Friday, March 28, 2014

New King Of Matunga Breakfasts - Arya Bhavan

Rest : Muthuswamy's Arya Bhavan
Meal : Breakfast
Loc : Opp Matunga Station

I am a sucker for South Indian food which means i end up in Matunga on Sunday mornings with mates getting breakfast at the usual haunts (anwwhere except Cafe Mysore)Recently we decided to check out Arya Bhavan, quite a bit annoyed with myself that i had never given them a go, despite the Muthuswamy tag.

For those who don't know Muthuswamy is the most famous South Indian caterer in the city, weddings parties, massive dinners at clubs, the guy is a hit and over the years, the quality has been unchanging. We've had him over to my parents terrace a few times for family gatherings, so its just doubly embarrassing not to have been there before.

its a split level eatery only slightly fancier than the old guard, since its probably been renovated or redone once Muthuswamy took over management. Other than that, its pretty much interchangeable in terms of how it operates and serves.

The menu is large but they also serve North Indian and other snacks which under most conditions is unacceptable but i guess we must all take things with a pinch of salt.

we started with the upma, soft and damn near the best upma i have ever had anywhere. terrific. 

my first time having a thaat idli which i am told is basically Idli made in a plate of some kind. so its not fluffy as the regular idli. good stuff this as well. 

the mysore masala was pretty good, just about spicy, well done and heavy with ghee. the red mysore garlic chutney is a hallmark of muthuswamy and a must try. 

the coffee was unfortunately just about passable. 

love the classic coca cola bottle , so a gratuitous shot. 

overall the food was terrific, everything was very good and it was nice to be surprised like this. They also have appams and stew on the menu so i can't wait to go back around lunch.

It is on the expensive side vis a vis other restuarants in the area.

Food : 9
Service : 8
Damage : 600 for 3. 

A Gin Evening

Gin was pioneered by the Dutch but its preference by the English was beyond anything the Dutch could have imagined. There were legal actions enacted to control and mandate the consumption of gin (check Hogarth's Gin Lane) and it was also called the principle reason for acts of vice and debauchery (excellent) 


Made with Juniper berries, for those who have never seen one they look a lot like pepper kernels but slightly larger. Crush one (its sticky) and it releases the sweet aroma of gin. Until my recent fetish for Bourbon, all ive been having for a while has been Gin & Tonic so i was only too happy to comply when i was invited over by Beefeater for a tasting. Since i was in Bandra for a long day anyway, the ride over to The Grand Hyatt was not too trying. 

Beefeater  uses a near 100 + year old recipe and their distillery is located right in Kennignton next to the Oval, a few metres away from a cousins. Despite, this it's never been my gin of choice as i pretty much grew up with the God of Bombay (Bombay Sapphire) or Tanqueray No 10 if i am feeling flush.  

we started off with a nice Gin & Bitter Lemon which is not particularly popular in these shores but deserves to be, especially since Summer is now clearly here. 

It was more of an evening with Gin, than an evening with Beefeater, From what i can recall, we tasted Beefeaters, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire and Gordons taste and kudos to Beefeater for being comfortable with doing something like this. 

Each Gin has its own recipe and therefore its own unique taste. One thing that i did find peculiar was that some brands sell their Gin with a significantly higher alcohol content outside of the UK. Personal fav was stilll Bombay Sapphire however, dont think ill be switching, found Tanqueray to be the least likeable.  

Signed off with a Gin & Tonic, which of course has a deep connection to India. Tonic with its very high quinine content was prescribed to the English soldiers in India to stave off Malaria.
While a good deterrent it was very bitter due to its high quinine content (completely unlike tonic today which has very little quinine and is sweetened) The soldiers mixed the tonic with sugar, water, lime and their gin ration to make it palatable.  

FYI, Spain does a bunch of artisan Gin's, so keep an eye out for em (i believe they can be tried the Spanish way in a Balloon glass at Arola at JW Mariott) 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Malgudi Tiffin

Rest : Malgudi Tiffin
Meal : Dinner
Loc : Bangalore Airport 

Walking to the gate with an hour to kill, i happened to chance upon what i thought was a delightful looking place, Malgudi Tiffin, with a place like that i figured i had to give them a shot. So in we went for a meal.

I started with a dinner thali, while my companions chose a gassi. 

Started off with a spicy rasam, boy was it hot. Tasty stuff. 

The Gassi came in a tiffin which was so cool, loved the way this was done, i know Masala Kraft at the Taj does tiffin's too. That is NOT my Blackberry. 

The thali was a pretty complete affair, the yellow kadi i thought was an odd selection but it was tasty. The avial was excellent and the daal was simply terrific. The tangy dahi, was just like i love. The pyasysam too went quickly. 
In fact, other than the food being a tad hot there was no real issue with the meal. 

The filter  coffee was okay, no great shakes. 

Overall, i thought the food and presentation was top notch and the service team was pretty accommodating and eager to serve. 

All in all a surprisingly good airport restaurant and priced reasonably too. 

Food : 8/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 750 for 2.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

California Burrito

Rest : California Burrito
Loc : Old Madras Road
My love for all things Mexican is well documented, i try and get my Mex fix as often as possible, although Bombay for some reason has been resistant to Tex-Mex cuisine done right. Trust me, ive eaten Burritos in a seedy Mexican town, i know what i am talking about.  

While being driven back from a meeting i spied this huge ass sign for California Burrito. I immediately had the car pulled into their little parking lot damn near causing a pile up. A burrito place six feet away from me, how could i not give it a go, road safety be damned. 

Now, to be honest, California Burrito is very inspired by Chipotle, there is not much of a spiritual difference between the two ideas although not that i am complaining.

In my excitement of getting a shot at a propah burrito i completely forgot to look at the deals on offer and ended up bypassing a shot at a bunch of the combos.

I chose a regular Burrito base which was stuffed with Fajita Veggies, Cilantro Rice, Spicy Beans, Pinto BEans, Pico De allo, Salsa, Onions, Lettuce, (weird) Jalapenos, Sour Cream and Guacamole. They also add cheese, unfortunately not Cheddar which i reckon should be easy to source and relatively cost effective. 

So in any case, i ended up with a 12" burrito which was freaking huge and i was able to devour nonetheless. It was certainly above average. I think the flavour profile needs a slight tweak, the beans need a little punch and Cilantro rice is not something i have been a fan of.

Something closer to a regular Tex-Mex rice would work way better. Cheese to, Monterrey Jack is a dream but Cheddar is def doable and better than i believe Mozzarella which is what i was told they were using.

I was told they are able to source avocados which means guacomole is not a gamble and the other ingredients too seemed of good quality. They serve a pink nimbu pani which is essentially your regular pink lemonade, delicious.

They have 5 outlets in Bangalore and i really hope they make it out to Bombay.

Monday, March 10, 2014

CaperBerry - Bangalore

Rest : Caperberry
Loc : Dickenson Road,

Caperberry is touted as one of Bangalore's more progressive restaurants. While they have the DNA and the menu is imaginatively planned, they certainly seem to have lost their consistency somewhere along the way. 

Located on the ground floor of an office building, the space is modernish decked out in green (appropriately) although nothing about the space stands out in particular. The wear and tear is pretty evident as well.  

started off with some bread, which was pretty good, with olives etc, i was not a fan of this olive oil dipping sauce mixture. it was a sweetish mess which did nothing for me. 

the new aged caprese was super intriguing and i had to try it. served with speherified mozzarella with balsamic and olive oil drizzle and a tomato  

the tapas platter was actually like any other regular appetizer platter. The fig and feta caviar promised so much, unfortunately yielded no taste. the spinach and parmesan roll, sat in a cheesy base and it was terrific, easily the best thing they served, the olive croquets were pretty uninteresting too. 

unfortunately, i was dining with others which meant i had to go along to get along and i could not order anything i wanted to. Considering my choices had already fallen flat i was in no position to force the issue. The aglio olio was pretty bland, which is a bit shocking for a dish which has garlic and chili 

the porcini risotto was served with a fried nugget stuffed with mushroom. both were kind of underwhelming. the dish just did not have any life in it, the taste was just not there and again rather blandish. 

overall, the menu is experimental but practical and has plenty of safe dishes for one to try.  i found the flavours to be lacking outright and can only wonder if its the case for the best staff not being in the house for a regular weekday lunch service. 

Food : 4/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 2500 without drinks 

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