Food & Drink

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

bpb Review: PDT Mumbai, Lower Parel
Monday, 25 August 2014 11:01



 

We said it during the launch of The Local, and we’ll say it again: there’s nothing secret about a speakeasy if it comes with a press release, a launch party and a PR team. But that doesn’t take the fun away from punching in a password and entering a bar through a bright red phone booth, does it? Collect(ive) call?

This is how you get to Please Don’t Tell (PDT), the new Lower Parel speakeasy that has nothing to do with the New York PDT, except inspiration. This past Friday, after a long day at Fashion Week, we booked a table where we began the weekend with our favourite hers, hims and a glass of something called Pimms on A Whim. 

Inside The Booth

Finding Please Don’t Tell isn’t so much of a task. Around Tilt All Day, you'll spot a heart red phone booth where dialing 5 (finger scanner for members), gets you on the other side.

Inside, PDT is predictably industrial in the elements that make up its interior, but you’ll like it for its long bar with shutters that look like half-closed shops, and well spaced out tables.

At one of these, bobbing our heads to The Foo Fighters, we brought in the weekend with The Dutch Enigma, a fruity mix of pomegranate, gin and cranberry juice, made grown up with a dash of bitters.

By now Alanis Morissette was playing, and we were already thumbing through cocktail list for our next drinks. We only wish they had omitted silly lines on the menus and coasters (like ‘sex is good only when it’s dirty’), because with its main gimmick plus interesting cocktails, PDT doesn’t really need to try so hard.

Breakfast at Night

Our dining companions, sipping on a Pimms On A Whim (a regular Pimms cocktail with orange juice) and a Puzzle Guzzle(vodka, fresh ginger, grapefruit juice and ginger bread syrup), enjoyed their drinks, which weren’t recklessly mixed, but still potent enough for a Friday night.

We lined our stomachs with the Secret Breakfast, paneer sticks coated in cornflakes crusting that were so heavily fried, it masked all flavours except the tangy sauce that came with it. For snap-crackle-pop get instead the ill named but well made Prawn Star - succulent, large shrimp wrapped in lovely greased bacon strips. The Chicken Kathi roll titled Under Wraps is a roll cut up in pieces for your convenience and served on a wooden board. Taste wise, it will come close to your favourite late night street kathi roll, but will cost you more. 

Stealth is Wealth

Next at the table was the Stealth Bomb, a classic Goan Sausage preparation that came served with garlic bread and Silence Of The Lamb, lamb kebabs served with pav, imli and pudina chutney. Neither of these dishes really impressed us – the sausages were too chewy and the lamb kebab featured too few and too small pieces of meat.

Go to PDT for initial not-so-secret secret thrills and stay for the cocktails. But in its current still-new phase, picking a week night might be a better idea. For past 11.30 pm on a Friday night, it got too crowded, the music turned commercial, the service dropped substantially, resulting in us quickly wrapping up for the night.

Don’t however, leave without going to the restroom, a voyeuristic booth where the mirror comes with a two-way glass and our favourite – the tap is operated with a foot pedal so you don’t get germs on your hands.

Best faucet-up ever!

Getting there: Please Don’t Tell, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel, next to Tilt All Day, call 8082783783 to make a reservation. Meal for three with one drink each: Approximately Rs 6,000. Kingfisher pint for Rs 300, small Absolut and Jameson for Rs 300, average price of a cocktail is Rs 700.

 
New Mexican Bar In Fort: Tijuana Iguana
Friday, 22 August 2014 15:16



What: New Mexican bar Tijuana Iguana opens, Bombay Mutual Annexe building, Rustom Sidhwa Marg, behind Citi Bank, opposite Hotel Residency, Fort, call 33487715.

Why: After a Barking Deer, a White Owl, a Blue Frog and the Lazy Dog, comes another creature of the night, for dinner and drinks. Recently launched, Tijuana Iguana at Fort is a Tex-Mex bar that serves up nachos, chicken wings,  burgers and steaks. The artwork on their Facebook page seems slightly tacky, but we suspect that the bar, which looks nice enough in pcitures, will dole out well-priced drinks and great deals considering the offices in the neighbourhood. Full review out soon!

When: Lounge lizards, go this weekend!

 
Recipe: Blueberry Mojito From Tilt All Day
Friday, 22 August 2014 13:04


Tilt All Day has introduced Happy Hours, with super deals on cocktails and food, from 5pm to 9pm. Try this Blueberry Mojito recipe from their cocktail menu on for size this weekend.

