I love a good brunch. Who doesn’t? The playful dance between breakfast and lunch, sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week and allows you to lull around in bed for hours after waking and still get all your favourite breakfast foods. It’s also a great reward to a good workout. Nothing like working up a good sweat and then eating some good food.
But what makes brunch at one of your favourite restaurants even better is when it’s a co-creation between the chef and a well-known foodie and celebrity. The Desi Deli Sunday brunch is one such delight.
Hot or cold, thin or fat, round or square, cheesy or saucy – there is nothing like a pizza meal. What’s not to like about a hot, freshly baked pizza, with its crispy edges and soft centre, moist with tomato sauce?
Toast takes a little finding, but it’s worth the detective work and justifies the rush hour traffic you’ll have to tackle just to get to this rooftop bistro, where you’re greeted by glorious lighting, mason jars, a shelf full of books, quirky mismatched chairs, exposed brick walls and funny Bollywood one-liners!
Cosy nooks make it ideal for a relaxed date – your call whether views of airplanes taking off into the distance are romantic or not. There are plenty of larger tables for group of friends. But bring people you like, Toast is too good to waste on a polite drink with the office.
WHAT’S HOT: Toast dresses familiar food in a fancy garb. So the chicken lasuni tikka comes cocooned in a phylo pastry shell, mushroom soup in a cappuccino cup, fries in egg coddler and prawns tempura on a bed of fried wantons. The ‘hero’ dish is the crispy fried calamari on a bed of arugula leaves. Tender meat behind a crackling coating. Among the mains the spaghetti with garlic, chilli and parmesan is delicious in its simplicity. Indian dishes are accompanied by a choice roti/rice, dal and salad.
The bar here is staffed by folks who won’t collapse like a soufflé when you move beyond signature drinks. This is rarer than you think in Mumbai, where there are cocktails, cocktails, everywhere and not a drop to drink. My favourite here is T-Sour which makes good use of the scotch bourbon along with sour mix, egg Nog and bitters. Tequila based Candy Crush is for those who like their drink sweet and sour.
On my return to I’ll definitely reorder the chocolate pudding with a gooey centre. This time I would refuse to share my dessert, an excellent, chocolate pudding zinging with fresh Belgium chocolate lava. I made that mistake the first time and quickly saw my error as it vanished into a rival gob.
WHAT’S NOT: Not everything at Toast is a triumph: the beetroot risotto lacked the cheesiness or any specific oomph, even if it looked glorious.
HOW TO GET THERE: Marol, Andheri (E), 2 mins walk from Airport Road Metro Station. Tel: 29203818.
Butter chicken is one of my favourite dishes in the world. But you can never have this dish on the go. So I was thrilled to find a easy, delicious, ‘on the go’ version of the dish. My latest culinary find is Naan Pockets from Go Biryan the biryani specialists in Andheri and Bandra.
What’s not to like about the legendary butter chicken cocooned inside a soft naan? The naan pockets are stuffed with cheese before flipping them in the tandoor. They are then loaded with the filling. The naan is not chewy or rubbery as they are made from a mix of wheat and maida. And since I had the pockets an hour after they left the Bandra outlet they were a little soggy but flavoursome nevertheless.
The Vegetable Lahori pocket (Rs 180) was spicy with a touch of garam masala, green chillies and chopped onions for added crunch. The Paneer Makhni (Rs 200) was satisfyingly creamy. Though the non-vegetarian pockets – Butter chicken (Rs 220) and Bhuna Chicken (Rs 220) were bullied by extra salt they felt fresh and had some depth of flavour.
While there do try their chocolate mousse (Rs 70). Served in a tapri chai glass it’s dense, rich and smooth, but at the same time airy and light.
Coming back to the naan pockets – they feel at once new and yet familiar. They are ideal for that 6 pm hunger pangs when you want to eat something that leaves you with a ‘filled’ but not stuffed feeling. What more could you ask for?
Where: Go Biryan Bandra and Andheri Price: Rs 180-240 Tel: For Bandra – 02226048844/ 02269948844.
For Andheri – 02226348844/02265348844
Andheri’s first microbrewery is yet to serve freshly brewed beer, but the food here makes for a compelling visit. The two-storey Brewbot is achingly hip in an unpretentious way – open brickwork walls, quirky bot quotes and installations and a factory meets brewery décor. The low lit eatery gets progressively moody as the evening evolves with loud music and a more boisterous crowd. The beer vats on display add to the allure. There’s an al fresco section on the ground level, which opens to a main bar and dining area. But if you want to sit among gigantic steel beer vats head to the first level which is spacious and quieter.
The latest entrant on the restaurant scene in Andheri –Treesome Café has a lot in its favour: good looks, sunny service, a sexy crowd and a handful of great tasting dishes.
The space is simple yet pleasant with bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling, exposed air-conditioning ducts, warm wooden flooring and two plasma screens. Get there before 10 pm to avoid jostling with the crowd and head straight for the alfresco area if you want to avoid screaming through the high decibel levels.
What’s Hot: It’s the food that steals the show at Treesome. I tried the Jolly Goan –perfectly spiced sausages served with small buns on a grey slate. Can a funky café do justice to the quintessential Mumbai street food Kheema Pav? Thankfully Treesome does.
The mutton mince is so moist and creamy that it just melts in the mouth. Butter chicken risotto may sound like an unholy matrimony but it does a jig on the tongue. The silky smooth Arborio rice is flecked with chicken and accompanied by grilled chicken on the side. I also enjoyed the Chicken Gangnam Style which is skewered chicken served in a tapri chai glass along with honey chili dip. The man behind the funky preparations is Chef Rohan D’souza who’s trained under British celebrity chef Marco Pierre White. The menu also includes pizza, burgers, mains and a whole lot of funk.
Those looking for spirited indulgences can go for the Cucumber Cooler where the vodka finds itself muddled with sugar, lime, mint leaves and fresh cucumber. Want something chatpata? Try the tequila based Guava Twist which get’s a wicked kick from the Worchester sauce and Tabasco.
What’s not: I like soft lighting but I don’t want to bring a miner’s hat to read the menu! Can we have more lights please?
By the way the café gets its name from the fig tree outside…what did you think?
The Treesome Cafe
Jewel Shopping Centre, Next to WTF!, Seven Bungalows, Versova. Andheri (West). Tel: 022 2636 5554
Biryani buffs often argue on the merits of Hyderabadi biryani versus lucknowi biryani. Now add Bohri Biryani to the battle!
I stumbled upon this biryani last week and found it to be the one of the best biryanis I have ever had. The rice packed flavour and the meat was delicately spiced. The slow-cooked, saffron-laced box of happiness came topped with browned onions and accompanied with raita.
Le Berian is a Bohri style Biryani delivery outlet in Lokhandwala, Andheri. I tried 5 varieties of biryani (yes I am a glutton for biryani) and found the Afghan Tikka (Rs 220) to be the best. Unlike the Hyderabadi or Lucknowi biryani this one’s far more moist and flavourful. The masala layer at the bottom was topped with yellow rice and then a layer of white rice. The meat was succulent as if marinated overnight and the brown onions imparted a subtle aftertaste.
I also loved the Lamb Tikka Biryani (Rs 240). The Butter Chicken Biryani (Rs 220) was strictly ok. I am not a big paneer fan but Paneer Makhni Biryani (Rs 180) could be a great option for the vegetarians. The paneer was fresh and the spices were not too over powering. However the raita could have been a little more creamy.
Le Berian is the brainchild of Chef Mohammed Bhol whose family has been running a successful biryani catering business for the last four decades. The 29 year old who previously manned the kitchens of 212 at Worli, LPQ and Café Sundance decided to brand the community food and retail it. And thank god he did!