Mumbai my new abode

I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to sample working and discovering a new city but thanks to a great boss and husband moving bases, this opportunity landed in my lap. So here I am in Mumbai, trying out new stuff to cook for dinner and trying out new tastes. I am consciously avoiding chains that I can get to eat in Delhi so that my food horizons broaden. Will be writing my reviews soon so far I have had Parasi, Gujarati, Mexican, Italian, only in Mumbai cafes and street food here. A few places get my likes , some don’t impress me much contrary to what some people might say.

I have another handicap- as much as I would like to try new places I’m avoiding being too adventurous so that I don’t get Mumbai Belly (read Delhi belly) here, so I try to be innovative for dinner at home. A few experiments that I try on husband have been as follows

1. Garlic bread- All time favourite

Ingredients

1 French loaf or Garlic bread loaf

2 table spoons of butter (I use Amul)

2 small cloves Garlic crushed (depends on how strong do you want it)

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Oregano

1 tea spoon Olive Oil

Mix garlic, Olive oil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper in softened butter. Cut the French loaf diagonally into 8-10 pieces. On top of each piece of loaf spoon out the butter mixture, spreading it across the pieces equally. On a baking tray arrange the pieces and let it bake till the bread top is crisp and brown but should be soft from inside.

If the tray is not non-stick  spray a little bit of Olive oil before putting the pieces on the baking tray. You can also jazz up the bread by putting alternate juliennes of tomato and capsicum after you’ve put the butter mixture and bake. Or you could also put a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella on top of the tomato and bake till the cheese has melted and is slightly brown.

2. Vegetable Au- Gratin

1 cup par boiled vegetables- carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, french beans, broccoli, capsicums (red, green and yellow) and potato (all veggies are to be cut into cubes)

2 table spoons maida

2 table spoons butter

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

¼ cup milk

Ina non stick pan put the maida and sauté it with butter till the maida is slightly brown. Add milk to the pan stirring it constantly so that no lumps are formed. You can add water or more milk if you feel that the sauce is thick or will not cover the veggies. Add salt and pepper to the sauce and pour it over the par boiled veggies, hope the veggies are in a bowl that you want to bake the dish in. On top of the veggies in white sauce add generous helping of cheddar and mozzarella mixture and put it to bake. I usually use  100 degree Celsius for pre heating  the OTG and then keeping the dish at the same temperature till the cheese has melted and has become brown (approx. 5-10 mins) depends if your using a microwave with grill make sure you are using both microwave and grill so that the veggies are hot and the cheese slightly brown.To be served immediately.

3. My take on Cesar  Salad

For the dressing

2 table spoons olive oil

1 table spoon mayonnaise

1 tea spoon white vinegar

Salt to taste Pepper to taste

¼  tea spoon Oregano

1 tea spoon tomato ketchup

For the salad

¼ Ice berg lettuce torn into pieces and put in drinking water with ice

¼ carrot cut into cubes

¼ capsicums cubes (green, yellow, red)

5-6 Cherry tomatoes cut into half

4-5 pieces of Bread croutons

Drain water and dry the lettuce leaves on a kitchen towel , add carrots, capsicum and croutons. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Mix dressing and the veggies together make sure the dressing is not runny and coates the veggies. The salad is ready to eat, you could keep the salad in the fridge as well, it tastes best when served cold.

To add Hawaiian touch to this, you can also add a few pieces of canned pineapple cut into same size cubes as the rest. For non-veg add cold cuts of chicken or cold fried beacon and mix in with the veggies.

That’s it for now, I would be writting my reviews soon, let me know if you would like a few recipes that I have tried so far

1. Golgappa jaljeera home made (gol gappey ka pani)

2. Phirni

3. Pizza including the pizza base

or

4. Moong Dal cheelas

 

Places for Birthday Treats in Gurgaon

I must confess that its a task to figure out places to give treats, everyone is up for a free lunch specially in my team, there are a couple of places in Gurgaon that I would like to call food-joints-esentially-for-treats.

Starting from a name that’s really ALL-THAT-YOU-CAN-EAT experience is Barbeque Nation, its the one stop shop for both veggies as well as non-veggies. But its slightly over exposed over the year [was my find :)] infact, not only have I visited it on ‘official’ purposes but also for personal, my husband freaked out when we went there for dinner, he’s a hard core Kabab Factory Fan. Barbeque Nation is located in Sushant Lok if I may say walking distance from
IFFCO chowk metro station. For a lunch buffet with limited choice of 3/4 snacks its Rs350 per head with beer, soft drinks are extra.

The other one that we went recently to was ‘THE CHOWK’ it’s all you can eat in a different way,it’s basically not for an evolved audience but for people who would like to EAT read hog there. I didn’t find variety but the boys hogged on the two non-veg dishes one of chicken and another mutton with unlimited hot rotis that made the experience atleast, worth while, it was I guess Rs250 per person. Slightly boring for vegetarians with same roti , dal, sabji that you could eat anywhere. What I like about ‘The Chowk’ is that has innovative and bright interiors, its located in MGF.

Another gem of all you can eat for veggie fair is ‘ Rajdhani’ I find it disappointing ,as most people I know are veggies and I do eat my share of veg at home also, so not my choice but ya, its good, located in MGF again.Not so fancy fair but totally veg options, good on pocket are Haldirams and Bikanervala, I have  cravings for chaat, so I don’t mind that too much.

Another place that is not really heavy on the pocket but I  like the food is ‘The Red Hot Cafe’, Thai and Chinese here are good, as per the Indian palette, I really like their spring rolls, you can actually ask them not to fry, so it has a thin outer crust and succulent on the inside and their Pad Thai is good too.

