Don Giovanni in Worli closed.

December 31, 2009

A few days ago I wrote a post on Don Giovanni’s new Juhu location. I was t Atria today to eat at their Worli branch but was sad to see that it had closed down.

Don Giovanni back in Juhu

December 26, 2009

Don Giovanni is one of my favourite restaurants. About a year ago Don Giovanni shifted from Juhu to Worli while the Juhu branch was to be renovated. According to Burrp Don Giovanni is now back in Juhu behind Kings International Hotel. I have no clue where that is and will probably stick to the Worli branch anyways.

Tote on the Turf

July 26, 2009

Rahul Akerkar is coming up with a new restaurant called Tote. Tote will be near Olive’s race course property and will be slightly more upmarket than Indigo. I have been waiting for Tote to open for a long time and it keeps getting delayed for one reason or another. Knowing Rahul Akerkar however, one can be assured that it will be worth the wait. I keep bugging the staff at Indigo for updates on Tote and I always get the ‘opening next month’ line.

Businesstoday did a pretty comprehensive writeup on Tote. The gist of it is –

1. Tote was a building at the race course where punters would set up bets during races and Akerkar decided to keep the name.

2. 25,000 square feet

3. Meal for two should cost about 4000 with a drink

4. Seperate bar, banquet facility and a dining section thats further divided into formal, veranda, outdoor and lounge.

A little snooping around and help from a friend(thanks Nupoor!)  brought me to architect Kapil Gupta’s website for some WIP pictures. Looks pretty branchy to me.

Good Luck Rahul Akerkar!

Henry Tham closed down?

July 26, 2009

I drove past Henry Tham the other day and was surprised to find it closed. The Henry Tham board was off revealing the previous name of the restaurant. I was of the impression that they were doing pretty well and can only assume that they’re rennovating or sometihng.

EDIT – Jack & Jones and Only opened up a store where Henry Tham once was.

Chefs in India

July 17, 2009

I was reading about Chef’s in India and realized that there really wasn’t any comprehensive list of Chefs. I’m not sure how much of this information is true so if you know of any changes please let me know.

Chef Rahul Akerkar – Indigo/Indigo Delicatessen/Indigo Cafe/Tote on the Turf

Chef Massimiliano Orlati (Max) – Olive

Chef Manu Chandra – Olive Beach

Chef Vicky Ratnani – Aurus

Chef Hemant Oberoi – Wasabi/Chef’s Studio/Zodiac Grill

Chef Nelson Wang – China Garden

Chef Arindram Bahel – Rodas

Chef Ritu Dalmia – Diva

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor – Yellow Chilli

Chef Moshe Shek – Cafe Moshe/Moshe’s

Chef Imtiyaz Qureshi – Dum Puk

Chef Brainard Colaco – Mocha

Chef Shailendra Kekade – Stone Water Grille (Pune)

Chef Gresham Fernandes – Salt Wate Cafe

Aromas

July 10, 2009

Aromas joins the hugely successful Cafe Coffee Day and Cafe Mocha to become the fourth coffee shop in Powai. CCD gets a little too crowded and though the food and deserts at Mocha are much better than CCD, the shady crowd often puts you off. Cafe Columbia opened up sometime last year but they had a horrible location and their food was probably the worst of the three. Aromas opened up recently in Hiranandani. Aromas is part of an Australian coffee chain and have entered the Indian market with their Hiranandani outlet. I have been to Aromas twice so far and have not really been that impressed. I ordered a slice of cake that was dry, and maybe a little stale too. A lot of things on the menu weren’t available when I went there which was atleast a good month after they had opened. They serve wine but haven’t started serving beer yet (although its on the menu). I had a mint shake as well which wasn’t strong enough and seemed a little diluted to me. Overall the food was pretty disappointing, perhaps average at best. They also serve breakfast which is something I would like to try. Their location opposite D-Mart can get a bit crowded especially during rush hour though I must admit that I enjoyed watching the chaotic traffic while relaxing inside. They have outdoor seating as well which is nice when the weather is good The interiors are pretty good and its a lot better done up than CCD. However it is more expensive than CCD so I guess that it’s balanced. Service was OK. They messed up my friend’s order and he had to wait a good ten minutes after we got our food. The staff is fairly polite so I guess that its not that bad. Overall I guess this is a pretty nice place to hangout if food isn’t really on the top of your list.

Olympia Coffee House

June 22, 2009

I don’t know why Olmpia is actually called Olmpia Coffee house and if you have ever heard about Olympia, you have probably heard about their Kheema Pao. Getting their Kheema Pao however is quite a task as it gets sold out in the morning. I have been to Olympia sometimes as early as 10 o clock to find that they are out of Kheema Pao. They do however have a lot of other dishes which are definitely worth trying though not as popular as their Kheema Pao. Their mutton curry for example is definitely worth a try, it comes with the same soft pao that comes with the Kheema pao and if you don’t like how dry the kheema is – this could be a good alternative. However the pieces they use aren’t always the best. Let your waiter know that you are willing to pay a little extra and he will bring you better pieces in the curry. Everything at Olympia is dirt cheap anyways so money is really not an issue. I’ve tried their Biryani too which was good but their kababs were quite disappointing and I would advise you to avoid them. One thing that some people might find a little difficult to adjust to is the crowd. There are a lot of people from different backgrounds who come to eat at Olympia and you may be made to share a table with a stranger during rush hour. A lot of people might be uncomfortable doing this and I guess asking for takeaway is a good option. The restaurant itself is somewhat similar to some of the older restaurants in Mumbai but has a very distinct personality, very different from most restaurants I have been to. The owner/manager of course sits at a table just as you enter. Whoever sits behind that table doesn’t seem to talk to the customers much. None of the regulars seem to talk to him or ‘know’ him though the waiters are very friendly and recognize regulars. Something I noticed about the waiters and the entire staff is that they are all Muslim. I know Olympia is owned by Muslims but I guess they didn’t get the memo on non discriminatory recruitment policies. It’s a little dissapointing to see things like this happen in this day and age. Opposite the tabe there is a small staircase leading to what I suppose must have been a ‘family room’ and I haven’t seen it being used – quite similar to the small upper floor at Brittania. Just as you enter the restaurant there is a sign that says ‘No Beef since 1918’ which either tells you how old the place is or for how long they have not been serving   The same cafe style chairs that you find all over Mumbai find themselves at Olympia too. There are a lot of mirrors on the wall, framed in polished wood with little gaps for vents to allow fresh air into the restaurant, Olympia of course is not air conditioned. The restaurant has some really nice dull, almost brick red and yellow flooring which I don’t think has been changed since it opened and looks perfect. The computer to bill customers, in the corner however seems a little out of place but I guess you have to do what you have to do. To top everything else there is a sink at the back where unfortunately there isn’t any soap but a slice of lemon to wash your hands. The busy kitchen is right next to the sink, get a nice whiff of the food while you wash your hands and you can even peek in to see how your food is being made though to be honest I have never really had the guts to do so – somehow I don’t think their kitchen will be too hygienic. On that bombshell things must come to an end. Be sure to drop in to Olympia next time you are in Colaba before 10 in the morning. Cheers!

PS – Olympia is right opposite Cafe Leopold on Colaba Causeway.

