Saturday, January 30, 2010

A little design rejig

Hi Guys, i switched templates, found the old one too cluttered and cramped. I personally feel this one works better, offering more space for the posts as well as images.

Drop me a line if you think i should go back to the old one..

Updates coming soon.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Olive –Sunday Brunch

Rest : Olive
Meal : Sunday Brunch
Loc : Pali Hill, Bandra (West)

I have not been one for Sunday brunches, not for me is the expansive spread, the limitless alcohol and the copious consumption. Sunday for me is preferably something light, something interesting and no alcohol. Of late i have even given up serious lunching on Sunday afternoons, instead i prefer catching a flick and then heading to a bookstore.


This Sunday however turned out to be different. A few of my mates from college and the wives decided to get together to spend the afternoon feasting. The initial plan was to head to Indigo, however since a few were coming in from the suburbs we decided upon Olive in Bandra


I have never been very fond of Olive, they have always been a part of the party and social scene and been less about the food. Leaning towards form rather than function. Yet, here we were.


Things began very quickly with a severely watered down Mojito. Absolutely unimpressive. Stick to the caipiroska


The bloody mary was up next, impressive, i wish they had added the ice before to chill it nicely, it was jalapeno infused giving it the additional bite.


the shiraz was dry, not my fav wine in the world this one.


The daquiri was like a fresh lime soda on steroids..


The white gold was white wine, apple juice and apples. Not bad, although not my thing, the girls loved it.


After drinking like sailors on shore leave, we got together to scramble out to the food, which was laid out inviting and attractive.


the spread is expansive but not excessive. Mediterranean with some mezze. There are salads (caprese, cous cous, peppers) all pretty good. On the money.


The Asparagus was average but the Dips (hummus, tzatziki, harissa)were splendid.


The mushrooms were average as was the terrine


the pita chips were way too crunchy, not fun to dip.


the paella was distressingly like a risotto, not bad but nothing spectacular either.


The Arabbiata was average, not great flavour no great taste.


The grill section had paneer (cottage cheese) mushrooms and potato. Possibly the most fun thing of all, really enjoyed the soft, tasty paneer, the spicy mushroom and the buttery potato.


The pizza was surprisingly bad, as attractive as it looked, thin, crispy, inviting, the sauce had absolutely no flavour, completely sour and tasteless.


The dessert counter was fairly expansive, the tiramisu was nice, the rum n raisin on sticks was decent too. I really liked my chocolate covered strawberries.

Overall, the ambiance was fun and youthful, the space was packed and its advisable to get a table if going out for Sunday brunch.

The food unfortunately was below par in almost every respect. Quite shocking that they got their pasta and pizza wrong which should be essentially second nature to them. They have a few hits but the entire meal was littered by misses.

While we had a fantastic time, due to the company and in no small part the booze, I have never regretted not being a regular patron of Olive, they have never tried to prove me wrong.

Food : 5/10
Service : 6/10
Damage : 1500 + taxes per person inclusive of cocktails.

Olive Bar & Grill
Pali Hill Tourist Hotel, 14 Union Park, Khar (W), Mumbai
Phone: 26058228

Friday, January 22, 2010

Coming Soon: New Restaurant @ Grand Hyatt

The Grand Hyatt @ Kalina is a place i think of with great fondness, my wife & i shared our first few dates gorging in their coffee shop. While they have quite a few dining options (Celini visits here and here) its their coffee shop i love, for its elabroately imagined sandwiches, possibly the best in the city.

Their restaurants have always had a stable patronage and the hotel has been a great business destination. For a long time i have done suburban meetings either at the Grand Hyatt or Taj Lands End. Depending on client and time of day, GH has been a safe place to entertain.

So, imagine my excitement when a little birdie recently told me that M, their grill is being replaced by a new dining option called Fifty Five East. The new eatery will
offer an eclectic mix of Sushi, Mezze, Asian (Thai), South Indian, western grills and live desserts.. Very adventurous outlook by the folks at the Hyatt, especially considering most hotel chains like to play it relatively safe.

