Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Dossier
Mumbai - sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce
Anil Kapoor cracks up long-time friend Juhi Chawla and daughter Sonam K Ahuja while promoting their upcoming film on his birthday. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Riyaaz Amlani's intriguing food-court style performance space, FLEA Bazaar Cafe, created quite a lot of buzz this year. And as we shift gears into 2019 there is some good news for all those of you who resented having to travel to Lower Parel. Now, we hear, it's coming to the suburbs. "We are looking at scaling up Social and Smoke House Deli is getting ready for its new avatar, too," Amlani added.
Karan Bane and Seefah Ketchaiyo
A fading blue
Chefs and husband-wife duo Seefah Ketchaiyo and Karan Bane's The Blue, which picked up the Black plate for Best Asian Restaurant at mid-day's The Guide Restaurant Awards last year, quietly downed their shutters on Sunday night. But only to reappear in a new avatar. "We would have to send guests back often because we didn't have a table and we had been looking for another place. Now, we are ready to launch our new brand, Seefah on Hill Road," Ketchaiyo shared with this diarist. The new joint, which will be a 50-seater, will feature much of the same dishes and is set to open its doors on December 29. Seems like it's been a good year for the couple, with Soi69, their other project in Breach Candy in collaboration with Tryst bar's owner Rishi Acharya, already up and running.
One for the streets
When Amin Sheikh (below), who spent many years on the streets, opened a nondescript cafe in Marol (run entirely by underprivileged adolescents) it created a lot of buzz and chiefly because it embodied Sheikh's struggle and ambition in equal measure. Now, it's time to grow. "The reason we are looking for a bigger space is because a larger kitchen will mean we can prepare more dishes like cakes, and so more of these young kids can come and join us, Sheikh told this diarist.
With that view, last Sunday, Bombay to Barcelona Cafe also organised an event around Christmastime that featured local artists and performers, and for which actors Lisa Ray and Freida Pinto donated their personal belongings like handbags and jewellery. These contributions will be up for silent auction, in a bid to raise money for the new venue. Pinto posted about it on her Instagram account, saying, "This café is founded and run by people who once lived in the slums and are now trying to earn a living with dignity." Speaking of the gesture Sheikh said, "Every support towards the cafe means a lot because it makes us stronger and help us give young boys and girls more opportunities."
When theatre lured the chef
This diarist happened to be at Mahalaxmi's G5A over the weekend to watch Menghaobi: The Fair One, a play based on the life of political activist Irom Sharmila. As the lights faded, a familiar face made its way into the audience to settle in a corner seat. We realised it was chef Vijay Walunj, who had stepped out of the kitchen of Port, the restaurant in the venue's premises, to catch the show. At the curtain call, he swiftly made his way back to the kitchen but not before we asked him how he found the play. "It was moving. This is the first time I have got out of the kitchen to watch a show. I live in Parel, and I felt there were parallels between the story of Sharmila and Aruna Shanbaug [KEM nurse who died after 42 years in coma following assault and rape]," he said, asking his waiting staff from Manipur to watch the next show.
A 'touching' story
White Print, an English lifestyle magazine in Braille, is bringing about change slowly but surely. This month, they released their latest publication, Look Out, Look Within, a children's illustrated storybook written by Vandana Naidu and illustrated by Neha Talesara, which is an attempt to make literature available to the differently-abled. The story will also release a video narrated in sign language. It even won a clap from ex-actor and writer Twinkle Khanna on Twitter.
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