Friday, March 24, 2006

Britannia & Co, Bombay - Berry Pulao and Good Parsi Food

"Mildew-covered strange old buildings", are the words that come to mind each time I'm in Ballard Estate. The reason for today's visit - food, more specifically a type of food , even more specifically a restaurant and to be honest one particular dish - Berry Pulao . What am I talking about you say ? - good ole' Britannia of course. At the corner of this hugely commanding wonder of oxidation, the War Memorial and opposite New Customs House, where "new" is a tag the building has long grown out of is "Britannia & Co - ." A restaurant whose philosophy is "There is no love greater than the love of eating," puts everything into perspective for me, another self affirming moment in my short life.

Even though you count the Parsi joints in Bombay[well in India] on your fingers, Edward VIII, Ideal Corner, Jimmy Boy, Paradise, Piccolo just to name a few, but out of all these places Britannia & Co is pretty special. I'm not taking about their fabulous Dhansak which I would count as the best dhansak I've ever eaten after Dorabjee's Poona of course - it's their Berry Pulao. A dish that makes them unique. As BusyBee famously said, "If it's Berry Pulao, it must be Britannia."

Britannia and Company Restaurant,
Wakefield House,
11 Sprott Road,
16, Ballar Estate (Pier);
(91-22) 22615264.
Open for lunch, snacks and drinks
Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but lunch only 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Closed Sunday.
No reservations or credit cards.

Read the Entire Photoblog here

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cuppa Cafe, Mumbai

Cuppa Cafe
Crystal Plaza
New Link Road
Opp Fame Adlabs
Bombay 400 058
Free Delivery 2674 2371 / 72

Missed the Caferati meet here last Sunday, but decided to check the place out anyways after the Anurag Kashyap workshop because we were kinda fed up of the regular Coffee Day, Barrista coffee.

I'm so glad we went here. It is so different from the coffee shop chains. Its quaint, cute, interesting, different.

The furniture is a jumble of styles. Partly outdoors, partly indoors. Indoors they also sell some knick knacks that are ideal for gifting. Even if you wanna eat outdoors, you have to go in & check out the awesome tables with the marbles in one and the sea shells in the other. Also loved the trail of leaves climbing up the corner. AS is mandatory for most joints in this area, there is a bulletin board covered with pics of TV stars who have sipped on a cup on location.

Coffee(Rs.30-80) & the soda pops (Rs.35) were yummy. Paratas (Rs.30)were some of the best I've tried in bombay. Sandwiches are overflowing with cheese(Rs.30-40) There are some lo cal snacks too that can be carried away.

But if diet be damned, then do try their desserts. The brownie is just right. No nuts or gooey butter to make u feel like u r sinning, but still absolutely tasty. Pack a box to munch on while watching TV or reading a book.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Opening of Fluid Spice

Fluid Spice.
2nd Floor
Mohid Heights
Next to Andheri RTO
Opp Mandke Hospital
Lokhandwala Complex Road
Andheri (W)

Read the Gossip Here

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Baadshah, Mumbai

Opposite Crawford Market
LT Marg
2342 1943, 2344 9316, 2342 5950

The oldest Falooda House in the country. Marwan Irani set up Baadshah in 1905. Legend goes that when they first opened their shop over 100 years ago, nobody in India was willing to try the strange colored drink with stringy bits and a substance that looked and felt like fish eyes. Worried that his import from Persia would be a non-starter, the owner hit upon a clever scheme. He got all his relatives to stand around the shop & drink the sweet sticky liquid throughout the day. Curiosity got the better of most passers-by & they in turn ventured to try the dish. Traditional Persian Falooda is slightly sour & integral to every Navroze celebration. Incorporating constructive feedback, the falooda was sweetened to suit the Indian palate & fine tuned to what is served today.

The current Proprietor is Behram Zadeh who has been in charge for the last 2 decades. They have even opened an outlet in Pune.

Saffron, Khus & Rose were the original flavours for Falooda. But today Baadshah even offers a chikoo flavored version.

The falooda's cost about 45/- each and are a perfect respite from the heat & dust to be braved while shopping in and around Crawford Market.

