Never been to an Oktoberfest? While the world celebrated this 207 year old extravaganza in its birthplace Munich until a couple of weeks back, the newly opened Gateway Taproom in BKC gives you an opportunity to enjoy the fest until 22nd October 2017.They call it ‘Pretty Much Munich’.
Oktoberfest was born in 1810 when Munich celebrated the Crown Prince’s wedding with a special beer and huge party that ran for 16 days. This has continued with more vigour and pomp ever since, over 6 million patrons attend with over 7.5 millions liters of beer is poured.
At the Gateway, the White Zen (Hefeweizen) and Doppelganger (Dunkelweizen) the mainstays of Gateway along with Marzen the Festbier and the Vienna lager a crisper variation to the festbier enthralled us on a bright afternoon.
The food was a surprise, pub-grub never gets so intricate and authentic here in the country.. the former was the parmesan puff which was top-notch and the latter the kaesesspaetzle a German staple of a indigenous ‘pasta’ and cheese which reminded me of my recent Stuttgart trip. As a vegetarian in Germany you only get to eat Spaetzle and Kartoffel Salat ( potato salad) apart from the host of artisanal breads and of course the Pretzel.
To more brewed times ahead, Prost!
Great Wall the Chinese restaurant at The Leela, Mumbai is one of the pioneers of the cuisine in the city, the Hunan and Sichuan cuisines being their core. What drew me to the restaurant after long was their new menu coupled with the four-course set lunch priced at attractive Rs 1010 per person on through the week.
My table overlooking the green landscape replete with a waterfall set the vibrancy to the afternoon despite the 90’s décor. The set lunch comprised soup, starter, mains and a dessert; it had the basics but plausible options like the classic turnip cakes, crystal dumplings, and the Great wall special hot and sour soup. I also looked beyond it for the new menu items like the asparagus cheung fans and the main dish, chestnut, sugar snap peas, tofu, shiitake and white fungus in a light citrusy sauce with Japanese inspirations, both exquisite. The mapo tofu for mains was classic and did me in. The cream of mango with sago pearls was refreshing with the acidity and the new dessert Gula Melaka of Sino-Malay origin, a combination of sago, coconut milk and Palm jaggery was silken albeit heavy.
Great Wall impressed with the food like always and their set menu we thought is a steal especially for those who look forward to see what Chinese food with quality ingredients taste like.
The land of royalty, palaces, luxury, colours, architecture and of course cuisine, Rajasthan truly puts India on the global tourist scene. Speaking of the cuisine, the dry and arid landscape of Rajasthan gave birth to it. Paucity of water, lack of vegetation and hence vegetables got them to adapt resulting in distinct recipes. Use of milk and milk products like ghee instead of water, using dried or pickled veggies, use of flours to make fresh or dried dumplings to substitute veggies are some of the highlights of the cuisine.
Tuskers at the Sofitel, BKC the only pure vegetarian restaurant within a luxury hotel curated a Rajasthani food promotion over the last 10 days and it was helmed by two chefs, Vinod and Sanjay visiting from Fairmont, Jaipur another brand of the French hotel group, Accor. The classic Dal Bati churma, Gate ki sabzi, papad mangodi, kachori in kadhi, Missi Roti, Puri, Shrikhand, Moong Dal Halwa etc comprised the massive thali at lunch time and was priced at Rs 1299.The star of the menu was the Panchkota sabji a stir fry of indigenous veggies including the Kair, Sangri, Kumat (acacia Senegal), Goondha and dried mango. Tuskers under Chef Janakidas Vaishnav has been serving authentic Rajasthani and Gujarati cuisine, sometimes with a modern touch of flavours and promotions like these only help us to enjoy more of what the region has to offer.
We look forward to Tuskers to keep making us vegetarians happy and wish they could promote other regional vegetarian food may be from Kashmir, Bihar, Haryana and more too ….
Innovation and showmanship is a norm in the restaurant space these days, some namesake like the overdone smoke or the fancy crockery phenomena or the excess of molecular gastronomy and a few which evoke interest. Innovation in food could be interplay of flavours, textures, visuals and most importantly engagement. Roberto Zorzoli of Romanos at the J W Marriott, Sahar is currently experimenting with extracting incense from everyday kitchen ingredients and he has showcased his work in a promotion called the Aromas.
I walked in to see 10 perfume bottles on the table alongside the ubiquitous balsamico and olio in an Italian restaurant. Sage, nutmeg, orange, saffron, thyme etc read the tag on their necks. Still didn’t make a lot of sense to me until the burrata arrived, a rich yet relatively neutral dish to take on some flavours. Burrata with two sprays of orange and a refreshing morsel followed by a spray of oregano and yet another morsel, the haze over the concept was clearing out, dining was getting more fun. I felt like a creator! I tried many aromas with one dish to figure one or a combination that worked well. Sage with watermelon feta, saffron with gnocchi in mascarpone, coffee, vanilla and a hint of nutmeg on the deconstructed tiramisu were my choices. I got suggestions of aromas from fellow diners, I gave mine and the dinner was interactive, the topic of discussion being food.