Sushiya, if you like Japanese, now that’s a tough choice for most Indians as Sushi per say is not fulfilling read fills but doesn’t satisfy 🙂 .Their ala carte menu is expensive if you give people a free hand at choosing what they want to eat then you’ve had it but if you are ordering in then Sushi Platters come in alot of variants and Satays are a good option too. You could tie this up Red Hot Cafe and order the good ol’ noodles and manchurien. Can be ordered online as well as on call, I had heard about a restaurant that they had opened in Cyber Greens.

For Italian, Mrs Kaur’s at Sec 30 is a good option, I had gone there for a Saturday lunch from work, now this what I’d like to call Punjabi-Italian, not the right place for people who like to eat roti, sabhji. But veggie selection is good too, their open sandwiches , brownies and spaghetti with meatballs are something I would like to recommend. The service and the delivery is slow so keep ample time before your order.

Last but not the least is the King of all food, ‘Nizam’s Kathi Kebab’ one kebab fills up a normal guy and women usually share 1 into 2 style ;), but apart from the standard kebabs I really like their Keema-Pao, that’s for starters, apart form that everything else is avoidable. Don’t forget to order an aerated drink as the oil kebab really fills you up.

Statuary warning-
This is definitely not an exhaustive list but a list that I usually follow for treats and Saturday lunches. This list is also limited to the vicinity where I work. Let me know what you think about this? In my next list I’d write about the uber cool, slightly expensive but some places that I really really like.

Olive Bar & Kitchen – A ‘Lazy’ Review

As the bleary winter sun struggled to descend through the clouds and trees on a Sunday afternoon, we walked into the meticulously Mediterranean Olive Bar & Kitchen at Mehrauli in Delhi for a long-planned and much anticipated ‘lazy Sunday brunch’. (No matter that most only turn up around lunch time, and then spiritedly chat over copious wine – it must always be called brunch. And lazy.)

The six of us – the wife and I, another couple, and our one 4 year old daughter each – walked past the whitewashed walls through the tree studded white gravel courtyard, initially thankful that we did not get reservations at any of the courtyard tables on this cold, weakly lit afternoon. But as we walked through to our table indoors, past the gas fires and coals smouldering in the ‘karhais’, we realised that outdoors would have been cosy enough. Unfortunately, a ‘private party booking’ in the courtyard put paid to those thoughts.

Once inside, the wine was quickly served (the kids had juice, in case you were wondering). The Chilean red on offer was quite crisp, with a fresh, cool bouquet (cannot yet tell the raspberry / plum notes, or the pine / oak finish!) – although cold as the weather was, a wine with a little more body may not have gone amiss. The Chilean white seemed quite nice as well, as far as the blurry photo below can tell!

On to the food then. The smorgasbord of cold cuts, terrines, salads, sauces and relishes was inviting enough and we sampled a fair selection. It wasn’t too bad but I’m not sure if that sort of food carries enough flavour for this weather. Oh well, my under-developed palate to blame I suppose. Who can however resist a freshly grilled plate or three of tiger prawns, tenderloin steak, lamb and basa fish. We couldn’t, so we duly got three steaming plates of lightly spiced, gently flavoured meats.

The service was prompt and efficient, the wine barely got to the bottom of the glass before it was refilled, and the mandatory broken glass (toppled by yours truly) was quickly mopped clean. Could it however have been a little more smiling and friendly? Especially since they weren’t busy serving a la carte? Yes, perhaps. We had to make do with cool and surly (broken wine glass to blame?).

The pizza was very warm and friendly by comparison. Rarely do desire and fulfilment follow as closely as they did when the pepperoni (with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and onions) pizza made it to our table in under 10 minutes, gushing with flavour and laden with just the right amount of cheese. Six slices were almost too few! A second pizza, of chicken and sundries, followed soon after.

Another interesting sight in the courtyard was of the beer-bummed chicken. I can think of no other name for the whole chickens grilling on the coals, hoisted on cans of beer, looking somewhat like headless chickens laying a particularly bizarre kind of egg. The chef explained that this was to infuse the grilling chicken with the flavours of beer (I can think of other ways of doing that, but that’s another post). This was a must-order, but it disappointed. The chicken was tender but flavour of beer or any other kind was hard to find.

Another wine, and it was time for the main course (you might be wondering what I think we’ve been having all this while). I suppose they expect people to stay lazy and boozy, eat up way too much salad and terrine, get conned by the beer-bummed chicken (guys certainly!) or seduced by the pizza. Because between all that and dessert, there was all of a live pasta station, one vegetarian risotto, looking like a green ‘khichdi’ turned out in rage, and a shrimp risotto, that had clearly been sitting on the buffet fire since Saturday morning. I actually hadn’t noticed the vegetarian option until I pointed out the caked shrimp risotto to the manager who agreed it had gone dry, looked at his watch and said they were near closing time, and then pointed out the green sludge for me to try if I wanted my risotto ‘wet’. The last station was then the one where your pasta would be cooked ‘live’. Thankfully, as live pasta stations go this one turned out better than expected, although the wife’s pasta was below par.

Dessert was wide-ranging and varied – I didn’t have any, not being particularly keen on dessert (and I had not planned to write this review!). The rest of the table evidently enjoyed, since what was brought to the table was quickly wiped out. Twice.

Terrific setting and ambience then. The wine’s not bad. And food is pretty good overall – the grills and pizza would be the pick of the lot. And I suppose if one doesn’t take up the offer of ‘lazy’ brunch too literally and lands up well before closing, the risotto may be great. I wouldn’t know though, my loss entirely. And just a live station for pasta is a little underwhelming, I guess laying out a few special / specific options would make the live station more fun.
The service is definitely hit and miss – one doesn’t expect feudal fawning, but some more ‘happy to see you’ would be welcome. And did anyone say good bye?