Is this New Restaurant the Reincarnation of Taj Mumbai’s Iconic Zodiac Grill ?

Opened in the late 80’s, the Zodiac Grill at the Taj Palace in Mumbai, has always been one of the most iconic restaurants in the city. Visiting this beautiful place had always been a childhood dream for me that sadly will never be complete as the Zodiac Grill shut down a couple of years ago. You could imagine the excitement I had when I learnt that the Executive Chef of the Zodiac Grill and Taj Palace, Hemant Oberoi has opened a new restaurant in Mumbai. Named after the famous chef himself, Hemant Oberoi at BKC is another Luxury Fine Dine Restaurant to open up in Suburban Mumbai.

The ambiance here is modern and fresh, the high ceilings and huge glass windows make this place seem even more luxurious. The warm lighting and wooden walls too adds to that feeling of luxury.

The service here was exceptional and one of the best I have come across, the staff was polite and friendly to speak to, their knowledge about the dishes were spot on and mostly their attention to detail while the placed the dishes and cutlery was impressive.

So this place has the perfect Service, Ambiance and Backstory but does the food match up to it? Yes, it surely does. We started off with a palate cleansing Amuse Bouche. Perushi – Japanese Sushi with Peruvian flavors served with Pickled Ginger. Spicy and delicious, perfect way to cleanse your palate and prepare yourself for the treat that is to follow!

Drinks : Elder-flower Vintail and Barman’s Special.

The Vintail was by far one of the best wine based cocktails I have had, extremely aromatic and flavorful, just a sip of it is enough to tease your senses, the Barman’s special on the other hand was a Campari based cocktail that was exotic in taste and very refreshing. However, the Vintail is a must-try! Strongly Recommended!

Soups : Warm Leeks Cusco Mountain Potato Soup and Chilled Melon Gazpacho with Coconut Snow.

The potato soup was heavenly, very flavorful and served at the right temperature. The creamy texture makes it even better, again one of the best soups I have had and almost at par with the Lobster Bisque from Indigo Colaba which is my most favorite. The Gazpacho is quite unique because unlike other soups, it is served cold.

Appetizer : Brie and Truffle Souffle

Finally the dish we were all waiting for, chef Hemant’s signature dish inspired from the Camembert Dariole served at the Zodiac Grill. I loved the way this dish was served with theatrical synchronization, something hard to describe in words. Speaking of which, after all the theatrics, when you finally take that knife to cut into this dish you realize how tender it is. Almost like cutting into candy floss, I truly fall short on words to describe the texture. The taste was equally amazing, sweet, salty, savory, smoky, cheesy, spicy and creamy all at once! It would be a sin to not try this dish!

Main Course : Po Hai Ho Chili Red Snapper with Prawns Spinach and Orzo.

Another beautifully presented dish that tastes amazing, the spinach perfectly complemented the seafood. While the dish might look tiny, it is quite filling. Worth trying out as well.

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The other main Courses here were Slow Cooked Lamb Shank, Pollo Brassa Chicken, Three Mushroom Ravioli and the Asparagus Risotto, which were equally amazing, the lamb being the best of the lot.

Desserts : Valrhona Mille-Feuille, Chocolate Shawarma and Rose Petal Ice Cream.

The mille feuille looked fantastic and tasted good too, on the other hand, the shawarma was very messy and almost unappetizing to look at but tasted out of this world, even better than the mille-feuille. The warm chocolate with its strong flavor and soft texture was to die for, worth trying! Finally the Rose Ice cream was the perfect way to end this meal, strong gulkhand like flavor with a mild creamy texture, this was one of the best Indian flavored Ice creams I have had.

While my dream to visit the Zodiac Grill might never come true, I was quite impressed with chef Hemant Oberoi’s new restaurant and I can only wonder what the grill must have been like in its glory days.

  • Location : Ground Floor, Jet Airways Godrej Building, Bandra Kurla Complex.

  • Cuisine : A mix of European, Middle Eastern, Continental and Asian.

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.7500 (approx)

Hemant Oberoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Local Mumbai Food at a 5 Star Hotel ?

When was the last time you dropped by one of our city’s 5 star hotels to have a plate of Pani Puri or Bhurji Pav? Well this was my first time trying out local street food combined the magnificent ambiance of Hotel Sahara Star.

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So does local food taste better when cooked with utmost hygiene and served to you at a table with the most amazing view of Sahara Star’s interiors ? Honestly it tastes the same as it would outside any railway station but the experience here is unmatched! The restaurant Earth Plate is located one floor below ground and hence has an amazing view of the rest of this uniquely designed hotel. The ambiance here is almost sinfully relaxing, right from the lobby to the smoking room, this place is coated in luxury!

