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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Food Bloggers Workshop with Chef Sergi Arola


We were recently invited to attend a workshop by twice Michelin-starred Spanish Chef Sergi Arola, at Arola, JW Marriott by HT Cafe. The chef shared some of his favourite recipes along with some tricks and tips. Here are some snapshots of the dishes along with the recipes. If you want to try any of these dishes, they are available at Arola.
 

Patatas Bravas
Ingredients:
5 potatoes
1 litre sunflower oil
5 fresh tomatoes
1 fresh red chilli
1 egg
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp lemon juice
5 tbsp olive oil n Salt to taste
Black pepper powder to taste
2 springs fresh parsley
 
Method:
Cut the potatoes into exact halves. Scoop with a pineapple corer, and then scoop at the centre with a small scooper.
Put the potatoes in a tray and cover them with sunflower oil. Cook in the oven at 1500°C for 45 minutes, and then remove.
For the spicy tomato sauce:
In a pan, heat olive oil, add crushed garlic cloves and sauté. Add chopped fresh red chilli, sauté and add chopped tomatoes. Cook for one hour over slow flame. Season the sauce and blend.
For garlic aioli:
In a bowl, break the whole egg, add chopped garlic, lemon juice and salt, mix well and start whipping it; add olive oil slowly to form an emulsion, whip till the aioli is firm, then season it.
Deep fry the potatoes, take out on a paper towel and sprinkle with salt.
Fill the centre with spicy tomato sauce and top with garlic aioli. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. 


Tandoor Lobster
Ingredients:
1 lobster
100 gms almond flakes
100 gms black olives
1/2 cup cream
2 garlic cloves
5 pieces rigatoni pasta
1 tbsp spicy tomato sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh oregano for garnish
Salt to taste
Black peppercorns to taste
 
Method:
Remove the lobster meat whole from tail. Marinate with olive oil, salt and crushed black peppercorns.
Slice the black olives and roast them in the oven at 1200°C till dry. Cool them down and blend to powder.
Toast the almond flakes with crushed garlic clove, add cream and simmer till almonds are cooked. Puree in the blender and strain with fine strainer.
Blanch the rigatoni pasta in boiling salted water.
Roast the marinated lobster in a tandoor till cooked. Remove and cut.
Toss the blanched rigatoni with olive oil, chopped garlic and spicy tomato sauce.
In a plate, sprinkle black olive powder and put the lobster on it. Put the rigatoni on each piece of lobster. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves. Serve the warm almond cream on the side.


Crema Catalana
Ingredients:
For orange form
500 ml milk

500 ml cream

1 stick cinnamon
10 gms orange peel
10 gms lemon zest
150 gms sugar
150 gms egg yolk
20 gms orange sorbet

For Mousse

50 gm Marie biscuit
200 ml milk n 100 gms sugar
100 gms cream

Method :
Make a Marie biscuit mousse from all the above ingredients in martini glass. Prepare the orange form by combining all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil maintaining the temperature at 40°C. When the mixture reaches the required temperature, remove from fire strain and cook in an oven at 10°C for 20 minutes for steam. Then remove it, cool it down and add it to a nitrogen can.
Finally, take the martini glass in which the mousse is set, then put one quenelle of orange sorbet.
Put the orange form and sprinkle sugar syrup over it. Gratinate and serve.
(Recipes via HT Cafe)

Venue: Arola
Lobby Level, JW Marriott, Juhu

Phone: 66933000 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Polpo Cafe & Bar at Shatranj Napoli


There's a reason why we love Bandra so much! There's never a dearth of new places to visit. Polpo Cafe & Bar is an extension of the classic upscale family restaurant Shatranj Napoli. It is aimed at the younger crowds with a gorgeous al fresco cafe and an indoor bar. 

The all day dining place has multiple menus, cafe menu, bar menu and the shatranj food menu. We visited with a group of bloggers and tried a range of dishes. Let's talk about the ones we'd recommend! 

To start with, their Sangrias are one of the best that we've had. The blonde sangria, sparkling sangria and the red sangria, all of them were fruity and flavourful. A fellow blogger, Prachi absolutely loved the Limoncello! Read her review here
 

Next, we called for the starters. Some of the dishes we loved were the Asparagi al Prosciutto - asparagus wrapped with Parma ham, absolutely delicious, Pollo della Che - mustard marinated grilled chicken with garlic mayo, loved the flavour of the garlic mayo, Zucchine Fritte - batter touch sliced zucchini, served with tartar sauce, crispy and yummy!



