Sparkling Wine in a Heritage Bottle

Mumbai has its Gateway of India.

The Gateway has its Taj Mahal Hotel and Towers.

The Taj Mahal Hotel and Towers has its Shamiana.

The analogy is as simple as that.

Taj’s iconic 24 hour coffee shop Shamiana, which opened way back in the 1970s and relocated to another area many years ago is back, back to where it always belonged.

Folks, it’s pure nostalgia time at the Shamiana, and we were the privileged ones to savour it as soon as it opened its doors about a week back.

In its new avatar, Shamiana stands where Starboard and Zodiac Grill used to be earlier. Now reaching out to a hipper generation, its new look is modern with clean lines, yet retaining its class with a warm ambience.

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It hosts an open kitchen and is a dessert lover’s haven with its live dessert section. Beautiful coffee table style cookery books invite you to open their pages; the wall of fame, which is a more a hall of fame, is a must see to view photographs of its old patrons. The coffee shop overlooks a small but cosy open air sit out which beckons you to have your favourite drink there, provided you can brave Mumbai’s balmy weather.

The food of course now. Zodiac Grill lovers, do come out of mourning, as the old favourite, melt in the mouth, Double Baked Camembert Soufflé is being served here. Then there is comfort food, Rajma Chawal, cooked to perfection, just like grand mom did. There’s of course good old Mac n Cheese, a vegetarian burger, and some excellent fish and chicken dishes that our non-vegetarian friends vouched for, among world foods. There’s a section on the menu that also lists the most loved dishes from all its properties around the world. And the best part of it all? None of the food prices run into 4 digits. Prices have almost been halved from the older menu. Only a certain section of the spirits rise beyond the 3 figure mark.

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The best section of all though, remain the desserts. The Baked Almond Cake wins the gold, warm, not too sweet, a perfect accompaniment to the single shot Espresso. The silver goes to the tangy V.S.O.P. Chocolate Mousse, and the bronze to the deconstructed Lemon Tart, or rather the tartlets, which looked like mini meringues served on a strip of a tart base.

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Revive old memories, lovers of Shamiana 1.0, welcome back to the new age Shamiana 2.0, modern, classy, warm, personal (ah ‘Tajness’), as only a Taj restaurant can be. Generation Z, savour modernism amidst old world charm and heritage, and witness coffee shop history being re-written.

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Mango Festival at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai

The Summer Season is on with all its fury in the country but it’s raining mangoes at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai!

The Indian summer besides the scorching heat also brings with it the King of all fruits, the beautiful mango. With hand-picked, perfectly ripe golden mangoes, The Grand Hyatt Mumbai brings an array of sinful mango desserts and some savoury dishes, available at The Lobby Lounge and The Gourmet Shop.


It’s definitely a task trying to pick my favourite because they were all so delectable, but my top picks would be the Mango Tart, the Mango Passion Pralines and the Raw Mango Rice Paper Rolls.

The Mango Trifle Pudding was presented in a ripe mango slice. This one was light, fresh and easy to finish in 3 scoops 😉 As was the baked mango but that took me only 2 scoops 😉 The Pudding isn’t on the menu but Chef created it with a sponge soaked in sugar syrup made with star anise and cinnamon. This, along with its presentation, differentiates it from any pudding I’ve had before.

The Cheesecake had just the right amount of sweetness, the mango wasn’t overpowering the dish and was dense to perfection. The Mango Passion Pralines were easily one of the best chocolates I have ever eaten. The perfect combination of both fruits and filled with a juicy centre, these were little drops of heaven ❤ I recommend you pick up a box.. or two 😉

How many of you have though of combining Nutella and ripe mango slices together? Does the thought of too much sweetness make you cringe? I urge you to do away with all that negativity and make yourself one of these sandwiches! Served with a mango chutney (this is mango pulp mixed with a sweet chilli sauce) this is a great snack.

After all this sweetness, Chef was kind enough to make me a dish of the Vegetable and Raw Mango Rice Paper Rolls (they had a non-vegetarian dish prepped, so made this very kindly for me) which I LOVED. The simplicity of sliced vegetables and raw mangoes with a beautiful rice paper covering served with sweet chilli and mango chutney made the dish a hero.

Be sure to book your table for the week at the Lobby Lounge or visit the store before the season runs out! I promise you, you do not want to miss it.

Thank you for having me over Grand Hyatt Mumbai!

Lunching Just Got Better !

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CHINA HOUSE INTRODUCES YUMCHA LUNCH

Enjoy a delectable feast with more than 30 dimsum varieties at Grand Hyatt Mumbai.

China House – the award winning Chinese restaurant at Grand Hyatt Mumbai brings home authentic YUMCHA offering for lunch starting April 2016. Yumcha (饮茶), also known as ‘going for dim sum‘, is a type of Chinese style brunch tea, which involves drinking Chinese tea and eating dimsum. It is popular in Cantonese-speaking regions in China and has spread to other regions worldwide due to the presence of overseas Chinese.

You can choose from the delectable dimsum selections and relish the traditional preparations with Chinese Tea.

The YUMCHA menu will be served in its traditional method that dates back to the early 60s, when dimsum items were precooked in advance in the kitchen and brought out into the dining area in baskets by the chefs.

Few of the authentic offerings include –

Steamed crystal prawn dumplings              水晶虾饺皇

Prawns Spinach rolls                                豉汁翡翠菠菜卷

Crispy prawn spring rolls                          脆皮炸虾春卷

Lobster truffle mushroom dumplings           龙虾松露饺

Chilli and sea bass dumplings                    鲈鱼海鲜饺

Shanghai chicken soup dumpling               上海小笼包

Barbeque chicken buns                             鸡肉叉烧包

V Pan fried radish cake                             香煎萝卜丝饼

V Edamame beans dumplings                    松露毛豆饺

V Sichuan vegetarian wonton                     山城素抄手

V Zucchini, Aspargus dumpling                 双瓜同心饺

V Pumpkin dumpling                              南瓜饺

V Chinese cabbage water chestnut dumpling 上素白菜饺

V Spinach peanut dumpling                      相思饺

V Mushroom and vegetables buns             什锦素包
The lunch is available at China House, Grand Hyatt Mumbai. For more details visit hyattrestaurants.com or call 022 66761149.

This post has been submitted by the Grand Hyatt Mumbai to Chai Cake and Kitsch. 

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

 

Bao Chica Wow Wow!

The latest culinary trend that seems to have caught up to us Mumbaikars’ palates’ is the Taiwanese Bao, or Gua Bao, or (primarily) pork belly buns.. However, with the number of vegetarians around, restaurants to have created their new, fun versions, a job well done.

The Fatty Bao, pretty much responsible for the bao’s popularity, announces their #BaoWowFestival this February At The Fatty Bao, Mumbai and Delhi. 

“Thirteen varieties of soft pillowy white baos, each filled with a fusion of flavours and just fourteen days to taste them all! Step in to The Fatty Bao, from 1st February to 14th February 2016 for the #BaoWowFestival and feast on a variety of baos with different fillings and combinations. Bite into these white steamed buns packed with an array of different meats and fillings, each one more delicious than the other. An awesome selection of Baos- a pick of our all time favourites and a whole new selection of inventive combinations, especially created for the festival by Executive Chef Prashanth.”

Last night I was at The Fatty Bao, Bandra for a preview, and for a change I was lucky enough to get a table the moment I entered. It is crazy, absolutely crazy how packed this place gets even on a weekday ! It is much deserved though. I’ve been here twice and have always been treated to exceptional service, great cocktails and scrumptious food. Oh and not to mention the uber cool decor and fun vibe.

What I had:
Spicy Mushroom and Chickpea Bao, drizzled with chilli garlic mayo, the Cheesy Kimchi Potato Bao with scallion, sprinkled with Korean chili powder and the Fried Eggplant Bao marinated in miso with kimchi cabbage and a drizzle of Sriracha sauce.

Of the 3, the Spicy Mushroom and Chickpea Bao is my pick because unfortunately, the bread dominates the other 2 dishes. The Cheesy Kimchi Potato Bao sounds promising but sadly fails to deliver. It has great potential but has very little filling and is not cheesy enough. The Eggplant Bao also could use a more flavour. I did have the opportunity to meet Chef and let him know what I thought, he was extremely gracious in accepting my feedback. It’s a little heartbreaking because I’ve always left the restaurant with a great taste in my mouth. I did order the Vegetarian Curry Ramen bowl and that was finger licking good, as always! 

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Photo courtesy: Kunal Chandra

There’s no doubt that The Fatty Bao still continues to remain on my list of must visits in Mumbai. In the meantime, do be a part of their festival and be sure to use the official hashtag – #BowWow.

Don’t forget to share your experiences with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or via email! x