starts off with a bit of trickery (spoiler alert): a bread basket and a candle will be brought to the table, but turns out the candle is really just a dip for baguettes with a soya wick that melts as soon as the server lights it. Neat! A new dining spot in Phoenix Mills, Byblos begins with sister duo, Vidhi and Nidhi Behl who head the kitchen and the management respectively.

Playing to its Arab and African-inspired food, the décor bears strong streaks of gold and copper mingled in with earthy brown. The food features dishes like African Spiced Tandoori Chicken, Jalapeno Oil Prawns, Baby Lamb Shawarma and Peri Peri Rock Corn with Bacon Dust. And for the herbivores there’s a Mushroom Biryani, Jalapeno Popper Sandwich and a Mustard and Sriracha ice cream, which reveals a Turkish eggplant dish beneath.

You’ll unearth it soon enough!

Opening on November 28 at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.

 
Sponsored: Cocktail Cockamamie At The Daily
Friday, 21 November 2014 13:52


*** This post is sponsored by The Daily***

What: Cocktail Cockamamie at The Daily, ground floor, behind Shopper’s Stop, SV Road, Bandra (W), call 9920446633, Rs 250 + taxes for a cocktail with premium alcohol.

Why: If The Daily was to make a behind-the-scenes video of their latest offering, Cocktail Cockamamie, you would see mixologist Eluther Gomes hunched over a tables  full of intriguing ingredients including aloe vera, avocado, bacon infused vodka, wine reduction, paan liqueur, peppercorn, candy floss, carrot juice. These, he mixed, muddled, shook and stirred with premium alcohol and turned  into fifty delicious cocktails  that you can buy at The Daily for just Rs 250 each! “The idea was to give people a chance to get acquainted with and experience new cocktails at an affordable price, but without any compromises,” says owner Dishant Pritamani. Go and try the Candylicious, Ballroom Blitz, Newton’s Apple, Secret Crush, Lock N Load.

When: Sunday to Wednesday, until mid-December, 7 pm – 1 am.

*** This post is sponsored by The Daily***

 
Jam by UpStreet
Friday, 21 November 2014 10:59



What: Christmas flavoured jam by UpStreet, call 9960453453 to place an order, check their Facebook page here, jars cost Rs 180 for 125 grams.


Why: Pucker your lips for what we found under an early mistletoe this week –Christmas flavoured jam, a handmade blend of plum, port and walnuts. Ordered from the newly launched UpStreet, a label by two food writers who do a range of flavoured, no-preservative jams and butter. The Christmas version tastes exactly like it sounds - a sweet, festive (could be boozier) spread for waffles, morning toast or cold cuts.  Our butter knives also dipped into the slick and delicious Basilico, a basil, garlic and parmesan butter (slather on grilled prawns) and the Bella, a jar of roasted bell pepper and jalapeno butter. White wine and strawberry jam and fluffy orange butter are works in progress at UpStreet.


When: You need to make a spreadsheet.

 
Sign Up For Abode's Pop-Up Restaurant
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:20


As spent as the term "pop up" has become in Bombay, we couldn't resist writing about this one. The pretty boutique hotel Abode in Colaba is now open for reservations for its first pop up restaurant. Gnocchi to my room?

For ten days starting November 28, three super chefs -  Pali Village Café’s Conrad D’souza, Impresario’s Xavier Fernandes and ex Hyatt chef and restaurant consultant Mrinmoy - will move into Abode and make it their own. Set up in the lobby area,  the 'restaurant', an untitled project, will serve a four course dinner featuring dishes like a Roasted Walnut Gnocchi, Seared Sri Lankan Tuna, Pistachio Crusted Lamb Shanks and Chocolate Meringue.

All this comes at a pretty little price of Rs 3,600 per head. Can you get on (A)bode with it?

Getting There: First floor, Lansdowne House, M.B. Marg, near Regal Cinema, Apollo Bunder, Colaba. Pop up menu available from November 28 to December 7, 8pm onwards, daily. Bookings open today, Rs 3,600 per head (including sparkling wine by Chandon), call 8080234066 to make a reservation.

 
Krispy Kreme Opens In Bandra Tomorrow!
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:37

Krispy Kreme Opens In Bandra Tomorrow!

Krispy Kreme Opens In Bandra Tomorrow!

Bandra bums, here's a quick byte to sweeten your day.

Krispy Kreme opens its doors in Bandra and replaces Gloria Jeans at Turner Road tomorrow!

Go for the Original Glazed, Cinnamon Apple filled doughnut and Kookie Krunch,  all of which were deserving of encores when we went over to Powai, to review their first branch. See you there, fatsos!

View our full Powai Krispy Kreme review here.

Getting There: Carlton Court, junction of Perry Road & Pali Road, opposite Bank of India, Bandra (W).

 
bpb Review: Hoppipola
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 10:42


It’s tough to go around the bend in Bandra without bumping into a new bar or restaurant. One that’s loud, another that’s proud, ones that are no fuss, and others that just missed the bus.

Luring us in last night was Hoppipola, a new Bangalore/ Pune import that has occupied a fairly large space behind Oh Calcutta! in Khar. Taking a cue from its out of town counterparts, this version is dotted with cutesy elements like a cluster of mail boxes with shot glasses (bar avion?), printed tiles, suspended airplane models and revolving French doors that are individually cute but together, might become a bit much for some grown up eyes.

Waiting for the menu, we occupied ourselves with the all slate table and chalk, drawing a pretty conclusion that Hoppipola is a fun place to drink.

 
How To Pay Less At Mumbai's Bars
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 10:40



This party season, we’ve noticed something strange – drinks are getting cheaper, and not just during happy hours. We don’t think this is going to last forever, so we put our Rs 17 Old Monk glass down (that’s right!) to quickly write up the cheapest way to drink at Mumbai’s bars right now! Who needs a (c)hug?

The Bar Stock Exchange
This newly opened bar serves alcohol at MRP from noon to 4 pm, and then makes a game out of the prices post 6 pm through a phone app and a series of stock market-like screens. During our visit a few weeks ago, we saw Old Monk drop down to as low as Rs 17, while Teacher’s was priced at Rs 72, cocktails for Rs 250, single malts at Rs 275, Kettle One at Rs 96, Bombay Sapphire for Rs 106, Khalua for Rs 100 (all prices for 30 ml)! See our full review here. Branches opening in Andheri (W) and BKC soon.
Shivani Industrial Estate, opposite Times Square (behind Mc Donalds, Andheri (E), call 26005858.

 
Who Puts the Fortune In Your Cookies?
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 09:12



“Your reputation will get a boost today.” We read this on a strip of paper, crumbs of chance strewn across the counter of Peekay Wine at Crawford Market, behind which we sat last afternoon with Mr Zyros Zend. 

Set against the smell of rum (or what is whisky?) that permeated the store, Mr Zyros, whose family owns Peekay Wine and Yazdani Bakery, was telling this Scouter about why he started a fortune cookie business 15 years ago.

Between booze and bread, which is not a bad place to be, Mr Zyros still wanted to find his own niche. “I first saw these fortune cookies on board a cruise liner where I worked for a few years. I came back to Mumbai, and started Zyraa’s Fortune Cookie named after one of my daughters.” Today, Zyraa’s cookies greet you at the end of many Chinese meals in Mumbai and Delhi including at five star hotels (San-Qi at The Four Seasons, Ming Yang at Taj Lands End), All Stir Fry, Red Ninja.

Editing Fortunes

While Yazdani bakery helped with the cookie recipe, did the booze from Peekay help with fortune writing?

“No, no. The fortunes are written by an old Chinese man who sits at the back of the store in a dark room, candle in front of him,” joked Mr Zyros, whose last name, Zend, sounds peaceful enough to be proprietor of a fortune cookie company.

No seriously, how do the fortunes get written? “I have a series of Confucius books to take lines from, and some I come up with myself. My daughters, aged 12 and 16, also write a few, but they have to be edited by me before they are fit for consumption,” he said, while showing us pictures of them on his phone. "The older one just got into college."

While these cookies are sent to restaurants, they can also be ordered by you with personalised fortunes (write your own fate?) or branded logos. “Proposals are very common. But nowadays, divorce party fortune cookies have also become popular. Really I’m telling you”.

What fortunes do those cookies contain? “Advice to guests on why they shouldn’t get married,” laughs Mr Zyros. Before we could ask for an example, we were interrupted by a customer looking to buy alcohol for a wedding party of 300. Without blinking, Mr Zyros estimated the number of rum, whisky, vodka, beer, wine bottles he should buy. The customer thought it was too little, but our Fortuner asked him to trust his experience.

“Haan so where was I? Yes, divorce parties. But there are also nice things. Like a wife who put sweet messages in 30 cookies for her husband, one for each day of the month.”

Mr Zyros gave us another fortune cookie plus a Good Day biscuit while the wedding booze

 
bpb Review: Kaboom, Ballard Estate
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 00:07


Attempting to be the answer to the most frequently asked question at work -  “what should we get for lunch today?” - Kaboom lives smack in the middle of Ballard Estate and serves up biodegradable take-out containers of perfectly portioned food for one. A quick, cheap and convenient option for the many offices in the neighbourhood.

Kaboom opened rather softly yesterday, with no loud launch party, but a series of pre-opening tastings that were available for walk-ins.

Now to give you a full review of Kaboom we’d have to go there every day between Monday and Friday and then repeat the process the week after and again after…. err why? Because the cuisine changes daily - South-Asian on Monday, cheese (apparently it’s a cuisine and we’re not complaining) on Tuesday, Italian on Wednesday, Middle Eastern on Thursday and American (bring on the fried chicken) on Friday. The menu for each cuisine is also modified weekly, although some dishes stay the same.

Mr. Boom-bastic

The neon green signboard waves at you in an otherwise soporific sea of beige-tinted bank and law firm signage. The space is sparse, and designed to look like a food truck, with a floor that mimics the road outside and a counter with a flap door that has you peering into their kitchen area. Word has it that the owner wanted to start an actual food truck, but decided on this stationary version instead.

The walls, besides childish caricatures that we didn't care much for, showcase Kaboom’s stress on quality ingredients, including free-range chicken, organic rice, Indonesian coconut milk and freshly made sauces (even their ketchup!) in the form of lettering.

 
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