Mumbai Diary: Thursday Dossier

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

Chefs calling on Mumbai
“We can’t offer you any water or food,” chef Atul Kochhar, who was on a flying three-day hushed visit to Mumbai, admits when we drop by for a quick chat at his upcoming restaurant, NRI, at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The restaurant, which will serve diaspora cuisine, opens to the public on January 6. The décor is Indian, with lamp posts and carts. “I have been trying to lock in the menu. Some ingredients are giving me trouble but a lot of issues were solved at Crawford (market).”

Chef Atul Kochhar at his soon-to-open restaurant. Pic/Phorum Dalal
Chef Atul Kochhar at his soon-to-open restaurant. Pic/Phorum Dalal

What is the diaspora menu, we prod, “The food remains Indian. It is all about the food cultures that Indians who moved abroad have embraced,” he informs. “Indians settled in Arabia, make a hummus and vada. I made a masala hummus with vada today. Instead of dusting it in chickpea flour, I used a tempura; coriander being the star masala,” reveals Kochhar who uses regular vegetable oil instead of olive oil, which is not made in India.”

(L-R) Chefs Boo Kwang Kim and Kelvin Cheung
(L-R) Chefs Boo Kwang Kim and Kelvin Cheung

He adds, “While the Arabs use sumac, but we’ve created a tangy spice mix made from mango powder.” An interesting dish on the menu will be the Jeera Chicken. “Meat-eating Gujaratis and Punjabis who moved to South Africa during the Raj, and then to Kenya, make an Indian version of the English roast chicken. But one of my favourites is Bunny Chow served with a classic mutton curry,” he signs off.

“I am not done with Mumbai,” laughs chef Kelvin Cheung, the Canadian-Chinese chef who ended his stint at Ellipses and packed his bags for Los Angeles in July this year. “I was to set up a restaurant in the US, but an offer to open three projects in Mumbai came along.

And, I stayed back,” says Cheung, who will now entice hungry and thirsty palates with a gastro bar, One Street Over, which opens next week at Bandra. Chef de Cuisine Boo Kwang Kim, of Chicago restaurant Little Goat, joins him in this venture that will offer American comfort food with Korean influences. The man behind the bar, (pun intended), will be mixologist Arijit Bose from Singapore.

“This one is a fun bar that people can frequent a couple of times a week. So it’s not expensive. The focus is on mixology with fresh in-house syrups, pressed juices and sodas. The food will be modernised global street fare. For example, I’m doing a dish called Date With Bacon.

My version of the classic bacon-wrapped dates with fruit leather bacon, stuffed with pickled strawberries and homemade ricotta cheese. It’s a sexier, cleaner version,” says Cheung, who is tight-lipped about his other projects. Psst! Late night owls, there is a special late night menu. Read the full review in mid-day tomorrow.

And the award goes to Rekha!
Iconic actress Rekha was declared as the recipient of the 3rd National Yash Chopra Memorial Award late last evening.


The jury comprised Dr T Subbarami Reddy, Boney Kapoor, Shashi and Anu Ranjan. The award ceremony will be held on January 25 in the city, and includes a prize money of Rs 10 lakh and a citation. The earlier recipients of the award were Lata Mangeshkar and Amitabh Bachchan.

Star value
The Old Kurla Christian Village Citizens Forum (OKCVCF) kicked off their Christmas celebrations with the the largest Christmas community crib event that took place on Tuesday evening at the Old Kurla Gaothan.

Over 200 people attended it, where for the first time, all four villages of Kurla — Old Kurla, Hall Village, Culbavor and Naupada participated. The sound and lights will give the life-like crib a realistic feel. Pic/Swarali Purohit

Drama queen
Vickram Kapadia’s production house Masque, will stage a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. The play that has been staged in the city since February 2015, will now have a new addition to its cast.

A still from Merchant of Venice and Sushant DigvikarA still from Merchant of Venice and Sushant Digvikar

Sushant Digvikar, who shot to fame after being part of a popular reality show, will play a drag queen and perform a song and dance track.

December 2015 marks one year since the original cast arrived, and were part of an intensive voice and verse workshop, conducted by Andrew Wade who is a an authority on Shakespeare.

The original cast will see Kapadia as Shylock, Luke Kenny as Antonio, and Neil Bhoopalam as Prince of Morocco/ Prince of Aragon /Duke of Venice, among others.

When Tara was spotted in the day

Tara Sharma Saluja
Author Farah Oomerbhoy at the launch of her debut novel for young adults, The Last of the Firedrakes at a Kemps Corner bookstore. Actress Tara Sharma (in black skirt) dropped by with her children for the release. PIC/Sameer Markande

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