Friday, June 24, 2011

Indigo Relaunches Menu

Rest : Indigo
Meal : Dinner
Loc : Behind the Taj Palace, Colaba

Indigo has long been a favouraite of mine (older visits here & here) unfortunately the wife is not a big fan and i don't end up their as much as i used to. This week the wife traveled to see some family and the heavens opened up and Indigo launched a new menu.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to sample the new dishes. Accompanying me was my friend Vishal who is friends with a bunch of Indigo chefs and a fan of the kitchen and throws most of his famous birthday parties at one of the DeGustibus restaurants.

The new menu is a mix of the Mediterranean Rissotos & Gnocchis, but there are also plenty of Asian touches such as the Soba in Dashi broth. There is a strong sea food under current with lobsters, sea bass, scallops as well as the marrying of Indian ingredients and tastes.

The menu is different from the old one and considerably less European, however the influences seem to be European, Asian, Indian with a good measure of granny's touches thrown in.

The bar continues to be stellar, turning out an expensive list of cocktails, the mojito was refreshing on a balmy evening (465)

The soups we went or were the potato and green garlic with shaved truffles and pine nuts (465) served with a slice of very tasty grilled garlic bread. Sumptuous and very tasty, reminded me of a fantastic potato soup dished up a Parisian friend.

The Lobster bisque with lobster salad (515) not my cup of tea, i did have a taste and didnt find it particularly great, however i am a vegetarian. This is one of the dishes to have survived from the old menu and is fairly popular.

Grilled heart of palm, seared tomato, spicy greens in a Parmesan fondue (595) Interesting, the heart of palm itself was blandish, however the tomatoes were juicy and the sourish salad was complemented well with the cheesy dressing.

Chevre, in phylo, mustard haricots with spiced tomato chutney and a shot of gazpacho (625) A fairly deconstructed dish, the dryish phylo contrasted with the strong shot of gazpacho. Not bad at all, i am not a fan of phylo, however.. unwieldy to eat, the gazpacho should be colder..

The risotto of tomatoes cooked three ways, with garlic confit and mascarpone (775) was just brilliant. A simple dish the tomatoes were fresh and the whole cheesy risotto came together really well. The dish is probably one of the best i have had at Indigo perhaps the best dish on the menu.

Grilled portobello mushroom with 4 mushroom roesti and potato rosti (865) Not bad, you cant go wrong with that much mushroom in my opinion, however, too much going on with the dish, not bad at all but pales in comparison to the risotto.

The desserts were not bad, they continue to offer souffles and the old jalapeno tinged dessert continues to be on the menu. I however chose the choc cake, meringue and hazelnut ice cream (545) Not bad, the ice- cream was just great.

The choc marquise with salted toffee (545) was interesting, the very sweet and brilliant marquise was contrasted with very salty toffee. Take a bite of each and you'll enjoy the marked difference between the two. I had a similar experience of contrasting the sweet with the salty at a dessert bar in Singapore which was paired brilliantly with wine. Perhaps too out there for local diners but fun nonetheless.

Overall, the food was good, the new menu is strong, another visit to try some more should be on the cards, however they seem to be on the right track. Indigo made its name by being brave and being different, From the start some of the dishes on their menu have just not worked but that's the price one pays for trying new things. At times i have ended up with an entree that promised more than it delivered, this time though there was nothing really weak, for now, it seems like a good step forward.

I had a brief chat with the Rahul Akerkar and he said they spent about a month planning the new menu and there are some personal touches in the dishes. He also happened to mention that there is an Indian restaurant coming up at their other location Tote.

Though I was there by invitation, i have reviewed each dish on its own merit.

We didn't pay but i reckon a four course dinner with a cocktail or two would run to about 3000-3500 pp not cheap by any means.

Food : 8/10
Service : 8/10

Thursday, June 16, 2011

California Pizza Kitchen - Lower Parel

Rest : California Pizza Kitchen (CPK)
Meal : Lunch
Loc : Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel

Have been having loads of pizza of late and despite my not so good experience at their Bandra outlet somehow ended up here and decided to give them a second chance. Also, since we have been to just about every place Phoenix has to offer, the choice became easier.

The space is large and was mostly packed during lunch, seems like they are doing well, good for em.

Started off with a hummus which was okay, their pita is soggyish and leather but i think its meant to be that way. Weirdly it works..

The tortilla soups seems like its a regular tomato soup, so do stir it proper before tasting, it tastes great once you mix up the whole thing. Lovely.

Peppers and goat cheese, nice, a little sweetish but it was actually quite nice, the sweetness of the peppers gets dialed out by the salty sticky taste of the cheese.

The cappuccino and the latte they serve aren't too bad either.

The service is fairly quick, i guess they prepare a lot of the toppings etc in advance. Overall, the food here is not too bad and i would be happy to give them another shot, things have def moved up since last year.

