Play it cool
There is nothing better than a chilled soup to rejuvenate us on a hot summer day. Sonal Ved finds out which places serve the best cold soup in the city and suggests easy recipes that can be made at home
When we think soup, our mind immediately conjures up images of slurping a hot and creamy liquid on a winter night. But as mercury levels rise in Mumbai, cold soups have become the talk of the town.
Cold soups, as the name suggests, are soups served at chilled temperatures. Unlike their hot counterparts that are made using conventional vegetables, these cold soups have fruit bases and herb combinations that help our bodies cool down.
What makes them popular is the fact that they are easy on the stomach and aptly fit our need to eat something ‘light’ during summers. According to macrobiotic nutritionist Shonali Sabherwal, summer is a season when we experience dehydration. “This causes the stomach to contract and we lose our appetite.
This change makes us naturally drift towards foods like salads, leafy vegetables and cold soups that help bring the body’s temperature down and combat dehydration.” Picking up from that, a lot of restaurants have introduced cold soups as a part of their summer menus. We try out three restaurants serving cold soups and rate them on their cool quotient.
Gazpacho is a chilled tomato-based soup speckled with raw vegetables. It is one of the most common cold soups available in the city. However, what makes the one available at Corleone stand out is the usage of roasted bell peppers as opposed to raw ones like they use in the traditional Spanish recipe.
The peppers give this soup a unique smoky flavour while the chopped parsley adds a fresh note. The soup has a broth-like consistency and finely diced bits of carrots and capsicums give it a lovely crunch.
Taste wise, the gazpacho has a peppery hotness and a sour tomato smack as after taste. Together with homemade cheese straws, this is an ideal summer lunch.
What we liked: The medley of flavours.
What we didn’t: Too spicy.
At: Corleone, The Inter Continental, Marine Drive
Price: Rs 325
Leek and green apple soup with candied celery
You know that balmy summer-evening feeling? The fresh coolness in the air moments after the sun has set? Having this cold soup is like living that moment in every spoon. Made with sour granny smith apples and leeks, the soup at Indigo has balanced flavours.
The bottom of the bowl is dressed with castor sugar-sweetened apples that are arranged like tiny Lego pieces along with crispy celery juliennes. On top, the chef pours a thick green liquid that is mostly sweet, with a hint of sourness coming from the fruit and a rich saffron after taste. If you are looking for a one-shot cure to your summer woes, this should be your choice.
What we liked: The generous portion
What we didn’t: While having the soup, we bit through a stray piece of castor sugar that must have skipped the chef’s eye.
At: Indigo, Mandlik Rd, Apollo Bandar, Near Regal Cinema, Colaba
Price: Rs 445
36 O and B tomato soup
A plate filled with 36 O and B soup is like a playground for diverse textures, temperatures and flavours. The experience starts with the waiter bringing you lukewarm tomato soup. In it, he drops a maize orange glob calling it ‘desi ghee’.
As you suspiciously slurp the soup, picking up a little bit of this ‘ghee’, your mouth is filled with cold, icy sorbet that tastes of sweetened oranges. The base is of a simple, basil-tinged tomato soup that provides a good platform for the sweet sorbet to shine through. Those who like their food with a twist should try this soup!
What we liked: The lukewarm tomato soup coupled with the icy sorbet is a perfect mix of hot and cold.
What we didn’t: The soup lacks a spicy zing since it is on the sweeter side.
At: 36 Oak and Barley, 76, August Kranti Lane, Gowalia Tank
Price: Rs 200