Mumbai Diary: Saturday Dossier

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Water baby
One of our favourite adventure babes from Mumbai, Mandira Bedi posted this photo of hers after a dive.

Pic courtesy/Mandira Bedi’s official account
Pic courtesy/Mandira Bedi’s official account

Going by her expression, she seems to have enjoyed the underwater experience.

Burnin’ questions and a burning house
It was an early evening at Colaba’s Yacht Club, a stone’s throw from Metro House, on the day of the infamous Colaba blaze. The man on the hot seat facing some fiery questions at the Yacht Club was Additional Municipal Commissioner Dr Sanjay Mukherjee.

Sanjay Mukherjee (centre), Additional Municipal Commissioner at the Royal Yacht Club. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu
Sanjay Mukherjee (centre), Additional Municipal Commissioner at the Royal Yacht Club. Pic/Prabhanjan Dhanu

At the TOGETHERVCAN Social Sanchar, Mukherjee faced some questions about typical Mumbai civic problems. One question was about why the BMC was failing to make the best use of British infrastructure.

Mukherjee said, “Mumbai is a city in flux and every city is as good as its citizens. The British did make some great additions to infrastructure but they also introduced gullys, chawls and other congested systems. After the British left, many positive steps have been taken by the BMC.”

To yet another bouncer, Mukherjee said, “Mumbai’s problems are unlike those in the Western world. Comparing the city to foreign counterparts is unfair,” he said to a question on why Mumbai is lagging behind when compared to other world metros. Indrani Malkani from V Citizens Action Network (VCAN), made a case for sharing, saying, Government officials and citizens need to work in collaboration. We need such platforms; we will be organising more such sessions soon.” Yet, even as the session ended one could see thick plumes of smoke arising from Metro House, the audience rushed to the huge Yacht Club windows to look at the fire as acrid smell wafted everywhere. It was certainly a day when the audience got more than they had bargained for.

Adios Arola
On April 30, Sergi Arola’s Spanish restaurant at JW Marriott in Juhu, Arola, closed its doors. This decision came after the three-year contract ended, as the hotel was looking to replace it with a new offering. The new restaurant, which will have a different cuisine, is slated to open in July.

Sergi Arola. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Sergi Arola. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

We’ll remember Arola for its ever-smiling head chef Manuel Olveira and his cool demeanor, and for Sergi’s witty sense of humour. When we met him two years ago, donning 13-tattoos, he’d confessed his next would be a Bansky-inspired girl with a red balloon. We wonder if he got one done.

A slice of Naples in Mumbai
Keen to dig into home-style Neapolitan fare? We suggest you visit Gustoso, a re-branded form of Pizza Metro Pizza that launched in Kemps Corner and Khar (W) yesterday. Its menu has been curated by the famous Giulio Adriani, roped in as a consultant chef by the owners, Indianapoli Hospitality.

Chef Giulio Adriani (right) One of the pizza offerings at Gustoso
Chef Giulio Adriani (right) One of the pizza offerings at Gustoso

While the menu features everything from antipasti to pasta and risottos, its star will be the pizzas, considering Adriani is one of the world’s leading pizza experts. With 30 years of cooking experience, he has won four pizza world championships and opened three restaurants in NYC, which feature his version of the Neapolitan Pizza.

Called the Montanara, here, the dough is flash-fried, which results in an inflated crust with a pillowy texture, and baked with toppings in a 1,000 (Fahrenheit)-degree wood-burning oven. While this pizza may not make it to the city menu, there’s more to savour. Adriani said, “To me, Mumbai feels much like Naples and I wish to serve nothing but the most authentic Italian food here.”

Any mantri roles for me?
BJP leader and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, actors Ajay Devgn with wife, Kajol, and Govinda seem to have found something common to laugh about at an awards function in a Bandra five-star last night. Pic/Satej Shinde

Son rise
Last night, at a charity dinner organised by the Virat Kohli Foundation with the Smile Foundation at Hyatt Regency, a five-course Michelin starred dinner was curated by chef Vikas Khanna.

Akash Ambani. Pic/Sayed Sameer AbediAkash Ambani. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

It saw the likes of Akash Ambani (in pic), Sanjeev Kapoor, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane drop by to lend their support for the cause of children and youth empowerment.

Of Swede somethings and Midnight Suns
Last evening, Fredrika Ornbrant, Consul General of Sweden, invited a few guests over to celebrate Swedish National Day (June 3), as well as the Midnight Sun, a rare phenomena witnessed in Sweden. Unlike other Consulates in Mumbai, the Consulate General of Sweden has never celebrated its national day in India.

Wearing a midsommarkrans, Fredrika Ornbrant, Consul General of Sweden prepares Swedish fare to celebrate Swedish National Day and the Midnight Sun. Pic/Sameer Markande
Wearing a midsommarkrans, Fredrika Ornbrant, Consul General of Sweden prepares Swedish fare to celebrate Swedish National Day and the Midnight Sun. Pic/Sameer Markande

“With the growing number of requests to celebrate the national day I gave in. So, this year, we decided to have a grand reception, to give them a taste of what they would get in Sweden, which includes wearing midsommarkrans (midsummer flower wreaths) and the Swedish national dress. Since the Midnight Sun is an important part of Swedish summers, we have included this celebration — to welcome summer ,” says Ornbrant.

A discussion on trends in Swedish cuisine and insights into Swedish tourism and business at her residence was followed by an elaborate Swedish dinner to increase awareness of the nation as a tourist destination. Ornbrant also presented a cooking demonstration of the Skargard herring canapés, a traditional delicacy.

The menu included Skargard herring canapes, Kalles Kaviar in egg halves, Vegetarian Canapes and Lamb Meatballs served with mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes. Desi khana like Matar Paneer, roti, rice and dal were also served. “Indian food is getting popular in Sweden. You find restaurants serving it in small towns too. I love Pani Puri,” she confesses.

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