Punjabi Punch

17 Apr
Bhatti Ka Murg

Bhatti Ka Murg

How different can the robust North Indian food get?  A lot if you visit Zorwar Kalra’s latest offering Made In Punjab (MIP). Ask for the Chicken Kurkure (Rs 350) and you’ll see what I mean. Wrapped in wanton sheets the chicken sticks come ensconced in shot glasses. At Made in Punjab the whimsical touches flavours.

I applaud the kitchen’s playfulness; a dish of tandoori chicken legs (Bhatti Murg reads the menu, Rs 390) is sent out in a kulhad. Each leg sits enticingly in a kulhad, which is a small earthen cup used to serve tea in North India. The dish not only lands beautifully on the tongue, it’s a feast for the eyes too.



Chats are a good way to judge a restaurant that prides its self on its North Indian fare. Zorawar doesn’t disappoint here. The Palak Patta chaat (Rs 145) was both humble and haute. The crispy palak papdi gets a whispering of green chutney and just the right amount of sweetened curd to jiggle the taste buds. The pomegranate seeds add to the crunch.

The kitchen is not shy of experimentation. The Ajwaini fish tikka (Rs 450) here uses Salmon as against the Basa or Pompret. Leaves of green peas are used as a delicate garnish as against the modest coriander. Venture into more adventurous territory and you don’t risk disappointment. The Beetroot Tikki (Rs 275) is a revelation. Wash it down with the sugarcane juice (Rs 150) served in a tall glass.

Salmon Tikka

Salmon Tikka

Hands down, MIP has the city’s best bread basket. Onion-laced kulcha, anda kulcha, mirchi parantha, makki ki roti, gucchi naan, etc are worth the lecture from your trainer. But go slow. There’s more greatness on the way. Like the Railway Mutton Curry (Rs 525 ). The mutton which is cooked overnight just falls off the bone with the gentlest prodding.

Biryanis are served in cute cookie jars. Do sample the Gucchi Pulao (Rs 595). Gucchi is a type of mushroom grown in the high altitudes of Himachal Pradesh. It takes a few spoonfuls to get accustomed to the taste. Watch the pulao disappear post the acclimatisation! The rotis are made live in the dining area and it’s fun to watch the chef toss the rumali roti in the air or release a dollop of butter on a hot kulcha.

At MIP what appears in a glass intrigues as much as what arrives on a plate. Apart from the sugarcane juice and aam panna the menu also holds the sweet and sour Ginger curry Martini. However not every dish sings. The lassi (termed world’s heaviest lassi) was just that – very heavy! Made with curd, rabdi and peda it cried for flavour.

Crispy Jalebi with Rabri

Crispy Jalebi with Rabri

For desserts there is the quintessential and decedent Moong dal halwa (Rs 195) and Jalebi with rabdi (Rs 195). Both make for pleasant endings.

Look around

Made in Punjab, Inorbit Malad Mumbai (2)

The lattice separated sepia toned dining room packs in a lot of personality.  Adding colour to the scene are the amiable servers and a background of Indian classical music.

Walk in to MIP for a simple menu sprinkled with surprises.


Made In Punjab, Level 2, Inorbit Mall, Mindspace Link Road, Malad West, Mumbai. Tel: +91 9004515000, 022 66711187


Meal for two: Rs 1500

Politically Correct Designs

20 Mar
Madhav Agasti at his Khar store

Madhav Agasti at his Khar store

Unassuming and down to earth best describes this 64 year old who clothes almost all top politicians including four chief ministers and the President of India. With no training in design he started his career as a Bollywood designer (designing mostly for villains in over 200 films) and then for the political class. Meet Madhav Agasti the most sought after designer by the political class of India.

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Calling all meat lovers to Imbiss

5 Feb

I love meat. I don’t care if it’s ‘murder’ or responsible for heart disease or the reason why I’m going to hell. I just love meat. And if you are like me (unabashed meat lover) then Imbiss at Colaba is for ‘us.’


Imbiss is to hard core non-vegetarians what Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory is to sweet tooths. Get the drift? Yes this small restaurant in one of the by lanes of Colaba is 100 per cent non-vegetarian. The only vegetarian dish on the menu is the aubergine schnitzel (that too fried in bacon fat!).  Don’t believe me? Read on…

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City’s sixth Indigo Deli opens at Inorbit Mall, Malad

3 Feb


 Eggs on the Beach

Eggs on the Beach

Indigo Deli has opened its sixth outpost in Mumbai at Inorbit Mall in Malad.


Originally conceptualized by Founder and Managing Director, Rahul Akerkar & Executive Chef Jaydeep Mukherjee, the menu holds gourmet re-creations of popular comfort foods. Those familiar with Indigo Deli will be happy to know that the menu at Malad will remain the same featuring the much-loved burgers and sandwiches, crispy wafer thin pizzas, seasonal soups and salads. All-time favorites like the Pulled Pork Burger, Bombay Chicken Wings, Eggs Divinity, Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, Chorizo Pizza etc, continue to be on the menu, as also the moreish desserts such as our signature baked yoghurts, silky soufflés, rich cheesecakes and the likes.


crispy fluffy waffles

crispy fluffy waffles

Sundae lovers can opt for the naturally flavored ice creams paired fun elements like caramelized banana soaked in brandy, moist hot fudge, batter fried Mars bars, sour cherry compote and Chantilly cream. Choose from The Deli Banana Project, Kinky Suzette, Deli Therapy, Drunken Waffles, Black Forest and Deli Beach Sundae. Or if you’re feeling particularly creative, you can create your own special sundae.

