Ajay Chopra brings Veggistan – a cookery show for Veggie Lovers

29 Jul Chef Ajay Chopra @ the launch of Veggistan on NDTV Good Times (1)

Chef Ajay Chopra at the launch of Veggistan on NDTV Good Times

Chef Ajay Chopra at the launch of Veggistan on NDTV Good Times

Do you dread the question ‘what’s for dinner tonight’ after a tiring day at work? I do. It gets even more complicated if you are vegetarian.

Help is at hand. Chef Ajay Chopra, Executive chef at The Westin Mumbai is hosting a new cookery show – Veggistan featuring uncomplicated and easy to rustle up vegetarian dishes. A 100% vegetarian journey across 52 episodes, the show seeks to evoke the die-hard foodie and also the home grown cook to prepare a variety of vegetarian “easy-to-cook-at-home” dishes. In the series, Chef Ajay will showcase an all vegetarian menu with dishes that are not so common yet easy-to-prepare, while being inventive and exciting. Each episode will contain handy tips; focusing on cooking, food and health.

Finally Green Gets Its Glory!

Veggistan every Saturday at 7 PM only on NDTV Good Times

Go with the Pho

14 Jul


Though Vietnamese food has been threatening to take India by storm for the past few years, it has so far been more niche than nationwide. Now, finally, the cuisine is ready to battle for wider recognition.

By Nivedita Jayaram Pawar. Continue reading

The little Door to good times

11 Jul

The little door

It almost feels like you are entering the world of Alice in Wonderland as you step in through the small blue and white door. Once in you are greeted to a sunny place with lots of greens, stuccoes on the walls, colourful bottles dangling and pebbled pathways.

XL BurgerThe Little Door (TLD) is not just inventive in its décor but concept as well. The restaurant hosts a pop up store by designer Fenny Ganatra in the day. The store folds up at 6 pm to give way to a throbbing, pulsating resto lounge by night.

TLD’s compact menu channels the flavours of the Mediterranean, Spain and Italy. Dive in with Arancini Di Riso (Rs 277). The risotto balls stuffed with cheese and crumb fried manages to ferry the flavours of Italy via the cheese and warm pomodoro sauce. The Currages (Rs 187) which is charcoal grilled sausages makes an impact, perhaps because the meat includes an extra kick of red wine, which seems to amplify the entire dish. Interestingly TLD marries food and alcohol in a perfect matrimony. Like the Tequila Lime chicken (Rs 277). Accompanied by red cabbage and green onion slaw each bite is wicked with tequila, lime juice and Tabasco. The spirited journey continues with Champagne risotto (Rs 327).  The saffron-tinted creamy dish is good to the last spoonful.


When you may need to pause from the frenzy of meat and acquaint yourself with something light try the Bruschetta (Rs 147) with tomato, basil and mozzarella. The Trozos De Papa (Rs 133) is the Spanish version of wedges topped with sour cream and onion sauce. Portions ensure that you won’t leave hungry. One of the greatest pleasures at TLD is also one of its simplest: the burgers. Dunked in melted provolone and finished with leaves of green peas the hearty burgers feel as right as a bowl of hot soup on a cold rainy day. Going, going, gone.

Peppered Chicken Steak

But the dish I’m most eager to return for fuses Italy with Spain. Grilled shrimp and white fish tossed in chilly orange sauce and served with buttered rice is one of those brilliant combinations that keeps forks flying. A runner-up for my affections is the filling and fabulous Vodka Penne.

The bar dramatic with an illuminated wall of spirits sees more action than the Kumb Mela in December. Try TLD’s version of the famous Cosmopolitan – Podka (Rs 293), a medley of vodka, pomegranate and chilly syrup. In a mood to experiment? Go for the Whisktea (Rs 293) which is whiskey with Assam tea! There are ample choices for those who like to fake it – iced teas, ginger honey sodas and cucumber drinks.

Even if you are not a fan of the cuisine TLD is a fun place to indulge in one of the many fun nights. Put your bladder to test by downing unlimited beers only for Rs 393. But you can’t visit the washroom for those three hours!

The Little Door
B-31, Ground Floor, Shree Siddhivinayak Plaza, New Link Road, Andheri (W)
Tel: 022 2490 2068

Meal for two: Rs 1500-2000

By Nivedita Jayaram Pawar

Nawazuddin Siddiqui – Actor among the stars

11 Jun

nawaz2Nawazddin Siddiqui has come a long way from his ‘blink and you miss’ role in Sarfarosh to being the toast of tinsel town. He has managed to dazzle viewers everywhere with powerful performances in films like Peepli Live, Gangs of Wasseypur, Kahani and more recently the critically acclaimed Lunchbox.

When I met Nawazuddin at his Andheri residence he seemed relaxed and ready for the acclaim that’s pouring in.  But not too long ago, he had almost resigned to playing two minutes roles, until Black Friday came along. Excerpts from an interview…

Continue reading

Business with a Smile

29 May
Smile Please

Smile Please


What if you could get a perfect set of white teeth in just 15 minutes and that without having to undergo painful procedures at the dentist? Sounds wonderful, isn’t it? SmileBar India’s first-of-its kind lounge style Cosmetic Teeth Whitening facility delivers ‘whiter teeth’ in just 15 minutes. It guarantees up to 8 shades whiter teeth in a single treatment with a sensitivity free technology which is enamel safe as well.

Continue reading

Hindustan Times (Mumbai), May 24 2014. Page50

29 May
Hi friends
This is my latest story for Hindustan Times – a feature on Shaheen and Roshan Abbas’ penthouse. What a house – gorgeous, warm, and so positive, just like the couple who inhabit it!

Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
May 24 2014

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

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