Tag Archives: food review

Beach dining at Estella

8 Dec

You may not be able to slip off your shoes and sink your feet into the sand beneath your table but you can do the next best thing – of enjoying an outstanding meal while being serenaded by the lovely sea breeze and the magnificent sunset at Juhu beach at Estella the newest restaurant in town.

estella-bar

The bar at Estella

Undoubtedly dining beneath the stars, with the sound of the tide nearby, heightens the sensuality of an already pleasurable meal. Estella is upscale but casual with superb service to boot. The modern Australian meal served here encourages you to linger on, while soaking up the ocean views and some great people watching on the beach.

I loved the bread basket with zaatar bread, sundried tomato focaccia and the chedder cheese straws served with smoked hazelnut butter and herb garlic butter. It’s easy to stuff up on them if you don’t know what’s coming next

estella-scallops

Grilled scallops with miso honey cream and carrot foam

 

The grilled scallops with miso honey cream and carrot foam is exquisite. The presentation too is breathtaking. The seafood al ajilio (with clams, shrimps and scallops) is another must try here. The sherry saffron garlic butter sauce is quite addictive.

lamb-at-estella

Lamb on spinach and flaky pastry

 

The star of the show for me was the lamb served on a bed of spinach and flaky puff pastry. The banana and caramel parfait with tangy kiwi marmalade was delightfully reticent in sugariness.

estella-dessert

Plum and frangipani tart

 

If you drink go for the Yuzu Sour which is a bitter, sour and sweet drink of singleton of ord malt with Japanese yuzu.

we-at-estella

Surya and me at Estella

 

In Estella I have found my wedding anniversary spot (which is approaching soon). It’s romantic and the music is kept low, so we can hear each other venting.

Estella, Nichani Kutir, Juhu Tara Road, Mumbai. Open only for dinner. Meal for two: Rs 5000

NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR

 

Bangla Food fest at Sofitel Mumbai BKC

22 Mar
Chitol Macher Kalia at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Chitol Macher Kalia

As much as I crave a good sambar rice, I hanker for Ilish Bhapa with equal fervor. My love for Bengali food often sees me land uninvited to Bengali homes. I unabashedly ask for leftovers of macher johol (yes they taste better the next day) and even tag along with Bengali friends to Durga Puja for the mahaprasad of khichuri and bhaja. So when I heard Sofitel Mumbai BKC had a East Bengal / Bangladesh food festival I did the obvious – drove there and ate till I was in food coma!

East Bengal/ Bangladeshi food is very similar to West Bengal barring the fact that Bangladeshi food has a slight Mughlai touch. Both cuisine favour fish and the use of mustard and poppy seeds are similar. The food festival at Novotel is put together by chef Sirajul from Novotel Kolkata.

Chicken Kabiraj at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Chicken Kabiraj

We started with a non vegetarian snack – Chicken Kabiraj. It’s a cutlet made with minced chicken and spices dipped in egg and coated with breadcrumbs. Like other chop cutlets, this recipe too is the result of British influence on the Bengali cuisine. Needless to say it was crunchy on the outside and succulent inside. Though I missed Illish bhapa  one of my favourite Bengali dishes, I was glad to see another favourite – Kosha Mangsho – a mutton dish. The perfectly cooked, juicy meat had a Mughlai touch with the use of whole spices and a thin layer of oil floating over it. Yummy. The Katla Macher Kalia (fish curry) was heady from the mustard seeds, nigella seeds, chillies and ginger paste.

Jhinge Aloo Poshto at the Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Jhinge Aloo Phosto

The amount of respect Bengalis pay to vegetables is unprecedented. Simple ridgegaurd is elevated with the use of poppy seeds and mustard paste in Jinghe Posto. It goes beautifully with steamed rice. The simple yellow dal tempered with mustard seeds is akin to the Maharashtrian waran with strong hints of ghee.

Bongs love to have their fish in unthinkable ways. Apart from frying, steaming, baking and dunking it in gravies they also put it in pulao! The Ilish Polao a great combination of spicy Ilish with rice was full of depth. Though Bengali food is known for its liberal use of green chilies, and Bangladesh in particular is famed for having some of the hottest dishes in the world, the dishes at the food festival have been toned down to suit various palates. Among the desserts I loved the misti doi and gurer kheer.

Dessert platter - Mohan Bhog, Malai Sandwich & Mishti Doi at the Bangladeshi food festival at Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Mohan Bhog, Malai sandwich and Mhisti Doi

Pondicherry Café the venue of the festival is dressed in Bangla fervor with a cycle tonga at the entrance, terracotta pots and jhal muri cycles.

Where: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Date: 18th to 27th March 2016

Time: Lunch – 12:30 pm onwards and Dinner – 7:00 pm onwards

Price: Rs 3,400 (all inclusive)

For reservations, call +91 (22) 6117 5115

NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR

 

Restaurant Review – Toast, T24 Hotel

16 Feb
low res Lemongrass Skewered Chargrilled Prawns with SomTam Salad at Toast

Somtam salad with lemongrass skewered prawns

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!

12457759_44_zCosy 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.

t24-residency

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.

low res Capriccio Bruschetta at Toast

Bruschetta 

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.

lOW RES Accompaninents served at TOAST

Accompaniments to a meal at Toast

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.

low res Cocktail T-SOUR at TOAST

Whiskey Sour

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.

COST: Rs 2500 for two with alcohol.

 

NIVEDITA JAYARAM PAWAR

 

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