The Deli Shop

Shop before or after a meal at the retail gourmet store located within the restaurant. It has in-house baked goodies, meats and cheeses, condiments, coffees, teas and take-away salads. 



Freshly baked treats range from buttery croissants, bagels, tea cakes, baguettes, lavash and breadsticks for dips to delicious tropical fruit pies and tarts, Danish pastries, gateaux and made-to-order cookies.

Besides these there is also the in-house artisanal range of jams, preserves and other condiments. The merchandise carries some of the most sought-after cookbooks, coffee accessories by Bodum, Built NY lunch bags and cases, diaries, pastas, sauces and other cooking ingredients. 


This is architect Sameep Padora’s fourth Indigo Deli in Mumbai (the previous three being at Palladium Mall, Bandra and R-City Mall).

Indigo Deli Malad

Indigo Deli Malad

The 2,200-sq-ft space bears Indigo Deli’s signature palate of wood finishes with copper accents and lighting to create a moody yet casual dining experience. The seating features diner style booths and tables with a clear view of the open kitchen.

Behind the Scenes

What started in 2005 with Indigo Deli Colaba, has today become the jugular vein of the city’s dining scene. At that time, deGustibus Hospitality (the promoting company) recognized the market potential of this segment as well as the need for a restaurant with retail concept, and thus became patrons of the concept of a delicatessen as a scalable and replicable module. The second Indigo Deli opened in the suburb of Andheri in 2008. The third and most ambitious 4.500-sq-ft Indigo Deli opened at Palladium in 2010, and has since become every shopper and yuppie’s favourite haunt, packing in nearly 500 diners a day. In 2012, the foodie paradise of Bandra saw the much-awaited opening of the city’s fourth Indigo Deli while the Ghatkopar outpost opened early 2013.

Do watch this space for a detailed food review of the newly opened Indigo Deli, Malad.

By Nivedita Jayaram Pawar


Vikas Khanna gives a Tasty Twist to the Shiro Menu

31 Jan

Kerala style prawn curry with red thai curry paste

Malabar style prawns in Thai curry, rasam powder drizzled Tom Kha and Madras curry powder infused lemon rice. These may sound like strange gastronomic combinations but they taste quite glorious in the mouth. Last evening I got a taste of Vikas Khanna’s coastal twist to Shiro’s Pan Asian menu. The result – a scrumptious, coconutty, earthy marriage! Here’s what you can expect from the Twist of Taste menu by Vikas Khanna, created exclusively for Shiro.

Panko crusted prawns rawa style

The evening began with the visually appealing tofu in paper baskets. Topped with tamarind chutney the crunchy tempura fried tofu cubes sit enticingly in crispy paper baskets. The chutney gives the dish a very chaat like vibe. The contrasting flavours just explode in your mouth. The baskets come with a side of shredded raw papaya salad and a chilli sweet dip. Make sure you mount the salad on the basket to tame the kick from the tamarind. Skip the dip.

 Lemon rice fried with peanuts

Lemon rice fried with peanuts

Next came the Xacuti masala grilled chicken rolled in rice paper. The rolls hold just the right amount of pieces of chicken, spices, tomato and lettuce. The sneaky heat of the xacuti masala is balanced by the greens. However the moisture from the chicken and the spices turn the covering a bit soggy. Maybe the kitchen could so something to make the lettuce hold its crunch till it reaches the table.

Xacuti masala grilled rice paper roll chicken

Xacuti masala grilled rice paper roll chicken

But the star dish on the menu is undoubtedly the rasam powder infused coconut and lemongrass soup. The salty, tangy, peppery heat of the rasam powder, the silky coconut milk and the mild kafir lime is harmony on the tongue.

Steamed fish in lotus leaf with malabar curry spices

Steamed fish in lotus leaf with malabar curry spices

Vikas Khanna’s malabari twist to the Basa cooked in lotus leaf was another revelation. The short menu has been kept simple and sprinkled with surprises. So while a typical red Thai curry get a coastal twist with tempering of curry leaves and mustard seeds, the Madras curry power elevates the Lemon fried rice to a different level.

Its note worthy how this cooking’s crossover star manages to pair the familiarity of the pan asian cuisine with his whimsy style.

The Twist Of Taste Menu by Vikas Khanna will be available at Shiro till 16th Feb. 

Tel: 022 266511207/022 66511208

Shoe salesman becomes country’s favourite restaurateur – The Story of Riyaaz Amlani

30 Jan

Riyaaz Amlani


“When you have conviction in a product, when it keeps you up at night and you dream about it, you should go ahead and do it. Never let even good advice interfere with your life” – Riyaaz Amlani

Who would have imagined that a 500-sq-ft coffee shop at Churchgate in Mumbai, furnished with rented furniture and limited resources in 2001, would clock sales of Rs 6 lakh a month and go on to become one of India’s most respected brands? Since then, 39-year-old Riyaaz Amlani has had the country eating out of his hands, with his 33-odd restaurants and cafés serving over 12,000 people a day. CEO and Managing Director of Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality Pvt Ltd (IEHPL), Amlani is not just a thorough home-bred restaurateur; he’s also one of the youngest. Excerpts from my recent interview with the dynamic restauranteur.

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A feature on Shekhar Suman’s home for Hindustan Times

27 Jan

Hindustan Times (Mumbai)

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