Friday, February 24, 2012


Rest : Amadeus 
Meal : Dinner
Loc: NCPA, Nariman Point

I was fortunate enough to get tickets for a night at the opera this past week, Caveleria Rusticana & Pagliacci were on offer and it was a pretty fantastic evening, that is until we headed out to dinner. Amadeus has been around for a few months now and generally has a decent rep, the wife has eaten there and i crashed her ladies lunch for a quick appetizer which was decent.

The Amadeus menu is quite expansive, though billed as a Spanish restaurant, they serve dishes from the Mediterranean,  so there are mezzes, tapas, tagines, pizzas even.

Started of with a glass of Sula Satori which is a decent enjoyable if over priced option (475 with taxes) but that's to be expected at any restaurant in Bombay.

Since the performance ran late and it was 10.40 by the time we sat on our table, we skipped a long drawn out affair and went straight to the mains. The wife ordered a panko (japanese breadcrumb used to fry items such as fish or cheese) crusted  mozzarella served with veggies, pesto and a sweetish tomato sauce. While the sauces were decent, the dish itself was quite pointless. 

I love tagine, unfortunately no one does it quite right in the city, Olio, Souk all of them tend to disappoint. On paper the dish looks good, however taste was weak, served searingly hot, it tasted more like a tomato gravy gone wrong rather than a tagine, the couscous too tasted weird and was totally below par.

Overall, the space is large and elegant and the menu promises a lot but unfortunately is underwhelming, the service was just atrocious. I had plenty of time to catch up with the wife, for they didnt bring us any bread for fifteen minutes after we sat down. Someone finally came in and we ordered our wine and then seeing the way the service was going quickly ordered our mains.

The service was just sub standard, no one seemed to be paying attention, the staff just stood around doing nothing, at one point i counted fourteen waiters (to twenty five diners) of which 6 were just standing in various poses of disinterest.  I like bread, i like getting bread quickly, asking for it once is okay, twice i can do, i wouldnt a third time coz it feels like begging.

I can dig bad service if the food is great, no such issue here, the menu is expansive, so one can hope it gets better.

Food : 6/10
Service 3/10
Damage : 1800 (for two mains and a glass of wine)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rest : Irish House
Meal : Dinner
Loc : Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel

Phoenix Mills continues to get bigger and bigger as an entertainment venue, with something new opening there every other week. A few months ago, Irish House, a pub themed bar opened its doors, however i have been unable to  check it out as my visits to Phoenix dropped significantly once a Croma opened at Warden Road.

Phoenix Mills is ever changing and i was quite surprised with some of them.. Bombay Blue &  Noodle Bar have a new avatar, Noodle Bar especially now looks like Suzie Wong's Whorehouse. Wonder if the food has gotten any better.

On our way back from a meeting in the burbs, we figured we'd have a quick drink and a bite before heading home and decided to stop at Phoenix. Didnt realise it was Valentines Day and ergo had to listen to a few songs we would be happy NEVER to hear again (Glenn Medieros singing the song that shall not be named chief among them)

The Irish House is themed like a gastro pub meets sports bar and has a more robust layout compared to Geoffrey's. The menu is largish as is the space, with the crowd mostly but as the evening went on plenty of regular joe's stopped by as well.

I was informed it was happy hour as i was browsing through the bar menu and i was elated considering i rarely ever get to a bar during happy hour. Started with a Bloody Mary - the classic ocktail by which all bards are judged and got two. Turned out to be pretty awesome start as it was fantastic, possibly the best i have had in a long long time. The glass was rimmed with a mixture of salt and a masala of some kind which totally kicked ass.

The nachos grande were a natural choice, served with beans, guacamole, sour cream and salsa.. a pretty decent starter..

The serve a 4 course, power lunch, saw the menu lying around (More like a credit crunch lunch) decent offer, someday if i am in the area for a meeting, this would make a decent stop.

The cheese platter is a largish dish made up of various fried cheeses, i can recall mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. Sounds good but is the weakest of the dishes from the night, greasy as expected but all of them tasted the same, the dipping sauce was way too hot, maybe throwing in some ranch dressing or tartar sauce as well might help.

The goat cheese salad sounds pretty good on paper, kalamata olives, plum tomato, garlic toast with a balsamic drizzle. Had some great expectations from this one but didnt work too well, its like a simple tossed salad.. perhaps reworking this a little, bitter rocket with sour goat cheese and sweet drizzle might work better. The garlic toast was awesome though.

The mushroom stroganoff with spinach risotto was stupendous. I had another awesome version at a pub somewhere between Longleat and London. Although i prefer strognaoff to be served with regular plain rice the risotto was pretty decent as well. Awesomesauce.

Baked camembert wrapped in filo with a garlicy toast along with grilled red, yellow and green peppers. no problem with dish, they could lose the filo as it does not add anything to the dish itself.

The Kahlua Verrine is basically a take on the Tiramisu, looks like one and almost tastes like one. Not too bad.. they also have a Cointreau cheesecake which sounds exciting.. perhaps for next time.

Overall, the ambiance is decent, oscillating between a perfect post work bar in the early evening and neatly transform into a sports bar later. Pity there isnt enough half decent sporting activity on tv with F1 season yet to start and the cricket causing nightmares.

I wish they would offer some new beers which might set them apart from other bars in and around the area but all in all significantly better food and environment than TGIF which is a stones throw away. I will chalk the dreadful music down to valentines day.

Food : 7/10
Service : 7/10
Damage : 2400 with a cocktail. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friends Union Joshi Club

Rest : Friends Union Joshi Club
Loc : Kalbadevi Road
Meal : Lunch

My dad turned me on to Friends Union a few years ago and i end up there once a year or so, the fact that it is located on Kalbadevi Road, which is near impossible to get in and out of keeps me away from some absolutely amazing food. This Sunday afternoon, whilst trying to figure out where to go, my friend and frequent dining companion Slash (not the GNR axeman) and Mr.Samant were in the mood for something not South Indian. So FUJC seemed like a good idea.

Located on the first floor, FUJC club is an old khanaval serving home style Gujarati food for less (more on that later) it is not easy to find but once you are on Kalbadevi Road, walk roughly towards the middle and you will find a sign towards the first floor, enter the door below and find your way up.

The space is fairly basic and functional, no luxuries here, as Mr.Samant noticed, you get an idea of how serious they are when you see the heavy steel plates (parats as we call em)

The place was not too busy when we walked in and they brought up a litle plate of chutneys and pickles.

The first thing to come out was the white dhokla served with delectable white yoghurt chutney, absolutely brilliant, the little kachori pakoda thing was not bad a tad on the hot side. Good start.

the garlic chutney was strong and fiery, awesomesauce.

the patta gobi (cabbage, cauliflower n peas) was oily but brilliant.

the veggies were a very punjabi onion-tomato which was hot and actually pretty good but stuck out like a sore thumb. the cholly was awesome as was the watery tomato n potato (aloo tomato) brilliant.

Sunday menu is different, they dont serve Bakhris but Puris and the dal is not sweet, they also serve a yellow kadi along with the sweet white one. I am not a fan of the yellow kadi and i like my sweet dal so i was disappointed.

Overall the food was fabulous, my fellow diners were constantly saying that it was fantastic and i think this is one of the best if not THE best gujju meals in the city. The fact that they keep it simple really goes a long way.Also, a fantastic dish was the basundi, which was phenomenal.

The ambiance is nothing to write home about so do not come expecting luxury, this is all about quick functional delicious food.

The service too is basic, not the most efficient, you need to ask for somethings but they bring em out quickly enough. Frustratingly they serve an awesome glass of chilled chaas but only bring you a second very very begrudgingly, quite frustrating for someone like me who is a big chaas drinker.

Overall, the food still kicks major ass (previous visits here) and i highly recommend a visit if you can brave the traffic and find it.

Food : 9/10
Service : 6/10
Damage : 160 per person (with two sweets on Sundays, week days without sweets is i think about 100)

Monday, February 06, 2012

Cafe at the NCPA

Rest : Cafe at the NCPA
Meal : Dinner
: NCPA, Nariman Point.

I was hoping to check out the Cafe at the NCPA later this month, as i had tickets to Pagliacci however it was not to be (shall have dinner after the show at Amadeus instead) and we ended up there for dinner this past week.

Owned and managed by the same folks who run Amadeus, NCPA cafe is an cozy outdoor space, perfect for the cooler months. Once the summer/monsoon comes, i hope they have a plan in place, like Flamboyante in Cuffe Parade or Dome which is primarily outdoors but managed the summer/monsoon well with an awning and coolers.

The menu is more or less Cafe centric,  and the influences range from Europe to Asia with Indian accents. So we have sandwiches, salads, some soup, kathi rolls, however they also have a selection of mains as well including Indian and alsoa few Dim Sum selections.

In keeping with the Cafe theme, they serve a few smoothies, i chose the mish mash of berries which i liked a great deal, not a big smoothie fan but im sure this will find takers.

i forget this one, the wife ordered it and was quite happy with her selection. 

They have an open kitchen which is a great, ergonomic solution, however, to anyone seated across from the space, it can get pretty loud with the banging of utensils. Try and pick a table towards either end and you will be fine.

The baked Camembert was infused with garlic and then served with a side of garlic toast as well. Fantastic lill job, the garlic toast was perfect and one can never go wrong with a hunk of Camembert.. the balsamic pistachio drizzle was not bad but did nothing to elevate the dishes.
Grape salad with chevre.. dissapointing. This one works better if its cold, served with bitter rockter leaves, which can then play off the sweet grapes, throw in some olives perhaps.. idea is sound but needs reworking. Had a nice little version of this at the Cafe by the Beach.

The Dim Sum was a complete impulse pick, not bad, the mushroom filling was okay, a little sticky in the mouth but not bad.

The wife ordered the sandwich, tomato, basil and i think it was mozzarella, she is a big Caprese fan and i thought the sandwich was pretty decent.

For my main i ordered the jacket potato but it just had way too much going on, as i asked for mushrooms as additional topping. Less is more sometimes, perhaps need to rework this too, a jacket potato topped with some cheddar and just baked beans is good enough.

Okay, in all honesty, this was the best cheesecake i have had in a long LONG time served with seasonal fruits, which happened to be Strawberry.. freshly made, the cheesecake was so delicate, the ricotta so lush that it did not take very long to run through the dessert. Tremendous, i hope this was not a fluke.

Lastly, the chef recommended a filo with strawberry and what seemed like ricotta as well, this was excellent too, the wife loved it, although i think the cheesecake was stronger.

Overall, the space is outdoors and the ambiance lovely  especially this time of the year, they have thankfully not blared music which is a huge plus. The menu itself has a bit of variety to appeal to a widish audience. A few dishes are good ideas but need to be reworked.

Service was quick and friendly and the pricing is lower than an Indigo Deli with a far superior ambiance.

Food : 7/10

Service : 8/10
Damage : 2000 for 2

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Cafe Mysore - A dissapointment

Rest : Cafe Mysore
Meal : Snack
Loc : Matunga Circle

All this South Indian food for the past month, it had to go wrong somewhere i guess, Cafe Mysore claims to be one of the oldest restaurants for Southie cuisine but being the oldest is not a quality id look for in a restaurant.

Cafe Mysore is a bit of a hole in the wall, which serves regular southie fare, they also serve some dishes which i guess would tantamount to cheating, but in this one size fits all world its not something i would dock points for.

Its a smallish outlet, with no ambiance to speak off, which puts it on par along with any of its competitors and contemporaries. Menu covers is more or less expansive and covers most ground, hell they even had Pav Bhaji on offer as a special. 

The Curd rice was the first thing the wife ordered, as it was something we had heard lots about. Diastarous, i mean let alone authentic, this was terrible, it was like curd thrown on left over rice, no taste whatsoever.

The mysore masala was not bad but it was certainly nothing i would come here specifically for. Way too much butter too.

The garlic chutney is pretty much what saved the day, they charge extra for this (15Rs) and boy is it worth it. Fantastic, id take this home and have it everyday if i could.

The coffee too was pretty awesome, nicely churned it was strong, near choclatey. good stuff.

Overall, it was my first culinary disappointment in Matunga, dont think i would go back there at all, the chutney is great but Idli house and Ram Ashraya offer the same and dont charge you for it. The coffee is pretty good but again, Idli house does a mean cup.

Food : 5/10
Service : 5/10
Damage 220
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