Best of Mumbai 2010: Food

December 6, 2010 8:06 am by

Eating at Ziya is a lavish affair.

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A meal at Ziya is a momentous affair partly because the restaurant and its crockery are lavished with gold accents and more importantly, because of Michelin-starred chef Vineet Bhatia’s inventive Indian menu. In space, name and concept, Ziya has sought to do away with the oil-heavy associations of its predecessor Kandahar, and instead re-introduce Indians to, well, Indian food. Brazen though the notion might be, Bhatia replaced big “sharing” portions with pre-plated courses, and in doing so successfully created “a clean and contemporary version of the overwhelming Indian thali”. From mushroom khichdi with makhani ice-cream to black spiced chicken with gold leaf, the food is subtle, delicious and rare of a food venture here, entirely unexpected.  The Oberoi, Mumbai, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 6210.

Indigo Deli at Palladium

Indigo Deli at Palladium proves that sometimes old favourites die hard. Sluggish service aside, this second outpost lives upto its promise of serving good old American comfort food—for beef burges, BLTs, eggs benedict and mac and cheese, Indigo Deli has everyone in its category beat. With its humongous deli section (32 kinds of cheese, 40 kinds of meats), excellent selection of desserts (red currant cheesecake) and a few new additions (like the chilli cheese toast), the Palladium outpost has almost outdone its venerable Colaba peer. For sheer consistency in delivering good food, Indigo Deli remains our pick for best café in 2010. First Floor, Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 2498 6262.

Tote on the Turf
In the last week of October, chef and restaurateur Rahul Akerkar made an unexpected public admission that the food at Tote on the Turf had played “second fiddle to the interiors”. To correct that oversight, Akerkar thankfully did away with the insipid all-day menu of burgers and pastas and fell back on his European-food-Indian-flavours formula that made Indigo such a success story. The excellent seared Canadian scallops with fennel marmalade and the charcoal grilled king prawns ably demonstrate Akerkar’s return to form, and show Tote on the Turf’s food to be a worthy partner to its décor. Mahalaxmi Race Course, opposite Gate 5 & 6, Keshvrao Khadye Marg Mahalaxmi. Tel: 6157 7777.

Salt Water Cafe
At one point during a meal at Salt Water Café, you will wonder why on earth you come here. This point is likely to be when you’ve been waiting about 35 minutes for your order and got nothing but vague smiles from the serving staff. We’ll tell you why. Because once the food arrives, it’s yummy and because Salt Water Café listens to its customers. After all, they did start all-day breakfasts, which we’ve been asking for since the restaurant opened. The breakfast menu includes waffles, sausages, bacon, a long list of eggy preparations, pancakes, a wide variety of freshly baked breads and seriously delicious muffins (we strongly recommend the apple buttermilk one). Rose Minar Annexe, 87 Chapel Road, Next to Mount Carmel Church, Bandra (West). Tel: 2643 4441.

Red Velvet at Le15 Patisserie
Le15 Patisserie owner Pooja Dhingra has had quite the year. From opening two outposts of her wildly popular patisserie counters to becoming a media-savvy food brand, Dhingra has become the poster child of a new breed of chef entrepreneurs. From her repertoire of tarts, cupcake, verrines and macaroons, it’s the red velvet that shines the brightest. This maroon-coloured confection, prepared with cider vinegar and blanketed with cream cheese frosting, is just sweet and crumbly enough to satisfy the fussiest of cravings. Rs35. Shama Hair and Skin Boutique, Krishna Building, near Podar Hospital, JN Palkar Road, Worli. Tel: 97692 86544; Good Earth, Ground Floor, Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel. Tel: 97692 86544.

Two One Two Bar and Grill
Though at its basest level a piece of bread with cheese and tomatoes, a perfect woodfire oven pizza is something of an art. The crust should be charred slightly, crisp on the outside and airy on the inside, with the right ratio of cheese to tomato to ingredient. Perfecting that formula is an honour that goes to chef Alex Bignotti of Italian restaurant Two One Two. Using imported ingredients (everything is from Italy except for the cheese which is sourced from an Italian cheese maker in Chandigarh), chef Bignotti uses a minimalist approach when creating his inventive combinations, letting the quality of the ingredients shine through. Decadent though the truffle and cream cheese pie may be, we still think the plain old margherita, and the parma ham and parmesan should get top honours. 12-A, Hornby Vellard Estate, opposite Nehru Centre, next to the BMW showroom, Worli. Tel: 2490 1994.

Oven fresh Gianduja chocolate souffle at Fenix. Rs475. Lobby level, The Oberoi, Nariman Point. Tel: 6632 5757.

Warm chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream at Two One Two Bar and Grill. Rs310. 12-A, Hornby Vellard Estate, opposite Nehru Centre, next to the BMW showroom, Worli.

Mascarpone crème brulée with amaretti at Botticino. Rs425. C 56, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex. Tel: 6672 7788.

Vanilla scented panna cotta with a passion fruit reduction at Pali Village Café. Rs225. Next to Janata Lunch Home, Pali Naka, Bandra (West). Tel: 2605 0401.