Thursday, November 22, 2012

Filmy Food Review - Guest Post by Amrita Rana: The showdown of Red Velvet Cupcakes n EATC bread baking workshop :)

Last month I wrote a very filmy review of The Pantry in Kala Ghoda and invited my food blogger friends to write similar posts on my blog. Amrita Rana of Life Ki Recipe got in touch with her Bollywood side to write a post about the Red Velvet Cakes. Over to her:
Scene 1:
*dreamy romantic music in the background* *flowers and chocolates on the table*
Heroine (Sharmate hue) – Tum mujhse kitna pyaar karte ho?
Hero: Kitna? are itna ki kuch bhi kar jau tumhare liye janemn!! *insert dreamy music*
Heroine: Toh mujhe abhi Red Velvet Cake khilao!!
Hero: ehhh? ye Red Velvet kaha se aa gaya humhare pyaar ke beech?
Heroine: Main nahi janti! Agar mujhse pyaar karte ho toh abhi lakar do Red Velvet cake! Aur haa bilkul waisa hona chahiye jo humne Goa ke ek cafe me khaya tha!
Hero: Hey bhagwan kaha se lau ab waisa red velvet cake?? *thinks for few min. and leaves for somehwere on his bike*
*girl dances on a dreamy waiting kinds song*
Scene 2
a motorcycle stops helmet utaar ke hero paper bags lekar ghar ke andar ghusta hai…
Heroine: wow baby!! tum seriosuly mujhse kitna pyaar karte ho! *kisses on his cheek and takes the packet*
*Hero puts his shades on does a dreamy sequence dance boasting himself.*
Heroine: Nahiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! Jhhhothe makaar insaan sab jhooth tha tumhara pyaar
*hero is confused n shocked and there’s a big heart break sound*
Heroine: tumne kaha tha red velvet cake Dream Bakery se laye ho ye kaisa cake hai hai bas color se red aur ye upar frosting kitni grainy hai!!! aisi toh mera tommy bhi nahi khata! bus humhare beech me ab koi rishta nahi main tumhari shakal bhi nahi dekhna chahti!
*more heart break sounds* fade out!
Yeah that is a true story! ;)
That’s the power in this little magical thing it may look as a dyed fancy cake but there’s more to it.. the right velvety texture, and to top it with perfection there has to be absolute spot on silky Cream Cheese frosting which mind you, should not be grainy at all. I have been in search of good red velvet cake since quite some time as well. You can guess by this -
I couldn’t find more pics I had more I swear! :P Out of these I’ll say Le 15′s cupcake had this amazing texture of the cake but grainy frosting disappointed me! so is that sugary top on Tea cafe one! I’ll pass Theobroma’s on both the aspect (though I have picked up fights because of it, see here) but OMG this Red Velvet Cake slice from EATC was heaven! A slice of pure heaven! I don’t mind trying the much over hyped cake every time if it taste this beautiful!
I tried this when I went to EATC last month for a bread baking workshop.
If you have already tried baking one at your house you know how wonderful your house smells and imagine we were right there in their kitchen making multi grain, baguettes to fruit cake.. Goodness.
Chef Sunil took us through small yet important details on the subject. The significance of each grain that goes in a multi grain bread to importance of Proofing also called proving (when you let the dough rise for quite some time before popping it in oven).
Some people also tried their hands on like there’s my Dahlin Ashrita aka Caramel wings grinning while making her baguette (centre) :)
The much informative workshop was followed by dinner at EATC. And that’s when The lovely red velvet cake happened and baked lemon cheesecake was also amazingly good. A must try if you going to Bandra next time :)
Happy Baking/Red Velvet Cake Eating :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Food Review: Bong Bong, Bandra (W)

We are past that stage when Bengali cuisine used to stop at macher jhol for us, thanks to all the Bengali restaurants in the city. But there is still a lot about this cuisine which isn't known. With my limited experience of Bengali food and memories of eating baingan bhaja and mustard fish curry as a kid I decided to explore this new twist in the tale and invited the pakki Bangalan Reema to join me for dinner at Bong Bong, a new restaurant in Bandra which promises to serve Bengali food with a European twist.

We reached the venue just half an hour after it opened on the first day. Bong Bong is small cosy restaurant with a laid back  informal feel and decor filled with all things Bengali. We stood there for a few minutes to take a good look at the old kerosene lamps lighting up the place, 60s style Philips radio, an old type writer and a Borolene ad. The last one made Reema jump with excitement and reach into her bag to show me the box of Boroline she still carries. The place has got it all right in terms of interiors. But the music needs a little attention. The Punjabi 'jugni' number sounded very out of place. We suggest that they should try playing some old Hindi or Bengali classics to add to the ambience.

There's a small outdoor and an indoor seating area. As much as we wanted to sit outside the overwhelming aromas of Khane Khaas made us rethink and we walked in the AC section.
There is no final menu yet and the owner Kanika Mohan Saxena told us that they plan to change the menu everyday for a week to know what works best. For now, there was a printout with categories like Tuk Tak, Mohabhoj and thhandaaaaah.
We picked out the Green pea nuggets (Rs 219), Cheese and spinach croquettes (Rs 312), Mango pickle steamed fish (Rs 239) and the Fried fish (Rs 319). Service was quick and friendly at this one-hour-old restaurant. While Reema filled me in on food tales from Bengal, we snacked on the Tuk Tak or light bites

I liked the steamed fish which was wrapped in a strong mustard paste, the kind usually used in a mango pickle. The generous use of mustard gave me a nice kick which is characteristic to most Bengali fish preparations. The fried fish on the other hand was a tad overcooked and had become mushy under the crisp coating of masala. Reema, a vegetarian, quite liked her green peas nuggets; deep fried nuggets and green pea balls. They weren’t laden with spices except for a dash of cumin. The cheese and spinach croquettes weren’t too impressive. The tuk tak were served with a tomato mustard sauce; inspired by Kashundi, a dip usually made with turmeric, lemon, chillies and mustard oil. Bong Bong’s version was a mix of mustard and tomato sauce, which tasted too much like good old ketchup.