 

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Coming to the main attraction, the food! “The Mumbai Local Street Food Festival” was a limited time add-on to their usual buffet. The street food counters were designed to look like local vendors with a touch of cleanliness of-course!

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We began with a round of Kheema and Bhurji Pav, they had different varieties of Chicken and Mutton Kheema, all of them were perfectly cooked and very delicious, just as you would expect at a street-side vendor. Next we had a round of kebabs and tried a piece of each, again they were up to the mark both with taste and texture.

Next we came to their Chinese counter and since they had only one Chicken dish, we stuck to it and skipped the rest. And yes that Chicken Dish was Chicken Lollipop, the best chicken lollipop I have ever had, perfectly soft drumsticks and the most amazing Schezwan Sauce. We had to go for a second round. The best dish of the day!

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We then came to their Chicken Pizza and Chicken Roll, sadly these dishes didn’t impress me, they were very average in taste compared to the rest of the food.

Last but not the least we had to have a plate of Pani Puri and yes it was amazing, Ice Cold Pani Puri inside a 5 Star Hotel! Worth trying out!

 

After finishing with their special street food dishes, we tried out their regular buffet, starting with salad and fruits along with some of their breads. The salad was good but their collection of breads didn’t taste very fresh.

For mains we had Mutton Soup with Mutton Biryani, Mutton Rogan Josh and Butter Chicken, again the meats were cooked to perfection and their gravies were spiced deliciously. The Mutton Rogan Josh was my favorite of the lot.

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Finally time for desserts or should I say, the second main course as there were so many things to try out. Luckily their staff had given me a round of all their courses and I had saved up space for desserts. Good Decision! Apart from their usual desserts section they even had a counter for Kulfi Falooda and Rabdi Jalebi as a part of their Street food festival, sadly the kulfi was very average and the jalebi was burnt but I was not sad at all as I had a hundred other things to try out from their regular dessert section which were amazing!

Lastly their mocktails section, just like their food, I had mixed reviews about their drinks. Maybe it had to do with their bartender who made the most amazing glass of Pinacolada for us but then he moved to the cocktail bar and the new guy only offered us drinks made with Monin syrup which I found quite ridiculous so we stuck to regular aerated drinks.

Overall my experience here was one of a kind, Earth Plate did prove to me that local food and fine dine can surely go hand in hand. I would surely recommend this place to anyone visiting Mumbai with an interest in trying out local food.

  • Location : Hotel Sahara Star, Opposite Domestic Airport, Vile Parle East.

  • Cuisine : Indian (I feel it keeps changing)

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.5000 (approx)

The Earth Plate - Sahara Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Khyber at Kala Ghoda is place you should visit at least once!

Over half a decade old and after catering to Royalty and Celebrities from all over the world, Khyber is truly one of the most iconic restaurants in the city.

The moment you stem inside you realize how huge this place actually is. The ambiance takes you back in time instantly, beautiful rustic walls with artwork hand drawn by the famous M.D Husain in 1988, this place will leave you in awe even before you reach your table!

The night I visited, I was surrounded by guests from all over the world. On my left was a table of Japanese businessmen, on another were an elderly Israeli couple and to my right a group of American tourists, such lovely diversity.

They serve some of the best Mughlai food at Khyber. We began with their Seafood Platter which consisted of Reshmi Prawns, Coconut Coriander Prawns, Kali Mirch Rawas, Pomfret and Squid coated in Tawa Masala. The fish was fresh and the Masala was perfect, it was also the first time I tried out Squid with Indian Spices. Worth trying out!

The other starters we had were, Kali Mirch Mutton and Brain Fried Green Masala. The Mutton was tender and beautifully spiced, loved it completely. The brain however was not so impressive, I guess brain loses its soft texture and charm when fried.

For mains we had the Mutton Rara and Chicken Makhanwala, both dishes were delicious, the meat was tender and the spices spot on! We tried out their Reshmi Malai Paratha and Garlic Naan along with our mains which were quite nice too.

We tried out the Milky Way and Firni for desserts, the Milky was mix of Saffron Laddu swimming in a Sea of Condensed Milk and tasted as good as it sounds, worth trying out. The Firni on the other hand was more like Rabdi with its rich creamy texture and sweet taste, but still very delicious.

The Cocktails we tried out here were nice and subtle and something different from the usual gimmicky cocktails many restaurants serve today. We tried out the Rusty Nail, Whiskey sour and a couple of others.

Overall, the food here is good though it could be better in certain areas. The service was good too, though it was a little overwhelming for me to enjoy the meal with 4-5 waiters almost surrounding the table. This even made the place seem cluttered and a little claustrophobic. Almost Perfect is how I would like to describe this iconic restaurant and surely a place you have to visit!

  • Location : 145, Kala Ghoda, Fort.

  • Cuisine : North Indian/Mughlai

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.5000 (approx)

Khyber Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste Bhi, Health Bhi?

Well just like in the case of Maggi Noodles, I’m not sure if the food at Garde Manger is actually healthy but it’s surely tasty! Speaking of which, Garde Manger is beautiful little cafe in Vile Parle, warm and cosy, the ambiance is just perfect! The service too was quick and friendly.

At first sight, barring the desserts, the dishes here were quite unattractive and made want to run for my life as I am a hardcore Non-vegetarian, who doesn’t really care about calories. However I decided to give their food a try instead of heading straight for dessert. Starting off with something safe, their coffee, a Hazelnut Latte and a Cold Coffee. Both were quite nice, the latte was filled with Chocolate sauce, no complaints but not sure if that’s healthy either.

Convinced by their coffee, we went for the Mumbai Local and Mezze Platter. Mumbai Local is like a healthy and premium version of a roadside bhel with fresh ingredients topped off with liquid nitrogen. Now when was the last time your bhelwala used liquid nitrogen? And not only was the smoky presentation a treat for your eyes, the dish tastes good as well, light, delicious and yes… frosty cold! A must try dish! The Mezze Platter was nice as usual, delicious Humus, Couscous, and Tahini Yogurt served with Pita Bread and bread sticks.

Next we went for some Nachos and Pasta, the Nachos did seem quite healthy even the dips served with it were light and delicious! The Spaghetti Pesto Pasta was quite nice too. We ordered their Cold Press Juice and Lemon Ice Tea to go along with these dishes.

By now I realized one way in which their food is healthy… it fills you up quickly and makes you avoid overeating. Almost full, it was finally time for desserts! We ordered a Greek Yogurt and Apple Crumble and a Belgium Chocolate Waffle. The waffle was one of the best I have ever had and it vanished almost instantly. Perfect taste and texture, must try! The Apple Crumble on the other hand was very heavy but equally delicious, it’s sweet and tangy flavor with a hint of Cinnamon has a similar taste to Christmas sweets and made me feel Nostalgic. We ended with an Orange Popsicle which actually had pieces of fruit in it.

Overall the food here is fantastic and absolutely worth visiting. I only wish this place was nearer to home. Strongly Recommended – Health Conscious or Not!

  • Location : Parmar CHS, Vile Parle East.

  • Cuisine : Cafe, Healthy food, Italian

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.800 (approx)

Garde Manger Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dishkiyaaon!!!

Dishkiyaaon! yes that’s the name of this quirky restaurant located on the ground floor of the beautiful Capital Building at BKC. The ambiance lives up to its name with its unique decor, hilarious coasters and so does the food with its Bollywood inspired filmy names.

I visited this place for lunch on a rainy day and it was quite a pleasant experience. We began with a round of soup that was served with lightly toasted bread. We tried out the Yanna Rascalla which was a combination of Minestrone and Rasam, not sure about the minestrone but this soup did taste like Rasam with tiny chunks of Chicken in it, definitely not my favorite dish! However the second soup, Shorba Di Fungi, a Creamy Mushroom soup with Chicken was simply delicious. Thick, creamy and packed with that delicious mushroom flavor, it went well with the garlic toasted bread. Must try if you like Mushroom soups.

Chicken Tikka and Khari maybe two things you never thought of having together but this restaurant seems to like crazy combinations and they definitely got this one right. Their Chicken Tikka Khari was the best dish of the day, tender juicy chicken and soft melt in your mouth Khari, strongly recommended!

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The other appetizers we tried out were Kerela Fish and Chips and Prawns Tandoori Pesto, while the fish was nice and crisp on the outside, it could have been more juicy or moist on the inside, however I did like the spices used on the crust. The prawns were just poor in taste and quality, not recommended!

For mains we ordered Potli Fish and Bhuna Green Goulash and some roti to go along with it. Both dishes were so delicious, nothing was left behind. The Potli Fish comes wrapped in Parchment Paper and served with mildly spiced Masala Rice. The flavors of lemon butter and thyme were mildly evident but if there was a drizzle of lemon butter sauce over the rice, it would have brought this dish to life. The Lamb Goulash Gravy on the other hand was packed with flavor and quite spicy. Perfect! Went well with the Multi-grain Roti served along with it.

Finally for desserts we had an overload of chocolate as we tried out their Chocolate Volcano and Old Monk Chocolate Mouse. Both were equally delicious and chocolaty!

The drinks we tried out were Coffee Sangria – a non alcoholic mix of coffee and orange flavors – not my favorite drink. Paan Banaras wala – Whiskey with Paan and Coconut syrup – unique taste, what I liked most was the flakes of beetle-nut floating on top and cooling your lips each time they touched. Banaras to Bombay – Another delicious blend of Thandai and Dark rum, sadly only 1/3 of the glass was filled. Chai Biscuit Cocktail – Rum and Chai, tastes as bad as it sounds. Last but not lease – A Classic Old Fashioned, the best drink of the lot and a clear example that Classic Cocktails should not be messed with!

Overall we had a lovely time at this restaurant, a great place to unwind and dine with friends!

  • Location : Ground Floor, Capital Building, BKC.

  • Cuisine : Indian and Continental

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.1500 (approx)

Dishkiyaaon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Traditional Home Style Malwani food at your Workplace ?

Well that’s true if your office is at Peninsula Business Park in Lower Parel. The newly launched Soul Curry Joint offers delicious home style Malvani food right from small bites like Chicken Sukkha, Garlic Prawns, etc to a complete Malvani Thali consisting of Rice, Bhakris, Chicken,  Mutton, Fish, Prawns and the best of all, Sol Kadi!

I dropped by this place a while ago and tried out some of their delicious Malvani Fare and I was quite impressed. Chicken Sukkha and Prawns Garlic were the starters that I went for, both of them were fantastic. The authentic flavors and freshness of ingredients makes you forget that you are inside the food court of a business park.

Next I tried out their chef recommended Bombay Duck and Pomfret Fry, by far the best Fried Fish I have ever had! Tender and fresh on the inside and Crispy on the outside, Delicious and worth a try!

For mains I tried out their Chicken Malvani with Rice Bhakris. Though I am not a fan of bhakris, it went well with the flavor of the chicken gravy.

Finally I tried out their special Sol Kadi, from which the name of the restaurant is derived, a perfect ending, rich and bursting with flavor! Just like the rest of the dishes.

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Soul Curry takes cafeteria and food court food to a whole new level, the quality of food is at par with some the best restaurants that I have visited. Strongly Recommended! They even have a wide variety of healthy food and all at very pocket friendly rates.

  • Location : Tower A, Peninsula Business Park, Lower Parel

  • Cuisine : Malvani, Healthy food

  • Cost for two : Rs.500 (approx)

The Newly Opened Hungry Head at Ghatkopar has some of the Best Maggi Creations.

My experiments with Maggi started by adding knobs of butter and slices of cheese to it, later it moved on to adding caramelized onions, fried paneer or chicken to it. However, this place takes their maggi preparations to a whole new level.

Located a stones throw away from my Alma Mater, Somaiya, this place is bound to attract several college going students alone with the locals of Ghatkopar. After multiple visits to their Powai outlet, I was curious to see what the second outlet of Hungry Head had in store.

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We began by trying out some of their basic Maggi Preparations and went for the Picadilla Maggi, Thai Curry Maggi, Aglio E Olio Maggi and my favorite fro their previous outlet –  Khow Suey Maggi. While the other three are still delicious, their Khow Suey Maggi still remains my favorite dish.

To beat the summer heat along with the heat from the spices, we decided to try out some of their drinks and ended up trying almost all of them. Starting off with their Thick Shakes – Chocolate, Mast Melon, Snickers, Shahi Mango and Berry Delight, then to a few Coolers, Mojitos and Iced Teas. While we loved all of them, their Thick Shakes were the best of the lot.

Next we moved on to more complex maggi preparations, their Maggi Sizzler and Oye Punjabi Magizza. Both of which seem nice but failed to impress, especially the sizzler, more show than flavor or taste.

We then moved on to their specialty fries and blooming bread, which is their version of a Pull-apart bread. Chili Cheese Garlic and Honey Chili were the toppings we went for, while the toppings were delicious, the quality of fries were very average, the dishes could have been much better. The Blooming Bread is another dish that I dislike as it is more gimmick and less taste, while the first few bites are good, the rest of the dish is plain dry bread. Not recommended by me even though many people may like it.

Finally for desserts we had their Sizzling Brownie and Chocolava Cake with Ice Cream, both of them were quite nice but the Chocolava was a hint better. We ended with a round of Paan, Coffee and Bubble Gum shots. The paan and coffee are quite nice but the bubble gum could be avoided.

Overall this place is worth a try for maggi lovers, after all it is an iconic product that you can’t avoid whether you love it, hate it or even ban it! Maggi is here to stay!

  • Location : M G Road, Opposite Kotak Mahindra Bank, Ghatkopar East,

  • Cuisine : Fast Food

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.600 (approx)

Hungry Head Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato