Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hao Chi

Had the opportunity to try out the brand new HaoChi at The Sun n Sand with Chef Mehrishi and two celebs, the god of all digital things @anaggh and long distance runner/ magazine publisher @girishmallya 

Hao Chi is a dimly lit but comfortable space, not overtly Asian or European, it straddles a comfortable area between the two and serves contemporary Chinese. There is an extensive tea menu which is du jour for a new Chinese restaurant nowadays. 

Jasmine Tea, delicious, delicate, fresh. 

the crystal dumplings were a good start for the meal. 

Tofu in garlic and spicy salt, enjoyed it, ingredients worked together quite well. 

the Lotus Root was a surprising dish and one i wouldn't order ordinarily. but fortunately we got a chance to taste it because it was terrific. star dish in my opinion. Its theoretically like a stir fried starter but it was pretty good 

'The pan fried vegetable dumpling was pretty good but a tad on the spicy side. 

the veg special soup was not very special and rather bland. 

the butter fried rice was interesting, not a dish i have had before and enjoyed immensely. very different and slightly weird but in a good way. 

asparagus in ginger and spring onion was the entree, not bad but not memorable. 

the orange creme brulee was terrific. absolutely loved it and hated sharing it. 

Overall, i like the space and i think for someone who loves Chinese food its an interesting place to try, i didnt get far enough into the menu to ascertain how contemporary it really is but they are quite serious about not going to the Indo-Chinese route. From what i tasted, i think it walks the talk but in the end all that matters was that the food tastes good.

A fine afternoon well spent. No complaints.

Rasovara Rajdhani

A lot of the past month has been spent in and out of phoenix mills, shopping for a family wedding. Having been to pretty much every restaurant we finally decided to head to Rasovara, which was the final piece of the puzzle. 

we walked in around 2.15 i reckon, the place was just about packed but had two or three tables and we were seated right away. 

the dhokla was terrific, the fried patty thing was good but of late, i have lost my taste for fried food (not dieting, no siree bob) 

the kachori was terrific, pity more than one would ruin the appetite. 

the chaas was nice, i personally prefer it real cold. 

the dal baati was pretty good too but again, would kill the appetite. 

Rasovara, is the upper echelon of thali dining, and they dont really scrimp on mch, the veggies that day were a yoghurt and okra, gujju style aloo amongst other things. 

went for the basundi for my dessert.

overall, the place is def swanky and they continue to do the appetizer first and then main course approach which i personally don't like, especially since their appetizers are pretty good. 

i do think they should go back to the traditional system of serving. the quantity is simply staggering and  daresay there is possibly too much and one must pace oneself. while serving too, they staff will insist we try and they dont take no for an answer easily. 

at 600+ the price is certainly on the higher side, possibly the most expensive thali outside of a 5star, but going by volume, a person with an appetite would not feel like they have overpaid. Indulgent but certainly worth it once in a while. 

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Long & Short

Last week i got a sneak peek at a new addition to the Bombay drinking scene. I was invited to check out a new bar which replaces the Intercontinental's Corelone. The new gastrobar is called Long and Short. Designed to be part living room, part fine dine with book shelves, photographs, couches as well as a long bar. Thankfully, they have used the open space outside and its a decent place to come smoke a cigar.

The food menu is pretty exhaustive but not confined to any particular cuisine. Greatest hits from across the world, comfort food with some twists on some popular dishes.  

The cocktail menu does a few interesting things, the Mojito (traditional and watermelon)

The spicy house flatbread was delicious, crunchy and tasty. 

The Bun was delicious and very tasty, even the non-vegetarians enjoyed it. 

the strawberry mojito. 

an interesting take on traditional whiskey cocktails, this one was mixed with whiskey, maple syrup which works way better than one would imagine. 

the puffs were amazing, super light and very tasty, a lot like the pizzas from Indigo Deli. gone almost immediately.

this was actually a nacho masquerading as a fondue. pretty good. 

the sushi was okay, not the greatest., 

terrific paneer biryani with mirchi ka salan and raita, kickass execution. 

a fat and very tasty veggie burger. 

the peach melba cheese cake was terrific, highly recommended. 

the green apple deconstruct, just what i would expect, since the crew likes to mess around with desserts. pretty terrific this one too. 

rocky road pancake mess, looks like a sundae that has been flattened. not a fan of marshmallows but people seemed to like it. 

Overall, i had a terrific time, the food was very good, they menu does not follow a specific cuisine but the theme is to do lots of street food and to play with the form and construction, since its all executed well it works well.

The drinks aren't too bad. the only thing i did not like personally was the lighting. The outdoors section is great, good place to go out and get a cigar or a smoke. 

The pricing is set not to break the bank although it is certainly not cheap. The good food, drink, price combo makes it quite a formidable entrant to the dining scene. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Salt Water Cafe Churchgate

Intesresting times in South Bombay vis a vis food, a lot of popular brands that set up shop in bandra are beginning to find their way to town. The first of the new entrants is Salt Water Cafe which i have reviewed a few times (here) the other joints that have crossed the bridge are Sancho's and more importantly one of my fav's Mamagoto.

SWC opened doors a few days ago and a bunch of people i know were raving about it at tastings. Couldn't make it for the launch but  made it much later and was chuffed to find that they offer a breakfast at breakfast hours, the only other crew to do that in the area is Indigo Deli although SWC has more items on the menu.

in any case, the whiskey sour was highly recommended by Nikhil Merchant (@nikhil_merchant) and boy did it shine. brilliant, not to sweet and really addictive.

the next thing i had to have a go at was the cheese plate. from memory there was cheddar, parmesan, brie , swiss, feta and some sort of sweet cranberry. a great way to start the evening this. 

the caprese was pretty good, the bitter leaves with the sweetish dressing on the side made this work nicely.

the minestrone style assorted veggie soup was also pretty decent. hearty with beans and bits of pasta etc which i enjoy. 

the tomato, olive with chilli and peppers in what seemed like angel hair was good and fiery but a tad too oily.

i had the porcini, tomato and mozzarella & spaghetti. pretty on the money and a decent portion too. enjoyable.

Didn't get a chance to get a picture of the Tiramisu but i must say that it was awesome and possibly the best in the city.

Overall, i like SWC and i think this one is a tad better than the Bandra outlet, especially when it comes to mains. A good addition overall.

Hope to get there for breakfast one of these days. A meal for two without drinks should be around 2k.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Masala Library

Rest : Masala Library
Meal : Dinner
Loc : BKC

Ever since Masala Library opened its doors a few weeks ago, i have been trying to tee up an evening there but thwarted each time by distance and fellow diners.

Finally this past week on a complete lark, we tried to get a table at Masala Library but were told they were booked solid and only could be seated at 1030 or try our luck as walk ins. So we booked us a table at 9pm at Ping Pong as a back up and showed up at Masala Library at 8.15 and had a table by 8.30

The place has a fairly standard, fine dine decor to it, nothing special but its certainly not bad. I found racks of empty wine bottles at the entrance to be quite weird. It's called Masala Library which speaks of a more traditional, studied place but the cuisine is much more nouevau as is the presentation. Perhaps replacing the rack of empty bottles with some books might be a better idea. 

That aside, the little bread they served at the start was delicious. Slightly sweet and a tad cheesy in its finish. these went quickly. 

The next thing we got was this diabolical papad platter, comprised of 5-6 different kids of pappad with 8 chutneys, its a papad lovers delight. 

the amuse bouche was a de constructed papdi chaat where the a dollop of yoghurt with chutney and sev sat at the bottom of a shot glass and the papdi was served on the side. Drink up and then bite into the papdi where the taste takes shape.a great idea and it hits the mark taste wise. only complaint being that the yoghurt can congeal on the bottom and needs prodding which is ultimately a non issue. 


the pesto kebab was our first starter, an interesting idea and while the kebab tasted pretty good, the taste of pesto was missing. I liked the kebab anyway though. 

our second starter was the gucchi with truffle oil. this was just stunning. a bunch of different things happening here and all of them good. it certainly didn't taste like anything i had before.  

while we waited for our main's they brought out these awesome vada pav's, again, playing with the ingredients here, adding cheddar etc, to give it a newer flavour, it was indeed delicious. 

the palate cleanser was next, frozen yoghurt with strawberry/rasberry. boy was this good. rabdiseque taste. 

the mains range from quirky to traditional, we went for the paneer lababdar which was pretty delicious, creamy but the taste of tomato had been dialled down. 

the gucchi naan was again morels, cheese and truffle oil. very heavy. 

the black daal was again, spot on, like a dal should be (i still think dal bukhara at ITC Kebabs n Kurries is the greatest) 

also had the sweetish sheermal which is a bread one does not see often. in fact the last time i had a go at one was a few years ago at Shalimar on Kemps Corner when they had some festival going on. 

we had two splendid desserts, the thandai creme brulee and the ghevar cheesecae. Both ideas are quite out there, they work well and make for an interesting take, however they are very different from the original underlying desserts as well. 

we ended the meal with paan flavoured candy floss. 

Masala Library certainly is a twist in the tale for Indian cuisine, nowhere near as radical as Vinit Bhatia's Zia (which has been hit & miss) the experimentation with ingredients and serving works well espcially because it has been limited to appetizers and desserts. The main's for the most part are traditionally executed.

The food, the concept and the flavours are well imagined and executed and it would be interesting to see what older diners make of it.

The service is fairly quick but i think a couple of things need to be ironed out, such as the empty bottles, the answer to the question where is the library and also, that the chef's need to have their amuse bouche ready to go. We were a table of six but were given only five of the vada pav's and the chef didnt have an extra. We shared our portions quite grudgingly.

Overall, i'm impressed. i hope they start doing a 8-10 course tasting menu because there is plenty here i would like to try.

Food : 9/10
Service : 7/10
Damage : 8500 for 6 without drinks.

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