The kulfi's at Baadshah are EXCELLENT. Even better than the Parsi dairy ones. Made in the North Indian style, the taste & cream in the Malai Kulfi explode in your mouth at the first lick itself. Totally worth it for Rs.27/-

They even offer take away's, but do bring your ice-box, Baadshah still doesnt offer to pack them in ice the way Parsi Dairy does.

Baadshah has now opened a snack bar too just next to the original location. Good Pav Bhaji & Dosas. Its a nice, reasonable & clean place to eat at while you are in the area.

The first floor at both locations is air conditioned.

Samovar, Mumbai

Jehangir Art Gallery
Kala Ghoda
2284 8000, 2204 7276

A lot of people in Mumbai have huge nostalgic value attatched to Samovar. There's an entire wall with little notes scribbled on it begging the "Powers That Be" not to shut it down.

The ambience is really great. A narrow corridor (reminiscent of a train dining car) overlooking the sparse lawns of the art gallery nearby & the lusher lawns of the Prince of Wales Museum in the distance. Little four seater tables with a platform running across the wall that can also be used for a slightly cramped seating.

Service is efficient, polite and helpful. The waiters are mostly old-timers who could share a lot of interesting stories if given the time. Young Hussain, Sabavala, Shiva Naipaul, Amitabh Bacchan used to eat here or so claims the Times Food Guide, Mumbai.

Most items on the menu are below Rs 100/- Tea and coffee will not be served without eats between 1pm and 3pm because of the lunch rush. We didn't enjoy the food too much. But quite liked the ambience.

By the way, Samovar is closed on Sunday's.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Bade Miyan's, Mumbai

Bade Miya
Tulloch Road
Apollo Bunder
Behind Taj Mahal Hotel
Mumbai 400 039
2284 8038, 2285 1649

Went back to Bade Miya's after a span of 7 years & I don't know what it was, but it wasn't as great as I remembered it. Possible reasons being:
1. It wasn't after a round of drinking that I landed there.
2. I've been eating better food recently.
3. After eating kebabs in Delhi, Hyderabad & the Northern front, none of the guys in Bombay are comparable except probably copper Chimney.

Since we reached a little early, the place hadn't started crowding as yet. We parked a little distance away, not sure if we would be able to navigate the back lanes. We were prepared to stand up and eat hot kebabs off the coals, but they have now taken over a small area opposite which they have outfitted with plastic chairs & metal tables.

The ambience of the Bade Miya I remember is still there. Its the food that has gone down huge notches. Except for the khiri all the kebabs were bland. The flavoring in the kheema was more fat than masala. The prices are still reasonable ranging between 30 & 60 for the dry dishes (oh btw the menu is the size of a visiting card & doesn't have any rates written on it.) Rumali roti's are 6 each. The Baida Roti was 50 bucks but it was something different at least. A kind of chicken stuffed egg paratha if that makes any sense.

2 of us ate some 6 different types of kebabs hoping to have better luck with the next one. 3 rumalis and 2 bottles of water came upto about 300 bucks.

The food is definitely VFM, but I don't think I'm gonna be going back any time soon.

And if u r still interested, they have started another counter which offers purely veg food.

They open around 7 in the evening, if u r still planning to go.

Mumbai Food: The Punjabi Connection

Akshay Writes :

No city in India can represent an approximate microcosm of India as well as Mumbai can. The city's cosmopolitan essence blurs regionalism across class.

It is a melting pot of India, the best of North and South. Even though some political parties play on the regional insecurities of some of its residents, most residents defy it. An obvious side effect of this diversity is the city's food. The khaana-peena [food & drink] habits change from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. This is a quality of Mumbai I specially cherish and I can assure you so does my palate.

This week I am going to explore the Punjabi cuisine in the city-rich, ghee filled, heart felt, delicious food. An open celebration of all things loud, homely and tasty. Regional identities are proudly protected by most Indians but for some reason I do not seem to fall in this category. Even though I am supposedly Punjabi by nature I do not speak my mother tongue and for that matter neither do my parents. Whenever I mention the fact that I do not speak my 'mother tongue' to others I am met with oohs and aahs as if it is a cardinal sin. Possibly the only thing that connects me to my diluted regional identity is its food. There are a number of restaurants which serve Punjabi food in this city but two of my favourites are the ones that serve simple home style food- the famous Guru Kripa in Sion and the Crystal Restaurant on Marine Drive.