Zaffran

April 17, 2009

Name/Location: Zaffran, Crawford Market

Average Cost: 200-300 a dish

Food: Zaffran is apparently centred around the use of Zaffran or Saffron though Im not too sure how much of it they actually use in their food keeping in mind how expensive it is. I usually order their chicken butter chicken, Murgh Zaffrani Tikkas, and some garlic naan and have to say that its some of the best mughlai Iv had. Their butter chicken has a lot of flavour and taste and the chicken tastes good too. The Tikkas are made of large chunks of chicken with the pieces seasoned to perfection and like the butter chicken are full of flavour and taste making dinner here an amazing experience. Their naans are good too and are really nice and soft. I heard a lot about their Raan and decided to order it but was left disappointed with it. I guess next time Ill just stick to the usual. Their deserts too were highly recommended including something called Khubani ka Meetha though it really wasn’t upto the same standards as the chicken. Overall Id say Zaffran is my favourite Mughlai restaurant in Mumbai beating restaurants like Khyber and Delhi Darbar that are usually considered to be the best.
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Service: The service here is acceptable and the staff isn’t rude or anything though things can sometimes take a little longer than expected and when it gets busy it might get a little difficult for you to get the waiter’s attention. Overall though Id say the service is satisfactory at this price point.

Ambience: Zaffran is located near Crawford market and its often difficult to get a nice open space here. Zaffran is located on 2 levels and the lower level is usually closed so you might just think its closed. The seating upstairs doesn’t have any windows and that could feel a little claustrophobic for some though it isn’t all that bad to be honest. Zaffran is open till late so that’s an added bonus though the surrounding area gets a little shady as it gets late so It would be best to be a little careful. The restaurant isn’t that bad inside and is pretty decent with clean walls and doesn’t let you have too much to complain about though you really have to be flexible to use their bathroom that’s located under an flight of steps.

Conclusion: Id defiantly recommend Zaffran to anyone who loves Mughlai food. Its good food that’s relatively cheap with comfortable ambience and decent service. The best thing though is that its open till 4 in the morning and so its always good for a nice meal before hitting the sack.

Cafe Paradise

April 17, 2009

Paradise has been around forever and my mom used to come here as a kid. Iv been eating here since I was a kid too and Im kinda hooked, and like my family there are a tonne of people who have been comming here for years. The place is neat and they only have booths in their restaurant unless you go to the backroom (which kinda stinks because it isnt used much). The place has been renovated a couple of years ago but still maintains some of the charm of the old restaurant. As far as food goes Id say this place is excellent. I always have their chicken steak which isnt really a steak, more of roast chicken dish with gravy nd I love it. Iv had 3 orders once so that should tell you how good it is. Their cold chicken salad is really good too as is their salli botti. They also serve Chinese here though I tihnk it would be a lot better to stick to their regular stuff. They also have spcecials which are only available on certain days so make sure you check out the specials menu when you go there. As for the service, Id say its really good too. The waiters recognize regulars and are quite knowledgable about the whole menu. Some of the waiters have been working at the restaurant for years so there really isnt much reason to complain. As far as cost goes, Id say it is a bit overpriced for what it is, but its not expensive by any means. OVerall a great place to get Parsi food.

PS – The owners love animals and feed close to 50 dogs a day!

Cafe Basilico

April 17, 2009

Name/Location: Cafe Basilico, Colaba/Bandra

Average Cost: Around 350 a dish, 100 a drink nd 150 for desert

Food: The head chef used to be the famous Chef Moshe who has now gone on to start his own restaurant.The place is owned by Farhan Azmi who owns Koyla across the street. The menu here has recently changed nd I wasnt too happy about that until I ate here again. I used to have a Cilantro Chicken which was basically a grilled chicken in cilantro sauce with mashed potatoes. When I requested the chef to make the same thing again he reccomended something else. Im not too sure about the name but it had mozerella. I highly reccomend this dish. The place is open for breakfast too but iv never been able to get up early enough. I tihnk its open from 7 . The cuisine here is mostly mediterranean. Their deserts are good too. They used to have the most amazing Baileys Cream Cake though theyv stopped it. I reccomend the Oreo Cheese Cake which has a layer of Crushed Oreos in the middle of other layers of chocolate. Their Blueberry Cheesecake is good too . The deserts here are so good that some people come nd only order deserts. In drinks id reccomend the Peachy Cheek which is just sprite nd peach flavour though its really good.