In the mains, we called for the Gnocchi alla Ciociara  - gnocchi cooked with chili flakes, bacon, italian sausage, porcini & tomato-cream and the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola - gnocchi tossed in a creamy gorgonzola, both were well prepared and lived up to our expectations. The Toscana pizza was next on our list of mains -  basil pesto, mozzarella, chicken, onions & bell peppers on a thin crust base - perfect! The Penne alla Romana pasta prepared in cream sauce with chicken and mushrooms was also worth the try. The other ordered a couple of other mains, but these were our favourites!


And when we thought this was all, our round of desserts was served. The Bailey's Surprise - a sinful and delectable merge of succulent chocolate mousse and baileys, Tiramisu - a delightful combination of soaked sponge in coffee and rum and layered with mascarpone cheese and sabayon. and the Pizookie - freshly baked, hot out of the oven cookie topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and nuts. When you are not too hungry, we would suggest, start with the desserts, they cannot be missed!




A special meal had to be ended with something special. Italian Stallion – a peppermint and sambuca shot was our last course! Gulped in one go, we were happy and high! :)

Venue: Polpo Cafe and Bar
Shatranj Napoli, Union Park, Off Carter Road, Bandra West
Landmark: Below the Big Nasty

Phone: 26499844
 
 (Photos Courtesy: Kumar Jherumalani) 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Food Bloggers Day with Chef Sanjeev Kapoor


6th November 2012 was declared as the first Food Bloggers Day. We were invited to Chef Sanjeev Kapoor's studio to cook up some delicious recipes with him. Food, conversations and a lot of fun, the experience was unforgettable! Here is a video that we shot of the Masterchef himself, cooking up a Diwali special recipe!

 

To view more pictures of the event, click here


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: G Cafe at Vinegar


  
When we heard of the new boutique cafe that has opened at Vinegar - the store that has been making the rounds in the news in recent times, we were looking forward to give it a try. So we put on our tasting hats and drove off to check out this cozy little coffee shop called G Cafe, snuggled inside the fashion store.

The menu is limited but looks very interesting and innovative. Options include salads, sandwiches, tarts, smoothies and other beverages. Before we started our meal we were told that the portions that that will be served are only tasting portions and will be soon converted into generous servings once the cafe is fully functional. 


To begin with, we ordered the Hazelnut, Almond & Chocolate Smoothie which was quite decent, but then again, you can't really go wrong with chocolate, can you? And the Berry Smoothie (Raspberry + Blueberry + Strawberry) which lacked flavour and could have been a tad bit sweeter. That's where our disappointment ended.

Coming to the food, we first ordered the Mixed Greens, Roasted Almonds & Cranberry Salad. It was nutty, delightful and as amazing as the ingredients made it sound. Since we couldn't decide which open sandwich amongst the two choices sounded better, we called for both. The Caramalized Pears & Candid Walnut sandwich and the Roasted & Marinated Pumpkin with Mozzarella sandwich, both were full of flavour and comprised of interesting combinations of fruit and cheese.


When we thought our amazement ends there, we were served the desserts! The Banoffee Pie was below average but the Tiramisu made up for it. Served in a flower pot with cookie crumbles on top and a strong punch of rum, this one was surely a winner!

Overall, G - Cafe is for all you Masterchef fans, they have blended some great ingredients and put together a wonderful menu. We are definitely going back here, especially for that Tiramisu!


Inside Vinegar Store, 13th Road, Off Linking Road Khar
Landmark: Next to Khatwari Darbar

Phone: 26483826 

 
 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review: Mia Cucina, Powai


Mia Cucina, translates to 'My Kitchen' has been in Bandra for a couple of years now and is a favourite of most Italian cuisine fans. It feels great to know that they now have an outlet in Powai as well, and this one, is bigger and better!

With a bar right in the centre and walls adorned with paintings/ photographs that are for sale, the outlet is bright and well lit. We were promptly directed to a table and handed the menus, bar and food. The bar menu had a fair list of cocktails, mocktails, wine and beer. The food menu was what made us really hungry; Antipasti, Salads, Pasta/Risotto, Grills and more! 


To start with we ordered for our drinks, Kiwi Mint Martini and the Rosemary and Orange Martini. Very flavourful and not too stiff, just the way we like it. 



Moving on, we started our meal with the Bombil Fritto - Fried pieces of Bombay Duck, crisp from the outside and tender once you bite into them; the Bruschetta Pollo con Olivata - Chicken, olive pesto and mozzarella bruschetta, crunchy, cheesy and delicious!





