Guide Restaurant Awards 2019: Creators and their innovations
The creators behind dishes and drinks inspired by the spirit of Mumbai, all nominees in mid-day's upcoming The Guide Restaurant Awards 2019, discuss their innovations
The hip Bandra girl who loves her vegan desserts, the septuagenarian from Cuffe Parade who's still whining about the shuttering of Paradise, the collegian from Chembur who won't stop raving about the idlis on a cycle, the kaka from Ghatkopar who swears by his spicy undhiyu — they can all proudly proclaim, "Bombay meri hai". And it's this feeling that makes the city sabka.
Was it possible for us to put together an awards show as big as The Guide Restaurant Awards 2019 without an ode to this unique city? Nah. In its second edition, mid-day F&B honour celebrates Mumbai when it was Bombay, through a segment titled, Bombay Meri Hai. An Ode to the City award sees three special dishes and drinks that imbibe Bombay's spirit compete for the top honour.
One creator says they came back with vestiges from a bustling market and gave it a classy spin, while another took a piece of local history and re-imagined it uniquely, and a third took an American classic and presented it as a drink with a Bambaiyya twist.
Cold distilling, Abhishek Bindal, vice president of operations, KA Hospitality, behind oriental restaurant Hakkasan, tells us, is an age-old tradition in India, even though it is gaining popularity globally only now. Where else does the iconic Badshah Cold Drinks at Crawford Market have its roots? Bindal, and Matthew Hall, bar manager, Hakkasan, Asia, chanced upon this and many other gems spread across the locality, when they set out on a hunt for Mumbai's asli masalas. And they came back with a rich and redolent cocktail, the Mughal martini.
Mathew Hall on a sensory tour of Crawford Market
With the unforgettable flavours of biryani and raita as its hallmark, this drink is a heady concoction of sake, mango yoghurt, lime, mint and saffron, mixed together in biryani-infused vodka. "Among the vast collection of infusions and scents available at Mohammed Ali Road, we came across an essence used in biryani and that's how we got the idea of incorporating it into our drinks," Bindal recalls. This celebration of local flavours fits into Hakkasan's ideology, which has manifested itself in the form of the Only At programme.
Elaborating on the idea, Hall says, "The idea is for the local team to explore indigenous ingredients and inspirations, and deliver it in a characteristically global style. While researching for this menu, I tried chicken biryani along with raita at Mohammed Ali Road. The scent of the different spices complement one another, creating an explosion of flavours in your mouth. That became our takeaway."
At Hakkasan, 206 Krystal, Waterfield Road, Bandra West.
Time 12 pm to 4 pm; 7 pm to 1 am
Cost Rs 850
Salli boti pie
The way the juices from a bite of luscious kheema seep into soft pav at an Irani café, is an experience Mumbaikars can hardly get out of their heads. So, two years ago, ahead of the Parsi new year, home chef Perzen Patel decided to tap into that emotion.
This ended in the creation of a unique treat, the salli boti pie. The dish comprises dry mince of mutton seasoned with spices mixed with traditional salli, a tomato-based mutton gravy resplendent with khara masala. The piquant mixture is then poured into a container, topped with puff pastry and baked in an oven.
"When a lot of people think about Bombay, they think of the Parsis. And salli boti is a traditional dish with a typical sweet and sour taste that's served on all Parsi occasions, at restaurants and cafés. Many Mumbaikars have tried it at a neighbour's home or at a Parsi wedding, and so the salli boti pie resonates with city foodies," Patel tells us, adding, "This dish has a close association with the city because it brings together the kheema pav tradition with memories of the traditional Parsi dish, but in
a new format."
At Bawi Bride Kitchen.
Time 8.30 am to 5 pm (four-hour notice required)
Cost Rs 450
Almost a decade ago, a man named Fernand Petiot inadvertently created what is one of the world's most loved cocktails, the bloody Mary. Over time, the drink evolved and found a way to marry lime, salt, black pepper and Worcestshire sauce. Coincidentally, Petiot invented the fiery-yet-soothing concoction for the King Cole Bar at The St Regis, New York. At the worldwide hotel chain's Mumbai outpost, the classic cocktail gets a desi twist to become the Mumbai Mary.
Bhagwan Bhodke prepares the Mumbai Mary. Pic/Bipin Kokate
"We use local ingredients like chutney dust, curry leaves, and chillies while retaining the essence of the cocktail," mixologist Bhagwan Bhodke shares, adding that they continue to follow the traditional practice of roasting tomatoes for the beverage in clay ovens. And be that as it may, what we are really eager for you to find out is if this drink is
as juicy as the competition between the nominees.
At The St Regis, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel.
Time All Day (this drink is available across all St Regis establishments, for which timings vary)
Cost Rs 1,000
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