Intriguing culinary choices, I am all for more Sushi & Mezze. While i dont have any specifics on the menu, i can only hope its expansive.

The restaurant is going to be launched under the eye of executive chef Jean-Christophe Fieschi and is expected to be operational by the end of March-April 2010. Ill drop some pics when i get my hands on them. A full blown review should not be too far away.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Res: Olio
Meal : Dinner
Loc : Novotel (used to be the Holiday Inn) Juhu

The old Holiday Inn now rebranded as the Novotel after a $40million face lift has gone all out to make itself an interesting culinary destination. The hotel space looks brand new and they have built the restaurants around the view. The old warhorse Sampan for Chinese, a rooftop bar, a coffee shop and of course Olio for Mediterranean offer a wide mix.

The restaurant has a classy indoor section where no one was seated. Everyone chose the dimly lit but very attractive outdoors section as did we. The water is in the distance but the January air is just about perfect to sit outdoors and feel no discomfort.

Although the name is Italian and the menu is Italian heavy, it traverses all corners of the Mediterranean. Pasta, mezze & tagine are on the menu as well as some very interesting side dishes.

I wanted grappa but they didnt have any though it was on the menu...
So it was Lemon ice-tea although it tasted like anything but ice tea, pretty good though.

i prefer diet coke but you take what you can get..

The meal starts of with their bread service which is probably the best of any place. Warm pita and foccacia served wih a side of olive n pest, tomato and tahina. We went through possibly three servings, excellent stuff. Set some high expectations for the rest of the meal..

We chose the cold mezze, Tzatziki which is a garlic and yoghurt based dip, fresh feta cheese and dolmades, which are stuffed vine leaves. Initially i wanted the feta cheese salad, unfortunately our server (more on him later) could not tell us what was in it. Well, he said everything was in it but couldnt elaborate further.

The tzatziki was allright, the fresh feta was over salted although they insisted thats how it was meant to be. I have had enough feta to know what it tastes like, they offered to take it back but we decided to live with it.

The dolmades were just horribly icky tasting, Mabruk does them really well, these felt a little disgusting and paan (betel)like.

While they have an extensive pasta menu, we decided to skip the pasta and go for the pizza. They have a wood burning oven and it was not a difficult choice. The traditional margeritha was thin and perfect, a must have whilst here.

The vegetable tagine was also on the menu and since we were intent on trying the unusual, we went for it. Ive had tagine before, quite a few places, its usually a veggie heavy broth with a kick. Unfortunately this one was just heavy handed with lumpy vegetables, no great taste or nothing. Very Disapppointing. Moshe does a far superior version.

It was also served with an apology for couscous. I mean look at it, why even bother throwing it out there?

So we ordered more, fortunately the portion this time was a lot more appropriate.

Overall, the venue itself is very attractive but the food is very average, the niche items on the menu really dont stack up and as a whole leave you underwhelmed. The bread service is outstanding as is the pizza, so one can still make a meal out of it.

The service is amazingly scatter brained. Our server was possibly on his second day of the job, made way too many cardinal mistakes. He couldnt tell us anything about the grappa i wanted, the salad contained "everything", he tried to cover a small dish of couscous with the giant tagine cover, when asked to reheat the tagine, he said he would microwave it and be right back.

Honestly though, i couldnt get mad, he had a funny smile and he was really trying to help. But someone could get mad and they need to really to look at training their staff better. It didnt help that we had possibly the most insane family seated behind us having the most ridiculously boring and personal conversation in the history of mankind.

Food : 6/10
Service : 6/10
Damage : 2400 (without drinks)

Novotel Hotel, Balraj Sahani Marg,
Juhu Beach, Juhu, Vile Parle (W), Mumbai

Tel : 66934444

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Bar at Tote

Res : Tote
Meal : -
Loc : Race Course, Mahalaxmi

Tote is a pretty decent restaurant with a superlative ambiance. Having been there twice for dinner, i really wanted to try out their humongous bar.

Located on the mezzanine, the bar is nearly 40 feet long and has a row of comfy couches opposite it. There is another level above. It is safely one of the largest bars in the city if not the country.


We were there on a weeknight and the dining space was pretty packed, however the bar was not so full. We got in around 10.30, there was a trickle of people into the space as the night wore on (teens, adults, celebs) but the space never got quite packed.


I got a regular bloody mary, versus the Tote Mary which is with a dash of Balsam… i like my cocktails classic. The Sangria is the same formula developed at Indigo Deli. While i do enjoy it, its ultimately all about using cheap wine, sweetening it and serving it to gullible folk (in Spain anyway)


Now, Tote has a tremendous bar food menu, probably some of the best seen yet. The herbed goat cheese looked so desperately inviting but the wife nixed the idea due to the extra calories, which i very obviously dont need anymore.

Instead we chose the falafal, sundried tomato chips with a blackbean hummus. That is pretty much as awesome as it sounds. I cant wait to go back just to try the rest of the foods menu. They also offer a selection of olives as munchies, nothing special that, except they had these fried cloves of garlic in there. Talk about using your imagination and elevating a simple bowl of olives to another plane...

Overall: The ambiance is great, the crowd is decent and the service slowish. Pricing wise, its a well priced bar, especially when compared to places like Wink & Aer. Considering the recent price increase at Geoffreys and the stale ambiance, Tote is my new local !

Food : 9/10
Service : 7/10

Damage : For 2 drinks, a mocktail and a snack 2500

Mahalaxmi Racecourse,
Opposite Gate No. 4 & 5,
Phone: 61577777

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Thai Pavilion

Rest : Thai Pavilion
Meal : Lunch
Loc : Taj President, Cuffe Parade

Regardless of our new years eve revelry or lack thereof, we try and have an exceptional meal on new years day. That is how we ended up at Thai Pavilion, I hadn't been there in a while and regrettably so. TP has long been the lone fine dine vanguard for exclusively Thai Cuisine and is a hot favorite.

The menu is not limited nor is it expansive, somewhere comfortably in the middle, a small selection of soups, plenty of appetizers/salads/entrees, they also offer red, green, yellow and massaman pak for curries. The wine list unfortunately is hopeless and overpriced, especially if you are going by glass.

The ambiance is brilliant, Thai Pavilion underwent a major redesign around two years ago, designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Super Potato fame. It was money well spent, you are surrounded by a potent mix of glass, wood and wine bottles which all comes together in minimalist form. The chairs could have been closer together.

beware of the hot sauce.. trust me and stay the hell away from it

after a lot of painful handwringing and analysis i chose a diet coke over an overpriced glass of wine or a mojito.

We began with soups which were served in little earthern pots. Right after they did their little trick, putting a pill sized thingy on your table and adding hot water to it. Voila, it turns into a hand tower. very cool.

The Tom Yum was good, a little hot and not as flavorful as some of the others i have had, yet it was not a bad start.

Mine was off the charts, coconut base with veggies and , a rich, thick broth with an intense taste, exactly what i expected.

Everyone always gets the Green curry and Massaman pak i had already tasted at Joss. So we chose the oft neglected Thai Red Curry with peanuts, hot, spicy and yet it had this sourish tang to it, a strong taste but not heavy on the palate. Not as spicy as you would expect either.

Green beans with bean curd in a garlic infused sauce, the dish was pretty much incredible. Sweet, spicy with a distinct flavour, highly recommended. Paired with the most delicate pad thai noodles i have ever had.

For dessert we had the platter. which served a chocolate macaroon with a lemon grass aftertaste, very good but i could have done without the aftertaste. There was pumpkin with something which was just sick. Another which had rose petals inside it and tasted like a liquid pan. The stand out was a simple and perfectly executed creme brulee.

Overall, Thai Pavilion is an exceptional experience on all counts. The ambiance is great, the food is brilliant, the service is friendly and knowledgabe (though they were a little slow our server Pramod brought out complimentary dessert to make up for it)

Food : 9/10
Service : 9/10
Damage : 3000 for two without drinks

Thai Pavilion
Hotel Taj President,
90, Colaba, Cuffe Parade,

Tel : 66650808
Blog Widget by LinkWithin