China Gate for a quick bite

Mumbai,India

Went for a business lunch here and was glad to see a full house on a weekday afternoon. Rs 700 a head for a buffet with around 8 starters, 2 soups  and main buffet replete with salads, rice, noodles, gravies and dessert buffet with pastries, fruits and the classic darsaan and date pancakes. The food is not ‘gourmet’ but is comforting, think seasame toast, street style momos, cheese poppers, paneer chilly , crispy corn etc and the service is spot on. For the price it is a steal and one can choose to have a relaxed afternoon. Yes a glass of wine is included in the price… what more can you ask for?

China Gate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get started with Global Fusion

Mumbai, India

global fusion sushi dimsums

Thank god Mumbai has Global fusion! It is a great place to initiate yourself or your friends into sushi and dimsums or Asian food in general.  They have now added an Indian section for the hardcore desis.  The place is done up well and is very spacious.  At 800 something a head,the spread is humongous and does great justice.  It may not be a very good example of sushis and dimsums , but a very representative one to get you started…  Good place to go in groups for a happy afternoon!

Global Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Jamie’s disappoints!

Mumbai,India

Having met Jamie once and seeing him on tele, I had his Pizzeria on my mind for quite some time.  I had expected simple food with some great flavor combinations but I was let down.  The cover was laid and we sat down for a relaxed lunch.  As vegetarians the menu doesn’t have much to offer, commonplace combinations but for some pizzas. Paneer in Pesto, Jamie’s Green pizza and watermelon & feta were our choice.  The server got us two side plates and since they had cracks on them we asked them to be replaced only to be told that they didn’t have any which weren’t cracked. Really??? Nonetheless they got us main plates.

The Paneer Pesto came on a base of insipid tomatoes and pesto was merely a garnish, the paneer was tough too. One can’t go wrong with a watermelon, feta and mint but you just don’t throw them on the plate.  Lastly the pizza was ok, mild flavours but lacked the seasoning, and we had to ask for condiments.  A good bet but in a wrong country!  Lastly the coffee was very good and saved the day.  Finally; no complaints on service but the menu wasn’t inspiring given the franchise it’s named after.

Jamie's Pizzeria by Jamie Oliver Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A vegetarian in Jordan

Mumbai, India

‘Jordan? Really!’ went my pals on my holiday plans, they thought the vegetarian in me was being too ambitious to make another gourmet trip out of a vacation, the former is always the agenda to say the truth.  A quick web search yielded nothing much but for the now glocal Falafel ,Hummus and Shawarma and a host of  non-vegetarian items

vegetarian food Jordan

Baklava

including Mansaf their national dish, a rice and meat preparation in lines of our Yakhni Pulao.  I started with a clean slate and enjoyed my time in the cosmopolitan Amman, the historic Petra, the rugged sands of Wadi rum, and the pristine waters of Aqaba and the therapeutic aqua of the Dead Sea. With so much globalization and the likes of Uncle McDonald to the rescue vegetarians are at ease in Jordan but here are some local delicacies that would allow adding the gourmet angle to your trip

Ful Medames

A pretty looking pot containing mashed fava beans seasoned with cumin, olive oil, onion, garlic, lemon and seasoning finds place in most hotel breakfasts and alongside are kept toppings for people to enhance the dish as per their tastes. Sumac one indigenous crimson coloured spice that adds the tang stands apart in the condiments.

Ful Medames

Ful Medames

Moutabal

A dip you will find at the salad section, a mix of smoked aubergines pureed with Tahini (sesame paste) lemon juice and olive oil. Moutabal is also used as spread in Falafel wraps; do ensure that as your street side vendor smears some along with hummus for that smoky nuance! I loved it over multiple lunches.

Galayat

A breakfast time preparation of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and chilli is often cooked with eggs or meat and had with bread.

Manakish:

Flatbread baked with Zatar a local spice mix accompanies Ful Medames or is had with a healthy spread of cream cheese.

Haloumi

A brined semi hard cheese often made of goat and sheep milk is an inherent part of the Jordanian diet. It can be grilled but is mostly eaten fresh with Khubz or Pita and always finds place in the mezze platter comprising dips, bread and fresh vegetable batons.

Kunafeh

All fingers point to Habibah a sweet shop in Amman for this delicacy. A layered dessert with a base or filling of stringy cheese similar to a mozzarella and the top layers a crisp semolina pastry or vermicelli all soaked in rose scented sugar syrup.

Warbat

It like the popular Baklava, phyllo pastry stuffed with a soft cheese or custard with a healthy soak of sugar syrup.

Hareeseh

Semolina based dessert flavoured with rose water and sometimes enhanced with coconut are spreadout on huge and cut in cakes. It is readily available in most sweet shops in Amman and other cities. You will find a more premium nut topped version too.

Halaweh

Perhaps has the same roots as our Halwa, this one is made from Tahini and is shaped into one inch cubes. Halaweh is hard but crumbly and is on similar lines of Gajak in taste albeit much smoother and version in terms of texture. A good winter time dessert!

Muhallabia

A blancmange like creamy pudding is popular in Middle Eastern cuisines. It is milk based and thickened with rice flour and flavoured with rose water or vanilla or orange etc and embellished with nuts. It is served cold and is light and refreshing.

Turkish coffee

Jordanian’s love their tea and coffee, Turkish coffee a muddy black coffee flavoured with cardamom is commonplace and they love their mint or sage tea flavoured with spices and sweetened with sugar.  You will love the hot cuppa in the winters especially after all the food.

Paasha Pune scores big on food

Pune, India

Paasha PUne Marriott

Most consumers at least in Mumbai know of Paasha which is perched on the 24th floor of the J W Marriott Pune as an open air cocktail place offering a panoramic view of the city. I was surprised to know about it as a place offering classic north-western frontier food and I ended up organizing a sit-down whisky meal for people. The experience was phenomenal right from the amuse bouche to the dessert assortment of rabri icecream, pistachio cake and jamuns.  The pictures will speak a thousand words and you will know that Paasha is more than a cocktail lounge!

Paasha - JW Marriott Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cherry blossoms at the Leela, Mumbai

Mumbai, India

cherry blossom leela (1)

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.

Cherry Blossom leela

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.

 

Wok express is a good start to Asian food

Mumbai, India

The edamame and truffle dumplings impressed and that’s when I thought that WOK express is a primer for people who would like start experiencing good chinese food at the reasonable price. The other vegetarian dumplings were good too.  However the noodles disappointed this time, they were gloopy and mashed up in the khow suey sauce,seemed like a Burmese kichidi, it tasted good though. Nonetheless Wok express is a good effort to bring Asian food to the masses

Wok Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato