Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Food Review: Lobbying for the lobster

I recently attended the media preview of the Canadian Seafood Festival happening in the Taj and while I loved the food it was the lobster that I would definitely go back for.

Canadian food is a lot more than beef burger and weil rice; I found out on my recent visit to the food festival hosted by The Government of Canada in collaboration with World Trade Centre Atlantic Canada and the Taj Group of Hotels. This six days’ festival will give Mumbaikars a taste of the seafood from the East Coast of Canada. The Atlantic Canadian Chef Stefan Czapalay has flown in to set up the menu along with the Executive Chef of Taj Hemant Oberoi. Interestingly Chef Stefan is known as the culinary activist for his efforts to promote the local produce.

After a brief introduction to the Canadian cuisine we were about to indulge in and the menu it was time to explore the food. The seafood from the East Coast spread on the table was a vision for the eye and treat for the tummy. What caught my attention was the thyme roasted lobster. Having a lobster lie on your plate can be a tad bit intimidating especially if you’ve never approached it with a fork. But that first bite is all it took to make me fall in love. The food, as Chef Stefan said, was cooked in minimal ingredients. No spice took over the flavor of the main ingredient yet it wasn’t bland at all.

The creamy wine based sauce in Casino style crab au gratin had me going for another serving. The salads table was assorted with lobster potato salad, bok choy and crab salad with sesame vinaigrette which were yummy and well tossed. The most interesting dish was mussels baked in egg yolk and cream. It looked like the seafood version of caramel custard and was served in an egg shell.

Lobster canapés on white bread with lemon mayonnaise looked pretty creative but would’ve tasted better on crunchier bread. Fennel poached scallops had a lovely cauliflower puree as base. It was interesting to know that the scallops should be frozen seconds within they are caught so that they retain their size and shape when cooked.

Contrary to the desserts we had at the Belgian Food Festival in The Taj last time, the platter this time had more variety including tiramisu, orange tart, chocolate tart, blueberry cheesecake and a lot more.

The festival is being held at Shamiana in the Taj Hotel from 19th to 25th of March. If you love to experiment with your seafood this festival should be on your to-do list. As far as I am concerned, am already waiting for the next time.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Food Review: Thali @ Maharaja Bhog, Goregaon (E) (Inside Oberoi Mall)

On a Sunday family lunch when the majority is vegetarian and in love with their regular roti-sabzi, there is no better choice than Rajdhani. So on one of these lunches we headed to The Oberoi mall to gorge on the mighty thali at Rajdhani which is now Maharaja Bhog. When asked why, we were told by the management that the partners of the original chain split and one of them decided to rename his share of restaurants. Menu remains the same while the interiors and cutlery has been "upgraded". The interior didn't impress me much cause when inside a mall they all look the same to me. Cutlery, however was impressive with heavy brass replacing the shiny stainless steel.

Coming to the food, it was the same old Rajdhani menu. It was a Gujrati thali day and we were served two types of chutney, raita, fried snack (it had a tongue twister for a name), moong khichdi, potato sabzi, bhindi, kaju-kishmish sabzi, undhiyu, dal and kadhi with roti, puri and parantha. As I remember Rajdhani had more variety in the roti section but the food was delicious with special mention to kadhi, undhiyu and parantha. Bhindi was a little too oily for my liking.

The desserts were brilliant and there were three of them; Bengali chocolate, kheer and chikoo halwa. I am already in love with the chikoo halwa which has right amount of sugar and amazing flavor. Kheer was yummy but Bengali chocolate had a forgettable taste. And at the end there was a glass of fresh chaas to wash it all down.


The prices have been upped a bit and instead of 250 bucks you'll now have to spend 310 Rs. for a thali. A little expensive but the food is not bad at all.

Kharcha: Rs. 310 for an unlimited thali

On the burp scale: 3.5/5

VFM: 3/5

Statutory Warning: You'll have an urge to sleep after this meal and also might have to skip the dinner.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Food Review: Che Bar & Grill, Churchgate, Mumbai

The French diner Chez Vous recently revamped itself and reopened as Che Bar & Grill. We went there for a Sunday lunch and almost skipped our dinner after all the indulgence.

Except for a few pictures of Che Guevara, the place doesn't show any relation to Cuba. With the transformation from Chez to Che, reds have replaced the blues and the diner looks more like a café accompanied with a bar.

The menu is extensive and they serve Cuban, Mexican, French, Italian and Brazilian food. Since the weather was hot we asked for a pitcher of beer and were informed that the draught beer is available only in the evenings. Strange! Well, we then ordered our regular Kingfisher and went for anticuchos paprika chicken skewer for starters. They tasted good but we weren’t too impressed. The minimal flavoured bored me after a while.

For main course we ordered a chicken parillada mix grill. The platter included 1 chicken steak, 2 chicken sausages, 4 chicken skewers, 2 fried eggs and fries. We were blown over by the sausages and the steak sauce worked as a dip for everything from steak to fries (yes, it was that good). Still not completely satisfied we thought of ordering a burger and on the owner’s recommendation we called for a gourmet giant beef cheese burger. The burger came stuffed with a huge beef patty, bacon, mushrooms, onion and cheese. After just one bite we were already loosening our belts. It was heavy and delicious and my hands couldn’t stay away from the mustard dip served with it.

We wanted to try some deserts too but after one and a half gluttonous hours spent in Che Bar & Grill it was time to take a long walk on Marine Drive.

The restaurant it seems has transformed for good and is now a perfect joint when you want to pig-out.

On the burp scale:
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