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.

DSC06442

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

Advertisements

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.

DSC06528

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!

 

DSC06597

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!

DSC06518

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!

DSC06552

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.

DSC06567

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

The Best Place to have Asian Food in Dadar with your Family ?

Located right opposite the famous Sena Bhavan, China Bistro in Dadar has always been on my wish list to try out. The ambiance here is quite pleasant and the service is polite and friendly. However, it does seem rather formal where you would want to dine with your family rather than friends.

IMG_3576

I visited this place for dinner and we began with a round of starters and went for the Conpoy Fish Bao and Prawns Har Gao DimSums. The Bao was light and fluffy and the fish filling was delicious! Even the Dimsums were filled with prawns, Perfect and worth trying out!

Impressed with their starters we went for some more, Sea Bass in Cumin BBQ Sauce, BBQ Skewered Prawns and Fire Roasted Mandarin Chicken. What we didn’t expect were the size of the portions, they were huge! The Sea Bass was tender and flavorful, the prawns too were quite nice but the Mandarin Chicken was simply amazing, the best dish we had that day! Tender chicken with a spicy batter coating. Must try!

Filled with the unexpected portion sizes, we skipped mains and went for desserts. The staff suggested we try out something unique so we went for their Chocolate Tsunami and Guava Ice Cream. Chocolate Tsunami is basically a Chocolate Mousse topped off with Hot Chocolate Sauce, tastes good but not quite unique as I expected. The Guava Ice Cream on the other hand was supposed to be a scoop of Guava Ice Cream but turned out to be a Slice of Guava Kulfi with Chili Powder Sprinkled over it. While I like the combination of Guava and Chili, the creamy kulfi flavor spoiled the fun, but still quite nice.

The Cocktails we tried out were Insane Russians which was basically a Black Russian with Vodka and Kahlua, amazing as always! A Peach Bellini, mild and elegant. Irish Mellow, combination of Bailey’s and Bubble Gum Liqueur, not the best combination, I would prefer them separate, also the ice made the drink way to mild. The Mocktails I had were, Apple Basil Martini which was delicious, Apricot Orange Blossom – not a big fan of citrus and milk together and a Blue Berry Passion – a nice drink but a small issue with the glass it is served in, as the berries remain sunk like the Titanic at the bottom of the tall glass!

Overall the food here is amazing, the drinks could have been better and the service and ambiance make it a perfect place to dine with your family.

  • Location : Opposite Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Park, Dadar

  • Cuisine : Asian

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.2000 (approx)

China Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

18 Years on, Indigo at Colaba still is one of the Most Elegant restaurants in Mumbai

As you walk by along the inner lanes of Colaba, you might pass by Indigo thinking it is an old colonial era bungalow, because that is exactly what Indigo is! A beautiful colonial bungalow converted into a restaurant way back in 1999.IMG_2645.JPG

A stone’s throw away from my college, a visit to Indigo was always on my wish-list and it was truly worth the wait. Stepping into this restaurant feels like stepping back in time, you are overwhelmed with nostalgia and hospitality whilst still having that feeling of home. The interiors are simple and elegant, wooden doors and furniture along with a wooden bar. They even have beautiful aquatic themed artwork hanging on the walls.

The service too was elegant and professional while still being warm and friendly, even the chef was kind enough to come to our table and explain his amazing creations. Speaking of which, Indigo offers a three course, Continental/European style meal which consists of a soup, an appetizer followed by the main course and dessert.

We began our evening with a round of Cocktails and an Amuse Bouche, a selection of Fresh Breads and Herb infused Butter. I never knew bread could taste so good by itself!

The course starts of with soups, we tried out the Chicken and Truffle Veloute and the Indigo Lobster Bisque. The Chicken soup is served with a Crispy Stuffed Chicken Wing and Roasted Baby Vegetables, the Veloute was rich, creamy and with a sprinkle of freshly crushed pepper this dish takes you straight to heaven. However the Lobster Bisque made me forget all about the previous dish, it was by far the best soup I have ever had, if not the best dish. I fall short on words to describe it.

Just as we thought, things can’t get any better, our appetizers arrived at the table. We went for the Beef Carpaccio and a Local Seafood Platter. The Beef Carpaccio comes served with a Fruit Tartare and capers that help elevate the mild flavor of the beef. The beef on the other hand was as tender as butter and looks as good as it tastes. If this dish didn’t fill my eyes with happy tears, the next dish surely did! Being a seafood lover, it doesn’t get any better than this. The dish itself looks like artwork, almost like the bottom of the ocean with octopus tentacles climbing out of it. It is served with two Broths, Tomato Fennel and an absolutely delicious Potato cream and butter sauce. While not many might like this dish, I loved it!

Coming to mains, we tried out their Shiraz Braised Jodhpuri Goat Shanks and a dish that I have longed to try out ever since I started watching videos of Masterchef and Gordon Ramsay – The Indigo Beef Wellington. The Chef informed us that the Goat Shanks are actually bought from Johdpur, thousands of kilometers away, it  comes served with Dill Pilaf, Caramelized Figs and a Pomegranate Gastrique, Delicious! The Beef Wellington tasted just as I dreamed to be, what I didn’t expect was the crackling sound the knife made as it cut through the Puff Pastry. It is served alongside Truffled Mash, Onion and Shallot Confit and Buttered Asparagus. While the dish looks small and harmless, it was extremely filling!

Finally for desserts we tried out the Chocolate Forrest and Match Panna Cotta, both were quite nice but the previous dishes overpowered the desserts!

The Cocktails we tried out were Indigo Passion, Indigo Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned, Americano, White Russian and a Scotch Sour. Again quite nice but the food overpowers it all!

In today’s world where restaurants try to show off their fancy interiors and complicated dishes with unnecessary ingredients, Indigo stands out as a clear example of how simplicity is still the best! A must visit place for any seafood or european lover or any food lover in general! With so many “bests” this restaurant is definitely one of the best I have visited.

  • Location : 4, Mandalik Road (Behind Taj Palace), Colaba.

  • Cuisine : European and Continental

  • Cost for 2 : Rs.6000 (approx)

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

Try out Mumbai’s Best Sushi at Pa Pa Ya, Colaba.

As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree, Zorawar Kalra’s Pa Pa Ya is just as fascinating as Jiggs Kalra’s Masala Library. Being a Sushi lover, a visit to Pa Pa Ya has been on my wish list ever since I heard about this place. While I haven’t visited their first outlet in Lower Parel, I recently visited their new outlet in Colaba. Sushi is already quite an exquisite dish but Pa Pa Ya takes it to a whole new level.

Located right next to Colaba Social and behind the iconic Taj Palace, this place is a must visit. The ambiance beautiful with its red and yellow theme, probably derived from its name which means High Energy.

We began our evening with a round of Amuse Bouche to prepare our palate for the sensory feast that was to follow, it consisted of Basil infused Watermelon, served in a shell with Lemongrass Foam.IMG_3794

Spicy Shiitake Roll and Crispy Roll : The first round of Sushi was vegetarian, and they tasted far better than any of the Non vegetarian Seafood Sushi I have tried over the years. The Crispy roll had an amazing combination of textures with the Softness of Rice and the Crispness of deep-fried Spinach. Worth a try!

Sushi Tree : If only Sushi grew on tress, I would have a whole plantation of Sushi Trees. It had varieties of Salmon, Tuna, Crab and Eel. It was the first time I tried eel and it was very flavorful and the best Sushi I had that night. Do try it out!

Also worth mentioning that the Ginger and Wasabi served along with it were out of this world, very strong and absolutely delicious.

Pork Buns : Though I can’t remember the exact name of this dish, the memory of taking a bite into this dish will be long cherished. Soft, sticky, chewy, bursting with flavor and piping hot in the middle. Almost burnt my mouth trying to eat it at one go but it was worth it!

IMG_3824

Carbon Sushi : The dish synonymous with Pa Pa Ya, finally I get to try it out. It was totally worth the wait, however the rest of the dishes were equally good, I wonder why this dish stands out among them.

Hargao Green and Sushi Arancini : The Hargao looks delicate, feels delicate and tastes the same way too, worth showcasing in a museum. While the Arancini had a blend of strong flavors and crispness or bread crumbs.

Pla Samrot : This was my favorite dish of the day, a perfect blend of sweet and spicy with a dash of sour in the middle. The Deep Fried Shrimp is glazed with a sweet sauce, the Dehydrated Pineapple has a sweet taste which turns sour in the middle while you end with a mild heat from the Green Chili Sauce at the bottom, Delightful!

 

Soft Shell Crab Bun : Just as I felt that I have tastes the best that Pa Pa Ya has to offer, the next dish was a dream come true. I wanted to try out Soft Shell Crab since a while and finally here it was, totally worth the wait. The Slider Buns are blackened with Squid Ink, making this dish even more exquisite, while the crabs are served Deep Fried – Tempura Style. To sum it up this was the best burger/slider I have ever had, mild flavors and a mix of soft and crisp textures. I wanted to have another round, but then we would have to skip mains.

IMG_3846

Amuse Bouche : After so many rounds of explosive flavors, the mild tasting Coconut based amuse bouche was a nice way of cleansing the palate for the main course.

IMG_3848

Main Course – Kao Pad Karpao Rice, Singapore Chili Crab, Wok Fried Chicken and Mantao Buns : Just as I was sulking about the Soft Shell Crabs, voila, there it was for Mains as well, served with a Spicy and Tangy Singapore Chili Gravy. It was the best dish from the lot, while the others were nice too. The Chicken had a strong taste of lemongrass and the Rice was flavorful too. The buns were soft and Chewy, went well with the Chili Crab Curry.

Chocolate Ball on fire : Finally time for desserts, I was eager to know if it would be just as fascinating as the rest of my meal. The name said it all, a treat for all your senses. The aroma of Flaming Sambuca, the sight of a Chocolate Ball melting, revealing its inner goodness and the mad mix of flavors, what a way to end a perfect evening!

The Drinks we tried of there were Fuku Sour, Kasoi Tail, Whiskey Sour and my favorite of the lot, U-Isuki-Sho. The Fuku Sour is a Melon and Raw Mango flavored drink, the Kasoi Tail comes with an aromatic incense stick, the Whiskey sour was just perfect with its layer of cream from the egg white and the U-Isuki-Sho tastes as good as it sounds, a watermelon based drink topped off with Vanilla Ice Cream and infused with Bourbon.

Overall, this was one of the best places I have ever visited, and totally worth the cost especially if you are a Sushi Lover. Can’t wait to visit this place again. A special shout out to the staff, the best service I have ever received, a perfect combination of politeness and professionalism, with good knowledge about all the dishes, the manager and his suggestions surely made our evening extra special. A bench-mark for other restaurants to follow.

  • Location : Hotel Diplomat, Colaba, Mumbai.

  • Cuisine : Asian, Sushi

  • Cost for 2 : Rs 5000 (approx)

 

Pa Pa Ya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Masala Library, BKC

I have visited several amazing restaurants in Mumbai, and then I visited Masala Library which was by far the best out of them all, so much so that I may fall short on words to describe how extraordinary my experience here was. On my visit, I was filled with a lot of excitement and sky-high expectations as I had heard several positive reviews of this place, and it surely lived up to them all.

As you step in, the ambiance does feel very inviting and warm. The tables are set up beautifully with wine glasses and the staff is quite friendly too. I loved the way the they change the table setting after every course and the way they explain each and every dish down to the last detail. Quite a treat for any food lover.


We started of with a couple of House Specialty Cocktails, all of which had some or the other use of spices in them. Their Masala Library Margarita was not only my favorite of the lot but also the best Cocktail I have ever had. I consists of whole spices perfectly flambeed in Tequila that actually improves the flavor of the drink.
Just a sip of it, and I had my Ratatouille Moment.

We tried out the chefs tasting menu, which is a fixed menu of five different courses with several rounds of amuse bouche served in between these courses . The dishes we tried out were as follows,

– Amuse Bouche – Thandai Shot and Maska Pav

A nice way to ready your palate for the exciting courses to come.

– Course 1 – Soup

Steamed Patrani Macchi with Lemon Coriander Shorba, served along with salted Edamame beans – mildly spiced, the was fish perfectly tender and flavorful and the edamame beans complimented the flavor of the soup.

– Course 2 – Salad

eIMG_1104
Prawns spiced with curry leaf and pepper, served along with banana chips and thayir sadam(curd rice) – Tender, juicy and packed with flavor, the most amazing prawn dish ever, the spiciness of the prawn is well balanced with the sweet and sour curd rice which you eat with the banana chips as spoon.

– Course 3 – Starters


Galawat Kebab – A really tiny dish, and again, the best piece of kebab I have ever had, spicy and tender. Served along with varqi paratha whose sweetness compliments the spicy kebab.

eIMG_1121
Bacon Wrapped Tandoori Morel – After the best prawns and kebabs, it was time for the best slice of bacon, served along with a deep fried lotus stem. Absolutely delicious.

eIMG_1123

Piri Piri Chicken Tikka – A large juicy chunk of perfectly spiced chicken served with raita and a slice of pink ginger that just made the dish come alive.

eIMG_1127

Pan Seared Scallop – I have always wondered what scallops taste like, its soft and tastes similar to shell-fish. The peanut salad dressing gave it an Indian flavor.

eIMG_1129
Braised Mutton Chaap – Glazed with Maple and Kokum syrup, this succulent mutton rib had a very unique taste and the knife cut through it like butter. Perfect!

– Amuse Bouche – Sorbet

eIMG_1132

Mishti Doi Popsicles – Sweet and tangy, it did help to wash away the flavors from the starters and prepared the palate for the main course.

– Course 4 – Main Course

eIMG_1144
Pan Seared Rawas – Served alongside sauteed Crab and Spinach. The spice sprinkled on the fish was just mind-blowing, lip smacking and spicy, it went well with the bitterness of the Spinach and the sweetness of the Basa. Another perfect combination of flavors and textures.

eIMG_1134

Kashmiri Chili Duck – Tangy and Spicy, and the first time I tried out duck. Quite delicious.

eIMG_1142
Dal Bhukara – Served as a side dish, this was the only dish from the entire menu that I found quite average and could have been better.

eIMG_1140
Tadke Wali Dahi – After trying out the best preparations of meat, this was the best version of Boondi Raita that I have had. Spiced with Curry leaves and simply delicious.

Selection of Rotis – The rotis too were quite nice, however nothing compared the madness of flavors that I had just experienced. They even had kulchas stuffed with prawn Balchao, which was quite interesting.

– Course 5 – Desserts

eIMG_1151

Ras Malai Tres Leches – A very photogenic dish that tasted even better, soft and tender Rasmalai, floating in a pool of delicious Saffron Milk. Quite a large portion.
eIMG_1155
Jalebi Caviar served with Saffron Foam and Rabdi – Enough Said! A perfect ending to an amazing dinner.

– Amuse Bouche – Childhood Memories

eIMG_1158
Paan flavored Cotton Candy, perfectly blended flavors and a nice mouth freshener to end the night with.

Masala Library may be expensive but it it’s definitely the finest of fine dining restaurants that will leave you satisfied and wanting for more. Strongly recommended!

Masala Library Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  • Location : Citibank Building, BKC.

  • Cuisine : North and South Indian

  • Cost : Rs.7000 for 2 (approx)