Mohalla nights on Pali Hill

On Wednesday night a serving of some of the city’s most exacting foodies were dining on Shorba-e-Paaye (a clear broth of lamb paaye, with a traditional family recipe of spices well secured in a potli, slow cooked in a handi for hours to release the hard to get goodness within the bones) and Gosht-e-Du (a robust traditional preparation of lamb marinated overnight and cooked perfectly to maintain the succulent juices and texture), including Sohail and Arbaaz Khan along with most of their family, Chef Vicky Ratnani and Taj Lands end GM - Parveen Chander Kumar.

Guests at Mohalla Nights with Baba and Alka Siddiqui
Guests at Mohalla Nights with Baba and Alka Siddiqui

The occasion was another appearance of talented Chef Alka Shehzeen Siddique’s Café De Mom, a charming pop up food enterprise that has previously given the city Daawat-e-Shahi a compendium of delicious dishes, like Khichda and Gulzaar-e-Shaami. Siddiqui has some pretty serious food credentials, but has been a late bloomer.

Chef Alka Siddiqui
Chef Alka Siddiqui

“Hailing from a family of fine cooks,” she said, “after years of pondering, and eventually on the insistence of my beloved kids, my husband and my brother, I set out on this path of self expression.” Wednesday’s meal was called ‘Mohalla Nights - flavours of Mohammed Ali Road served with a twist’ and was hosted in the compound of a building in Pali Hill, festooned with street buntings and lights. The Siddiquis, all four of them (Chef Sidiqui’s husband politician Baba, her daughter Arshia and her son Zeeshan) were playing the gracious hosts, each bashfully proud of their mother’s cuisine.

It is a cuisine we are very familiar with. One of our favourite childhood memories is when as children living in Juhu, our parents would take us to A One Grill on Linking Road for its chicken soup (served in cutting chai glasses) and tandoori chicken (crisp with the earthy fragrance of the tandoor still on it) which we would eat off paper plates with way too many onions squished up in a tiny car.

Only recently we discovered that the owners of the A One Grill had been Chef Alka Siddiqui’s family. “Good cooks don’t merely prepare food by their hands but right from their hearts,” she said. We agree. Mohalla Nights will be open to the public next week we understand.

Designing women
“My deep sense of wanderlust propelled me to design an exclusive collection of travel accessories. The Aztec print combines and translates my love for geometrics with an electric twist,” said petite designer Surily Goel, about her collaboration as guest editor January for TheLabelLife.com which describes itself as ‘a destination for the independent Indian woman wanting a curated mix of clothing, accessories, home decor and much more’, led by Sussanne Khan, Malaika Arora Khan and Bipasha Basu.

Surily GoelSurily Goel

Previous designers who have collaborated with the site have been Malini Ramani and Rocky S.

Dog day afternoons
The end of the month will witness another installment of the two-day annual carnival held each year at the Seaside Pier of the Radio Club. Known as Dog A’Fair, it is the brainchild of Farzana Contractor, the lady who has given us Upper Crust, and one of the city’s best food events, the Upper Crust Food and Wine Show, which alas we do not attend as much as we’d like to.

Farzana Contractor at Dog A’Fair
Farzana Contractor at Dog A’Fair

Dog A’ Fair coalesced around Contractor’s delight at sharing her life with Tasha and Inshy Contractor, her two female Lhasa Apsos, and has established itself as an event at the top of the doggy scene.

“Successfully brought to you by Dogs & More for the 10th consecutive time, Dog A’Fair continues to be a vibrant space for dog lovers and dogs, primarily, to gather together, mingle around, partake of the activities and merchandise put forth while enjoying the cool ocean breeze,” she said adding, “The array of pet-oriented merchandise and services at Dog A’Fair will drive a pet lover crazy.”

As for her own doggie love she said, “I cannot stress enough on how pets enhance one’s life.” Woof.

Art’s next big thing?
“Those in the know, cannot stop raving about the Delhi-based Jt. Managing Director of Hero MotoCorp, Sunil Munjal’s upcoming art initiative. Planned to take place in Goa it is being described as ‘the mother of all art/ cultural events,’ and has been described as the last word in Art Summits.

Sunil Munjal and Tarun Tejpal
Sunil Munjal and Tarun Tejpal

“A hundred Sunaparanta,” as an insider described it, referring to Raj and Dipti Salgaocar’s art and centurial centre in one of Goa’s most charming areas. “The focus will be art but there will also be literature, music and dance events,” they said. This sounds likes an India whose time has come.

Ever since the Tarun Tejpal led ‘think’ has bitten the dust, there’s been a slot vacant for its successor, and the Munjals, though not known as big players in the art scene, certainly have the marketing muscle to pull it off. An art and culture extravaganza to give the Mumbai, Delhi crowd one more occasion to fly down to Goa? Bring it.

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