Unwraping Christmas feasts in Mumbai

Christmas menu at JW Marriott Juhu

It’s Christmas time. Will it be mistletoe, wine and the same meal you have every year? Before you drive home for Christmas try one of my favourite restaurants for their special Christmas spread.

Gaylord, Churchgate, Mumbai
This year, Gaylord’s Christmas menu holds the irresistible beer batter prawns. Perfectly fried to a golden yellow, the crispy casing holds the freshest jumbo prawns alongside buttered peas and carrots. Other dishes on the menu include Chicken Marina, Baked Aubergines, Dum Gosht Biryani, Shakarkandi Kebab, etc. I absolutely loved the Makhmali Kumbh (tandoori mushrooms stuffed with goat cheese). My favourite experience here is to enjoy a sizzler in the alfresco area. Not only does the theatre of it turn heads and stop conversation, but it’s an immediate winter warmer like no other type of dish.

Beer Batter prawns at Gaylord

Where: Gaylords, Veer Nariman Road, Churchgate, Mumbai 400020. 022 2282 1259

When: 24th December – 3rd January, 2016

Cost: Meal for two (without alcohol) – Approx Rs 1800 + plus taxes

Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra
Roast turkey will be the star attraction on Christmas Day Brunch at Olive. Jazz lovers should mark Wednesday, December 23 when Mallika Barot will be belting out Christmas themed renditions of classic jazz songs, as well as some original numbers. Traditional Christmas cocktails like Egg Nog will be served alongside the Throwback bar menu, at significantly reduced prices. The décor will be reminiscent of a snowy Christmas.

resized Olive Bar & Kitchen - Confit Asparagus with crispy Egg & Kaffir
Confit Asparagus with crispy Egg & kafir  at Olive 

Where: Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra, 14, Union Park, Khar (W).Mumbai – 400052. Tel: +91 22 4340 8229

Cost: Rs. 2750

JW Mariott Mumbai Sahar
JW’s all day dining restaurant –JW Cafe –  will be hosting a Christmas brunch on the 25th with roast turkey, leg of lamb and sweet potato galette. Romano’s, the hotel’s Italian restaurant will also be serving a brunch with dishes like Parma ham scallops and gnocchi fritto.

Where: JW Marriott Hotel Mumbai Sahar, IA Project Road, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai Sahar, Andheri East. Mumbai,
Tel: 022 33956232
Cost: Rs 2500 – JW Café, Rs 3500 – Romano.

Olive Bistro - Mulled Wine

I met the Demon Chef at JW Marriott Michelin pop up

Why would a chef call himself ‘The Demon Chef,’ I wondered as I drove to JW Marriott Juhu for the second edition of the Michelin pop up with three star Michelin chef Alvin Leung. Was he ill-tempered? Maybe he looked…you know… or maybe he’s demonic in the kitchen…all these thoughts crossed my mind as I entered Spices our venue for the chef’s table.

As I took my seat I kept turning towards the open kitchen at the back to catch a glimpse of the Demon Chef but all I saw was a rock star looking guy with a funky hairdo. Could this be the chef? Well he definitely was! I decided to reserve my questions (and my judgement) for later and get down to doing what I do best – eat!

Chef Leung doesn’t look like the average Chinese chef and that’s probably because he isn’t. He’s doing to Asian food what Ferran Adrià is doing to Spanish and European food. Chef Leung has invented what he calls ‘Xtreme Chinese’ where he presents heirloom Chinese dishes with a modern twist. Newer ingredients, innovative cooking techniques, dramatic presentations and novel tastes – that’s Chef Leung’s forte.

The first course of dim sums was refreshing. I loved the shrimp dumpling with truffle on top. It was miraculously light with a translucent skin. The Sichuan lamb dumpling was filled with a soup that shot out when you pierced the casing. Chef Leung deconstructs traditional Chinese food and brings them back in a completely different form. So the dishes taste new but not without a strong sense of déjà vu. It shocks you in the beginning but delights you in the end.

pic5The best dish for me was the delicately poached lobster on a bed of spicy Sichuan hollandaise and chilli sauce. The dish stunning to look at, was a veritable explosion of flavours, colours and textures.  Interestingly this tattooed demon chef is one of the only two self-taught chefs in charge of a professional kitchen that has ever received Michelin stars, with the other being Heston Blumenthal. Impressive.

pic6The next course of organic chicken with Arborio rice, wood ear fungus and sand ginger cream was sublime and beautifully presented. Though the rice had a nice bite and the chicken a crispy skin, the ginger cream lacked a punch. I missed a strong element in the dish.  The concluding course of coconut ice-cream with glazed pineapple and tapioca pearls was delectable.

pic7For the Michellin popup at JW Marriott Juhu Chef Leung has consciously raised the heat bar. “I won’t call it spicy but I did turn on the heat a little for Indian palate. But hot doesn’t necessarily have to be more chillies,” he added. Carving a dish out of the Mumbai stable the Bombay Duck is something the chef is toying with.

Leung’s dishes are not without the drama. So expect fumes, powders, foams, unrecognisable reductions and scientist like cooking methods. But despite all that Leung’s food is what food should be – tasty!

IMG_1350At the end of the meal the demon presented himself and I couldn’t help but notice the calm on the chef’s face. After all, the first night (which is generally the most difficult) was done with and he was now facing a bunch of happy diners.

So why does he call himself the demon chef? “Well not all demons are bad. Moreover nice is boring,” says Hong Kong’s most innovative chef. I agree.

Michelin pop up at JW Marriott

Date: 25th-28th Nov, 2015

Service: Lunch & Dinner

Price: 4500 per person+ taxes(without alcohol)


6 Singapore dishes you must try

Singapore is a foodie’s delight. I realised that on my recent visit to the island nation. From hawkers to upscale restaurants Singapore tantalises the taste buds with its variety and unique flavours. While chilli crab, Nasi Goreng and Laksa remain my all time favourites I also like some modern interpretations of classic dishes. I love the straight forward, non-fussy nature of this cuisine and also the dipping sauces – dark soy sauce, chili with garlic, and pounded ginger.

I revisited my favourite Singaporean dishes at the JW Marriott Juhu, Mumbai which is hoisting a 10 day Singapore Food Festival. Singapore Marriott’s Sous Chef, Chef Thanabalan Chandrasekaran has been specially flown down for the festival buffet which comprises of classic dishes, street food and modern interpretation of traditional cuisine. The famous Singapore Sling is served complimentary to every guest.

Chef Thanabalan, food, Singapore, JW Marriott
Chef Thanabalan

So here are some of Singapore’s most iconic dishes (my favourites too) which you ought to try

Singapore chili crab

Singapore, chilli crab, crab, food, spicy, street food, asian food
Singapore Chilli Crab

I couldn’t have enough of this wok fried sweet and chilly crab dish. Justifiably Singapore’s national dish it’s available in numerous variations – black pepper, salted egg yolk, cheese-baked, etc but chili crab is by far the bestseller. It’s messy as hell but I love to get mop up every last drop with mantou buns.


Laksa, singapore, food, Asian food, soup, prawns

I love this soupy dish of rice vermicelli dunked in spicy coconut milk flavoured with dried shrimp and sambal chilli. Some versions also have bean curd and sprouts. Toppings include boiled egg, chicken and prawns. Eat it or slurp it down, either ways it’s irresistible.

Gado gado

salad, Gado Gado, food, Singapore, Asian
Gado Gado

What’s not to like about a mixed salad with tofu, hard boiled eggs and dressed in a spicy and aromatic peanut sauce? Topped with crunchy prawn crackers it’s a complete one dish meal. By the way Gado simply means ‘mix mix’.

Mutton rendang

Mutton Rendang, Singapore, food, Malaysian, Asian, spicy
Mutton Rendang

There are mutton dishes and then there is rendang. This slow cooked spicy mutton made with coconut is a triumph of flavours with lime leaves, nutmeg and cloves. The crucial reduction process allows the absorption of the spices into the meat yet not over-drying it. The end result is a semi dry dish best had with plain hot rice.

Rojak Petis

Singapore, food, salad, fruits, spicy, Malaysian
Rojak Petis

This sweet, spicy and sour fruit and vegetable salad is a popular street food in Singapore. The prawn based brown sauce dressing, crushed peanuts and grated ginger add a wicked kick to this humble dish.

Mee Goreng

Mee Gorang, Singapore food, noodles, Asian food
Mee Goreng

This simple wok fried noodle dish was my comfort food in Singapore. The fiery looking noodles are tossed in chilli paste, tomato sauce and dark sauce and fried just right – not too dry and not too oily. So what sets a Mee Goreng apart from a regular noodle dish? The dish uses yellow egg noodles and the potent sambal sauce along with fried egg, sliced chicken, minced mutton, squid, spring onions and onions.

What: Singapore Food Festival

Where: Restaurant: Lotus Café, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

Dates: 17th August – 31st August 2015

Time: Dinner- 7:00 – 11:00 pm

Pricing: INR 2400 per head all inclusive

Tel: 022 6693 3277.

Review of Romano, JW Marriott, Sahar

Your eyes don’t know where to focus at Romano, the Italian restaurant at the newly launched JW Marriott, Sahar. The dining room walls are moody in grey and black; illuminated with jewel-like chandeliers and high ceiling. A wooden staircase leading to the bar upstairs adds warmth to the otherwise rustic setting. Romano feels personal despite its size and ambition.

Private Dining area

If you want to start the evening off with a cocktail ask for a Romajito which is an interesting twist on the Mojito. Whiskeys are smoked and stored in cute little casks. Romano cultivates its own greens.

Continue reading “Review of Romano, JW Marriott, Sahar”