Service: The service is quite good. The waiters are polite nd helpful nd the chef comes to help you out in case ur confused. the waiters sometimes have problems telling you about the food though theyre very patient about it. The food doesnt come that fast though nd u might be waiting a good 20 mins before u get fed.

Ambience: I quite like the ambience here though the chairs do tend to get uncomfortable after a while. The floor is made out of railway sleepers nd is quite cool to look at. The best part about the place is the tall windows through which you can look out onto the street. gives the place a real charming touch. The only problem though is its quite cramped nd u can sometimes here what people on the other table are saying

Cafe Basilico is one of my favourite places to eat. They have a branch in Bandra as well but I am partial to the one in Colaba. Definitly worth a trip to.
UPDATE – I went to Basilico the other day and found a few changes. They have hopped onto the ‘Old Bombay Pictures’ bandwagon and there are a few interesting pictures around the restaurant which add some charm though the concept has been adopted by so many places already that it is getting a bit stale. They also have free wifi. Ask your waiter for the password.

Cafe Mondegar

April 17, 2009

Cafe Mondegar is a really chilled out place and a great place to come and relax with friends. The place has the famous Mondegar Mural behind it and has various scenes from the restaurant and Mumbai painted on it. if im not mistaken even Cafe Fountain had similar artwork on their placemats a few years ago. The restuarant has an airconditioned and non airconditioned section. The ac section isnt always open and you may find it smelling a bit funny because it isnt used as much as the non ac section which IMO is a lot better. While the AC section might be a bit more comfortable, it doesnt have the same charm that the regular section has and hence Id reccomend sititng outside. The highlight of the place is the retro jukebox in the restaurant which is imported. im not too sure if it works, but it really adds to the character of the place. Besides this the various beer signs and the Heinekken fridge are other defining characteristics of this place. The one thing that might bother you here is the crowd. The tables are all pretty close together and you can always hear what other people are saying. Id say this is another one of those ‘Mondegar’ things though some people are quite put off by it. The food here is great too and Id reccomend the Chicken Corden Bleu which is the famous chicken dish stuffed with chicken and served in a creamy sauce. You will also find steak as well as other meats here that you would probably not find in other restaurants in Mumbai. They also serve some pretty good breakfast including sausages, bacon and omlettes. Overall the food here is pretty good. As for the service, the staff is pretty attentive and will ususally help you decide on sometihng, however service gets a little busy as it gets crowded(which it is most of the time) and you may have to wait for some time to get your meal. Pricewise Id say its allright for what it is. Expect to pay around 200-250 a dish which isnt all that bad IMO. Overall Id definatly reccomend Mondegar.

The Pizzeria

April 17, 2009

Name/Location: The Pizzeria / Powai, Marine Drive nd Versova (?)

Average Cost: 200-300 a pizza

Food: The Pizzeria definitly has the best pizzas in town. They have been in Mumbai much longer than Dominoes or Pizza Hut came here and Iv been a fan of their pizzas right from the beginning. One particular pizza that I really like is the HumYum which has Bacon Onions and Extra cheese. This combination tastes really good though it is not on the menu anymore. If you want a peperoni pizza I suggest you stick to Dominoes who have the best Peperoni. If you are a veggie I suggest you go in for ‘the talk of the town’ which is your basic onion mushroom nd capsicum pizza. They also offer stuffed crust pizzas in their 8″ range which are good too. Pizzeria also has a concept called Quad Pizza which is 4 different toppings on one 12″ pizza. Makes a lot of sence for people who want to share. They also have the usual pasta nd garlic bread nd cheese though their pizzas are what really sets them apart. Their pizzas are very rich and made to your liking unlike Dominoes and Pizza Hut where the pizzas taste like they were made in a factory. In Pizzeria you get the feeling that some passion has gone into making the pizza nd its not just made by some guy whos making your pizza according to a rule book. They have recently changed their entire menu and have taken off many items I really used to like. They had a really good Risotto which isnt available anymore. They also had a pasta which would be made just the way you like it. They had some sort of garlic bread too which was topped with chicken in a whitish sauce. tht was really good too. I dont think any of the dishes mentioned above are on the menu anymore. The food here is really good nevertheless and even tastes good the next morning when you heat it up in the microwave.

Service: I have hardly ever eaten in the restaurant and always order the pizzas home though the service isnt bad. Im not sure about the branch in town but in Powai the waiters dont always know everything about the pizzas though they are more than willing to call the manager or the chef to assist you. Overall the service is really quick and efficient.

Ambience: The ambience in Powai is quite rubbish and the AC in the restaurant isnt even working half the time. However the ambience in town is AMAZING. The restaurant is right on marine drive and has little windows which are opened and you have a direct view of the sea and some traffic. You are literaly sitting on the side walk which is really nice. I have never been to the Versova branch.

Conclusion: Definitly the best pizza place in town unless your really into authentic italian pizzas. The town branch does quite well though I kinda have doubts about the Powai one. I would definitly reccomend this place to anyone who lloves pizzas. The only downside is tht isnt widespread and thus you have to be lucky to have one in your area. The owner, Sanjay Narang of Mars Restaurants should work a bit on marketting the restaurant across Mumbai nd Im sure it can easily take on Dominoes nd Pizza Hut.

EDIT – I believe Mars restaurants is now sold to a MNC. Lets see what happens.
UPDATE – The Powai branch shifted out of Hiranandani Gardens and into Nahar Amrit Shakti in Chandivali. The lower rent could not help them and now there is no Pizzeria in Powai.

Indigo Deli

April 17, 2009

A lot of people have been referring to Indigo Deli as an alternative to the slightly more expensive Indigo – the same standard of food, except quicker, easier and a little cheaper. While this is clearly a Deli and not a full blown restaurant they do serve some main course which is a good thing. Indigo Deli is located jsut opposite Henry Tham’s in Colaba in a beautiful building. However the restaurant just next to it is an old run down place catering to a completly different clientele and this may ruin the experience a bit. inside however is a completely different story. Theres a wine wall just as you enter and it also has a few pots and pans and other knick knacks which really look good. The deli also has the customary display case with a decent selection of meats and cheeses. The focal point of the restaurant however has to be the vintage Smith’s clock on the wall. It appeared to be an orginal to me and really transforms the place. The rest of the decor is warm and feels really classy . However this is a Deli so if your expecting a restaurant style decor you may by slightly dissapointed. Chef Simarpal handles the evening shift while Chef Amit Bajaj takes care of things in the morning. I really enjoy the food at Indigo Deli and their pizzas are highly recommended. The pizzas are paper thin and they use good quality meat used as toppings. I had a jalapeno chocolate mousse which was recommended though I didnt enjoy it as much as the pizza. The service here is good too and though as things get busier service expectedly becomes slower. They have a couple of good deserts too including their icecream though their Grand Marnier souffle and orange creme brulee is what I really crave. The souffle is served with a nice peanut butter cookie which goes pretty well with the souffle.  The waiters know the menu and are ready to make suggestions whcih is always a good thing. As far as value this place isnt all that expensive for what it is and I’d say its excellent value for money. A meal for two with deserts will be upwards of 1500.Overall Id reccomend this place though there are plenty of restaurants to chose from in Colaba.

PS – They used to have WIFI but don’t give out the password anymore for security reasons.

Indigo

April 17, 2009

Indigo is recognized as one of the best restaurants in Mumbai if not one of the the best restaurants in India. This is a pretty big deal and puts a lot of pressure on the restaurant. Indigo is owned by Rahul Akerkar who also started up Under the Over(RIP Under the Over) which was one of the most popular restaurants of its time. Indigo is located in a lane behind the Taj. Its the same lane as cotton world and to be honest the lane is really shady. But once you get near Indigo things get a little better. The restaurant is located in an old bungalow. The restaurant occupies the whole bungalow and as a result has a lot of space that it can play around with. The whoel idea of the restaurant in a bungalow is really genius and IMO looks awesome. The interiors are really simple but still extremely classy. When you enter you can see the bar with a couple of low tables. The dining areas are located on the left and right. Overall the ambience is perfect. Nothing fancy and yet at the same time very appealing. Comming to the service. The service here is good but I wouldnt say its outstanding. The waiters were able to reccomend items off the menu but you could tell that they dont really understand the menu that well or probably arent really that passionate about the food. The service however is polite and so thats a good tihng. The food doesnt take too long to arrive which again is a good thing. Comming to the food.Iv never eaten about 15% of what was on the Indigo menu and to me that shows that this restaurant is really out there offering the city exotic foods which is a huge huge bonus. I had a Lobster Bisque which was really good. Nothing really that outstanding but a good soup. As for the maincourse I ordered a Lobster Risotto and my mother ordered a tandoor grilled chicken. The risotto was a bit dissapointing to be really honest but then again Im not a big Risotto fan. At this point your probably thinking that Indigo is overrated. I had a bite of the chicken and WOW!!!. The chicken was perfecltly seasoned and had a nice juice under it which complemented it perfectlly. The chicken was reallly amazing and Ill definatly reccomened it. Other than that the Desert was allright and to be honest I dont even remember what I ordered. I ordered an extra side of pinacolada ice cream that I really liked. Now comming to the damages. Each dish is about 600 and that can go up a lot considering what you order. There are some dishes with some pretty exotic ingridients that are pretty pricey. At 600 a dish Indigo is really well priced. My whole meal with a soup, maincourse and desert came to 2200 for two which really isnt bad at all. I wouldnt be so quick to add Indigo to my favourite restuanrants yet adn ill need to go there a couple more times to understand if it really is the best restaurant in India. Overall though a great restaurant and not at as expensive as some make it out to be.

Under the Over

April 17, 2009

While you may want to visit this restaurant after reading my review im really sad to inform you that it is no more. Under the Over was one of the best restaurants in Mumbai and was certainly one of the hippest joints to hang out in. This was restauranteur Rahul Akerkar’s restaurant before he moved to Indigo and I guess the new managment just wasnt able to run it. I was a regular at this place and all the waiters knew exactly what we wanted when we walked in. The restaurant also doubled up as an art gallery which was a very clever way to decorate the place. I beleve you could purchase most of the stuff on the walls from the artist. The restaurant used director’s chairs which I guess was the cool tihng of the day and had a pretty decent decor for its time. Looking out of the windows you could see the Peddar Road fly over and the busy traffic which IMO was a pretty nice thing to watch from inside. The food here was great. They made the best Chicken Djonaise Iv had and though a few other restauarants do have this on their menu, it just doesnt cut it. They also had a great Skin nd Potatoes with sour cream and great deserts too including a gooey chocolate cake. This was one of the first restaurants to include nachos and cheese nd iced tea on their menu. I remember also once ordering grilled prawns with tartar sauce here that was great too. Overall the food here was what really made the place. However the restaurant failed to update itself and the menu remained the same for all those years and I guess some people got bored of the food and moved on to the newer restaurants in town. The service was great too, or maybe we found it great cos we always knew what to order. The waiters knew a lot about the menu and were willing to help. Since the place wasnt really that crowded you would usually get your food soon. As for value Id say it was excellent value though they did crank their prices up towards the end and it then became a little expensive. Im sure there are a lot more Under the Over nuts like me out there who really miss the place and I wish I could find out where the chef went so I could track him down and beg him to make me another plate of Chicken Djonaise.
Under the Over – you will be missed.