While deciding the main course we spotted Plastic Chutney (Rs 69) and were intrigued and amused all at the same time. Reema described that it’s a traditional dish made of thinly sliced raw papayas boiled in sugar syrup. Oddly named perhaps, but the name comes from the fact that thin slivers of raw papaya are cooked until they turn almost transparent and look like a wad of mangled plastic strips dunked in sugar syrup.

For the main course, Reema picked Cauliflower and Peas in a creamy coconut curry with saffron rice (Rs 279) while I set my sights on the Green Chilli Mutton with paratha (Rs 329). When the papaya chutney arrived I realized that it was pretty aptly named, it really looked like plastic. Reema suggested that we sprinkle some roasted cumin powder on it the way Bengalis eat it. The waiter quickly got us a small bowl of cumin powder and we’d recommend that you try it that way. The toasty jeera really brought out the flavour of the sugary sweet papaya beautifully. 

The cauliflower and peas cooked in slightly sweet gravy of cream, coconut milk, and poppy seed paste was served with a mildly flavoured saffron rice. The subtle flavour of coconut added to the light and creamy texture of the gravy and for a second I wanted to leave the mutton and keep eating it. The mutton which according to the menu was cooked in green chillies wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be and someone with spice tolerance as low as mine would happily wolf this down. The curry had tender chunks of meat on the bone served with two parathas. While the layered parathas were buttery and crispy the mutton didn’t have a distinct flavour. The portion however was good enough for two people with a moderate appetite. While Reema wiped her plate off I was wondering if I should have opted for a fish or prawn curry instead. With spoonfuls of plastic chutney for rescue after every bite we finished our dinner.

To keep the Bengali spirit going we wanted to conclude the meal with some mishti and ordered the baked roshogolla (Rs 79). Instead of being dipped in chashni or a sugary syrup it was served in mishti doi or sweetened yogurt. The baking made the roshogullas tough and didn’t add anything except for a little brown colour. We were hoping for a more cheesecake like preparation but it was not what we expected. If you like picking up a whole chashni-dripping roshogolla and eating it in one bite, I suggest eating this elsewhere.

We enjoyed our meal, but apart from the presentation and mellowed spice content, we couldn’t find much of the promised European touch anywhere. The experience doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone, we say Bong Bong is worth a shot.

Must try – Mango pickle steamed fish, cauliflower and peas in creamy coconut curry, plastic chutney (with cumin powder)

Meal for two – Rs 1200

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Food Review - Fisheteria, Infiniti Mall, Malad (W)

If you’ve been to Cambay Tiger Prawns, the small outlet in the CR2 mall in Nariman Point, you’d remember their red prawn Thai curry; reasonable, tasty and served with 8 plump and juicy prawns. If you haven’t it is too late because the joint has completely re-branded itself and launched as Fisheteria with a new look and menu. Not sure about you but I was quite saddened by the change and the fact that the Thai curry was not a part of the new menu. Incidentally, Cambay Tiger Prawns wasn't grabbing enough attention hence the change.
The first outlet which just opened in the food-court of Infiniti 2 is small but cannot be missed thanks to the bright
red colour. A closer look at the menu which consists of fish and prawns based fast food will make you want to order some grub for sure. I started with grilled fish and chips (Rs 90) and a glass of green apple lemonade (Rs 30). The portion had three chunky pieces of basa with a side of fries. The fish was nice and crispy coated with basil and chilli. The smoky and a little spicy flavour made me wonder how well it will pair with a glass of beer. However, I made do with the lemonade instead which was very mildly sweetened unlike the sugar overdose served at many fast food joints. But if you plan a booze party you know where to pick some seafood snack from.
By the time I wiped off the last piece of basa the prawn torpedo (Rs 125), fish and chips (Rs 125) and prawn paratha roll (Rs 80) arrived. The big and juicy prawns fried in crispy batter made for a reasonable portion of prawn torpedo. A little tandoori masala sprinkled on top added to the flavour without making it taste very Indian. Fish and chips had a large piece of batter-fried basa. Both prawn and fish were served with yummy in-house sauces, a tartar based garlic and onion flavoured sauce and a chilli sauce with peanuts, vinegar etc. The star of the show was prawn paratha roll which has also become their best seller within a few days. The crispy paratha roll was stuffed with prawn balchao; a traditional Goan prawn recipe and onions. The fact that the paratha wasn’t oily reduced my guilt of indulgence a bit (which was back with a bang the very next day). The stuffing of prawn balchao was mildly spicy unlike the traditional balchao but my stomach which has a low spice tolerance level wasn't complaining..
After all the fries and spices it was time to wash it all down with pomegranate lemonade (Rs 30); slightly pink in colour with a hint of pomegranate and not too much sugar. What this outlet misses is desserts but then again there are a lot of options for that in the mall.
Will I go back to Fisheteria? If I am window shopping or drop in for a movie in the mall I wouldn’t mind picking up a prawn paratha roll and lemonade on the go.
Must try:  Grilled fish and chips, prawn paratha roll
Kharcha: Rs 500 for two
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