Amongst the pizzas we tried the Prosciutto e rucola - pizza topped with  italian ham, rocket leaves, mozzarella and the Quattro formaggi topped with mozzarella, gorgonzola, pecorino and parmesan. Loved the thin and crispy crust which didn't make the pizzas too heavy.



For desserts, we loved the White Cheesecake and the Almond Chocolate Cheesecake. It was the perfect ending to a delicious meal! 

Venue: Mia Cucina
G3 Transocean, Lake Boulevard Street, Hiranandani Bsuiness Park, Powai
Landmark: Next to Nature's Basket

Phone: 67094000

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Barbeque Masterclass at Renaissance Powai with Nikhil Merchant and Chef Jolly!

We recently got an invitation to attend a barbeque masterclass by the very charming and fun Chef Jolly by the poolside at Renaissance Hotel, Powai. It was a great session of food, alcohol and interaction with food bloggers like Nikhil Merchant, Shweta, Ashrita and Amrita, Shivani, Salonee, Shirin and more.


Here are a few moments from the wonderful time we had at the lunch! 







Venue: Renaissance Hotel and Convention Centre.
#2 & 3B, Near Chinmayanand Ashram, Powai 

Phone: 66927777

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Review: Bagelwala

 

After the popular Bagel Shop in Bandra, there is another contender that claims to sell authentic New York style bagels and it's called Bagelwala! The location is a little difficult to spot, technically in the lane behind Title Waves/ Di Bella Coffee. 

A cozy little cafe, Bagelwala gives you a warm and welcoming feel as soon as you step in. We were informed that the wall paintings and name board outside were all hand painted to resemble Balbharati characters. The cafe has an outdoor seating and a tiny indoor seating. They have used the space well and accommodated a small seating area upstairs with a rather scary and steep staircase leading you there.


Once we were seated, we looked around to see games, Taboo, Scrabble and the likes. The menu consisted of various types of Bagels, a few beverages and desserts. We tried the Chicken Jalapeno Bagel with cream cheese in herb bread. Absolutely delicious with chunks of cheese inside, weight watchers, beware! Next we tried the Nutella Bagel which was a delight! But then, you really can't go wrong with anything Nutella, can you? Although we would have liked the bagel to be a little softer and less chewy than it was! The beverages we called for, Honey Lemonade and Mint Iced Tea were quite average and simply a good accompaniment with the food.

We also thought the pricing was a little steep, with one non-veg bagel costing Rs.220 and a glass of Iced Tea priced at Rs.120. But the delivery offer which is 13 bagels for Rs.900 delivered anywhere across the city, is a steal of a deal! 

Special mention to their eco-friendly packaging. All their boxes and dip cups are made of sugarcane and are completely eco-friendly. 

Will we come back here? Most definitely! We hope they introduce some combo meals which would not make a meal here too heavy on the pocket! 

Venue: Bagelwala
Crowne Palace, 23rd Road, Behind Title Waves, Bandra (W)
Landmarks: Near Tawaa Restaurant

Phone: 33789960


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Haagen Dazs



When we hear that there's a new dessert shop that has opened in the city, we leave everything that we're doing to go try it out. Haagen Dazs opened its second outlet in High Street Phoenix, following the one at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon.

Priced at the higher end, Haagen Dazs is definitely expensive for a scoop of ice cream on a regular day. But when it's celebration time or if someone else is paying, it's the best bet. This outlet is located right next to PVR and has an indoor as well as outdoor seating. We opted for the fondue instead of the regular ice-creams and we don't regret our choice.

The fondue was served along with a platter of chocolate brownies, sponge cake, chocolate biscuit, a platter of fruits which included apples, oranges and bananas and sixteen mini scoops of ice cream, yes sixteen! As expected, the fondue was delicious and the dish was swiped clean in a matter of minutes. 

Will we come back here? Yes, definitely. Especially on our promotion days! 

Venue: Haagen Dazs
High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
Landmarks: Next to PVR, Above Dolce Vita

Phone: 43474449


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Dolce Vita

We recently dropped in at Dolce Vita, The World Food Store, located at High Street Phoenix.
The restaurant is divided into various sections, with the food store, cafe bar, meat shop and wine cellar. The food store section is stocked with a range of gourmet foods on offer, international flavoured teas, cream cheese, frozen foods, ready to make bakes, candies and lots more. There is a display of cheese,  desserts and wines in the cafe bar. 

We soon got a table for ourselves and browsed through the menu. The menu offers global cuisine, with something from every part of the world. They also have a couple of promotional offers; the Classic Afternoon Tea offer was what we decided to try.


An offer for two people, it comprised of unlimited tea or coffee, an assortment of sandwiches, desserts and scones with clotted cream and homemade jam. The Coronation Chicken sandwich was delicious and among the desserts, the mocha cheesecake was to die for! The homemade cherry jam had a hint of rum in it and went perfectly well with the scones. This offer was undoubtedly a steal for the price and we totally recommend it. 

Will we come back here? Most definitely, to try out the other offers and a la carte offerings!

Venue: Dolce Vita
High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel
Landmarks: Below Croma

Phone: 66553700
 
Price: Rs.500 (Plus taxes) for a couple

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

GoodHomes Bloggers Meet June 2012


GoodHome Magazine organized a bloggers meet with editor Ronitaa Dhanu at Botticino, Trident, BKC. An all women's meet, everything from homes, professional backgrounds, blogging interests to food, lifestyle, home decor was discussed.


The three course menu was a delight! Ronitaa kept the atmosphere of the place alive with her chirpy, fun loving attitude and was a perfect host.

A great event for networking, indulging in some delicious food and wine, and sharing ideas, we look forward to more of these!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Le Pain Quotidien


Just when you thought Bandra is cool enough, it got cooler. The 161st outlet world wide and 2nd in the city (1st in Colaba), Le Pain Quotidien, popularly known as LPQ, has set shop in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). With an airy outdoor seating and a cozy section indoors, LPQ quickly made place for itself on the list of our favourites.



The indoor section comprised of a display of desserts and breads, a bar area, a private dining area and the regular dining area. Without wasting any time, we called for the food and drinks. A chilled glass of Sangria along with a platter of cheese to take off. Next up, we called for the Tuscan Platter with Parmesan, Ham, Black Olive Spread, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Ricotta. The Ham was delicious, the bread however, was a little too hard. When we asked the server, we were informed that since the bread is baked inhouse and is completely organic without any preservatives, it tends to get a little harder than normal bread. Excused!



Moving to the mains, we called for the Organic Penne Pasta with Tomato sauce, basil and chicken and the Seared Basil Chicken with chili potatoes, spinach and lemon sauce. The pasta was well cooked and full of flavour, a little too spicy, so be sure of informing them if your taste buds are sensitive. The Seared Basil Chicken was tender and the sauce went really well with it. 


Finally, the most awaited part of the meal, desserts! Blueberry cheesecake, mmm, and the Soft Centered Chocolate Cake, mmm. The only word that could describe these desserts would be mmmmouthwatering! We made a trip to heaven and back! 

Are we coming back here? Hell yeah. And next time, we are going to start our meal backwards, last course first! 

Maker Maxity, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra East
Landmarks: Next to California Pizza Kitchen (CPK)

Phone: 66431617


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review: Cuppa Joe

Carter Road has always been the topic of discussion when it comes to small, new eateries. Latest on the block is Cuppa Joe, an initiative by the owners of Escobar. The cafe is located right next to Yogurtbay and has experimented with a couple of new things on the menu. 


Divided into two sections, the upper section has an inviting display of desserts and lollipops. The underground section has a small seating area with about 4-5 tables. The highlights of the menu are the Mashmallow Mocha, the Butter Beer and the Red Velvet Cake.


We tried the Chocolate Tart, the Butter Beer, the Walnut Brownie and the Marshmallow Mocha.
The Chocolate Tart was sinful, very gooey and tasted best when heated. The Butter Beer was a complete let down considering the hype created around it. It was a version of the regular coke float, with soda and ice-cream. The Walnut Brownie was passable, not the best we've had. But the entire experience was uplifted by the Marshmallow Mocha. A generous amount of marshmallows in your regular mocha coffee. The size of the cup was also quite overwhelming.

Will we go back here? But ofcourse, we love the ambiance and the feel of the place. And we still have to try a big slice of the Red Velvet Cake!

Venue: Cuppa Joe
Gagangiri Apartments, Off Carter Road, Bandra West
Landmark: Next to Yogurtbay and Cafe Coffee Day

Phone: 26494040
 
 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ralph Lauren Fragrances Launch


 We attended the Ralph Lauren - Big Pony Fragrances for women, launch meet for bloggers. The four fragrances emphasize on colour and claim to compliment personality attributes of women such as Sporty, Sensual, Free Spirited and Stylish. 

The sporty or the blue fragrance is a combination of Grape Fruit and Blue Lotus; the Pink, sensual fragrance of Cranberry and Tonka Mousse, the Yellow, free spirited fragrance of Pear and Mimosa and the Purple, stylish fragrance, of Wild Cherry and Purple Amber. 

Our favourite was the pink, sensual fragrance. It was subtle, fruity yet very alluring. We would totally recommend it.

Venue: The fragrances are available at all leading perfume stores in the city.
Price: 50 ml @ Rs 2900, 100 ml @ Rs 4100


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Deliciae Patisserie

Bandra's popular dessert shop, Deliciae has recently opened it's second outlet in Powai. Just like the Bandra outlet, this one is also sited right next to Out Of The Blue and is known for its sinful desserts and yummy shakes. 

The display is fancy with cupcakes, cheesecakes, mango desserts and lots of chocolate desserts all over the place. More of a take away outlet; on insisting, we were directed to the Cafe Bean Garu section since we wanted to sit and indulge in some of the best desserts we have had so far. 


First, we ordered for the Blueberry Cheesecake Shake and the Hazelnut Cold Coffee. The Blueberry Cheesecake shake came across as a pleasant surprise and it actually felt like having a cheesecake. The Cold Coffee however, was a let down. We couldn't taste much of the Hazelnut flavour. 

After a short while, we decided to call for the desserts. The season's special Mango Meringue and one dessert that not many can get right, Banoffee Pie. 

The Mango Meringue came first, with fresh mango pieces on the top and centre, sandwiched between fresh cream and a crispy layer of biscuit. Perfect dessert for the summer, refreshing and what better way to enjoy the king of fruits than this! 



We saved the best for the last, the Banoffee Pie. Lots of chocolate with a layer of banana pieces in the middle topped with whipped cream. The dessert was not too sweet and very close to perfection. We are sure we will come back for this. 

We were also informed that Deliciae prepares wedding and birthday cakes on order. They have a huge variety from character cakes, 3d cakes to photo cakes and tier cakes. They also customize cupcakes on order. And Pune folks, they are soon coming up with an outlet in Pune (again, alongwith Out Of The Blue).

Overall, Deliciae scores high on the scale of taste and quality. Not to forget, we give them full marks for their presentation. Afterall, the first impression counts! 

1st Floor, Haiko Place, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai
Landmark: Above Costa Coffee

Phone: 25717000




Monday, April 9, 2012

Review: Bianca



Khar has a brand new bakery that serves desserts, dips and more. Bianca,located in the same lane as Costa Coffee, Khar, is a tiny, cute little place where you can satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. They have two tables inside where you can park yourself although take away is recommended.

The display at Bianca is colourful, with cheesecakes, cupcakes, pastries, dips and more. We decided to try the Red Velvet Cupcake to see if it beats our all time favourite at Candies, and the Oreo Cheesecake which looked very tempting.



The Red Velvet Cupcake was dry and not something that we would have on our second visit to Bianca but the Oreo Cheesecake was splendid. The cheesecake layer was delicious with a crusty layer at the bottom. Very different from the ones we have tried before, this one totally scores. 

Our take, opt for the take away, skip the cupcakes and go for the cakes and dips which seem to be quite promising.

Venue: Bianca
Crystal Blue Premises, In the lane of Costa Coffee, 16th road, Khar (W)
Landmark: Next to Curio Cottage

Phone: 26000403, 26000404


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Review - Di Bella Coffee

Named after its founder, Phillip Di Bella, Di Bella Coffee is an Australian coffee chain that has opened multiple outlets in the city. We dropped in at the outlet at Bandra Kurla Complex and were surprised to see all the tables occupied even at 3 PM.


After waiting for a couple of minutes, we got a table for ourselves. With Samsung Galaxy Tabs on each tables, Di Bella has taken customer experience to another level. You can go through the menu on it and place your order by selecting and confirming it on the tab itself. Quite similar to an online shopping experience. The servers are always around incase you need assistance. 

The menu comprised of Coffees, Teas, Cold Coffees, Light Bites and Desserts. Even though we were tempted to try the American Marshmallow Hot Chocolate, we thought of sticking to the Traditional Hot Chocolate since you can't really go wrong with it. However, the beverage was watery, not thick enough and lacked flavour. We wished there was more chocolate in it. The Cappucino on the other hand was well presented and seemed fine. We also tried the Baby Corn and Spinach Sandwich which was passable. 


Overall, Di Bella scores on the service and presentation front but there's room for improvement when it comes to the quality of food and drinks.

Ground Floor, Platina Building, Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), Bandra
Landmark: Next to Range Rover Showroom

Phone: 65214222

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