Friday, July 29, 2011

Konkan Cafe

Rest : Konkan Cafe
Loc : Taj President, Cuffe Parade
Meal : Dinner

Konkan Cafe is a restaurant i have been meaning to dine at for quite some time. Its quite unfortunate that it happens to be in the same hotel as two other extremely popular eateries (Thai Pavilion & Trattoria) because its a pretty stellar venue for an eat out.

Most five star restaurants in Bombay/India focus on eastern or western cuisines or variations of North Indian. There are maybe two restaurants that dare to present the complexities of South/Konkani specialties which are terrific in their own right. Konkan Cafe is of course one, the other being Dakshin at ITC Grand Maratha.

While there is some overlap, Dakshin has a larger menu and focuses on a wider range of cuisines from the various Southern states.

Konkan Cafe on the other takes a comparatively limited view of the South and has many dishes which are found/inspired by Maharashtra.

The worse thing about Konkan Cafe is its decor. Its terrible, the place looks as if its stuck in the 80's with wood paneling to give it a rural Maharashtra feel.
The utensils on the wall were done by
Status eons ago and now feel quite out of place. The bar in the center looks like it is straight out of villains den in a B-Grade Bollywood pot boiler.

Down to the food, the menu offers veggie, non-veg and sea food options. One can order a-la-carte or get a thali.

For first timers the thali is a great way to taste multiple dishes, with a dish of each variation on offer. It is also a very well priced offering.

Like Dakshin, you start of with a bowl of various types of papads and chutneys, the red one being the best.

Its very easy to go through a few bowls of chutney and papad but its best to moderate and not ruin ones appetite.

The thali is well balanced and offers a one each of a dry and semi-dry veggies. There is a rasam, an usal, a curry, there was also some lightly fried potato and mahrashtrian style masala rice. The thali itself could be just a little bit larger, the bowls are really quite tightly bunched and i almost missed the spinach vadis which were hidden two one side.

The food was good, the curry was just fantastic, the potato was excellent as well. The rasam though good was very spicy. The dal was not bad but it too was fiery, fiery hot. The usal i didnt care for at all & the masala rice was allright.

They serve an Appam, a Neer Dosa & a Kerala style paratha, all of them were brilliant, the Appam especially, which went brilliantly with the dal and curry. The paratha felt like a Roti Canai roti from Malaysia and probably shares some history there. Each of the three were freshly made and served out of a dim sum basket.

The dessert was Kulfi-Jalebi, however i dont like Jalebis so i chose the Kulfi on its own. Nothing great here.. very average.

the wife picked the jalebis and found them way to sweet.

We were finished off with a sweet or plain paan.

Overall, the food is good and really filling, in fact we were both surprised by how little we ate on the whole. The curry was the best thing on the table and also the heaviest, though you dont realize that until much later.

Also gorging on the papad probably contributed. I would highly recommend that anyone going for a thali avoid getting a drink, especially folks getting the non-veg or sea food options.

The one thing i missed was having a yoghurt or butter milk preparation served with the thali, sorely missed it and it would have cooled down the heat and added a dimension to the rice which suffers without yogurt.

Although i am no slouch when it comes to spice, too many hot dishes can kill the overall effectiveness of a meal. So for those who dont like it spicy, best ask them to tone it down because its certainly not for the fainthearted.

The service was quick, friendly and fairly good but that is expected from a Taj group hotel. One of our servers came by and told us to go easy on the papad because we would fill up very quick, which was good advice.

Food : 8/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 2400 for 2 with no drinks

Konkan Cafe
Taj President,
90, Cuffe
Phone: 66650808

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A piece for firstpost, why things are slow & thanks !

Hi Guys, have contributed a few pieces to the most recent can be found here. Its about customer service or lack thereof in the Indian services & retail sector.

For everyone that has emailed to ask why have i been so slow this year, first off thanks for your interest and concern :)

Secondly, i have been working on a sequel for my film Ashoka the Hero for a broadcast channel as well as 2 other live action film projects (more on that as it happens) so most of my time has been taken up with script ideas and lawyers.

Be back on the wagon soon !


Friday, July 15, 2011

Suzette's - New Crepe place at Nariman Point

Rest : Suzette
Loc : Ground Floor, Atlanta, Nariman Point
Meal : Lunch with Mr.Patel

Mr.Patel had the day off as his office is in the diamond district and the explosion at Opera House was a street away. Its rare that VP & i hang out in the middle of the week when the sun is out, so we decided to head to lunch. VP had heard of Suzette and wanted to try it out while i just wanted some regular Indian food from Crystal. Since it was his treat i went along (he usually pays anyway)

Suzette is a new French style creperie but was a pain in the a** to find, Atlanta is the building next to Status at Nariman Point. Enter from the gate next to Status and it will be to your right. Suzette is run by a bunch of expats who also double up as managers, a large number of expats were also lunching along with a few society mavens.

The place is well designed, simple decor, dark wooden tones, lovely table mats, tap water served in glass bottles, this city certainly has gotten its designs down pat. However its very small, seating for about 20-25 and at full capacity it can get seriously cramped.

It also gets loud, really loud and you spend a lot of time trying not to eavesdrop on tables around or perhaps the other way if you are a voyeur.

Started of with a Chevre salad, which was a nice healthy portion, Lettuce, some toasted crepes, feta cheese which was an addition, diced apples and pistachios (dont think i tasted any) the dressing was honey. Lovely, fresh salad, went down really well despite the sweetness, feta was a good call to add a touch of sourness. Very nice.

We both went for the savour crepes the Provence which was sundried and fresh tomatoes, olive spread and the Italie whic was rocquette, tomato coulis, mozzarella and oregano. Both were excellent, tasty, fresh and filling. No complaints. We also split a sweet crepe which was melted chocolate with fresh fruits. Delicious.

Overall, the place food is good, you shouldn't have any problems with the dishes, for the uninitiated the savoury crepes are like gourmet dosas.

My real complaints are that the location can be painful to find, there is no valet and finding a parking spot is impossible in the area. I recommend parking at CR2/Inox and taking the short walk.

As i mentioned before, the space is very small and the service was friendly but very slow.

Sorry about the picture quality, blackberry is conked and wont be back for another few days. If any and all of you wishe to donate an iphone 4, ill be glad to accept :)

Food : 8/10
Service : 6/10
Damage 1800 for 2 no booze.
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