Monday, February 23, 2015

New Menu Tasting at Moshe's Bandra

When I was invited to Moshe's Bandra for a new menu tasting by Food Bloggers Association of India, I didn't think twice before accepting. The distance notwithstanding, Moshe's is all about comfort food and I could have done with a bit of both (comfort and food, that is).

Tucked away on the first floor next to Holy Family Hospital, the restaurant's location pales in comparison to the more prominent Mamagato downstairs. The space is large enough though, once you enter, with wall-to-ceiling picture windows allowing light to flood into the restaurant. The air conditioning alternated between freezing us and allowing us to stew for a while but that could be a one-off day.

Homestyle Hummus Platter
The afternoon started on a refreshing note with a Melon-izer, a wine based cocktail chased with chilled watermelon juice. The drink was delicious but bordered on being a virgin version. This was complemented by a Hummus platter, the perfect way to kick off the lunch. Over chatter and clicking cameras, we dug into the three types of hummus presented to us. My favourite was the beetroot hummus, visually attractive as it was, the taste was delicious as well. The cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes hummus hit the right notes but was very similar to the original version. My least favourite was the broccoli hummus, a vivid green in color but it lacked any distinct flavor.

Moshe's Signature Harissa Chicken Skewers
The Signature Harissa Chicken Skewers hit the right notes if you like a little spice in your life and your food. The juicy boneless chicken was slathered with a North African marinade with hints of red chilli (ok, more than a hint), cumin, ginger and vinegar. A dash of lime brought out the flavours of the marinade and stepped up the dish a notch.

Fresh Pear and Rocket Salad
A half an hour wait was followed by the Pear and Rocket Leaves Salad. Drizzled with honey-mustard and orange dressing, the walnuts added a crunch to the salad. The salad leaves were fresh and the worked well with the rest of the ingredients. My only grouse was the overpowering sweetness of the dressing. I missed the kick of mustard or the tang of orange, the only flavor I could decipher was honey. The addition of goat's cheese or feta cheese would have worked well to add saltiness to cut through the uni-dimensional flavors.

Portobello, Porcini and Button Mushroom Soup
The mushroom soup was delicious and what I would suggest you go have on a chilly winter evening (Ok, that is a rarity in Mumbai) or when you're feeling under the weather. The soup used portobello, porcini as well as button mushrooms. Chives were added to give it a crunch. Many on our tasting table were of the opinion that the chives were not required and perhaps too much in abundance. But I enjoyed the bite amongst spoonfuls of the hearty soup.

For mains, we were served the Brick Chicken served with pesto white beans and a tomato sauce. The chef explained that the chicken is cooked with a brick on top, in an effort to trap the moisture in and keep it succulent. I found mine juicy though many co-diners felt their chicken was too dry. The accompanying sauce though, tasted of tomato puree and as if it came out of a can. The star of the dish was the slow-baked potatoes stilts that the chicken sat atop. The potatoes were perfectly seasoned and delicious.

We also had a taste of the vegetarian Malaysian Curry served with steamed rice. I am a huge fan of Malaysian Curry and unfortunately, this did not cut it for me. There was no distinct flavour in the dish, unlike what the original is popular for.

Even though the clock was hitting 4 pm (time taken between courses was averaging 30-40 minutes), I couldn't leave before tasting the desserts that Moshe's is well-known for. We were served a sliver of a Chocolate Fudgy Cake with vanilla ice cream on the side. The cake was dense and decadent, a must for chocolate lovers.

The new menu is available in both the Moshe Restaurants (Bandra and Cuffe Parade). An afternoon of meeting new like-minded people, great food and attentive service (would have liked the food served faster though), was an afternoon well spent.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Bohri Kitchen Reviewed

My previous Rediff article was about the evolution of dining concepts in India (find it here). As an extension of that, on popular demand, I have experienced and reviewed the home-dining concept of The Bohri Kitchen. 

Dining in the intimacy of someone's home always has a certain charm to it. If the food is great, even better. The Bohri Kitchen is a recent addition to the city's dining scene and a welcome one at that. Read my detailed review by clicking here

Images: Courtesy TBK

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Travel diaries

My country overwhelms me. Not in the same way it seems to overwhelm the cool-bunch around. It overwhelms me with its beauty. In this crazy life where we seem to be running all the time, we only notice what slows us down. We notice the traffic and the potholes and lack of infrastructure. But I see more.

I just got off from a train journey from Bombay to Indore. I love train journeys. They’re languid and allow you time to absorb and process. I can put up my feet, read a book or just stare out of the window, lost in my thoughts. I love eating puri aalu at train stations, picking up magazines from a bookstall and waking up to a cup of hot chai (unfortunately no longer served in a kulhar).

And the countryside. What do I tell you about the countryside? Which brings me back to my initial thought. There is so much beauty around, raw and stunning, only if you can take off your designer glares to see it with honest eyes. Lush green farmlands for as far as the eye can see. Lovely stretches of roads, sometimes canopied, sometimes bare. I love the landscape changes as we move across the country. From the ghats of the west towards the fields of MP or the arid stretches across Rajasthan compensated by the colors in their attire.

There’s something about raw greenery that just makes me catch my breath. It energizes me, reminds me of how lucky I am to be born in this country. To all the naysayers, and those jaded who see the worst India has to offer (yes it has plenty of that), I wish I could lend you my eyes. I wish you could see it like I do. I wish I could give you my heart so that you could feel for a moment, the extreme pride and love I feel when I see such beauty all around me. I wish you could understand why I choose to live in this country, not because I don’t have a choice, but because there is no other place I could ever call my own.    

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Love, and the art of setting curd

My maternal grandmother, my Biji, was the only grandparent I grew up knowing. But she was enough, and more. When I lost her a couple of years back, I did not understand the enormity of what I felt, that came later. Not known as being someone who shows emotion, there were no theatrics or mourning. Just a deep rooted sadness, and a sense of irreplaceable loss.

But this is not a sad post. She's gone and unfortunately so has her lovely house that we grew up discovering. It's been hacked up and sold, usually what happens to ancestral property. She exists only in my memory do the times we spent in that iconic house, filled to the brim with cousins before everyone went overseas.

What I have left of her are two things. The gold bangles in my wrist that once adorned hers. They're one of my most prized possessions and rarely do I wear anything else on my arms. And her legacy of setting curd. Yes, you heard that right.

You see, in Punjab, and I'm sure in many parts of the country, setting curd is an art form. It would be a ritual for her, getting the exact temperature for the milk, frothing it by transferring from one vessel to another and keeping it safely away in a mesh cupboard which she believed had the correct setting conditions. Even after she lost her eyesight, she would somehow manage this entire process, only by her sense of touch and instinct. The yogurt in her house was legendary. It would be thick and perfectly set, each spoonful holding form like jelly.

Even though I never learnt it from her and was taught by my mother, some part of her skill got passed on to me. And I am arguably the best yogurt-setter in the family. Even my dad, who would never say anything my mom did came second, insists that after Biji, it only is my dahi that passes muster.

In Troy, Achilles mother says, "You will find a wonderful woman. You will have sons and daughters and they will have children. And they will love you. When you are gone, they will remember you. But when your children are dead and their children after them...your name will be lost".

That is the truth of life. But in my own lil' way, I made sure her legacy lives on. On my wrist, in my heart and on my dining table, my grandmother remains loved and remembered. And this, besides her bangles, are something I hope to pass on to my daughter one day so that when she grows up, she may remember someone she unfortunately never knew....

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Evolution of Dining Concepts in India

The Indian diner is changing. He is globe-trotting, experimenting with new cuisines and flavors and will not settle for anything sub-standard. To cater to this demanding consumer, the food scene in India is also undergoing a radical change. No longer will we jump up in joy like we did when McDonalds entered India. Thus, restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs are coming up with exciting new concepts to entice and retain the discerning foodie.

My latest article on Rediff talks about a few of these trends. Whether it is getting ingredients delivered with a recipe for you cook at home or farm-tour-lunches, there is something new happening right around the corner.

Excited much? Read the article here.  

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