Read entire list of recommendations & view Photoblog here

Friday, March 10, 2006

A perfect bite...: Harvest Festivals around India

Rushina, writes some lovely articles about food.

Check out the one about A perfect bite...: Harvest Festivals around India

She has included some easy to prepare recipes too.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

A Bombay Breakfast - Epitome of the City

Akshay Writes :

Everybody knows that an English Breakfast is fried bacon, sausages, mushroom, eggs and tomatoes; a Continental Breakfast is bread rolls or croissants and butter and perhaps jam, with coffee or tea or hot chocolate; but the question I ask today is what is a Bombay Breakfast ?

Here is my look into what fuels millions in this city?

A Bombay Breakfast epitomizes the city in every way- it is fast to cook, diverse, mobile, well packaged, high on carbs and low on greens.

If you have grown up in Bombay you would have noticed a particular piece of food is a perennial part of your diet - bread. Not the sliced 'modern bread' you pick up from the nearest pan-wallah shop. It is " Pav", this 'bread roll' of sorts is delivered straight to your home bakery fresh by the friendly neighbourhood pav-wallah. The pav-wallah is just one of many visitors an average Bombay household gets - all those friendly faces that keep you busy answering your doorbell through the day - the dudhwala (milkman), the paperwalla (newspaper boy), the bhajiwalli (vegetable grocer), the machiwali (fisherwoman) and the string of cats that follow her, the istriwalli/dhobhi (the fellow who washes your clothes or irons them or does both), the jamadar (garbage-collector), the watchman (security at the main gates), the maali (gardener - not in all cases), the bai (maidservant).. I would have continued but the list is endless.

Read recommendations & view Photoblog here for descriptions on Breakfasting in Bombay
1. Naashta No.1 - the wada-pav
2. Chamosa at Lower Parel
3. The Marathi Option - Prakash - Shakahari Uphaar Kendriya
4. Vinay Health Home
5. The Persian Connection
6. Going Down South - Udipi

Read the entire article here

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Delhi Darbar, Mumbai

Delhi Darbar
Holland House
Shaheed Bhagath Singh Marg
Near Regal Cinema
Mumbai 400 039
Tel : 2202 5656, 2202 0235, 2284 8231

I first heard about Delhi Darbar in December 2002. Upper Crust Magazine had done a review of Jafferbhai & the Delhi Darbar chain of restaurants. They called it the Ultimate Biryani experience in Mumbai. The article was so well written & the pictures so tantalising, that I knew I just HAD to eat at this place on my next trip to Mumbai.

Unfortunately, never had the time on all my short trips to eat at Delhi Darbar. Then when I moved to Mumbai, the brothers had already split & Jafferbhai had started his own Chain called "Jafferbhai's Delhi Darbar" this kind of split me in 2. Should I eat at the original or eat at Jafferbhai's version ? TO be truthful the article had raved about Jafferbhai's contribution to the quality and the taste. Jafferbhai had even quoted that "Any of my chefs who leave & try to replicate my recipes anywhere, have never been able to" A kind of a curse on the disgruntled employee.

Anyway after prevaricating quite a bit. I had the occassion to land up at Regal Circle for the Eternal Gandhi Interactive Exhibition at Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall. So we decided to have lunch at Delhi Darbar.

The place was neat & clean with air conditioning. I later learnt that their grant road branch had less ambience & more atmosphere. Waiters were polite & helpful.

The Jal Jira at 17/- was good & allowed you to adjust the sourness by squeezing in as much lime as you liked. The fresh lime soda was 35/-/ We started out with some Shami Kabab's at 47/- for 3 pieces, it was extremely reasonable. For the first time, I saw a waiter who believed in equitable distribution. There were 2 of us at the table & 3 pieces of kebabs (like cutlets). He served us one kebab each & then without blinking an eyebrow, neatly sliced the third down the centre & served us half a piece each. Greater waiters at larger hotels sometimes serves the man the "extra" piece believing they have a greater appetite I suppose. At the posher eating joints, they diplomatically leave the uneven no. of pieces on the serving plate at the centre of the table, leaving you to fight with your dining partners "You have it" "No, you have it" A classic "Pehle Aap" situation. This was a novel & extremely pleasant experience. The taste was good too.

Sunday special was the Rogan Josh-110/- Mutton Biryani was 92/- and loaded with meat & fragrant flavorful rice. We have been eating a lot of Mutton & Fish when we dine out these days, just to be on the safer side. You have to order the raita (21/) seperately if you would like some. The roomalis were 17/- each and were the thinnest & lightest ones I have tried since over 3 years. I think Chandigarh was the only place where they were comparable.

We ended with a Falooda (53) and Phirni (35) which were just what we needed to forego all further physical activity & rush home for a good nap.

Please add a VAT of 12.5% to all prices quoted. But to put it in perspective this wonderful heavy Indian repast for 2, came to about 550/- bucks. Quite a steal for the quality & ambience.

The Mughlai food is good. They have daily specials. One in chicken & one in mutton. There is a special Arab menu at this location which tones down the chilli. Hence this place is supposedly a favorite where the Middle Eastern crowd is comfortable dining at and where they can bring their womenfolk along too.

Now I have to visit Jafferbhai's and compare the 2.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Prithvi Cafe, Mumbai

Prithvi Cafe
Prithvi Theatre
Janki Kutir
Juhu Road
2617 4118, 2614 9546

One of the most relaxed, positive energy places to sit down and slowly sip a coffee or enjoy a meal with friends in Mumbai.

The cafe adjoins the theatre and hence a lot of theatre personalities are always hanging around the place. Makarand Deshpande is a regular as are Anurag Kashyap and the rest of his troupe. They are there almost daily. You also find a lot of TV celebs hanging around in the evening. Will someone be kind enough to tell them that they can't learn acting by hanging around a theatre cafe ?

Its open air (they need to take special permission for the tarp cover during the monsoons)Circular & rectangular tables. Seating is stone ledges attached to the walls or little stools with bamboo legs.

If you are there for a quick bit before a play, I would recommend the hot coffee (35), irish coffee(60), fresh lime soda (30) or cold coffee. The strong Irish Coffee is an open secret at Prithvi. If you have time for a quick bite and have a sweet tooth, the gajar halwa, caramel custard or chocolate brownie are definitely worth it. Something namkeen try the fish/prawn koliwada-150/- (could have been spicier) or cheese balls -45/-.

If you have time for dinner, sip on an Irish Coffee or Iced Tea (40) and enjoy the Dabbawala Ghosht, Raan (1 kg of meat so take some friends along), Chingri Malai Curry(160, Sizzlers, Pasta, parathas, Calcutta style rolls. Main courses typically work out to approximately 150 per person.

The cafe has 4 menus. One for beverages. One for light snacks. One for Indian food & one for continental. The service is friendly. They do take so time but thats part of the laid back experience, but don't try to order dinner if you have arrived half an hour before the show. Chances are you will either have to miss the show or request them to reheat it for you once the show is over.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rajdhani, Malad, Mumbai

Inorbit Mall

One of the quietest Thali joints I have ever eaten at. The setting is rustic modern.... If that makes any sense. The bearer brings a surai & a bowl to your table to wash your hands. There's no menu as such. U just look at the colorful blackboard when u enter to see what todays thali comprises of.

At 125 bucks a thali, get ready for an experience. The empty thali is kept on your table. Then a waiter comes with meethi(sweet) & hari (green) chutney & raw salad. The next waiter brings 4 kinds of vegetables, one of which is a sabut dhal preparation. Then comes the dhal & the kadhi. 4 types of pickles including one sweet murabba. Then depending on the days speciality u may get lucky & be served some amazing dhal baati (I thought it was a rajasthani dish) in small edible portions. Rotis, parathas & papads follow. Khichdi & rice for those who still have an appetite. Then the kadak roti with white makkhan & gur (I don't know what its called) You then get a choice of 3 sweet dishes (u can choose 1 and only one plate although everything else is unlimited).

If u can walk out of Rajdhani without clutching your stomach, then YOU must be having an off day.

The original at Kalbadevi is supposed to be better. But I haven't had the opportunity to eat there yet.

The Sunday Special Thali has more items and costs a bit more too. But its the servcie that is superlative and makes this a MUST Repeat Restaurant.


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