Luncheon at The Taj Wellington Mews: Jevan Zaala Ka?

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My sister and I were lucky enough to grow up staying at fantastic Taj properties during so many of our travels within India. A gracious charm, over the top hospitality, fabulous service, exotic cuisines; staying at any Taj Hotel meant an ‘experience’ to be savoured.

Cut to a lesser known Taj property within Aamchi Mumbai. Tucked away in the by lanes of the old worldly charming Colaba lies the beautiful Taj Wellington Mews, Taj’s luxury serviced apartments, a home within a home for many (read mainly expats). Comprising of two sprawling penthouses with fabulous views of the Taj dome and the gentle Arabian Sea beyond on one side, and of the Cooperage greens and the Oval Maidan and the Rajabai Tower on the other, this property also has many two and three bedroom apartments, a perfect home if you need to stay in our city for a week or a year or many years!

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Master Bedroom

Living Room

Living Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

This pet friendly place boasts of a beautiful swimming pool, a state of the art gym, a lounge bar, the quaint Weli Deli complete with fresh groceries for sale, the signature Jiva Spa, a delightful children’s room, and to me the one most important thing, a security of its own which is second to none! No wonder it is home to many Consul Generals.

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Taj Club and Jiva Spa

Cut to the new gastronomic delights being offered at the Weli Deli. Keeping in mind the festival season, Executive Chef Shrutika Koli, trained under the eagle eye of none other than the legendary Hemant Oberoi himself, offers a sumptuous Maharashtrian thali, a veritable feast for the eyes first, and then the stomach. We firmly believe that it is the eyes that taste the food first!

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A beautifully laid out table complete with marigolds waited for our motely bunch of invitees. As conversation veered around the many aspects of what else, food, out came the bearers in their resplendent turbans, with stunning silver thaals filled to the brim with Chef Koli had crafted with love. The thalis brought back memories of the Tanjore of yore at the Taj Mahal Hotel, where we often used to dine as children on parents’ birthdays, enjoying the Indian classical dances.

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We tucked into the hearty fare from different regions of Maharashtra, and marvelled at how the humble potato bhaaji had been turned into a haute cuisine dish. The stuffed vangi (brinjals) were saturated with local condiments, and the aamti (daal) was just right, sweet, sour, and tangy. The kothmir vadis from the Konkan region with its perfect texture needed a second helping, they were so delicious, but the accompanying tomato chutney needed probably four helpings by each one of us. The Kolhapuri thecha (a type of hari mirch chutney) came out later, much to our delight. The masala bhaat was so perfect in taste, it did not need any accompaniment of a daal or kadhi. We are vegetarians, but the non-vegetarians among us vouched as much for the Chicken Kolhapuri. However, all agreed that the piece de resistance was the combination of piping hot, fluffy puris, to be eaten dipped with the smooth as silk shrikhand, served beautifully in a piped swirl and garnished with strands of saffron. The humble Maharashtrian fare had been turned into nouvelle cuisine.

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Since we Indians mostly eat our dessert with our meals (the shrikhand here), we were delighted to round off our hearty thaali with hot ginger tea, aka ‘cutting chaai’, served in the small lined glasses in the manner of our friendly neighbourhood ‘chaaiwala’.

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Needless to say that while the residents of the apartments are tucking into this delicious local fare, Mumbaikars must reserve a table at the Weli Deli in the coming days to relish this local fare in the stylish way only the Taj can serve. The thaali is available throughout the month of August and is a steal at a price of Rs. 1480/- all inclusive.

Oh and did we mention that for the first time we felt as welcomed as do the foreigners in our country as we were greeted with a tikka and aarti as we entered? Or that we were greeted by the affable General Manager Mr. Anmol Ahluwalia himself? And that at every corner of the property, members of the staff smiled and greeted us warmly? And that the entire team at Taj Wellington Mews dined with us?

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We finally have the perfect word for the Taj Experience, which we spoke about at the beginning. It is TAJNESS!

Do experience it, again and again.

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The Dineout Experience with Shiros

Open your App Store, enter ‘Food’ in the search bar and a 100 different apps will pop up presenting to you, the problem of plenty. In this new age of Digital Food, Dineout comes to us at the right time bringing to us a cashless experience. I kid you not, there couldn’t have been an easier app to use to help you book a table at your favourite restaurant in town and experience your lunch / dinner party ‘cashless’.

‘Dineout is a times internet acquired premium table reservation app. We believe in making your meals hassle free by eliminating wait time. Recently Dineout has introduced smart pay an easy and quick way to pay your bill cashless. If you pay by mobikwik you get 40 percent as cash back in your wallet which you can always enjoy at your next meal’. 

Spread across 8 cities, they seat over 1,00,000 diners a month, have over 4,50,000 active app users and a strong ecosystem of top restaurants, discerning diners and premium Food and Beverage outlets.

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Step 1: Download the App

 

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Step 2: Take a quick tour

 

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Step 3: Set your location and search for your favourite restaurant

 

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Step 4: Enter your booking preferences and confirm your contact details

 

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Step 5: Enter the SMS verification code sent by them and you’re set!

It’s literally as easy as that!

Dineout recently conducted a bloggers’ table for a few with the boys from Eat Aloud at Shiros, Lower Parel, Mumbai.

 

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The captivating entrance

With mesmerising interiors, great crowd and good music this seemed like a recipe for a great night.

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The Shanghai Sunset

My poison for the evening was The Shanghai Sunset. A delightful amalgamation of Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila, vodka, melon liqueur, pineapple and cranberry juice. Tequila lovers must give this a try.

Considering that I was famished by the time I got to Shiros, the Korean Chilli potatoes were a welcome delight and I managed to finish 3/4th of that plate by myself. Tangy, spicy and a little sweet, these golden fried babies made mama happy. The Shanghai Mushroom dumplings on the other hand, did not. Whilst the stuffing was tender the dumpling itself was excessively chewy.

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Sautéed green beans and fried garlic are always welcome on my plate. These were cooked perfectly – crunchy, juicy and full of garlic, they make for a great side dish.

The vegetarian Thai curry was high on flavour but definitely not one of the best curries I’ve had. Nothing to rave about here. The fried rice by itself was fragrant but still needed a little help from the curry to help bring out its flavour.

Since I no longer eat eggs, I was unable to try any of the desserts.

Would I go back to Shiros? Without a doubt. The food may not be something to write home about but the drinks, the music, the decor and the overall vibe of this place is certainly worthy of more than one visit.

Raising The Bar Real High!

Carter Road is famous for many things – the promenade, beautiful sunsets, friendly faces, even a tattoo shop and food, so much food. You can find everything here from Shawarma joints, to FroYo shops, Subway, ice cream parlours, even a Chinese and Mexican food restaurant (in one), and Café Coffee Day at the corner (that has been around for almost half my life).

But tucked in a small corner above CCD, one can find the new age, uber chic restaurant ‘Masala Bar’. If you’re passing by on a midnight drive, you might even miss it, but definitely not ever since the rave reviews and reception the restaurant has received.

It is the hippest new joint in Bandra, almost impossible to get into, albeit completely worth the wait. With an all-black theme, dim lighting, fancy cocktails, fancier Indian food, and riding on the brand name of the Kalras, this restaurant offers the perfect mixture of food, drinks and ambience.

As you enter, you will walk past red walls, black stairs with melting candles on both sides of the staircase giving it a very gothic look, reminding me of Poe’s ‘The Raven’.

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We had not booked a table (BAD IDEA on a weekend, but doable on a weekday), but since we were early the staff gave us a table of our choice (politely reminding us that we would have to move to the bar in case those who had booked it showed up on time). The restaurant is all black and boy does that add to its charm. The lighting is only through lamps on every table and the candles I mentioned earlier, creating a very intimate setting. (That can be a bit of issue while reading the menu though).

Drinks
Bollywood Bhang (Rs. 700) and Filter-Kafi Uska (Rs. 700)

If you’ve been to Masala Library, you know that presentation is everything. The same concept applies here. Bollywood Bhang, was served in a wooden tray with vodka, thandaai and a flask with vodka and basil leaves. True to theatrical flair, the server used a blowtorch at the bottom of the flask to create smoke which we were asked to inhale. The basil flavour of the smoke set the tone for the bhang, which was phenomenal. I am not too big a fan of creamy cocktails, but this one is definitely worth trying, especially with its skull-shaped glass.

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Filter-Kaif Uska – largely coffee based, the drink (with copious amounts of vodka), had a hint of cinnamon as well. It had a very strong flavour and frankly I could not finish it because it hit me pretty fast (!). I’d say you could give it a miss and consider their whiskey cocktails.

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How pretty is this?

Appetizers 
Mushroom Soufflé Nuggets (Rs. 350), Pan-tossed shrooms (Rs. 350), and Litti Chokha Profiteroles (Rs. 300).

The nuggets were to die for! The truffle flavour was impeccable and despite the fried covering, the calories were worth it. A must try for any truffle lover.


From left to right: Mushroom Soufflé Nuggets (2), Pan-tossed shrooms, Litti Chokha Profiterolls

Since I love mushrooms so much (clearly), we ordered the Pan-tossed shrooms, which was like a mushroom bruschetta, the twist being good old khaki biscuit used as a base. The flavours worked perfectly together especially with the mint green chutney that accompanied. The Litti Chokha Profiterolls was a Bihari dish, so we thought we would experiment. It did not go down well with us 😦 On the outside it was a soft bread roll, filled with vegetable stuffing. While it looked gorgeous, I didn’t find the taste all that appealing so you could give this a miss. This could be replaced by the Carbon Pav Bhaji, a dish that I will try out the next time.

Mains
Truffle Shitake Steak Burger (Rs. 310) and Puffed grains and Pesto Khichdi (Rs. 395).

The Burger was accompanied by potato crisps on a skewer, which were a delish blend of crispy and soft. The burger patty was amazing, sadly the truffle flavour was not very evident. There were too many caramelized onions on top of the patty affecting the taste. The pesto Khichdi on the other hand was the highlight of the night. Accompanied by olives, papad, and ‘mamra’ the flavours were brilliant. If mom could make khichdi at home like this, I’d gladly fall sick everyday!

We ended our dinner with another drink, the Malabar Point (Rs. 700). Our server told us that this was inspired by Malabar Hill, an iconic location in Mumbai. The drink was themed as a blend of all the elements – sea, land and the sun. It was fruity, with apple and cinnamon topped with thyme foam. I was a little worried about the foam but the flavour was minimal. Again, the presentation of the drink was superb, with flasks and what not taking me back to Chemistry class! Definitely one to try for a vodka lover.

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Zoravar Kalra and his levels of creativity never cease to amaze me and once again with Masala Bar he has most certainly set the bar extremely high !

Address: Carter Road
Price: Meal for two Rs. 5,000
Reservation: Highly recommended
Overall Rating: 5/5

 

We Are 12 – 12th Anniversary Celebrations at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai

12th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS AT GRAND HYATT MUMBAI

Celebrate the Grand Life with on the 17th of every month in 2016.

MUMBAI (March 2016): Grand Hyatt Mumbai, the multidimensional lifestyle complex is celebrating 12 years of creating moments, this March 17 and to commemorate the special anniversary, they are introducing special offers and exclusive discounts on the 17th of every month in 2016!

They believe that celebrations need not be restricted to one day and hence are inviting guests to celebrate with them throughout the year. Walk into grand discounts and surprises on the 17th with upto 50% discount on food and beverage offerings, surprise gifts, special beverages and a host of other enthralling activities.

Sunjae Sharma, Area Vice President/ General Manager of Grand Hyatt Mumbai states, “We are in the business of providing authentic hospitality and creating moments of more for our guests. As we herald another milestone with our 12th anniversary on March 17th 2016, we would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all our stakeholders for their love and unwavering support. We have some grand surprises planned for all our guests. We believe you will enjoy them as much as we did planning them for you.”

ROOM PACKAGE – enjoy grand stays at half the price*

The ‘Celebrate With Grandeur Offer’ is available to book from 13 March – 3 April, 2016 for stay between 20 March – 3 April 2016. Enjoy a Grand Stay at half the price* as #WeAre12 this March 2016.

Visit mumbai.grand.hyatt.com and select your dates of day. Call 91 22 66761234 for assistance.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE OFFERS

  • CELINI – 30% discount* on food & soft beverages
  • SOMA – 30% discount* on food & soft beverages
  • FIFTY FIVE EAST – 50% discount* on food & soft beverages
  • CHINA HOUSE – 30% discount* on food & soft beverages

For more information and to make reservations, call +91 22 6676 1149 or write to reservations.ghmumbai@hyatt.com. *Terms and Conditions apply.

SPA OFFER

  • CLUB OASIS – 30% discount* on your spa treatment and 70% discount on the next one.
  • CHRISTIAAN GEORGIO – 30% discount* on your select services.

For more information on Spa offers and to make reservations, call +91 22 6676 1144, write to cluboasis.ghmumbai@hyatt.com. *Terms and Conditions Apply.
For further information on Salon Offers, call +91 22 6676 1216, write to christiaangeorgio.ghmumbai@hyatt.com. *Terms and Conditions Apply.

Share your #LivingGrand experiences with them on social media @GrandHyattMum. You can also follow the buzz on #WeAre12 and #LivingGrand.

Submitted by The Grand Hyatt Mumbai 

 

Restaurant Week India: Mumbai Listings

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Restaurant Week India is back from September 1120 2015 featuring 27 of Mumbai’s finest restaurants. Restaurant Week India is amongst the largest pan-India culinary events and gives discerning food enthusiasts the opportunity to dine at some of India’s finest restaurants at a fraction of the a la carte rates.

As part of the 5th Anniversary celebrations, participating restaurants in Mumbai will offer customers a five-course pre fixed menu (with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options) in Mumbai at INR 1,100 for lunch and INR 1,300 for dinner. Feel free to choose from the restaurants mentioned below. Menu details can be found on: http://restaurantweekindia.com/

  1. 25 Parganas, Hotel Sahara Star
  2. Asilo, The St. Regis Mumbai
  3. Botticino, Trident, Bandra Kurla
  4. Celini, Grand Hyatt Mumbai
  5. China House, Grand Hyatt Mumbai
  6. Dakshin Coastal, ITC Maratha
  7. Dum Pukht, ITC Maratha
  8. East – East Asian Spice Trail, Hotel Sahara Star
  9. Hakkasan, Bandra West
  10. Indigo, Colaba
  11. Jyran, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
  12. K&K, ITC Grand Central
  13. Kebab Corner, the InterContinental Mumbai*
  14. Maya, Trident, Bandra Kurla
  15. Neel, Mahalaxmi
  16. Olio, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach*
  17. Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra
  18. Peshawri, ITC Maratha
  19. Red Zen, Courtyard Mumbai International Airport*
  20. Royal China, Bandra*
  21. San-Qi, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai
  22. Shanghai Club, ITC Grand Central
  23. Shiro, Lower Parel
  24. The Sahib Room & Kipling Bar, The St. Regis Mumbai
  25. The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point
  26. Trendz, The Lalit Mumbai
  27. Yauatcha, BKC

Happy dining 🙂