Food & Drink

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

Derham & Derham: A Cheesy Story
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 11:41

There are several ways to have an affair with cheese.

It could be pure passion by the fluroscent light of a refrigerator on a stormy night after a few drinks; a quiet romance with a glass of wine and a favourite book or just aging love that's weathered storms, new apartments and sometimes mouldy bits on the fromage. We confess to having experienced all of these in the last 24 hours thanks to Derham & Derham.


Stick A Knife In It


Rupert, an erstwhile trained Opera singer realised on a trip to Darjeeling that while India was as exotic and beautiful as he'd imagined, he was homesick for the hearty cheese he was used to back at home in the UK. This simple problem turned into a business idea with his sister Emma, who works with a charity organisation full time, and thus started Derham & Derham- an online gourmet cheese store which brings traditionally made British cheese to India.


A curated menu boasts of beautiful cheese each with a backstory and a point of origin. Waxed cheddars from the Tobermorey Isle of Mull, single & double Gloucester cheese, organic cheddar from Godminster and the Shorrocks Lancashire Bomb which is wrapped in black wax and topped off with a rounded head looks suspiciously like a real bomb. Now don't just go off, read on !


Some (bo)Vine ?


Having showcased in a few food festivals in India, Derham & Derham is looking to set up shop in Delhi and is meanwhile shipping cheese across the country. We got ourselves a burgundy wax wrapped Godminster Organic Cheese (especially suitable for vegetarians). This yellow handmade cheese from Somerset in South West England has a delicious straightforward creaminess with the slightest undertone of caramel.

A more assertive flavour was confirmed in the two Isle of Mull cheddars we tried next. Produced on the West coast of Scotland, the cheddar wrapped in black wax was laced with whiskey, far crumblier than the Godminister with a warm depth. An excellent companion to a deep ruby, we concluded after detailed research (further notes on this are hazy!).


The second Isle of Mull cheddar is traditionally produced and leaves an earthy, slightly pungent after-taste. Rupert shared that anyone who has travelled and lived in the English countryside will be reminded of its particular sweet smell each time they try this cheese.


Currently taking orders (larger orders preferred for ease of shipping), Derham & Derham ships pan-India in excellent shipping boxes which preserve the cheese well. Each shipping box is accompanied with specific 'tasting notes' which help you decide how best to use the cheese. Though Emma maintains that her favourite parings are traditional: with wine, crackers, grapes, pears and sometimes just out of the box. If the order is large enough and you ask nicely Rupert might sing for you in his opera trained voice. Curd you believe it?


Getting There: Visit website at . Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to place an order. Approx. Rs 620 for a 200g whiskey infused cheddar wheel.

bpb Review: Asian Street Kitchen
Monday, 10 March 2014 11:13


Planning a trip to South East Asia during the summer, this writer’s browser history has been a jumble of bookmarks –to lose weight quickly, book tickets, ocean side hotels, best beach lists, getting around and of course, best food joints.

As far as recommendations go, the best food ones we've got are street stalls, and so it seemed like a delicious coincidence, a trial run almost, that the newest restaurant in town that we had to review this weekend was called Asian Street Kitchen.

Thailand and Lowland

With curious folks and curiouser forks, we entered the place, expecting fun street food bowls and hoping for more experimental snack cones filled with fried crickets and other delicious dont-tell-me-what-I'm-eatings.

What we found instead was an all-vegetarian, no booze Asian restaurant at Chowpatty where cliched lime green walls are saved by plenty of sunlight and a beach view that makes you want to linger.

Ilk Maid

Just a few days old, the space was strewn with what looked like the owner's friends and us. A Green Tea Sparkler with ginger, honey and mint and a Spiced Thai Iced Coffee with cardamom seeds, condensed milk and cinnamon powder kept us company while our appetisers arrived. Both drinks were quite unremarkable, with flavours being drowned out by too much ice and sugar syrup.

Our starters were much better, a plate of non-oily Thai Spinach Fritters that were drizzled with sweet chilli,  taste that would only be augmented  when combined with sun and beer. Sadly, no alcohol is served here. The Three Mushroom Dumplings served with a side of chilli oil came with skins that weren't too thick or gummy but in it's entirety, not a spectacular dish.

Sweeten The Pot

Our mains, the Ramen Bowl, Anise Mushroom Pot Rice and Srilankan curry came soon after. The Ramen Bowl- one of A.S.K’s soupy meals was a comforting hot broth with soft tofu, vegetables, shitake mushrooms and dried chilli. Something we’d definitely head over for on a cold rainy day. The pot rice and Srilankan curry ( a combination we didn’t think would work but chose on the recommendation of our server) was a surprising balance of flavours – with the juicy mushrooms of the rice and the velvety cashew nut paste and coconut milk curry. We ended the meal with the Hazelnut Mousse Cake, that had a nice crunch but was too dense for our liking.

There's a lot of reasons you might dismiss Asian Street Kitchen, but for an all-vegetarian restaurant, its kitchen finds a way of surprising you. In a good way.  As for missing out on crunchy crickets and cold beer, there's always that vacation in the summer.

Getting There: Dev Prakash Building, Chowpatty, call 23623621, meal for three approx.:Rs 2,050

Bpb reviews anonymously & pays for all its meals

Order Alphonso Mangoes Now!
Friday, 07 March 2014 11:09

What: Early Alphonso mangoes from Mr Vasant Chaskar, shop number 512/513/514, APMC vegetable and fruit market, Vashi, call 9892099811, start at Rs 1,000 for one dozen mangoes.

Why: Yes, they’re hideously expensive and far, far away, but if you make the trek and shell out the moolah, we promise that the fruit of your labour will be sweet. And golden. And oh so juicy. Jolly Mr Chaskar is the proud recipient of 2012's first Alphonso mangoes and bpb’s favourite new dealer – hit him up before he runs out. 

WhenHapus has come to shove.

Eighth: For Dessert & Baking Classes
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 10:43


If you usually dream big, then we're guessing the size of dessert in your fantasy deserves the chocolate chips we bit into last night. Giant smeary chips stud everything from poundcake to cookies at Eighth, a new Bandra baking studio that does dessert on order and from next week, will start baking classes. The tart of living? 

The Eighth Sin

Eighth was started by Anurita Ghoshal, who formerly worked in advertising and then took a break to study at Le Cordon Bleu Paris. She is now a director at a recruitment firm, which makes sense considering all the delicious ingredients that get employed in the making of her cookies and cakes.

The dessert is here is just how we like it - not overtly iced or chocolaty, featuring goodies that get their basics right.

Pound of Flesh

The menu features a selection of cookies, cakes, tarts and muffins. We got the rich chocolate chip cookies, perfect for a night in, and to dunk in a glass of milk; while the oatmeal ones are great for gymbos whose guilt won't allow them the last course of the day. While the orange juice cake fitted on a perfect pastry crust - tartlette a l'Orange - was the unanimous favourite at the table, this Scouter also recommends the fragrant almond tart with cream on the inside and almond shavings on top.

And then there's the buttery pound cake, again, with choco chips that we've decided to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Here's how to order: Nothing here is stored or sold off the shelf. You need to call /email your order a day before and pick up your goodies fresh the next day. Drop in at the studio, have a coffee with Anurita while your parcel is being wrapped.

Top Class

It's been a while since a home baker in Bombay did dessert of this caliber, and that she operates two buildings away from this Scouter is sweet, sweet news. Anurita has also decided to start culinary classes from next week, after a trial batch she did with Shaheen Peerbhai (of The Purple Foodie blog) last weekend.

Until then, we plan to drop by again for Anurita's pound cake post dinner, chased by chocolate chip studded dreams of our own.

Getting there: Eighth, flat no 4 , Mudheshwari  Building , YMCA road,  off Carter Road , Bandra (W), view the Facebook page here, call 9820267003, Rs 350 for quarter kg of chocolate chip cookies.

Bpb pays for its own meals.


bpb Bulletin: The Baker’s Dozen To Open In Bandra
Tuesday, 04 March 2014 11:09

The Baker’s Dozen has a new bun in the oven that’s ready to pop on Sunday, March 9. After its Prabhadevi and Kemp’s Corner branches, the bakery will open its newest outpost in Bandra, a short walk from Suzette that has also started baking bread. 

Besides The Baker’s Dozen’s wide and usual range of delicious breads, they will also be launching dips by Yellow Butterfly. Also coming up this month, a Baker’s Dozen store in Oshiwara. Baguette with it!

Getting there: The Baker’s Dozen, 4, Shakti Raj CHS, Next to Faaso’s, Pali Naka, Bandra (W), call 9920101313, 9 am to 7 pm.


bpb Review:Zen Garden Café
Monday, 03 March 2014 10:32


If you have the awkward, they have the silence. For all of your peace, they have the quiet. And for all your witty memes, they have the 'stay calm and...'

It's hard to find a quiet place in Mumbai, and just for that, Zen Garden Cafe scores a bunch of points with us. Newly opened at Bandra's Yogacara studio, this new cafe comes with wooden tables, lots of potted plants, free wi-fi and a partly Ayurveda influenced menu. Shhh(utter) up!

Cleansing Ritual

Much like its competitor, Yoga House in the neighbourhood, this place offers juices, smoothies, healthy thalis and soups, and also snacks like wraps, rolls and crepes. We began with the  Detoxifying Juice of Apple, Cucumber and Celery, that was more like sipping a salad- refreshing and tasty, after a day of eating junk at the office.

Slightly confused about the Beethoven symphonies playing in the background, we ordered the Chicken Falafel, the Chickpea Crepe with Mushrooms, the Prawn spring roll and the Garlic Chicken Pita Wrap with Caramelized Onions.

The Falafel was well-cooked and lightly flavoured with crunchy, fresh veggies ( a feature in all the dishes we ordered) on the side. The Garlic Chicken Pita Wrap too, did well with a slightly smoky taste and a zesty, well-textured hummus.

Stomach This

Not so fun was the Prawn Spring Roll and the Chickpea Crepe. While the spring roll was served cold and reminiscent of a Vietnamese paper roll, it had with a very bland filling of prawns and veggies and the Chickpea Crepe  had no signs of the mushrooms in it as promised by the menu, and looked and tasted like a regular Channe Ka Atta Paratha.

We ended the meal with an Avocado Cheesecake and Raw Energy Balls.The cheesecake, prepared with avocado and coconut  oil, had a bebinca like textutre and was quite yummy. The Raw Energy Balls- two large balls made of dates, almonds, cashews and raisins is, like most sweet endings in its category, a compromise between taste and health.

It's Oh So Quiet

The Zen Garden Cafe tries hard to impress with a detailed menu and friendly, knowledgeable staff. We wouldn't visit while seeking out a particular dish like we do with the Quinoa Burger or The Pink Juice at The Yoga House, but for a new hush every now and then, sure.

Getting there: The Zen Garden Café At Yogacara, Shoeb Manzil/SBI Building, first floor, off Perry Cross Road, near Otters Club, 18 A New Kant Wadi Road, Bandra (W), call 2651 1464, meal for three is approximately Rs 2,050.

bpb reviews anonymously & pays for all its meals


Bandra Gets (Another) New Cafe
Friday, 28 February 2014 13:25

What: The Zen Garden Café At Yogacara, Shoeb Manzil/SBI Building, first floor, off Perry Cross Road, near Otters Club, 18 A New Kant Wadi Road, Bandra (W), call 2651 1464, meal for three is approximately Rs 2,050.

Why: We’d bend over backwards for the delicious detox juices at the new Zen Garden Café, an extension of Yogacara yoga studio in Bandra. The menu at this minimal, spa like café offers an extensive list of juices, smoothies, healthy thalis and soups, and snacks like wraps, rolls and crepes. We tried and liked the Chicken Falafel with fresh vegetables, the spicy Grilled Pepper Chicken wrap, the Avocado Cheesecake and the super healthy tasting detoxifying juice. Steer clear of the crepes though, that look and taste like parathas. Full review out soon!

When: Now. For Zen and the Art of Self Maintenance.

bpb Review: Buddha Belly
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 11:33

The founder at Buddha Belly greets you with a big smile and a tall claim of having gone through over 250 bowls of dim sum before arriving at his set menu.

Here at this new new dim sum parlour in Juhu that's also opening at Peddar  Road this weekend, you'll find a small two floor casual space that caters to those looking for a quick bite or take away.

The service here, though quick, tends to overwhelm  with its rushed pace and constant intrusion, when all you want is to eat  in Buddha’s serene shadow.

Well, tough. Get a table and seek solace in chaos and in the neat folds of dim sum available in varieties that include  edamame and truffle, chicken chive, spicy jalapeño and more. The dim sums come in four categories - steamed, baked, fried and gyoza (pan fried) and are priced at Rs.150 for a plate of four.

Basket Case

We got the assorted basket, starting with  the Spinach & Parmesan and Thai Sambal Cottage Cheese and Corn versions which did not disappoint even though we were quite apprehensive about these combinations. Our favourite fillings were  the Chinese Mushroom, Chicken Black Bean, the Spicy Smokey Chicken and Edamame-Truffle. The Spicy Vegetable and Jalapeno gyoza was nothing like what it sounded and could have just passed off as pan fried vegetable momos.

The Lemongrass Ginger sauce that accompanied these needs a special mention for its kick and so do the dim sum skins that were elegant and non rubbery with no sign that they were hurriedly put together. We hope this continues beyond opening week when the real crush of customers begins.

At the end, just for a change if texture and some crunch, we ordered the  fried noodle rolled prawns but we were let down by the oily texture that blatantly overpowered the well cooked prawn pieces inside. Buddha’s Belly also serves khao suey and sticky rice, which the management pushed as a recommendation, but we decided to save these for another trip. 

If you're in the neighbourhood, stop by for a  bite that's small with expectations that aren't too big for Buddha's Belly has its share of hits, but also a few misses. Oh well, you win some, you dim sum.

Getting there: Shop 2, Sagarika C.H.S, Juhu Road, Mumbai,65651545, does not deliver, opening shortly at peddar road, Rs 150 for a plate of 4 dim sum.

Bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

The Purple Foodie Is Back From Paris!
Monday, 24 February 2014 11:23

If blue is the colour of Monday, let Purple be the colour of the rest of the week. Prettier and more optimistic, it’s also the favourite colour of our favourite food blogger – Shaheen Peerbhai of  – who had packed up her baking tray and moved from Mumbai to Paris.

Visiting just for a week, with all her experience from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London and working at a few restaurants in Europe over the past couple of years, Shaheen is conducting a bunch of baking classes in the city this week.

On Friday February 28, 2014, she’s setting up base at the Eighth bake  studio in a bylane off Carter Road in Bandra, launched by another Le Cordon Bleu graduate Anurita Ghosal (more on this soon!). Here, Anurita Ghosal bakes the most awesome chocolate caramel cookies (see pictures on her Facebook page here), and you can place an order a day in advance and pick up your stash.

What You Can Learn

Shaheen will be conducting two classes – Tea Time Treats that include toasted hazelnut loaf, cherry and walnut scones, banana espresso bread, raspberry and passion fruit cakes and dark chocolate-sea salt cookies. This will take place on Friday, Feb 28 from 11 am to 2 pm. On the same day from 4 pm to 7 pm, you can sign up for French Special, which includes treats like financiers, fondant, truffles and Tigré.

The same classes will also be conducted on Sunday, March 2nd (Tea Time Treats from11 am to 2 pm and French Special from 4 pm to 7 pm) and on Monday, March 3 (Tea Time Treats from 11 am to 2 pm and French Special from 4 pm to 7 pm).

Considering the chef’s popularity and her elusive Mumbai sightings, we suggest you register ASAP (classes are on first come first serve basis).

Food will contain no added colour. Except an optimistic Purple.

Getting there: To register email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Classes at Eighth studio, flat no 4, 1st Floor, Mudheshwari  Building, YMCA road (off Carter road) Bandra, Rs 4,000 for a class including ingredients + bakes to take back home.


Neel Opens in Andheri (W)
Friday, 21 February 2014 12:54

What: Neel Restaurant & Tote Banquets opens in Andheri (W). Neel, opposite The Charcoal Project, off Veera Desai Road, Andheri (W)

Why: Andheri west (k)neels down to welcome Awadhi cuisine as Mahalaxmi’s Neel zooms across the sea link to add to the suburb’s culinary chaos. Expect the usual list of yummies like the Kakori Kebab, Khatta Meetha Baingan and the rich Ghosht Ki Dum Biryani, along with a few new additions to the menu.

When:Opened on Sunday, Feb 23, 2014.

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