  • Method: muddled
  • Glass      : Roly Poly
  • Garnish : blueberry pulp on top

Ingredients

  • 60 ml Captain Morgan
  • 15 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 20 ml simple syrup (sugar syrup)
  • 1 bar spoon fresh blueberry pulp
  • 3/5 Macerated lemon
  • 5/8 mint leaves
  • 1 Lime wedge

Method

  • Place the blueberries, mint in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the fruit and mint with a muddler until the blueberries release their juice and you can smell the aroma of the mint.
  • Add the Captain Morgan, Simple syrup and lime juice.
  • Fill the glass 2/3 full of cracked ice.
  • Just give a nice stir in the mixing glass. Once the mix is done perfect. Pour it in a roly polly glass.
  • And garnish it with a top of Fresh Blueberry Puree and lime wedge.
 
Barnee: Jars of Pickles & Gulps
Thursday, 21 August 2014 11:13



There’s something about an assorted box of treats in a room full of people. Ribbon removed, peering eyes, curious hands, flavor pamphlet read twice over, satiated faces, some scrunched up on account of the decision to be surprised.

Yesterday at the bpb office, we had delivered one of the most fun assorted boxes we’ve seen in a while. A little wider than a macaron box and slightly longer too, this one came from a new home business called Barnee (Hindi for jar). Inside, 12 mini jars filled with pickles, coolers, masalas, chutneys, syrups and cubes that promise to make your face glow. Basically a grandmother’s legacy, packaged prettily enough to grab your attention.

 Meet the Makers

Masala + a daughter in law –mother in law duo sounds like a pot boiler, but this is the beginning of Barnee, run by Ruta Karve Misra and Vandana Misra.

Back from Le Cordon Bleu, London and armed with an MBA from Welingkars, daughter-in-law Ruta had been searching for a space to set up her patisserie, but then she tasted her mother-in-law’s specialty - pickles. “I’m a dessert person but I was hooked at the first bite of the Ad'bhut'aam,” says Ruta. After putting together a business plan, the two took to the kitchen where they’ve been “dicing, slicing, mixing and marinating” for the past few months.

Preserve Bank of India

Ruta tells bpb that while most of the products are made with recipes that have been passed down from one generation to another, there are a few that are the duo’s own creations, like the Green Gulp, a lightly spiced aloe vera cooler, and the Splash & Glow, aloe vera cubes soaked in saffron and rose water for high watt skin. 

Sticklers for detail, the duo sources ingredients from different vendors across the country - hing (asafoetida) from Delhi, whole spices from Crawford market and bhut jolokia from Guwahati. We tried and liked the authentic Vadu Mangai, a South Indian pickle with whole tender mangoes in hot spices; their take on the Gujrati Chunda that was full of flavour and spice with a sweet aftertaste; the Ad‘Bhut’Aam, lip numbingly spicy bhut jolokia made gentler with seasonal mangoes; and Nani’s Secret masala that could work as a fun condiment for plain Jane dishes like dal khichdi and raita.The Desi Tadka pickle however, was tasty but very regular, like the type you could buy from your local store.

Making its debut just in time for the wedding and gifting months, Barnee has all the pyaaz mataaz required to last through the season. And then another.

Getting There: Barnee, to order email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , along with your address for delivery, hamper of 12 mini jars for Rs 750, Rs 150-550 for 200 ml jars, orders to be made 2-3 days in advance. See their Facebook page here .

 
Brewbot: New Brew Pub To Open in Andheri (W)
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:29



Coming soon and adding to the chaos of brews and bars in Andheri (W) is Brewbot, the suburb’s first Brew Pub that will offer artisanal craft beer, brewed at the restaurant.

As per their Facebook page, Brewbot comes with all the predictable Bombay  bar elements -   regular pub food “with a twist" and industrial interiors courtesy the Busride Design Studio guys. Moving installations are also involved.

The ground floor will be divided into two sections, with an outdoor, alfresco area and the main bar and dining section, while the upstairs will operate as a venue for events. The BrewBot team told bpb that more information will be shared soon.

With only one bar in the city with a brewery license so far, we can’t wait for this one to start.

Bot-toms up!

Getting there: G-01 & 101, Morya Landmark 1, off New Link Road, Andheri (W), 4003 4448 / 4449, slated to open in September, view their Facebook page here

 
bpb Review: The Treesome Café, Andheri
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 11:11

 

Obvious references aside, there was something about the title of Tree-some Café that made us think of a calm, sylvan space where we could catch up on the week that was and get a couple of drinks while we were at it. On Friday night, we strolled in to a drastically different scene at the new Andheri spot to find two bars, two plasma screens and one too many revelers. We lurked on the side lines, stayed out of selfies and watched who appeared to be the owner, struggle to get everyone a table with a musical chairs like arrangement as groups of diners were displaced from spot to another. Breathe.

Replacing Mexican bar Amigos, and from the owner of Silver Beach Café and Nom Nom, Treesome Café is split into two sections, a slightly larger outdoor area and an air-conditioned indoor space, The interior elements seem like a cut-copy job with gold filament-exposed bulbs hanging from the ceiling, bar stools, benches and booth-like sofas for larger groups, and inside, a large mural of a tree. Finally, here’s that elusive green!

Tree’s a crowd

When it was our turn to be seated, we ordered the Jamun Mojito and the whisky-based Tropical Sour. Two sour-sweet concoctions laced with enough booze to give us the strength to go on as the DJ turned to so, so loud party hits by Swedish House Mafia and Avicii.

We were pleased with the Jolly Goan, spicy Goan sausages served with halved buns on a stone like platter. Cooked with finesse, packed with authentic Goan flavours, it instantly won our vote. We decided to steer clear of the done-to-death Mumbai snacks such as the Mahim Junction Kheema Pav and the gimmicky ones that borrow from pop-culture (Rajnikanth Style Masala Omelette and the Gabar Singh), and instead ordered the Thai Chicken Bites wrapped in Pan Leaf. Served with a piquant sweet-chilli sauce, it had all the makings of a dish served in a nice sit-down restaurant. The Rugged Mexican Chilli Bean brought together two mainstays of a bar menu – potato wedges and beans; a segmented wedge was topped with chilli bean and greens. Slightly heavy, it is apt for those looking for a fried, overloaded snack with their tipple. 

A Round or Two

Pleased that nothing we ordered came in a bird cage, as Instagram will have you believe, we ordered our second round of cocktails – the Cucumber Cooler and the Spicy Guava Twist. The former, a good choice for someone looking for a mild drink, but heavy hand of cucumber can get nauseating after a while. We have our money on the second– the salt-rimmed Guava Twist (a tequila and Guava Juice concoction with Worchester Sauce, a few drops of Tabasco and a splash of lime) that comes with a serious hit of spice. The only disappointing order of the night was The Greek Goddess Pizza that had an unsavoury combination of rubbery Mozzarella and Feta Cheese. The Treesome Café also serves a variety of salads, burgers, mains that bear Goan and Asian influences, as well as dessert.

When we found ourselves sandwiched between Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga’s antics on screen, and teens on the other side gearing up to dance on bar stools, we knew we had to move to an age-appropriate venue. Our tip: If you are dropping in on the weekend, get there early to eat. But if you are planning to stick around, you may have to carry a life saver, should you be knocked over into one of their Fish Bowls!

Getting there: Jewel Mahal Shopping Centre, JP Road, next to WTF!, Versova, Andheri (W), call 26365554. Cocktails: Rs 300-400, Appetisers: Rs 150-450

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its meals.

This story was contributed by features writer and freelancer Bhairavi Jhaveri, a regular contributor to fashion magazines and Dailies.

 
bpb Review: Social, Colaba
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 11:12

 

After two futile attempts at scoring a table at Social, the wildly popular new Impresario restaurant/ drinking hole/ co-working space that comes to Colaba via Bangalore and Delhi, shrunk in size but large in ambition, this Scouter finally managed to wedge her party into a little sliver of the bar for Sunday lunch.  Peering over naked bulbs and booze bottles suspended from the ceiling into a wooded interior dotted with old-fashioned lamps, comfy chairs and even a swing, which we eyed with avarice until a harried waiter caught our eye and shook his head sternly: no way was that happening.

That was fine, we felt lucky to have a spot at all, especially as we watched hung-over diners wait forty minutes for a table, the phone ringing unheeded, a group of squalling kids (and one squalling adult), stamping their feet in frustration and hunger.

Two Lost Souls

Thus discouraged from lingering, we dove headfirst into cocktails, the best of which is Old Smoke, whiskey, orange bitters, and a plume of smoke, the poor man’s version of the good stuff from Islay. We also ordered a beer and margarita mix called Two Lost Souls Swimming In a Fish Bowl – how could we not?! – which tastes marginally better than it sounds, and a Deconstructed Moscow Mule that they’re supposed to mix at your table, whose dramatic effect is lost if like us, you’re sitting at the bar.

Now that we’re all settled in with our drinks, can we please talk about the hash tags for a moment? Dear reader, they are everywhere – printed on water glasses (#paani) and kamakazi shot bottles, paper menus and tissue rolls, server uniforms and China boxes, in English and in Hindi and often a befuddling mix of the two languages, in-your-face and rarely clever.

Take A Pav

Fortunately, the kitchen rises above the gimmicky presentation, sending out seriously legit mini vada pavs smothered in breath-decimating garlic chutney and sandwiched between mini pita breads that are eye-rollingly labeled “baos”. We also liked crispy mutton baida roti, especially after we had dabbed the excessive oil off it, and a neat, spicy, satisfyingly wet China box of chilli chicken and Hakka noodles, which one hung-over friend fell on with a moan of gratitude. Also order Awesomosas, warm turnovers filled with cheese and mushrooms, just for their name, but skip the very average nachos and fat jalapeño poppers that are too greasy and not creamy enough.

Dessert should always be Ramesh and Suresh, two candy bars battered and deep-fried, served in a steel tiffin box with a scoop of ice cream. These make you feel a bit funny in your tummy after, but you don’t mind because it’s the same feeling you had when you rode the Ferris wheel too many times as a kid. So happy and warm is the meltedfivestarkwalityicecream taste, made even sweeter by the awesomely reasonable bill you’ve just been handed, that you won’t even mind the final hash tag your check is presented with: #damage.

Getting there: 24, ground floor, Glen Rose building, BK Boman Behram Marg, Apollo Bunder, Colaba, call 22828484. Meal for two: Rs 2,500 for two with one drink each. 

bpb reviews anonymously and pays for its own meals.

 
Recipe: Lamb Sliders From The White Owl
Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:33


Don't let the long weekend slide by! Try this recipe for Lamb Sliders from The White Owl instead!

Recipe for 4 portions:
Lamb Mince-500 gms
Chopped onion- 2 tbsp
Chopped Garlic- 1 tbsp
Fine Chopped Red Chilli- 1/2 tsp
Jalapeno- 1 tbsp
Lettuce- a few leaves
Mayonnaise- 1 tbsp
For Chutney:
Roasted Red Pepper- 2 tbsp
Fresh Tomato Diced- 2 tbsp
Chopped Ginger- 1 tsp
Chopped Garlic- 1 tsp
Chili powder- 1 tsp
Fresh Green Chilli- 1 tsp
Oil- 1 tbsp
Method:

For the lamb mince, saute all the ingredients except the lamb mince.
Cool it for sometime and then add the same mixture to the mince.
Adjust seasoning and make small patty of about 40 gms each.
For the chutney, saute the ginger, garlic and chili in the pan by adding in oil.
Then add in the red pepper and fresh tomato to the same.
Finish off by adjusting the seasonings.
Toast the mini buns and apply some mayo on each. You can flavor the mayo with a little Tabasco or some fresh herbs.
Assemble the burger by cooking the lamb patty to medium.
Serve hot with some hand cut fries.

 
bpb Pick: Bread Made From Beer Mash
Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:24


What: Flying Pig Belgian Wit Ciabatta bread from The Barking Deer, Mathuradas Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Rs 150 for a loaf, pickup only, no delivery.

Why: What happens when a brewery comes up with a new way to earn its bread and butter? You get The Barking Deer’s new line of loaves made from their Flying Pig Belgian Wit beer mash. We enjoyed the Ciabatta with salad and drinks, but the beer mash coupled with the olive and herb flavours turned out too overpowering in the Focaccia.

When: You want to raise a toast.

 
Opening Soon: The Bar Stock Exchange
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:56



Bulls, bears and everyone else, take stock of this!

We’ve been informed of a fresh entrant in the market this morning. From the guys behind Big Bang Bar and Café comes The BSE. The Bar Stock Exchange will be a new chain that allows you to apply the Stock Exchange’s demand supply algorithm to drinks. Complete with software and trading servers!

Trading in alcohol, The BSE will have prices of drinks that rise in direct proportion to its consumption over a period of time at the bar, but also circuit breakers, to ensure the price doesn’t rise over a specified amount.Plus, an app to keep stock holders in the know of prices and investments!

Launching in September in Andheri East & West, the outlets will be about 6000 square feet each, and their BKC outlet that opens in December will be 9,000 square feet, and will include a 30 seater mini theatre for private screenings, movie launches and live match showcases. 

Hedge Fun-d!

Watch this space for more details!

 
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