Friday, April 19, 2013

Soup n Salad Meal

Temperatures are soaring in Bombay and my appetite is going for a toss which is a good thing. Good thing because now I can concentrate on my favourite food, soups and salads and lose some weight in the process. Also, the reason for going the soup n salad way is Citylight Market in Matunga. The elaborate mandi which is on my way to work has every possible ingredient right from exotic vegetables and fruits to spices and seafood. Once in a while I stop at the market to do my weekly shopping. Last week I made a healthy soup and salad combo, Asparagus and apple salad with Celery soup. The recipe for the former came from Sanjeev Kapoor and the latter came from BBC. Obviously, I modified them a little bit according to the ingredients available.

Celery Soup
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2


Celery - 2 stalks
Garlic - 1 clove
Onion - 1 medium
Olive oil - 1 tsp
Maggi chicken cubes - 2
Water - 200 ml
Cream (optional) - 1 tsp


  • Chop onion, celery and crush garlic.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry onion, garlic and celery till they are tender.
  • Add maggi cubes and water and let it boil for 10 mins.
  • Let it cool for a bit, transfer it to a blender and liquidify.
  • Heat it again and top with cream before serving.

Apple and Asparagus Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2


Asparagus - 6
Apple - 1 medium sized
Red radish - 5 (without leaves)
Pickled gherkin - 2
Iceberg lettuce - 4-5 leaves
Romaine lettuce - 4-5 leaves
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Honey - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Kalonji - 1/2 tsp
Croutons - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste


  • Take asparagus in a pan and pour half olive oil over it. Leave it while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Slice apple, radish and gherkin and tear the lettuce leaves.
  • Grill the asparagus in a pan till it is tender. Chop it.
  • Throw in apple, asparagus, radish, gherkin and lettuce in a bowl.
  • Take mustard seeds in a mortar, add salt and crush it. Add the remaining olive oil, honey and lemon juice to it. Add this dressing to the salad and mix well.
  • Roast kalonji in a pan and add to the salad.
  • Top it with croutons and serve immediately.

Hope you liked the recipe and will try it soon.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A bumpy ride on The Moving Cart, Marine Drive

As soon as we grab our seats our restaurant starts to move with a roar of the engine. Yes, we are inside Mumbai's first moving restaurant in a double-decker bus. The bus takes a u turn from Nariman Point and our glass of Pink panther cocktail clutches to the anti skid mats on the tables. We sip on the pink coloured sprite and enjoy the attention of the gawking passersby on Marine Drive.

The Moving Cart has two sections, the lower deck with air conditioner and the open air upper deck with live music. After being given a show of the tacky blue and red LEDs in the lower deck we move to the upper one for some fresh air. We hear a faint voice singing a Kishore Kumar number on our way up and secretly wish that this is not the live music we were promised. Alas! it is. A bored looking guy sits in a corner reluctantly holding a guitar.

Starters from our pre-decided order start coming in; 3 sorry looking chicken pieces on toothpick, some frail attempt to fish fingers from the Continental menu, chicken kebabs and ajwain flavoured fish fry from the Indian menu. Till now the Indian menu looks like the saving grace. after a second round of starters we move on to soups. Two bowls appear in front of us with very unappetizing liquid; a minestrone residue and a Thai curry gone wrong. After choking on a spoonful we decide to let it pass and move on to the next course.

By now we've had only two courses of our promised 10 course meal and the bus has already reached its extreme end which is Wilson College and will drive back towards Marine Plaza from here. We realize that the 10 course might mean 10 dishes.

A waiter walks in carrying pre-packed plastic plates which supposedly is our main course. As
the live singer murders Md. Rafi's khoya khoya chand in the background, a last nail is hammered on our appetite's coffin. The veg plate consists of Dal makhani, a Paneer sabzi, rubbery Chicken curry, rice, chapati, salad and Gulabjamun which gets lost in an identity crisis of being a sweet or savory by the end of the meal. The spinach stuffed grilled chicken in the Continental plate looks like the only edible item and we try to satiate our hunger with it while throwing sad glances at people eating at Crystal. The rest of the dishes in the Continental plate are unmentionable and we would like to erase every memory of ever eating them. 

As we duck to avoid branches brushing against our faces we reach where we started from. With tacky decor, horrid food which surprisingly come from Marine Plaza and steep pricing, The Moving Cart is a very bumpy ride. This Chennai based restaurant on wheels has to really gear up if it wants to park itself in a Mumbaikar's heart and mind.

Price: Rs 1200 per person for vegetarian meal, Rs 1400 per person for non-vegetarian meal

The Moving Cart starts from Marine Plaza on Marine Lines and take a one hand a half hour tour to Wilson College and back.

Reservations can be made through their website

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Restaurant Review - The Pier, Colaba

The new restaurant in the sea-facing Colaba restaurant is best enjoyed if you go with nothing but food in mind.

There was a time when eating out was all about food and not decor or ambiance, when going to a Food Inn or a Cafe Royal was saved for once a month family outing. But times have changed now and we want an extra touch to our meal be it the decor, the music or the location of the restaurant. Stepping inside The Pier, the perfectly located sea facing restaurant in Colaba, I felt that something was amiss. The 3000 sq. ft. area looks impersonal with no art to fill in the empty walls and no divisions to create some private spaces. However, a brass diving helmet kept at the entrance and blue leather seating give a hint of the marine theme. Given that the decor is still being done, I'd save my verdict on that for later.

A well stocked bar stretched along the left wall of the restaurant is a point of interest and so is the bar menu; with a 12 year old whisky available for just Rs 225 I or rather the husband can’t find a reason why it shouldn't be. A not so crowded Friday night had me thinking that word about the food here; which is delicious, needs to be spread. The limited menu serves dishes with a touch of European and Asian flavours and offers enough variety including beef, pork, seafood and enough to keep the vegetarians interested too. 

Giving the soups a miss we (husband and me) jumped straight to the appetizers and ordered

their highly recommended Beef tartare with slow poached egg yolk (Rs 450). We finished the very last morsel of this very tender tartare made with local buffalo meat, topped with poached yolk and served with red wine mousse, the runny yolk didn't add much to the taste though. The Beer battered fried calamari (Rs 450) had a juicy squid inside the crispy batter but the lacked any hint of beer. Highly recommend the crunchy snack especially when you have Black Dog (Rs 225) for company. The vegetarians can try the Edamame beans and gruyere cheese stuffed ravioli (Rs 375) which comes coated in a creamy tarragon sauce and a side of seared spinach. However, not being a fan of the edamame beans I would give it a miss the next time I am there.

If you are not one of those who would go to a bar and order their regular I'd suggest you try The pier Flip (Rs 350). The mocktail has dark rum as its base with Triple Sec, cream, sugar syrup and egg yolk; the not so sweet drink with a thick creamy texture certainly calls for a second round. 

The mains have a good mix of pastas,
risottos, red snapper, pork belly and beef burger. The Potato gnocchi in citrus herb butter (Rs 500) served with shaved parmesan is a must try, even if your roving eyes keep going back to the non-vegetarian section. The small portion of steeply priced Braised pork belly with apple cinnamon jus (Rs 2000) might give you a minor setback especially if you don’t enjoy digging in the fat, like me. However, the perfectly cooked pork, loaded with fat made the husband almost tumble out of the restaurant, sleepily. The dish comes with pancetta green pea risotto and braised brussel sprouts. This I washed down with the Pier beauty (Rs 275), a pretty pink drink with strawberry liquor, fresh strawberry and sparkling wine. 

I generally don’t prefer alcohol with the dessert but the in-house cream (Rs 300) and coffee liquors (Rs 280) were reasons enough to call for a shot of each. With our heads buzzing with the shots we lapped up the Vanilla panacotta (Rs 325) custard and cream served with chilled berries soup and a wafery thin layer of caramel.

With great food and hospitable staff, I feel that there’s a lot going in The Pier’s favour if only they work a bit more on one of the most important elements; ambiance.

Must try: Beef tartare, The Pier flip
Meal for two: Rs 3500 + taxes (without alcohol)


The Pier,
41/42, Dr. Minoo Desai Marg, 
Colaba, Mumbai
022 6606 0037, 022 6606 0036

Facebook: The Pier Restaurant

Twitter: @thepiermumbai
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