Zorzoli enchanted with his chocolate inspired 4 course meal last time and this time with the aroma experiment. Spraying aromas in the bartending world is common and this being incorporated in food is smart. I’m sure this will trend soon in the city and will become a norm. We Indians love condiments, don’t we???
A bento-box in one hand, camera around the neck and picnic mats in the other are a common sight as hordes of tourists akin to locals throng the Ueno Park in Tokyo, just one the many venues but a very popular one during the Cherry blossom season. In a practice called Hanami or appreciation of the Cherry Blossom flowers (Sakura) which represent new beginnings and also transient life; Japan is happy and high. Cherry blossom themed colas, lattes, crisps, cakes, restaurant promotions, mall decors etc turn the city pink. The Sakura blossoms in the south in January and slowly moves up north to Tokyo and Kyoto before turning Hokkaido pink in May.
The Leela Mumbai is currently hosting the Cheery Blossom fest at Citrus and I experienced the same dressed up in the colours. As a vegetarian the choice of ‘sushi’ perhaps is universal in the country and all that matter is the quality of ingredients. The pricing for the same at Rs 599 offered the best value in the city as Chef Constantine happily rolled us a creamy avocado and a crisp tempura variant. We snacked on the steamed edamame in salted and chilli garlic styles during the entire course of our meal. The silken tofu in teriyaki could be scooped into and the crispy rice cracker fried Asparagus called for a wine with bracing acidity to match. Spring brings exciting times in a continental region; it fills the heart with cheer and joy and so did it our Soba bowl. It exudes the warmth and the simplicity the Japanese culture is known for.
A Mango and Mascarpone from the mango specials menu brought a delightful end to an evening which was gastronomic and of course incited the travel bug in me. To endless discoveries in Japan, someday!!!
P.S: Miso ramen, katsu curry, yakitori are some of the dishes that non-vegetarians could look up to.
On Tuesday, 21 March 2017 the world will celebrate the third annual edition of the great global event “Goût de France or Good France”. 2000 chefs across 5 continents will dish up 2000 menus at the same time and showcase gourmet French cuisine making this a massive culinary endeavour.
This initiative was launched by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development under the aegis of celebrated chef Alain Ducasse. It aims, over the space of a dinner, to salute the excellence of French cuisine, its innovative skills, and the values that it conveys: bringing people together over a shared meal, the pleasure of taste, and the balance between human beings and the products of nature.
Once again this year, the event will be celebrated with particular relish in India, where more than 65 restaurants have been selected across the country by chef Alain Ducasse– so there’s no way you can miss it! Diners can pick their preferred ambience as they will be spoiled for choice: bistro, coffee bar, contemporary or haute cuisine restaurants.
Mr Yves Perrin and the Mumbai Chef brigade
We were at a preview of Gout De France at the residence of the French Consul General Mr Yves Perrin in Mumbai where chefs from the participating restaurants showcased their culinary might. Chefs including Ashish Bhasin, Irfan Pabaney, Nitin Kulkarni, Amaresh Nandan, Satbir Bakshi, Amit Pamnani, Robin Batra were at their skillful best showcasing dishes like the Goat Cheese Creme brulee and figs, Asparagus, Hollandaise and Brioche, Fruit Savarin, Marquise Pompadour etc.
Join the party on the 21st. Good France!
Here is the list of Mumbai restaurants:
- Artisan,Bandra www.sofitel.com
- Botticino, Bandra www.tridenthotels.com
- Sea Lounge, Colaba www.tajhotels.com
- The Clearing House, Ballard Estate
- Fenix, Nariman Point www.oberoihotels.com
- Olio, Juhu http://www.novotel.com/gb/country/hotels-india-pin.shtml
- Olive Bar and Kitchen, Bandra www.olivebarandkitchen.com
- Olive Bistro, Goregaon www.olivebarandkitchen.com
- Rivea, Vileparle www.tajhotels.com
- The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point www.thesassyspoon.in
- Upper Crust Lounge, Andheri www.itchotels.in
- Vista, Bandra www.tajhotels.com
Mumbai has seen the popularity of Bengali cuisine rising over the last one decade and enthusiastic non-bengali diners can now discern between the good and the not so. I have been upping the ante with Bong food given all the Kolkata travels and a host of eateries opening up in the city whilst still struggling to find some love for Potol. Recently when a Leela billboard on the airport road spoke about a Bong food promo, I was kicked and even more when I understood that Aaheli a 2 decade old Hilsa destination in Kolkata is running it. I had to go!
Welcomed by the hostess draped in the cult red and white Korial, my journey to didi’s land had begun. Jamavar looked as pristine and inviting and I was all set for a big meal. Aam pora sharbat to begin and a quick chat with Chef Hafiz of Aaheli gave me the ‘itinerary’ for the evening. Date and 2 mango chutneys with papad kept us company till the Piyaz Poshto Bora, Chenna patishapta and Mochar chop came in. Dhokar Dalna, Aloo Poshto, Kasundi begun, Chanar ushtab with radhaballabhi and the fragrant Gobindbhog rice were brilliant.
Now coming to where Bengalis could come to fists, mishthi, the Rajbhog in nolen gur, Doi with nolen gur and nolen gur payesh brought in a sweet ending to our Saturday evening. The food was brilliant and the ambiance luxurious. Go Jamavar, eat Aaaheli !