Food : 7/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 1100 for 2 with no drinks

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Bombay Masala Toast

The Bombay style masala sandwich is a solid Bombay staple. School kids during recess, office folks at tea time or simply people on the go, all have partaken in the wonders of this toasted wonder.

White bread, green chutney, butter, veggies and the sacred masala mix which is unique to each vendor. The masala is usually potato with onion and spices but there are many variants. Put the whole thing in a toaster wait three mins and pop open a thums are good to go.

My earliest experiences with the bombay masala sandwich goes back to my school days at SXBA between Churchgate and Marine Lines. We had two breaks in school a 15 min short break and a 20 min long break. During the long break we could walk up to the edge of Marine Lines and hit the sandwichwala for a bite. In the early days it used to take forever as we were the young ones and low in the sandwich eating hierarchy. The older boys in the long pants and the girls from the college next door used to get priority.

Eventually we got into long pants and became reached the top of the sandwich chain. IT was great stuff, the sandwich was piping hot, out of the toaster and you would dunk it in ketchup (sometimes the disgusting pumpkin ketchup) before wolfing it down. Wash it down with sugarcane juice or Thums up. A cheap, effective meal, later in class the heat in your stomach would let you know where exactly the sandwich lay.

Every neighbourhood, has a sandwich vendor and larger ones have more than one and of course the popular ones are termed as the best. Or as Jerry Seinfeld said, "Everyone's guy is the best"

Another, grander variation is the Grilled Veggie with Cheese. This one is a freaking meal in itself, content wise was its the same as the little bombay masala toast except its on steroids. Although you get these all over the place as well, Right Place at Breach Candy are one of its finest and most popular purveyors.

So any of you folks, have your fav sandwich wala, drop me a line, ill put up a list.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Germany, the land of wurst and beer, is a place i have always wanted to go.. but then i say that about everywhere. We chose Berlin as a gateway to Dresden, Prague & Vienna.Although we didn't end up making it to Vienna this time around and instead headed back to London.

Berlin of course is a city of the world, a major European capital, sadly though, the Berlin that you see has been resurrected over the last 50 years from the rubble of WWII. They have done a splendid job, the clean wide streets, the beautiful buildings give you a sense of the scale of Berlin in its heyday.

Conversely though, you get a taste of the ancien regime of Eastern Europe when you get off your airplane at Tegel, the airport that presently serves Berlin. While you are on the gangway heading in all traffic stops. You wait to go through passport control which is set up between the gate and the rest of the airport and only once you clear immigration do you make it in.

Each gate has a similar set up and immigration officers move from gate to gate as flights show up. Sounds ridiculous but it works because Tegel is a fairly small airport and one of the easiest ones to reach of any ive ever been to. hop a city bus and there in 20 odd minutes.

The most fascinating aspects of Berlin were the sections of the old East Berlin which were under the sphere of Russian influence. The wall came down two decades ago but if you walk up to certain parts of the city like Checkpoint Charlie (the most famous crossing point from Communist East Berlin to free West Berlin) and continue walking you see older buildings and get some sense of what life here was like.

If you continue walking past you will be able to catch the similarities that some of the buildings have to the Russia inspired Govt buildings like Sakhar Bhavan and Nehru Center in Bombay and parts of Delhi. Imposing in scale and size, spartan in look and feel, utiliatrian to the core and shunning all luxury.

One of the few buildings of the old Berlin that continues to stand is the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of unified Berlin, it has seen loads of action starting with Napoleon up until the Second World War.

The wide avenue that runs through it was once used as a makeshift airport during the last days of the battle of Berlin. Many people flew in and out under immense fire including Albert Speer the official architect and armamements minister of the reich who flew in and out to say goodbye to the Fuhrer a few days before the fall of Berlin.

The reichstag has a glass section which can be visited if done so with a prior booking and by carrying your passport or other ID.

The food scene in Berlin is not too bad, although we had a dreary breakfast at the hotel.

Mostly cold cuts and sausages, no eggs... thank god for bread and cheese.

Berlin has a strong street food scene loads of crepes, burgers, pizzas, falafal every few blocks from chains as well as street vendors. you can also pick up cury wurst for a euro just about anywhere. so one could do a quick snack with a beer for a few euro if so inclined.

While walking around looking for a place to eat we walked by a room full of loud Italians and figured the food must be good. A family run joint with self service the place had an expansive menu.

We got a pizza, a pasta, soup and two cokes for get this.. 13 Euro.. not only was the food great it was cheap as hell. Highly recommend it. On Kufushendamm, take the street ahead of the Hard Rock Cafe and walk for about 3 minutes.

Berlin is an interesting place, its so HUGE that Berliners themselves end up asking for directions. The people are nice and helpful but they do seem a little surly and really ought to go out and have themselves some fun.

Kufushendamm is a glamorous street and a great way to introduce yourself to Berlin. The street turned 150 years on the day we were there and they literally rolled out the red carpet. The entire street was closed, every shop was giving away things, there was freem champagne and beer, live bands and dancing.

Pity no Germans stopped by to enjoy it.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin