Bandra To Get A New Korean Joint

OPENINGS

• Singapore’s Harry’s Bar and Cafe, which has an outpost in Powai, has launched its second branch in Juhu. The new outlet, which has replaced Penne the Italian restaurant, has a larger menu than the Powai flagship. Additions to the food menu include cheese fondue with mushrooms; citrus and soya glazed jumbo prawns; and grilled chicken breast. Their cocktail list has been expanded to include espresso martini; guava Mary; and Singapore Sling. Daily, from noon to 1.30am. Harry’s Bar and Cafe, Silver Beach Estate, A.B. Nair Road, near Juhu Post office, Juhu.

• Nordic Kandie Magic, a confectionery that specialises in marzipan and Belgian chocolate-based treats, has opened on Pedder Road. The candy is available in flavours such as rose cardamom, raspberry lemon, and peanut butter and nutmeg. Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11am to 9pm; Monday closed. Nordic Kandie Magic, Vasant Villa, Pedder Road. Tel: 96996 41112.

• Bandra is slated to get a new Korean joint called Heng Bok on Saturday, November 8. The folks behind popular Korean restaurant Kofuku are launching this casual dining restaurant, which will serve “traditional Korean” food. Heng Bok, Kalpak Corner, near Notan Heights, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 2651 0066.

• Bulldog’s Bar and Grill has opened in Andheri West. The British-style pub serves grub like chicken satay; beef sliders; onion rings; and chicken wings. Their cocktail selection includes classics like the Moscow Mule; Sex On The Beach; Bloody Mary; and pina colada. Open daily, from 5pm to 1.30am. Bulldog’s Bar and Grill, Bharat Ark, Veera Desai Road, next to Cafe Coffee Day, Andheri (West). Tel: 91676 09473.

• Bandra Kurla Complex has a new all-day restaurant called Grillies. They offer rolls, shawarmas, parathas, and combination meals. You can choose from egg masala roll; butter chicken roll; egg bhurji; paneer tikka masala; masala rice; paneer cheese paratha; palak paratha; paratha with chole; and jeera rice with dal and raita. Open daily, from 11am to 11pm. Grillies, Shop No.30, opposite RNA Corporate Bank, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East). Tel: 80979 97680.

CLOSINGS

• The Apollo Bunder outlet of Cafe Moshe’s has shuttered.

Bonobo, Paul Potts, Snarky Puppy To Play Mumbai In December

 

 

ROCK FESTIVALS

If November is the month of indie rock festivals (read about them here and here), December is clearly the month of electronic dance music extravaganzas. Apart from Sunburn and Vh1 Supersonic, which will be held in Goa, there’s Magnetic Fields, which will take place in the Rajasthani town of Alsisar from Friday, December 12 to Sunday, December 14. Tickets for the fest, priced at Rs5,000 for three days, are now sale, over at Magneticfields.in. The line-up features Dream Koala aka Paris-based Brazilian electronica composer-producer Yndi Ferreira DaSilva, and his Spanish counterpart BeGun aka Gunsal H. Moreno whose alias is not to be confused with Begum, the experimental pop band from New Delhi, who are playing the fest as well. The Indian contingent also includes Kolkata-based experimental rock band PINKNOISE and Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Nicholson. In case you can’t afford the money or time to travel to Rajasthan or Goa for that matter, don’t feel too bad – December is a pretty good month for EDM fans here too.

We already told you about Major Lazer performing in our city on Friday, December 12 and now comes news that Bonobo aka British electronica star Simon Green will play Mehboob Studios on Saturday, December 13 as part of The Journey, the annual series of shows bankrolled by Johnnie Walker and put together by Oranjuice Entertainment. Also on the bill are Australian acrobatic, aerial and physical theatre company Dislocate who will present their new production If These Walls Could Talk, American jazz-fusion collective Snarky Puppy, and British opera singer and Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts, the 2013 feature film about whom, One Chance will be screened at the event. Tickets will be available on Bookmyshow.com.

A Chalk Board In Bandra Offers Friendly Neighbourhood Advice

If you’re strolling down Bandra’s bustling Bazaar Road, you may come across a chalk board proffering some tongue-in-cheek advice (see image). The board was put up by the husband and wife pair of Clarence and Gloria Gomes outside their home-office four years ago, when they started their community paper Bandra Times. Ever since, the messages on the board have been the subject of several Facebook and Instagram posts.

“There’s so much negativity and criticism everywhere you go today,” says Gloria Gomes, editor of the bi-monthly paper that carries local news that is positive and uplifting. For instance, the publication has carried articles on Bandra school teachers who are local legends and heroes from the Bandra Police. “We wanted the hundreds of people who pass by our door to pause, laugh and leave with something to think about. It has also generated some interest in the paper. We now have a readership of 3,000, but that’s not why we do it. Whatever Bandra has given us, we wanted to give back.”

There’s a new thought on the board every Monday and Clarence Gomes, who usually writes the notes and was partly inspired by similar signs put up by churches across the city, keeps the messages in tune with changing festivals and seasons. Previous posts have included nuggets of wisdom that range from the quirky – “Scotch is a brilliant invention. One double peg and you start feeling single again” – to the more serious – “Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you”.

Sweet Truth: Why It’s A Great Time To Be A Dessert Lover In Mumbai

Not Get Bored!

You can go a month or more of ordering a different dessert and still not get bored with the options. You only need to scan social media feeds and food listings to know where to chase a car selling cookies; to plan a picnic at a farmer’s market piled with fresh fruit popsicles and Old Monk salted caramel sauce; or to chart a dessert trail in Bandra, stopping for porcini ice cream at Salt Water Cafe, for pizookie (a pizza-sized topped cookie) at Polpo, for paan kulfi at Pali Bhavan, and for passion fruit macaroons at Le15. Alternatively, you can schedule a quick after-dinner walk from Fort to Colaba, for mulberry baked yoghurt at The Pantry, for raspberry caramel pralines at La Folie, for white chocolate and pistachio ravioli at Cheval, and for Baileys cheesecake with espresso shortbread and Jameson ice cream at Ellipsis.

Last year, around this time I was planning a trail for my dad – a man who would gladly eat dessert for dinner every time – and I had only a fraction of the options I have now. Dessert wise, it’s been a good year even for people who are not sweet of tooth (or like me who need to neutralise their palate with something salty after dessert), because a few chefs in the city are starting to treat the sugar in sweets the way they treat salt in savoury dishes: as an element that binds other flavours together without dominating them. Some folks are even salting their desserts to temper the sweetness.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it’s a Renaissance of the last course yet. (It’s a hungry market for certain. A new pastry shop seems to open every month, but most of them are merely mediocre.) However, given how restaurateurs and chefs handling new openings have been so risk-averse lately, the fledgling spirit of innovation in desserts has been relatively heartening and perhaps even somewhat exciting. A few restaurant pastry chefs, home bakers, and speciality shop owners are taking wilder chances. For those of us weary of standard chocolate desserts, we get it now in astonishing textures like gel and dust, or as bars spiked with flavours such as Kerala black pepper and nimboo sherbat. Ice cream has become a vehicle of creative expression, laced with beer or imbued with white chocolate and sour cherries. While most of the fun is being had in Western-style desserts, a couple of restaurants have even been playing around with the textures and presentations of local favourites like jalebi and kulfi.

“When I came back to India four years ago, it felt like every restaurant had the same pastry chef,” says Pooja Dhingra, owner of Le15 Patisserie. “Everyone had the same five desserts – blueberry cheesecake, chocolate fondant, etc…now there are so many independent pastry shops in the city, you have to do something to stand out. Lately, customers placing orders for cakes ask me, ‘Can you make something that no one has tried before?’”

 

Deconstructed apple crumble at Long & Short.

Desserts are also easier to fool around with because they’re not the main event of the meal, but an additional indulgence. On the one hand, diners tend to have a greater expectation of satisfaction from their main course, or have presumptions about what a truffle tagliatelle or a tikka masala should taste like. On the other hand, they need to be convinced, after they’re almost done with their meal and close to being stuffed, that dessert is exciting enough to linger over or is worth the calories. Classics are now cliches. “Even the West has moved away from classic desserts,” says Kelvin Cheung, chef at Ellipsis, where in the last few months people have been dropping in after meals specifically to have dessert. “Head chefs are becoming more involved in pastry. We’re not there yet [in Mumbai], but we’re slowly changing as well.” A little over a year ago, Cheung had introduced a bacon and corn flan with chocolate mousse on his dessert list, but it didn’t take off. “If I bring it back now, I feel like it would sell,” he says.

In many ways, chasing perfection in the classics is also a losing game in our city. We just don’t have the quality of ingredients (flour, butter, milk, chocolate) or the climate (low levels of heat and humidity) for good pastry, even if we have the skill. (Dhingra said that she was the only Indian student at Le Cordon Blue Paris in 2007, but now every class has about five Indian students keen on perfecting pastry.) Also recently, importing ingredients has become tougher owing to new laws and regulations, so even if the posher restaurants had access to French butter or Italian flour, they’ve had to find other means and routes for sourcing them or to adjust their expectations. A paucity of imported mascarpone has meant that Serafina’s bestselling signature tiramisu has been edited off the menu. It will be replaced by the more easily managed fried sweet ravioli in a couple of weeks, says Harjeet Singh, general manager of umbrella company Global Kitchens. “We just didn’t get the same texture with Indian mascarpone,” says Singh. “But people are becoming more adventurous, so I won’t be surprised if our ravioli joins our panna cotta and tiramisu in sales.”

It’s easier to put a spin on a classic and not have well-travelled diners complain, for example, about how the New York-style cheesecake at a Bandra restaurant is not up to scratch compared to the one they had in Times Square. The trick is to have something a little familiar as a point of reference and then to throw in surprise flavours and textures. It works as well for a paan macaroon as it does for a ghewar cheesecake. Zorawar Kalra – whose Masala Library by Jiggs Kalra is one of the handful of restaurants that plays around with Indian desserts in the city – says that their bestselling jalebi caviar with rabdi keeps flavour in focus to provide familiarity. Thus the jalebi tastes like jalebi even if it looks like caviar and has an amplified crunch.

MasterChef, macaroon-making classes, and increased travel by Indians have all played a role in convincing us to try what at first sounds weird. “When I first started serving chocolate ganache with beer ice cream, or beetroot red velvet cake with orange-ginger ice cream, customers would ask me, ‘Are you sure we’ll like it?’”, says Manoj Shetty, head chef of The Tasting Room. “I’d tell them, ‘If you don’t, it’s on me’.” These days, diners ask for scoops of the ice cream by itself, and ten beet cakes get sold per day, no convincing or comp-ing required.

 

TREATS FOR AN ADVENTUROUS TOOTH

Beetroot Cupcake with Orange-Ginger Ice Cream at The Tasting Room
First Floor, Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 6161 1346.
A naturally coloured red velvet cake (using beetroot juice), paired with house-made spicy orange and ginger ice cream. Rs320.

Chocolate Textures at Ellipsis

Amarchand Mansion, Madame Cama Road, Colaba. Tel: 022 6621 3333.
Super dark chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, salt toffee, and chocolate pate sucree (sweet pastry), each in a different texture, thanks to a little magic from agar agar. Rs550.

 

Ghewar Cheesecake at Masala Library By Jiggs Kalra

Ground Floor, First International Financial Centre, opposite Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex, Bandra (East). Tel: 022 6642 4142.
Cheesecake layered on a porous, crunchy ghewar crust, served on a bed of rabdi. Rs450.

 

Fried Sweet Ravioli at Serafina

Level Three, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 4023 7711.
Fried pasta pockets filled with rum-soaked raisins, cream cheese and caramel sauce. Price yet to be fixed.

 

Sweet Memories of India at Choko La

G-10 and G-11, Ground Floor, Link Corner Mall, off Linking Road, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 6534 0374. Also at the Domestic Airport, near Gate No.6, Vile Parle (East).
In this box of two bars, one slab of chocolate has candied orange peel and Kerala black pepper, and the other has fennel seeds, rock sugar and cardamom. Rs1,500.

 

The Candy Cake at La Folie

16, Commerce House, Rope Walk Lane, next to Trishna restaurant, Kala Ghoda, Fort. Tel: 022 2262 2686.
A layered cake of chocolate biscuit, buttercream, mousse, mint marshmallow cream, ganache and glaze designed to evoke childhood memories. Rs215.

 

Porcini Ice Cream at Salt Water Cafe

87 Chapel Road, Rose Minar Annexe, next to Mount Carmel Church, Bandra (West). Tel: 2643 4441.
Dehydrated porcini mushrooms are steeped in milk, which is then used to make the crème anglaise custard that becomes the ice cream. Toasted porcini dust is stirred in for some serious umami flavour in this savoury-sweet treat. Rs120.

 

Deconstructed Apple Crumble at Long & Short

InterContinental Hotel Marine Drive, Marine Drive. Tel: 022 3987 9999.
Near translucent slices of Granny Smith apple are alternated with dulce de leche and candied walnuts flavoured with cinnamon. Rs385.

 

Half-and-Half Macaroons at Le 15 Patisserie

Good Earth, Raghuvanshi Mills Compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 6513 3212. Palladium, First Floor, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Tel: 022 6561 8532. Ground Floor, Siffin Building, Dr Ambedkar Marg, Pali Hill, Bandra (West). Tel: 022 6513 3211.
These macaroons not only have two shells of different flavours, but also two different fillings. Available in rose and chocolate, and pistachio and chocolate. Rs65 per piece.

 

Indian Chocolates at Filter

Behind Rhythm House, Fort. Tel: 022 2288 7070.
Bars flavoured with local nimboo sherbat, Gujarati aamras, Madras kapi, Indian paan, Parsi ceremonial rose, and Kerala dalchini. Rs135 per bar.

Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi is a Mumbai-based food journalist, a contributing editor at Vogue magazine, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City, and the restaurant reviewer for the Hindustan Times newspaper in Mumbai.

A Dating Website for the Discerning

Evelyn Waugh? Lost or West Wing?

“I met my husband online seven years ago on something called indianfriendfinder.com and I was kinda ashamed of being on it,” says founder Shweta Sharma, who chucked up a job in advertising to launch Ditto.co.in. “Most of these sites reduce you to a uni-dimensional figure. I was Shweta Sharma, dark-skinned, curly-haired Brahmin. But that’s not what defines me, those are things I’m born with.” Instead, Sharma figured some single people were looking to meet others based on say, their shared proclivity for mountain climbing. Indeed apart from entering your age and two photographs of yourself, the website bears little resemblance to more marriage-focused sites that require details of your sun and moon chart.

After entering your preferences across 24 categories (such as your favourite Hollywood movies, political idealogy, spiritual beliefs, etc.) users have the ability to fine-tune whether they want an “overall match” that matches a large number of categories or a “niche match” that pairs you with someone who, for example, only shares with you a passion for amateur bird watching. The Ditto algorithm will then throw up several options based on whether you like conversations that lead to “fun times”, “wherever it’s meant to go” or “a meaningful relationship”. After that, it’s up to you to reach out and get in touch with the person (unlike other sites you can only browse through the matches suggested and not through the entire database). Sharma and her team weed out profiles they think are fake (you have to use your real name) or dodgy (like the person who uploaded a photo of Emraan Hashmi as their profile picture).

“It’s about finding someone you love in a relaxed, casual way,” says Sharma. “Not casual in the wrong sense, but rather without the pressure of the happily-ever-after story screaming in your face.” Nifty illustrations subvert the generally cheesy feel of dating sites, making Ditto somewhat more relaxed in intent and feel. A helpful video tutorial on the homepage takes you through the steps, but most of it is self-explanatory. Another reason to sign up sooner rather than later? For now, registration is free, though Sharma says they’ll soon put up a subscription paywall.