All Aboard the Mumbai Local

Mumbai for me was all about holidays especially in the summer break as I had family there. It’s a city I have visited all my life and food was always the highlight of all my visits. When I heard that there is a new restaurant in town and it’s called Mumbai Local I was quite intrigued. This delightful venture has been bought to us by the team behind Gabbar’s, so expect all the little Molecular Quirks and Fantastic beverages that have now become synonymous with dining at Gabbar’s .

I had the privilege of being invited to Mumbai Local by Harsh Sonthalia for a preview and set off a couple of evenings back quite excited. The interiors are wonderful …. the murals on the walls make it an all-out Selfie Zone and the attention to detail really stands out. All the iconic images we associate with Mumbai are beautifully depicted. This place also has a semi-alfresco feel as it has part of the roof made with transparent glass so you have the best of both worlds… air-conditioned comfort but under the skies. Even the Menu is worth a second glance, I loved the Mumbai themed drawings and all the quirky names the dishes have been given.

As a food enthusiast it’s always the food that is the highlight for me and I confess I had kept my opinion on this in reserve because Mumbai Local serves Vegetarian fare only. As the evening unfolded I loved my meal so much that even a hardcore non-vegetarian like me did not feel I was missing out. I was too busy stuffing myself with all the yummy food being served.

The presentation and taste of the beverages were excellent. We tasted a whole lot of them, the opening act called Bawaji ka Thullu was served up in a miniature hand cart and reminded me of the “Icy Pepsi”(not the bottled soft drink) …. It delighted me to the core and took me right back to my childhood when this was such a forbidden pleasure. Rapchik Raspberry their tribute to Mumbai Parsi’s and Ganga Jamuna both of which were served up in quaint old fashioned “banta bottles” had a citrus touch. Chowpatty Gola , Lights ,Camera , Action and Bachelor’s Milkshake followed and they were great to taste. The photography buff in me loved that “Lights,Camera,Action” was served in a glass shaped like a camera lens.

The food followed shortly thereafter and our first focus was the Mumbai Specials referred to as “Faadu Items” in their Menu. We began with everyone’s favorite Chowpatty Pani Puri which also has the option of Sharaabi Pani Puri which was Vodka infused, next came the MumBaicha Vada Pav again with a twist the Pav was a charcoal flavor looked striking and tasted great …. Loved them both. The Pav Bhaji Mastani which comes in a “DIY Style” was yummy and fun to assemble and eat. Mamaji’s Grill Sandwis ( it has been intentionally spelt that way in their Menu) took me right back to Aamchi Mumbai …. and I already want more of it. But the show stealer for me was the Dhobi Ghat Channa Bhatura …. fantastic plating and great taste I am  going to order this one again on future visits.

We were also served from their Dosa Section that they called Khao Galli Dosas … the Mysore Masala was lovely and the Schezwan Chow Chow with a filling of Spicy Noodles and Veggies packed a punch. The chutneys that accompanied the dosas were well prepared.

By now as you can imagine I was stuffed but we still had a few things coming our way. The special mains have some unusual and delicious dishes and as full as I was the Parsi in me was excited at the thought of Rustom’s Favorite Dhansak and Berry nu Pulao. The berry pulao had lovely fragrant rice with a hint of sweetness from the berries. The Dhansak totally got the Bawa in me into overdrive … really good Dhansak perhaps one of the nicest I have had in Kolkata served up in a cute tiffin dabba with lovely Caramelized Rice and absolutely delicious Crispy Okra. For all my friends who keep asking me where they can get good Dhansak in Kolkata I finally have an answer … at Mumbai Local! We also tasted a Multi Grain Khichdi (in case you’re looking for a healthy option), now I am not a Khichdi fan but I really enjoyed it more so because I loved the box of Condiments that came with it which helped bring out many different flavors from the Khichdi , great for a rainy day.

Finally just when I was about to go into food coma the desserts came out and there went my resolve to eat nothing more. First came the beautiful, elegant Aam Mille Fuile which was delicate and delicious. This was followed up by Happy Birthday …. totally lives up to its name and believe me even if it’s not your birthday you will feel like it is when you get your hands on this one. I will just add that it has cake and chocolate but I am not going to give away the twist behind this one … please go and order it and let yourself be surprised. Lastly came the beautiful and stunning Madh Island …. Chocolate lovers be warned this one will thrill you … such a pretty dessert and delicious, the perfect way to end dinner. But wait there was one more lovely little surprise …. Pan flavored Candy Floss which was really nice and was presented to our table on a little tree that you can pluck it from and pop into your mouth.

The rest of the menu has all the usual Indian and Chinese options so no one is left wanting. An ideal place to visit with family and friends for lunch or dinner. If it’s the perfect balance of fun dining on fine food that you’re looking for then this place deserves a visit.

Mumbai Local has reached its destination. Go and board it so your Gastronomic Journey can begin!

Address: 19 Ballygunge Park Road, Kolkata.

Telephone: 033-40670123

 

PICTURE CREDITS :  Suneha Saha

DISCLAIMER: The author was invited as a guest of the Management.

 
Mumbai Local Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beijing

I have been a regular visitor to Tangra , Kolkata’s Chinatown for a quarter of a century. My favorite eatery in those days was Kim Ling opened in the early 1990’s by Monica Liu , “The Queen of Tangra” as she has been dubbed. This formidable lady is a true ode to “woman power” and is someone who I greatly respect and admire. Today her “culinary kingdom” consists of five restaurants all extremely successful and serving up the famed “Tangra Chinese Cuisine” that the City of Joy is known for … yes Kolkata’s love affair with Chinese food carries on unabated.

Beijing was opened up almost a decade after Kim Ling. I love the food they serve and I visit fairly often. The service is prompt, the food is fresh and hot and the green chili sauce to die for … it’s literally the only time I voluntarily eat spicy fare.

I thoroughly enjoy the starters here and often opt for Starters and Soup for my meal. I love the Thai Soup and recommend it …. lovely bold flavors…so very good in the monsoon and winter months. During the muggy summers I reckon a beer would be a better bet! The starters I like are Fried Chicken Wantons , Spring Chicken , Crispy Chili Baby Corn , Drums of Heaven , Honey Chicken and the unbelievable Chili Garlic Crab Claws which is my must order dish but beware it’s not always available.

If you do have place for the Main course and I confess I often don’t, there are two dishes that I will recommend. The Meifoon (Rice Noodles …. Slightly thinner than the regular Hakka Noodles we order) and during winter or on a rainy day the Cantonese Rice which is basically steamed rice with a delicious Cantonese gravy of fresh vegetables and your choice of protein (if your non-vegetarian)… its absolute soul food. Good choices to accompany the above are Chilli Chicken, Chilli Garlic Prawn, Pepper Prawn, Lemon Chicken, or Peking Fish. For the vegetarians the Manchurian or Stir Fried Vegetables are your best bet.

End this feast down with their Tutti Frutti which balances all the spice and stagger home content and satiated. There are also a couple of other options for dessert available but I usually stick with ice-cream. With barely a couple of thousand Chinese left in Tangra (many migrated after they were forced to shut down their Tanneries and shift to Bantala) there are now rows of restaurants that have come up as an alternate family business in Tangra but Monica Liu and Kimling and Beijing will always hold a special place in my heart.


Beijing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

STONE – BEING AND BECOMING

Kounteya Sinha is an artist who weaves his magic not with the brush but with the lens of his camera. He is truly gifted with “the eye” and has the striking ability to see depths and dimensions in simple everyday objects and people that we never possibly could. His photographs are stunning and striking and at times gut-wrenching but always beautiful and they hypnotize you.

His latest exhibition is STONE – BEING AND BECOMING

What struck a deep chord with me personally is how STONE has actually perfectly captured our devolution and indifference as a society ….. and how stones, bricks and walls are the silent sentinels to have witnessed this. Truly if they could speak what stories they could tell and if only we would listen what lessons we could learn. The photographs induce such myriad emotions within you that you are moved beyond measure.

What an incredible journey this must have been showcased by over 60 spectacular photographs documenting a 95,000 km journey spanning over 25 countries in 440 days, exploring and capturing the romance of being static — the story of a rock becoming an astounding architectural wonder to the metamorphosis of human beings turning to stone – the phenomenon of unfeeling.

Words will not do these stunning photographs justice so I would urge you to visit and soak them in personally, to stand in front of them, drink them in and imprint them on your mind.

The venue of the exhibition is at The Harrington Street Arts Centre; 8, Ho Chi Minh Sarani; Opposite The American Consulate, Next to ICCR, 2nd Floor, Kolkata. The event is from 25th June to 6th July, 2016 from 12 noon to 7pm.

 

Disclaimer : All the photographs have been shot by Kounteya Sinha and have been used with his permission for my blog.

IFTAR @ ALFRESCO

I have always believed that memories and associations play a great role in our choice of food. My earliest years and fond memories are of my maternal Grandparent’s home in Dharamtolla Street where the call of the muezzins would herald daybreak and Eid would mean standing on the balcony of their home looking down at the devout in their prayers and for a child it was a fascinating canvas. This child was also however a foodie and Ramzan would mean daily treats of the delicious Pakoras of all kinds or if we were lucky the highly prized Mutton Pati Samosa that we would gobble down with glasses of Khus Sherbet. On other occasions came the Haleem which was devoured with equal gusto.

Iftar is one of the religious observances of Ramadan and is often done as a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib time, which is around sunset. Traditionally but not mandatory, three dates are eaten to break the fast. I was delighted when The Lalit Great Eastern invited me to sample their Iftari Dinner Buffet that was curated by their Executive Chef Madhumita and her Team at Alfresco.

The evening was graced by Mr. Shahenshah Mirza,the descendant of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last ruler of Awadh and his wife Mrs.Fatima Mirza, Mr. and Mrs. Imran Zaki, Ms. Shradha Agarwal, to name a few and what followed were great conversations over some outstanding food.

The spread was staggering to say the least …… we opened our innings with a refreshing Roohafza along with some fresh fruits and an assortment of dry fruits. This was followed by an assortment of fried snacks like Piazu , Aloo Chop , Egg Pakoda and Kheema Pakora which are an integral part of the Iftar spread.

There were salads with a predominant Moroccan theme including Fatoush and Couscous and there were non-vegetarian varieties as well along with a lovely Mezze Bar which had all the bells and whistles including Falafel, Hummus and Babaganoush. Soups and a wonderfully laden Bread counter were there too.

However as its not humanly possible to have eaten so much so I sensibly headed for exactly what had enticed me here… the Iftar Delicacies. There were Live counters for Haleem both Mutton and a Vegetarian version which is surprisingly good ,  However the star of the show for me is the super Mutton Haleem they put up … great consistency, robust flavors which explode on your taste buds I absolutely loved it. There was also some lovely Kheema Pav , Ghugni and yes they had a non-vegetarian one and then the actual buffet with a huge spread including Dum Biryani , Mutton Khichada , Nihari , Rohu Fish Rezala and Turkish Grilled Chicken. There were also numerous Vegetarian options there though to be honest I did not have the space to taste them. The Khichada was delicious great texture to the keema and rice perfectly cooked with a lovely rustic flavor and the Nihari was gorgeous…. warm, comforting, soft mutton falling off the bone.

By now we were so stuffed we could all hardly breathe but the desserts were calling out and we succumbed to their lure. The Kheer and Firni were both very good and I was very happy to spot Baklava which I love. There were numerous others that regretfully I was too full to taste.

I thought it was a deliciously clever way to give the traditional buffet spread a contemporary twist by adding Moroccan and Lebanese dishes which made for an interesting fusion. This place is not to be missed if you want to be served all the delights of Iftar during Ramzan …. And believe me I have had the Haleem two years in a row and I can’t wait to go have some more!


Alfresco - The Lalit Great Eastern Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BARCELOS

I was invited to Barcelos the week it opened up in Kolkata but regretfully due to work commitments could not go. Since then it was on my wishlist and a few days back after watching a movie at Acropolis Mall we finally made it to dinner there.

I had heard mixed reviews from my friends who had eaten there but as always I visited with an open mind. To start with a bit about Barcelos … it’s a three decade old International Chain that specializes in Portuguese Peri Peri Grilled Chicken. They started operations in Pretoria (South Africa) and have since spread out globally across sixteen countries. They have four kinds of Peri Peri Sauce – three with progressive degrees of heat and a lemon Peri Peri which was my preference as I can’t have too much spice.

We walked in and I loved the décor …. Its warm and comforting and the staff are quite welcoming. We like our wings and that was what we ordered a four piece portion of Chicken Wings in the Tangy Lemon Peri Peri Sauce. They arrived fairly quickly on a well presented platter and we tucked in. I personally like my Chicken well done with a little extra char but to be fair I had not specified that. The wings were juicy and large and I think most people would have liked them. Next time I will remember to ask for my chicken to be a bit more well-done. We also ordered one of their Molecular Cocktails the Kiwi Kooler which I really enjoyed and yes the “molecular special effects “certainly added to the oomph factor.

For our Main Course I ordered up one of their Signature dishes Grilled Himalayan Trout with a side of Mashed Potatoes. The fish was lovely, fresh and perfectly cooked and the mashed potatoes were great and paired beautifully with the fish. We also ordered a Chicken Burger with Regular Fries. The good part about the burger was its size and the quality of the chicken patty …. Regretfully however it was a bit under seasoned but what I did not like was just way too much mayo in the burger. The bread was also a little dry which surprised me, the fries however were delicious. Portion sizes are generous and presentation is simple and highlights the dish.

We were looking forward to the Tiramisu for dessert but to our bad luck it was not available so we settled for the Tooty Fruity Sundae. Great presentation and generous amounts of ice-cream but it certainly needs more fruit in it and greater variety of fruit would add to the taste.

One dish I missed out on and will try on my next visit will be the Chicken Liver with Garlic Roll and the Tiramisu.

For those of you who like Peri Peri …. the Tangy Lemon , Mild Peri , Veri Peri and Supa Peri Sauces are calling out to you.


Barcelos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

6 BALLYGUNGE PLACE

Though I am not a Bengali I absolutely love Kolkata ( I was born here) and I adore Bengali Food. Regretfully its not cooked at home very often so I usually like to head to 6 Ballygunge Place my cravings attack. I recently visited with my family and had a superb dinner there.

This place has had a makeover fairly recently and is nice and brightly done up. Loved all the colorful traditional fans and loved the specially designed plates laid out on each table. I felt the table could have been a bit larger to accommodate all the food we wanted to order (LOL) but otherwise it was a very pleasing ambiance.

We started our meal with Aamporar Shorbot which was tangy and refreshing and a perfect way to embark on our journey of gluttony. We did not want too many starters so we ordered our perennial favorite Gondhoraj Chicken which was as usual absolutely outstanding. This is a must order dish for me or my visit is incomplete and it was cooked to perfection.

Our main course comprised of Jhur Jhure Aloo Bhaja , Moong Mohan Dal , Dab Chingri (Prawns) , Ilish Paturi (Hilsa) , Bhuna Mangsho ( Mutton) , Kaju Kismis Pulao and Loochi. In my defense I said we were really hungry ! The Prawns were heavenly …. Juicy and perfectly cooked. The Ilish Mach delicious and the fact that it was boneless made it easier to gobble up. The Bhuna Mangsho was very good , mutton was cooked well nice and soft and I loved the gravy it went well with the Rice. All our staples were spot on and went well with our dishes of choice.

Naturally after eating all that we were stuffed but a Bengali meal is incomplete without the Mishti (Sweet) so we ordered up a Baked Mihidana with Rabri which was yummy but very heavy.

All we could do after this feast was pay the bill and stagger out. If you like Bengali food then I would highly recommend 6 Ballygunge Place. They also have a very good buffet for those who prefer that option over A L Carte.

Already dreaming of my next meal there and looking forward to my next visit.


6 Ballygunge Place Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MANGO MANIA AT FLURYS

The Mango is our National fruit and is popular across the country age no bar. Juicy, delicious and versatile it can be eaten both raw and ripe, cooked and uncooked, paired with savory or sweet. No wonder then it is such a favorite and I am no different. As a child it takes me back to summer vacations at my grandparent’s home in Nasik where there were always a few boxes of Mangoes and our ritual after breakfast everyday was to check all the boxes to see which mangoes were ripe to consume and were put in the refrigerator so we could eat them after lunch. Naturally I was delighted when I was invited to a tasting of Mango Mania which has a menu comprising of Shakes, Soup , Starters , Main Course and Dessert all showcasing the King of Fruits our beloved Mango.

Chef Vikas Kumar served us a delightful meal that left us stuffed but very content. We started with a Curried Shrimp Mango Soup which was gorgeous and perfect for the cloudy rainy day it was. Next we had some lovely Spicy Chicken Wings with a Mango Jerk Sauce …. Lovely robust flavors and they went down super-fast and left us literally licking our fingers. This was followed by a Stir Fried Chicken with Mango and Cashew nut which was comfort food with a twist for me and I loved the teasing underling note of mango in every bite. What followed was for me the Dish of the Day the juicy scrumptious Caribbean Pork Chops with Mango Salsa …. Juicy perfectly cooked pork chops with a delicious Mango Salsa … a perfect balance of sweet, tart and spice and we devoured it. Absolutely delicious!

By now we were stuffed but dessert was still due and though I know it was sheer greed the lure of mangolicious desserts proved irresistible and I succumbed. Whoopie Pie , New York Styled Cheesecake and Bread Pudding all with Fresh Mango followed and we were in food coma. And yes we were also served a delicious Mango and Butterscotch Yoghurt Smoothie to wash it all down.

Thankyou Chef Vikas for a memorable meal. And yes since it was Flury’s I did pack my old favorite the Rumball as any visit to Flurys is incomplete for me without that ! The Mango Mania Festival is on till 19th June 2016.

 

DISCLAIMER : The author was invited to dine by the Management


Flurys Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato