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Opus has opened in the lobby of Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai in Worli. Photo Courtesy: Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai/Nascimento Pinto

Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai in Worli opens Opus, its new lobby restaurant

With quite a few of Mumbai's five-star hotels changing their approach to entice the evolving diner, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai in Worli is the latest one to jump on the bandwagon for all good reasons. One that boasts of inclusivity in every sense because it caters to every kind of diner that wants to have a good experience as they enter the hotel lobby only to be met by a dining space that almost represents your living room -- inviting and cosy, with a touch of opulence. So, what really prompted this change that occupies a part of the once large lobby? Nitesh Gandhi, general manager at the five-star property, explains, "The decision to open Opus in the hotel lobby was driven by the area's natural abundance of sunlight, which creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere throughout the day. By transforming the lobby into a food and beverage outlet, the hotel aims to provide a seamless and elegant dining experience for their guests."  Even as Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai boasts of AER Lounge, their rooftop bar on the 34th floor and Modernist, the exclusive member's club on 33rd floor, Gandhi says with Opus, they want to build a brand-new identity and menu at the property. “This makes for a wonderful opportunity to present a fresh new iteration of our food and beverage perspective,” Gandhi explains. In a city that never sleeps, he adds, Opus fills the gap in Mumbai's luxury dining scene with its 24/7 operation. While the city is known for its roadside late-night hotspots in other parts, the restaurant will cater to the city's dynamic and nocturnal lifestyle but with a touch of fine dining.  More than that, Gandhi says the fact that the 45-seater is in the lobby makes it easily accessible and invites not only hotel guests but also visitors to enjoy its offerings without needing to venture far into the hotel, reaffirming our first impression. "With a wide range of food and beverage options, it caters to diverse preferences and dietary needs, making it an attractive choice for a broad audience," he adds.  Tribute to Art Deco and Mumbai's culturePainted in hues of white and green with furniture in brown and mauve exude a warmth that is especially felt on a rainy day. Stepping into the restaurant drenched on the evening of Mumbai's downpour while braving the monsoon season, the well-lit space is inviting and is already seeing a steady stream of visitors. Soaking in the relaxed vibe, the restaurant boasts of an art-deco theme that is hard to miss. As the city boasts of the architecture style in restaurants outside of a restaurant, Gandhi says, "The décor incorporates classic Art Deco motifs, such as geometric patterns, bold lines, and luxurious materials to pay homage to Mumbai's architectural legacy. While celebrating Mumbai's local charm, the design of Opus also embraces an international sophistication, creating a cosmopolitan ambiance that appeals to global travellers." Seated on a suede comfy armchair, we peruse through the menu that has an extensive breakfast section offering fresh bakery items with breads and other healthy options along with its coffee. The all-day menu is one that caters to every type of diner including dishes marked as lactose-free and gluten-free among others. With San:Qi being loved by patrons, the menu has kept favourites from the menu that will be available throughout the day. Indulging in a mix of dishes, we start with a light Poached Lobster, Fennel and Orange Segments Salad. The French Onion Soup with Gratinated Gruyere Cheese served with herbs and baguette came next and immediately cloaked us in much-needed warmth. We notice the menu is simple yet extensive to cater to people with every kind of palate. Gandhi shares, "The menu offers an elevated Modern European and Asian menu, serving sumptuous meals and an expansive beverage list round-the-clock." Noel Mendes, F&B Manager, further adds, "Apart from serving signature dishes and complementing beverages across breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner, the restaurant also offers a menu selection which is available all through the night. These menus cater to every dietary requirement, every craving and every guest. It also has an expansive beverage list, including a sophisticated wine offering enhanced by Coravin technology, allowing guests to enjoy a wider variety of wine labels by the glass."  Dining with coffee and wine As if on cue, the Calamarata Pasta Squid with Spicy Chunky Tomato Sauce came next and was deliciously rich. Guided by in-house sommelier Pradnya Kulkarni, it is paired with a delicious red wine Michel Lynch, AOC Bordeaux, that she says goes well with red sauce. Being a restaurant that functions 24x7, the need for coffee is imminent, especially during the ongoing monsoons, which one is constantly reminded of not only during the day but also the night at the restaurant with its large full-sized windows. Armed with a Modbar to dispense a variety of coffees, diners can also walk up to the machines and make their own espresso, cappuccino, cortado and even affogato, which is what we opted to end our meal with to get the best of both worlds - coffee and dessert. It revives our spirits as we head out into the night with the rain still trying to play spoilsport but with a belly full of food and body warmed up, we are ready to face it head on as we travel home. 

12 July,2024 09:03 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Winter Wellness: Food to include in your diet to keep flu away this winter

The cold season is when cases of cold and flu rise the most. The drop in temperature, while generally pleasant in a warm country like ours, can however stress the body and lead us to fall sick. Whenever the risk of falling sick increases it is important to make sure we bolster our defenses accordingly as well. That means taking care of our health to ensure our immune system functions optimally. While getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to this, our diet is equally important. Make sure to ensure getting adequate protein and nutrients from healthy sources like pasture-raised meat, organs, eggs, and fish. Use ghee and coconut oil for healthy fats and include plenty of antioxidants from plant foods like oranges, tea, berries, etc. A commonly overlooked problem in winter months is undereating. The cold weather increases our thermal energy expenditure leading to a greater intake of calories. So make sure you’re eating sufficiently and not starving yourself. Functional Nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive shares a list of essential food items to include in your diet to keep flu away this winter. What are some key nutrients and vitamins that play a crucial role in boosting the immune system, particularly in the context of preventing the flu? Boosting the immune system against the flu requires a robust intake of essential nutrients and vitamins: B Complex Vitamins: Vital for immune function and cellular health.Zinc: Regulates immune responses and combats infections.Vitamin D3 and K2: D3 supports immune cell function; K2 aids in calcium utilization for immune support.Magnesium: Essential for immune cell regulation and reducing inflammation.Vitamin C: Acts as an antioxidant, shielding and fortifying immune cells. Are there specific winter superfoods that individuals can include in their diet to enhance immunity and ward off illnesses like the flu? “Superfood” is mostly a marketing tool. But there do exist specific foods that work significantly to support your immune system which we can potentially single out: Egg Yolks: Rich in immune-boosting nutrients like vitamin D, zinc, and selenium, egg yolks provide a vital support to the immune system. Organ Meats: Laden with essential nutrients such as zinc, iron, and B vitamins, organ meats (like liver) deliver a powerful immune-boosting punch. Healthy Fats (Ghee and Coconut Oil): These fats contain antimicrobial properties and aid in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins crucial for immune function, bolstering the body’s defenses. The lauric acid in coconut oil is a powerful immunity booster. Kitchen Herbs (Neem, Tulsi, Oregano, Crushed Garlic, Haldi): Neem and Tulsi possess potent antibacterial and antiviral properties. Oregano offers antioxidants and compounds supporting immune health. Crushed garlic and haldi (turmeric) exhibit immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory effects, fortifying the body against winter ailments. Integrating these superfoods into your meals can be a powerful strategy for reinforcing the immune system during colder months. How does seasonal eating contribute to overall health, and are there specific seasonal foods that are particularly beneficial for flu prevention? It’s generally advisable to opt for what’s seasonal and local when it comes to selecting your produce. But this aspect of nutrition is often overhyped. When it comes to your health, it’s far more important to ensure that your produce is organically produced without excessive use of pesticides, chemicals, and genetic engineering. Eating local and seasonal, however, is very valuable from an environmental standpoint.

12 July,2024 07:12 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Image for representational purposes only. FIle/Pic

Mid-Day Premium How Mumbai's East Indians are carrying forward the tradition of stuffing chicken

Rita Rodricks has grown up savouring stuffed chickens and piglings for Christmas in her maternal family home near Bandra's Pali Naka. She reminisces, "At my grandmother's house, we used to make both for Christmas because there used to be 50-60 of us who used to come together for the occasion." Everything used to be available or made in the house. Starting from the chicken to the piglings and even making it all. Today, more than five decades later, the self-taught continues her family tradition of making stuffed chicken for the occasion.  Every year, the Catholic community along with many other Mumbaikars come together to celebrate Christmas on December 25 like many people around the world. The city boasts many different communities including the Goan, Mangalorean, East Indian and Anglo-Indian Catholic communities who make their specials for the occasion. Interestingly, among the many traditions, the East Indian and Anglo-Indian communities have one unique and grand dish that they make - Stuffed Chicken/Pigling, that stands out for them and is served at every Christmas lunch. Baked to perfection, it is delicious and savoured by family and friends for as long as they can.  Carrying forward East Indian tradition It’s no different for Rita, who has continued her family's tradition over the years simply because she loves cooking and intends to pass on her heritage. She explains, "Every year now, I make one stuffed chicken for me, and one for my brother."  Sitting at it a day before the main celebration, Rodricks prefers the traditional recipe over anything else. "You cannot take the East Indian out of me," says the 64-year-old, who starts by cleaning the entire chicken and taking out the innards. "I prick it all over with a fork and I add salt, sour lime, turmeric and garam masala powder, and keep it aside. Then I make the stuffing it with a handful of green peas, finely cut one big or two small carrots, along with the boiled and chopped innards of the chicken - liver, heart, and gizzard. Then you cut one onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and green chillies and cook it, then I add some chopped cashew nuts and kismis. I always make a little extra stuffing to enjoy separately."  After stuffing it all in, Rodricks stitches the chicken together and bakes it with a little ghee on the skin till it is ready. Interestingly, the whole preparation takes only an hour and she is very specific about the baking process. She explains, "I like to give it to the bakery for baking. So here, I give it to National Bakery on Bazaar Road because they get the crispiness that you don't get with the home oven." Rodricks makes the stuffed chicken on December 24 every year and then tells her husband to give it to the bakery at 7 am on December 25. It is a stark difference from when she was growing up. "Earlier, we used to make all the sweets and food on firewood and it was a different taste because it used to get the smoky flavour."  Rodricks doesn't use bread croutons as a part of the dish to increase its shelf life. However, it has been a part of Sybil Rodrigues's family recipe for as long as she can remember. She is another Mumbaikar continuing her family's tradition by making stuffed items for Christmas. She explains, "My mother, who is from Vile Parle and married in Kalina, used to do it and then I have continued that tradition by doing it on every occasion like Christmas, New Year, and even weddings." Over the years, the 52-year-old from Kalina's Kolovery Village in Santacruz has also taken orders from people who want it to be a part of their celebrations. "I stuff the chicken with white bread, raisins, cashew nuts, and cold cuts, which are optional, onions, garam masala, lime, green peas -- all of it is chopped." Rodrigues, who is a city-based HR executive is an active member and the global coordinator for Mumbai's Mobai Gaothan Panchayat, which showcases the East Indian community's culture. "You have to cut the bread into cubes and fry it in ghee or oil, whatever you are comfortable with, and make it slightly brown; do the same thing with cashew and add raisins to it. Then fry the onions till they are golden brown. Then, you have to marinate the chicken with salt, and then stuff the chicken with the mixture. The chicken has to be with skin, and you have to order it like that because it gives you a crisp texture. "I love the dish so much because of the stuffing. It is so tasty because it is a little sweet and spicy and has a great taste. At the same time, it is so simple." Even before Christmas, the Mumbaikar will be making it for a wedding next week and is extremely excited about making the stuffed chicken.  Stuffing like an Anglo Elsewhere, for as long as Bandra-based Mavourneen Pereira can remember she has always been in the kitchen making stuffed chicken. "It is a family classic," she exclaims, continuing, "We have also done stuffed pork, duck, turkey, Porchetta, quail, and pigeon."  This year is going to be no different. The 49-year-old explains, "My table has always been centered around family and tradition, so a dish as classic as a stuffed chicken or turkey just comes naturally to the mind. It is wholesome and feeds a bunch."  Being from the Anglo-Indian community of Mumbai with an Irish-Scottish mother, Pereira says having a stuffed bird has always been a traditional part of any celebration in her house. The Bandra resident shares, "Stuffed Turkey is going to be the centerpiece on our Christmas table this year." Otherwise, when the chef, who runs Cafe Mav's Cakes and Bakes in Bandra, usually makes the stuffed chicken, she brines the chicken overnight and then seasons and stuffs it the next day. She adds, "We use a variety of stuffing from various parts of the world. We use wild rice, apricot, sage, and sometimes all it takes for the perfect stuffing is some lemon and garlic." It is then put in the oven and roasted to perfection. It is no wonder then when she says that the stuffed items which range from chicken to Turkey and whole stuffed pork sucklings are bestsellers in Mumbai among people from all communities. 

12 July,2024 07:11 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Indian mixologists say you can mix wine with gin, rum and whiskey to make potent this festive season. Photo Courtesy: Moët Hennessy India/Yakii

Mid-Day Premium Innovate with wine to make unique cocktails this Christmas and New Year

With the food and drink on offer, Christmas and New Year make December the most exciting time of the year because you get to feast on roast chicken, pork vindaloo, stuffed turkey and more. Often paired with different kinds of alcohol that more often than not oscillates between spiced rum, whiskey and mulled wine, the last of which is often the most popular choice because it is loved by one and all. However, this festive season, Indian mixologists and bartenders want you to make a change. They want you to spice it up while using different kinds of wines as your star ingredient to make unique cocktails that are full of flavour in every sip. Every year, Christmas and New Year bring with them a different kind of festive cheer that is felt even more because of the winter season. It is also the time when many of us want to cook and plan our parties so that we can host our family and friends in our houses. If you have always hosted parties, it may often get challenging when deciding the menu for the food and drink. While some dishes and drinks are classics, there is always room for experiments, and what better time than now to do it? So, it is no surprise when Indian mixologists say you can enjoy and do much more with wine than simply enjoying the classic version of it. While the innovative mulled wine and the crowd's favourite sangria are popular, they want you to mix it up or simply stir it with the likes of rum, gin and whiskey too. It gets even better because, beyond the spirits, they are also colourful because of ingredients such as blue curacao, honey and chocolate too that also give them their unique flavours, unlike anything you have tasted before. Winter WonderlandIf you love win, then make the best of both worlds by adding some vodka to it. At Poco Loco, Megha Datwani, founder of Poco Loco Tapas Bar, wants you to experiment with the spirit by making Winter Wonderland. She explains, “Since Christmas is associated with winter snow and some cheer, sparkling wine, vodka and blue curacao come together perfectly for this drink to remind us that our favourite season is here along with some snow sparkles the perfect representation of the season.”   Ingredients:Vodka 20 mlTriple Sec 10 mlBlue Curacao 10 mlSparkling Wine to topEdible GlittersCream CheeseSnow SprinklesEdible glitters Method:1. Put cream cheese and snow sprinkles on the rim.2. Add vodka, blue curaçao, and triple sec in a champagne flute and top it up with sparkling wine and edible glitters.3. Your cocktail is ready to serve. Xmas Vanilla Peach BelliniIf you have always opted for a sangria, then mix it up this festive season by trying another popular wine-based cocktail called Bellini, says Veeraj Shenoy, chief officer - food and beverage at Imagicaa by the Malpani Group. Traditionally made with prosecco and peach puree or nectar, it is an absolute delight that gives you more than one flavour; a version of the cocktail is served at Arrmada deck bar at the property. He explains, "Though classic bellinis are made with white peaches, it is best if you can get your hands on some good fresh ripe peaches. Taste your puree before adding honey. Orange zest helps coax some sweetness from out-of-season peaches, but the drink will still be delicious without it. This sweet and tangy drink is a perfect day drink for the season." Ingredients:Fresh or frozen peaches 340 gmHoney 2 tspPure vanilla extract 1 tspOrange zest (optional) 1/4 tspProsecco, chilled 1 bottle (750 ml)Fresh mint, for serving 6 sprigs Method:1. Put the peaches on a 3-minute high in the microwave.2. Drain excess liquid and transfer to a blender.3. Add honey, vanilla or ginger, and orange zest (if using) to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste, and add more honey if necessary.4. Refrigerate peach puree until cold, about 30 minutes. When ready to serve, add about 2 tablespoons puree to the bottom of each serving glass.5. Top with Prosecco, add a sprig of fresh mint and serve. Tijuana Mexican Chilli Hot ChocolateAlong with sangria, the Christmas mulled wine is a season favourite. If you love chocolate, then this one is for you, says Anurag Katriar, founder and managing director of Indigo Hospitality Pvt Ltd., which runs Tijuana, the Mexico-inspired cantina. The Tijuana Mexican Chilli Hot Chocolate cocktail combines chocolate with red wine to give you a taste of the festive season’s flavours.  Ingredients:Semisweet chocolate chips (Recommended: Ghirardelli 2/3 cupsDry red wine (Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon) 2/3 cupsHalf and half (milk and cream) 1/2 cupSugar, optional 2 tbspPinch of saltVanilla extract 1/2 tsp Method:1. Combine the chocolate chips, wine, milk, half, and half and sugar (if using), in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.2. Heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate chips are melted, and the mixture is hot.3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Pour into mugs and serve. Clarified Gold WineThere is a lot to experiment with when it comes to wine cocktails this season and it gets better if you like to sip on some gin and rum too. Malik Sheikh, master mixologist at Novotel Goa Resort and Spa, says you can make a delicious Clarified Gold Wine. With a potent mix of red wine, bubble gum gin and vanilla spiced rum, along with some lime juice, sugar, and milk, that is clarified, it is a burst of flavours that will make every sip worth it. Ingredients:Red wine 300 mlHomemade bubble gum gin 30 mlHomemade vanilla spiced rum 5 mlLime juice 90 mlSugar syrup 90 mlMilk 120 mlEdible gold dust for garnish Method:1. Take 300 ml of red wine (Merlot) add 90 ml of sugar syrup, 90 ml of like juice followed by 30 ml of bubble gum flavoured gin, 5 ml of vanilla spiced rum and lastly add 120 ml of milk.2. Put all these ingredients in a clarifying bag.3. Allow some time for it to clarify.4. After it is ready, serve it on the rocks with some edible gold dust. Sour WineBeyond the regular kinds of wines, Priyanka Rath, mixologist with Yakii, says you can make a unique Sour Wine. Being a firm believer in 'wine while dining', Rath says she has come a long way from drinking wine to studying and serving wine, and that is why she falls in love with it every day. “When we talk about celebration, we talk about champagne sabrage. This recipe not only includes white wine but also sparkling wine and gin.” Giving people more than one reason to enjoy cocktails during the festive season. Ingredients:Wine 20 mlGin 40 mlSakura syrup 5 mlSparkling wine top-up Method:1. Combine the wine, gin, Sakura syrup and sparkling wine.2. Stir it perfectly and serve in a champagne tulip glass. The Sunset RoseIf you love rose wine, then bartender Barry, associated with Moët Hennessy India, recommends experimenting with the Whispering Angel, which is made from a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino) grapes. He explains, “As you would if you were just sipping on a glass, choosing the best rosé for mixing into a cocktail is vital.” The wine is beautifully dry with a crisp hit of summer fruits, that when paired with juicy muddled blackberries with a hit of smooth Belvedere vodka and a fresh kick of mint, creates The Sunset Rose. Ingredients:Whispering Angel Rose Wine 90 mlBelvedere vodka 44 mlLime juice 15 mlHoney water 7 mlBlackberries 3 nosGarnish with mint sprig Method:1. Put the blackberries into a cocktail shaker and muddle using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon.2. Add the vodka, lime juice and honey water and shake with ice.3. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice before topping with the rosé and garnishing with a sprig of mint.

12 July,2024 07:10 PM IST | Mumbai | Nascimento Pinto
Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Why Shrimps are a nutritious inclusion in our daily dietary regime

In our busy daily lives, we often underestimate the significant impact our dietary choices can have on our well-being, especially our brain. Amidst the multitude of claims about food enhancing cognitive function, shrimp emerges as a flavorful and nutritious inclusion in our daily dietary regime. This delightful seafood isn't merely a pleasure for our taste buds; it serves as a nutritional powerhouse rich in essential nutrients, providing a straightforward means to improve our brain health. Let's delve into how incorporating shrimp into our regular meals can yield tangible benefits. Shrimps are rich in omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It acts as the foundational material for a resilient and healthy brain, supporting its development and functioning. By simply including shrimp in our daily meals, we introduce a natural source of DHA, potentially bolstering our brain's performance over time. The protein isn't limited to a singular role in providing rational benefits; it brings a comprehensive array of nutrients crucial for overall brain health. Phospholipids, generously present in shrimp, play a pivotal role in the structure and function of brain cell membranes, acting as messengers between nerve cells. Additionally, shrimp contain vitamin B12, another nutrient beneficial for the brain. This vitamin acts as a conductor for neurotransmitters, facilitating communication between nerve cells and potentially aiding in mood regulation and cognitive processes. Amidst the chaos of our daily lives, the antioxidants in shrimp act as allies, providing support to the immune system. These antioxidants serve as defenders against oxidative stress, a process that can lead to damage to brain cells over time. Including shrimp in our daily diet can be a delicious defense mechanism against free radicals, safeguarding our cognitive function as we navigate the challenges of everyday life. However, as with any dietary choice, balance is crucial. Exploring delightful shrimp recipes tailored to brain health and analytical functioning can add a delightful touch to our cuisine. From vibrant salads to enticing skewers, the versatility of shrimp lends itself to a variety of creative and nutritious preparations that can support brain health and elevate the dining experience. For instance, consider a citrus and herb-infused shrimp salad featuring a mix of fresh greens, citrus segments and fragrant herbs, complemented by succulent grilled shrimp. This refreshing salad not only tantalizes the taste buds but also delivers a nutrient-rich combination, contributing to cognitive well-being. For those desiring a heartier option, a shrimp and quinoa stir-fry offers a satisfying blend of protein, whole grains and colorful vegetables, showcasing the culinary prowess of shrimp in a wholesome and brain-boosting context. By infusing the dish with an assortment of brain-nourishing ingredients such as bell peppers, spinach, and sesame seeds, this recipe embodies the fusion of taste and cognitive support. To indulge in a globally inspired culinary experience, shrimp kebabs with a zesty mango salsa present an enticing interplay of flavors and textures while incorporating brain-healthy components like mango, cilantro, and bell peppers. This visually appealing dish pleases the palate and contributes to a brain-boosting dining adventure that acknowledges the cognitive potential of shrimp. Making shrimp a part of our daily routine offers a flavourful pathway to unlock consequent benefits. Its nutrient-packed profile positions shrimp as a delightful ally in our quest for optimal brain health. So, why not relish the potential logical perks of shrimp while enjoying a tasty and brain-boosting culinary experience each day? (Aditi Thakore is the Manager of communications at Aquaconnect)

12 July,2024 07:08 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
Stranger & Sons Sherry Cask Aged Gin

Indian Gin brand wins a gold medal at the 2023 Design and Packaging Masters

Stranger & Sons Sherry Cask Aged Gin recently received a Gold Medal at the 2023 Design and Packaging Masters by The Spirits Business, marking a commendable feat just 45 days after its launch. Renowned for its unique blend and design, the Indian gin brand Stranger & Sons introduced yet another limited-edition creation - the Sherry Cask Aged Gin, adding to its portfolio of innovative drinks. Notably, Stranger & Sons earned international recognition at the IWSC in 2020, being named one of the world's top 8 gins with a Gold Outstanding Medal. The brand boasts an array of award-winning gins, including collaborations like Trading Tides with Australia’s Four Pillars Gin and the Perry Road Peru, India’s first distilled cocktail crafted in partnership with The Bombay Canteen. The Sherry Cask Aged Gin is a result of meticulous craftsmanship, having rested in ex Amontillado and Oloroso Sherry casks for over a year and infused with Cascara and Wild Honey. This infusion creates a spirit that not only reflects the artistry of contemporary distillation but also pays homage to the patience required for aging. Enhancing the drinking experience, the gin is accompanied by a Grapefruit Garnish Spray, adding a burst of zest and making it ideal for slow sipping over ice. This creation defies the norms of typical cask-aged gins, offering a reimagined experience akin to savouring a classic old-fashioned cocktail but with a welcoming twist. Beyond the liquid itself, the Sherry Cask Aged Gin presents a distinctive label and packaging inspired by the unrushed rhythm of India's forests. Designed by Oveja and Remi from Argentina, the label embodies the essence of the Indian landscape, inviting observers to pause and contemplate. The outer box, marked by bold, contrasting colors and elements mirroring the label, demands a second look, ensuring it stands out remarkably on shelves. In line with the brand's ethos, the label unfolds its details gradually, much like the experience of enjoying the gin. Amongst the lush foliage, a two-tailed three-eye tiger majestically rests upon a cask, signaling a cue to 'slow down.' Further exploration reveals companions holding an old-fashioned decanter and plucking berries.

12 July,2024 07:07 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
This pop-up is not just a dining experience; it's an immersion into the culinary genius of two renowned chefs

Head to this Italian food festival by Chef Raffaele Parisi and Aabhas Mehrotra

The ambiance at FoodSquare in Santa Cruz is set to sizzle with anticipation as the culinary world braces itself for a one-of-its kind event on the Sunday, December 3. The gastronomic extravaganza brings together the unparalleled talents of Italian Chef Raffaele Parisi and Chef Aabhas Mehrotra for an exclusive pop-up that promises to be a haven for Italian food lovers. The menu reads like a symphony of flavours, a carefully crafted presentation of Italian delights that are bound to captivate the senses. The lineup includes the likes of Herbed Garlic Scrocchiarella, a tantalising creation featuring Marinara sauce, Fresh oregano, Fior di Latte and Fresh Basil. The Mariana, a medley of Marinara sauce, Capers, Olives and anchovies, promises to transport diners to the heart of Italy with every bite. Chef Raffaele Parisi and Chef Aabhas Mehrotra showcase their creativity further with unique twists on classic Italian dishes. The Puttanesca boasts a Pesto base, Scamorza Cheese, Fresh citric seasonal greens, green olives, and Aged balsamic. The Forrest introduces Alfredo sauce, Caramelised onion, Toasted walnut, Truffle salsa and White Truffle oil, creating a harmonious blend of earthy and rich flavours. Other highlights include the Bianco with Marinara sauce, slow-cooked chicken, fresh jalapeno and red onions, as well as the Pizza Alla Diavola, a local favourite given a unique twist with Pulled lamb and Burrata. The Lal Maas Scrocchiarella-Molino Naldoni Flour Pizza Extravaganza stands out with its Dark chocolate spread, crunchy hazelnut and passion fruit pate de fruit. This pop-up is not just a dining experience; it's an immersion into the culinary genius of two renowned chefs. The hosts invites food enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike to be part of this unique event. With an ambiance curated to match the sophistication of the menu, guests can expect an evening filled with delectable surprises, exquisite flavours, and a culinary journey that transcends the ordinary. For more information and to reserve your spot at this extraordinary event, visit the FoodSquare website at Don't miss the chance to savour the limitless and super exciting delicacies crafted by Chef Raffaele Parisi and Chef Aabhas Mehrotra.  When: Sunday, December 3Where: Plot No, 106, Linking Rd, Santacruz West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400054Learn More:

12 July,2024 07:06 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Figs are a type of fruit that belongs to the mulberry family (Moraceae). They are known for their unique taste and texture, with a sweet and chewy flesh. Image for representational purposes only. Photo Courtesy: iStock

Mid-Day Premium Fig frenzy: Don't let fig season go by without making these dessert recipes

If you are a Mumbaikar, you already know it’s the fig season. Fruit stalls and vendors are decked up with juicy, luscious Anjeer (vernacular for fig) for the winter season. The edible fruit dates back to ancient Greece where it was consumed as a dietary staple and valued for its medicinal properties. The ancient Romans, too, held figs in high regard, indulging in them as a luxurious food item. In addition to their rich calcium content, figs are renowned for their high potassium levels, which contribute to preventing cardiac diseases, strokes and hypertension. Additionally, figs are endowed with high levels of fiber which is a remedy for digestive issues ranging from constipation to diarrhea. However, these fruits are highly perishable and have a short shelf life – thus, it’s advisable to consume them quickly. The state of Maharashtra receives its supply of figs primarily from Purandar taluka in Pune. For over a century, the Pune fig, also known as Dive Anjeer, has been grown in Pune, Saswad and Daulatabad. Owing to their distinct flavour and texture, these figs have been accorded the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag issued by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Other varieties cultivated in the state include Marsels, Dienna, Dinkar, Black Ichia, Brown Tukrye, Conadriya and Excel. While the fig season is short in Mumbai, it is also sweet. Make the most of this juicy, ancient fruit with these five chef-attested dessert recipes, meant to tantalise your taste buds.   Fig Cheesecake Chef Amit Sharma outlines that figs add a desirable depth and complexity to dishes. Their natural sweetness and earthy undertones make them versatile ingredients in both sweet and savoury creations. “Working with figs has enabled me to explore a spectrum of textures and tastes. From the succulence of a fresh fig to the richness when incorporated into jams or desserts, it's a journey of culinary discovery,” remarks Sharma who is the Chef Patissier at the dessert outlet Love & Cheesecake. Ingredients: For the crust:Graham cracker crumbs, 1 1/2 cupMelted butter, 1/4 cupSugar, 2 tablespoons For the cheesecake filling:Softened cream cheese, 700 gmsSugar, 1 cupLarge eggs, 3Vanilla extract, 1 teaspoonSour cream, 1/2 cupFig preserve, 1/2 cup For the fig topping:Sliced fresh figs, 1 cupFig preserve, 1/4 cup Method: 1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).2. In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Mix until the crumbs are evenly coated. 3. Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Use the back of a spoon to create an even crust. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until it sets. Remove and let it cool while preparing the filling.4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and sour cream until fully combined. 5. Gently fold in the fig preserves, ensuring even distribution. Pour the cheesecake filling over the prepared crust.6. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50-60 minutes or until the center is set and the top is lightly browned. Once done, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake cool in the oven for about an hour. 7. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or overnight.8. In a small saucepan, heat the fig preserves over low heat until it becomes more liquid. Brush the melted preserves over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Arrange sliced fresh figs on top of the cheesecake as desired.8. Release the springform pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter. Slice and serve the delicious fig cheesecake.  Recipe by Chef Amit Sharma - Chef Patissier & Co-Founder at Brewworks Pvt. Ltd. (The Company that owns & operates Love & Cheesecake, Poetry and Sesami   Fig and Almond Tartlets Chef Raashi Gurnani believes that experimenting with figs opens up endless possibilities. "I play around with these succulent fruits to create Brie stuffed chicken, salads topped with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette to create a medley of flavours. For a personalised touch, I craft a delectable fig chutney that not only serves as an accompaniment to cheeses but also adds a unique twist to any cheese platter." Ingredients: Thawed puff pastry, 1 sheetSliced fresh figs, 2Almond paste, 3 tablespoonsHoney, 2 tablespoonsSliced almonds for garnishPowdered sugar (optional) Method: 1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).2. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut it into small squares or rectangles to form tartlet bases.3. Place the puff pastry squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.4. Spread a thin layer of almond paste onto each puff pastry square.5. Arrange sliced figs on top of the almond paste.6. Drizzle honey over the figs for sweetness.7. Optionally, sprinkle sliced almonds over the tartlets for added crunch.8. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.9. Once baked, let the tartlets cool for a few minutes.10. Optionally, dust with powdered sugar before serving. Recipe by Chef Raashi Gurnani - Le Croissant   Goat Cheese & Roasted Fig Tarts with Wine Poached Shallots Ingredients: Whole dried figs, stems removed, 7Fresh figs, 2Honey, 3 tablespoonsCaramelised onions, 3 tablespoonsShallots, red wine-poached, 2 tablespoonsFresh rosemary leaves, chopped, 1/2 tablespoonCrumbled goat cheese, 1/3 cupCream cheese, 1/3 cupCrumbled feta cheese, 1/2 cupThawed puff pastry sheet, 1/2 of a 17.3-ounceEdible flowers, 3Method:1. Stir the figs, water and 2 tablespoons of honey in a medium bowl. Let the mixture stand for 45 minutes. 2. Drain the figs well in a colander and then coarsely chop the figs.3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Stir the caramelised onions, chopped figs, rosemary, cream cheese, goat cheese, feta and remaining honey in a medium bowl.4. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Cut the pastry sheet into 3 (2.5-inch wide) strips. Cut each pastry strip into 4 (2.5-inch) squares, making 12 in all. Press the pastry squares into 12 mini muffin-pan cups.5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the puff tarts are golden brown. 6. Remove the tarts from the pan and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. 7. Spoon 1 ½ tbsp of the mixture into each tart. 8. Garnish with caramelised fresh figs, wine-poached shallots and edible flowers. The tart is ready to be served. Recipe by Chef Ravi Ranjan, Ditas   Fig Dark Chocolate Brownie There’s something about the musky honey sweetness of the figs that brings out the fruity undertones of dark chocolate. These brownies are rich, deep and fudgy.  Ingredients: Dark chocolate, 350 gmUnsalted butter, 100 gm Vanilla extract, 1 mlCocoa powder, 50 gm Refined flour, 10 gm Kosher salt, 5 gm Large eggs, 4 Brown sugar, 150 gmCastor  sugar, 100 gm Figs, 200 gm Flaky sea salt, to garnish Method: 1. With a rack in the center, preheat the oven to 325°F.2. Spray a 9-by-9-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with a rectangle of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.3. Place the chocolate, butter and vanilla in a heatproof mixing bowl. 4. Set the bowl on top of a small saucepan with about 2 inches of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. 5. Stir to melt together, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.6. In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour and salt. Whisk to fully combine and break up any lumps. Set aside.7. In another mixing bowl, with a hand mixer or a whisk, beat the eggs and both sugars until light and doubled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk or beat in until thick and uniform.8. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture, then switch to a spatula and fold together until no dry patches remain. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer with the spatula.9. Dot the top of the brownies all over with the jam, then swirl it through the batter by running a toothpick or the tip of a paring knife through the dots in any pattern you desire. 10. Bake the brownies until set, 35 to 40 minutes. 11. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and allow them to cool in the pan for at least 1 hour. 12. Use the overhanging parchment paper to lift them out of the pan and slice them into squares.13. Fig brownies are ready to be served! Recipe by Chef Sagar Phansekar, Blue Bop Cafe

12 July,2024 07:06 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Chef Christopher Fernandes

Delve into unique meat cutting and smoking techniques with Chef Chris in Pune

A unique food experience awaits culinary enthusiasts in Pune on December 2nd and 3rd. This culinary spectacle will feature Chef Christopher Fernandes, a gastronomic maestro from Goa, and Law & Order from Amsterdam, listed in the 50 best bars discovery. The event is poised to enhance Cobbler & Crew as a must-visit destination in Pune. Chef Chris, known for his meat cutting and smoking techniques, including the legendary 18-hour brisket, is set to elevate the dining experience at Cobbler & Crew. His personally crafted smokers promise to captivate with both their design and aromas from creations like 18-hour brisket, miso coconut & chili prawns and pork chop with smoked black garlic butter. With a history of hosting exclusive events for limited edition gins and showcasing open-fire cooking at picturesque locations, such as The Table Farm in Alibaug and the exclusive Smoke Table at the Four Seasons Conservatory and Magazine St. Kitchen, Chef Chris brings his culinary symphony to Pune in an exciting two day pop-up at Cobbler & Crew. "Pune's culinary energy is contagious, and I'm excited to bring the smoke table experience to Cobbler & Crew for a unique two-day pop-up. Live-fire cooking is my passion, and here, I aim to introduce people to the art of aged, cured, and smoked meats. The focus is on appreciating the beauty of low and slow cooking, using minimal ingredients to achieve maximum flavours. On the first day, immerse yourself in a gastronomic adventure with his food pairings alongside Law & Order's distinctive cocktails. Each dish tells a story of craftsmanship and flavour evolution. On the second day, the hosts continue the journey, elevating the experience with Cobbler & Crew's signature cocktails crafted by Head Mixologist Partner Mayur Marne.  But the culinary journey doesn't end there. Cocktails of Tomorrow will elevate the experience by bringing Law & Order from Amsterdam in collaboration with Bacardi. Despite its serious name, Law & Order is a fun and unpretentious bar in Amsterdam, listed in the 50 best bars discovery, offering a living room feel and a casual attitude. Against the backdrop of a classic 16th-century setting, this modern cocktail bar is where vintage hip-hop meets aristocratic style. Vitaly Alekseyev and Sergej Platanov, two Russian cocktail virtuosos, and their team of bartenders are set to rule the Amsterdam cocktail landscape. Now, they bring their expertise to Pune in collaboration with Cocktails of Tomorrow. "We are excited as we prepare to host Law & Order's exclusive bar takeover, making its debut in Pune. This isn't just about cocktails; it's a sensory journey where meticulous craftsmanship blends seamlessly with the ambiance. We're doubly thrilled to unveil the unique charm of Law & Order's signature drinks to Pune, coupled with the excitement of Chef Chris making his first appearance in the city," shares Vijeta Sing, Partner at Cobbler & Crew. Don't miss this one-of-a-kind experience! Join us at Cobbler & Crew in Kalyani Nagar on December 2nd and 3rd, 2023, for a weekend filled with exceptional culinary delights and innovative cocktails. Event Details:Day 1: December 2, Saturday: Chef Chris and Law & Order Guest Shift and Bar Take-over  at Cobbler & Crew Day 2:  December 3, Sunday: Chef Chris Guest Shift at Cobbler & Crew

12 July,2024 07:06 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
Cafe Excelsior, Fort

Mid-Day Premium Fort’s hidden gem: Parsi Cafe unveils tales of history, cinema and Irani flavour

Tucked away within the busy commercial precinct of South Bombay are concealed chapters of history. Preserving one such lesson from the past is Fort’s Zoroastrian Irani eatery – Café Excelsior. One of the last few places of its kind, Excelsior stands as a testament to Parsi culinary heritage. Following a spat with the taxi driver, this writer arrived at the café at 1 pm. Or, rather – barged into the café in hopes of some respite. At first glance, the place looked lazy, as if in a state of comatose. The café was half full of middle-aged professionals, college students, and a family – basking in the languorous shades of the diner.  Far from the optic perfection, the wall paint inside the café has begun to chip off and the fans creak while hanging from the lofty ceiling. Qutubuddin, the sole waiter attending to patrons, hurries toward me, presenting the menu with a whimsical smile—a stark juxtaposition to the prevailing drowsiness in the café.  Quaint charm of Café Excelsior Upon entering, your eyes will inevitably be drawn to vintage wooden clocks ticking on the walls. On the way to the mezzanine floor, hand-painted signs reflect the star delicacies from the menu. “Salli Boti”, “Bheja Fry”, “Mutton Dhansak”, “Chicken Cutlet” and the likes are up for grabs.  Ardeshir Mazkoori – the third-generation owner christened after his grandfather (the café's founder) personally painted these frames. "My grandfather passed away when I was born, so I was named after him. He was a very hard-working man. When he moved to India from Iran, he initially worked at another Irani restaurant in the area.”  Mazkoori continues, “After gathering enough funds, he and his brother started Café Excelsior in 1919. In the beginning, it was only one-third the size of what it is now. Interestingly, they used to serve meals in the compound of Excelsior Cinema to compensate for the lack of space," Mazkoori reminisces. His father, Gustasb Mazkoori, managed the place for nearly 60 years, and Mazkoori took charge in 1996 after his father's passing.  Café Excelsior is now 105 years old. Mazkoori grins as he recalls the times he stormed the café as a kid. "I cherish the memories of visiting the café in my childhood. We would enjoy ice cream or anything else we could indulge in. It was delightful to run around the place knowing we were in our own café.”  It is this nostalgia that also attracts old customers back to Excelsior. Perhaps, that's why Mazkoori has made an effort to preserve it as much as possible. “I carefully consider before making any changes to the décor because people who have moved abroad return to revisit their memories. Many families visit the café and fathers often point out the tables where they proposed to their child’s mothers," Mazkoori tells Midday. In the past, Café Excelsior featured a booth system on its mezzanine floor, popular among couples for the privacy it offered. However, this changed when Mazkoori took charge of the café. During the time when cinema halls allowed outside food, people would often choose chicken rolls and mutton sandwiches to enjoy during their film outings at Excelsior.  DN Road primarily served as an office area, attracting office-goers who preferred using forks and spoons before the introduction of the dabba system. The old Excelsior cinema hall, which closed down in 1969, never screened Indian films. Instead, it would display posters for movies scheduled two years later, reflecting the extended duration it took to bring films to India back then. The café heavily relied on the crowd attending the nearby theatre.   Weaving new elements into the historic joint Six years back, the revitalisation of one of Mumbai's oldest single-screen cinema halls took place. Originally established as Novelty in 1887, it underwent reconstruction in 1909 and was later renamed as ‘New Excelsior’ in the 1970s. Two years ago, it was given a new lease of life under the name Mukta A2 Excelsior which continues to be the same. Simultaneously, across the road, a redevelopment project had taken place involving an old building that houses one of the departments of Siddharth College. It's noteworthy that the rehaul maintained the architectural integrity of the area. Amidst these transformations, a constant remained — the retro charisma of Café Excelsior, situated between these two historic landmarks. The sole transformation, or more accurately, expansion, over the years has been the menu. Mazkoori believed it was crucial to sustain the place. In addition to Parsi specialties like salli boti, cutlets, and patra ni machchi, they also offer Chinese and Lebanese dishes.  The head chef, consistent for the past 40 years, remains unchanged. “If the hands change, the food and taste changes invariably,” believes Mazkoori. Similar longevity is seen in the manager, Nityanand Karkera, a friend of Mazkoori from Bharda High School, who has been with Excelsior for an extended period.   Patrons of Excelsior Despite Mazkoori's education in commercial art at Sir JJ School of Art and his establishment of an advertising agency, his heart remained with the café. Opting to carry on his father's legacy, Mazkoori shares, "Uddhav Thackeray would often come here to enjoy kheema pav during his college days; he was my junior at JJ." The café attracts notable figures, including movie stars attending premieres, many of whom have developed friendships with Mazkoori. "Irrfan Khan visited the café once and we were stupefied. In another instance, Riteish Deshmukh and Vivek Oberoi dropped by and tried cutlets and gravies. Later, they invited me to their vanity vans to discuss the spices and ingredients used in our food,” chuckles Mazkoori. Listing down more prominent names, he indulges us with A-listers who have dined at the café. “Bollywood’s revered King – Shah Rukh Khan came over for a chicken roll during the release of Chennai Express. Also, Sanjay Dutt frequented the café when he visited the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) office. Comedian Mehmood and his brother were regular customers.” Perhaps, being next to one of the most magnificent cinema halls in Asia is a stroke of luck. The latest film shot here was A Gentleman, featuring Sidharth Malhotra. Singer Himesh Reshammiya also spent an entire day at the café, he informs. "Due to our proximity to Azad Maidan, many top-class cricketers dine here, including Sandeep Patil and his father Madhusudan. Sandeep enjoys our cutlets and mutton masala. Politicians like Jitendra Awhad, Ashish Shelar, and Jaya Jaitly, writer Anil Dharker, and artist MF Husain, who had a reserved table, used to visit," he shares.  

12 July,2024 07:04 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
Dadar’s iconic eateries not only serve scrumptious food but also have a rich history to tell. They all collectively make up for the identity of Dadar and its culture.  Photo Courtesy: Gomantak Boarding House/Tibb’s Frankie Yogesh Powar

Mid-Day Premium 5 iconic eateries in Dadar you must try to relish 'assal' Maharashtrian cuisine

Mumbai’s Dadar area has been popular for many things – from being a shopping hub, the birthplace of some of the most crucial political movements of Maharashtra to being an all-time favourite spot to relish authentic Maharashtrian cuisines.   Ask a true Dadarkar what their favourite dish is, and they will be spoilt for choice. For some, indulging in Prakash Hotel’s sabudana vada is all about reliving their childhood memories and for some biting into Ashok Vada pav’s steaming hot and spicy vada pav is a favourite regular snack.  Besides, these iconic eateries not only serve scrumptious food but also have a rich history to tell. They all collectively make up for the identity of Dadar and its culture. If you plan on travelling to Dadar, stopping by these eateries to relish some of the most delicious food will surely tantalise your taste buds like never before.  Here, we share a curated list of some of these iconic eateries in Dadar 1. Prakash Shakahari Upahaar Kendra Preserving the Marathi culture for decades, Prakash Shakahari Upahaar Kendra has been serving authentic Maharashtrian food for the past 73 years. First established in 1946 in Girgoan by Shivram Govind Joglekar aka Kaka Joglekar, the hotel is also located in Dadar’s Shivaji Park area since 1971. Kaka Joglekar first set foot in Mumbai in 1946 in search of a job. That is when he thought of setting up a small food stall in Girgoan.  His grandson Ashutosh Joglekar who currently runs the hotel says, “We originally hail from the Konkan region. When aajoba (grandfather) came to Mumbai, he hardly had money for basic survival. He first set up a stall in Girgaon outside a building. The building’s owner Dr Bhalerao saw aajoba running the stall well and offered to help him set up a shop next to the building. That is where it all started. Once the hotel began running well, aajoba thought of opening another branch in Dadar since it is home to maximum Maharashtrians.”   He adds, “My aajoba alone used to cook all the dishes and serve the customers initially. Then when the business expanded, he appointed a few people to cook. He personally used to teach them to cook these authentic dishes. The same was done when he set up another branch here in Dadar.”   Today, all dishes served at the hotel are original recipes of Kaka Joglekar. Prakash Hotel is known for its famous Subdana Vada, Misal and Piyush. Other dishes that can be relished at Prakash Hotel include Thalipeeth, Kothimbir Vadi, Alu Vadi and  Pattice.   The hotel has been graced by many celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, Sachin Pilgaonkar, Ashish Vidyarthi, Nana Patekar, and Shivaji Satam who are the hotel’s regular customers. Even politicians like Nitin Gadkari and Raj Thackeray often order food from here.   2. Gypsy Corner Another iconic eatery in Dadar that should not be missed is the Gypsy Corner. As the name goes, the eatery is quite literally located in one small corner that has an occupancy of hardly 30 customers. Gypsy Corner is famous for serving Maharashtrian meals from chapati, Bharli Vangi, and Kothimbir Vadi to Varan Bhaat.  Bhalchandra Jagannath Jadhav, 56, who has been working as the corner’s manager for the past 18 years mentions that the corner was established in 1981 and earlier served all kinds of foods from continental dishes to light snacks like pav bhaji and pizzas. They also have a dedicated chat corner. However, to cater to the taste buds of Marathi people in Dadar, the corner started serving authentic Marathi dishes along with other food items. Today, one can savour Marathi dishes like Thalipeeth, Misal Pav, Batata Vada, Kothimbir Vadi, Usal, Batata Bhaji Puri, Bhakri, Matar Pattice, Pithla Bhakri, Vangyachi Bharit, Masale Bhaat and much more.  This eatery too is a famous spot among various celebrities, especially those belonging to the Marathi film industry. Though Jadhav chose not to reveal the names of the celebrities citing privacy concerns, he says, “Almost every other day we have at least one celebrity coming to the corner to grab a few quick bites.”  Mid-day Online also spoke to one of the most loyal customers of Gypsy Corner who stepped out relishing a meal. Anuja Dalvi, born and brought up in Dadar, has been eating at the corner since her childhood. Some of her favourite dishes here are Dahi Batata Puri, Thalipeeth and Misal Pav. She says, “I either visit the place or order from here almost every day. Especially after work, I prefer eating food from here.”   3. Hotel Gomantak Boarding HouseOne of the oldest hotels serving delectable Goan seafood is the Gomantak Boarding House established by Ramnath Gopal Borkar in 1952. Borkar hailed from the Konkan region of Maharashtra. He came to Mumbai in search of livelihood. Located near Dadar’s popular Plaza Cinema, Gomantak Hotel used to be crowded with workers from the neighbouring Kohinoor mill. Sunil Borkar, the son of Borkar who now runs the hotel with his elder brother Sudhir Borkar says, “We used to serve mill workers with a rice plate. This consisted of steamed rice, a piece of local fish fry — either Surmai or Halwa and some fish gravy. That is how the hotel’s food rose to popularity.”  As the hotel’s popularity rose, the menu saw various additions that included Gomantak Special Thali (chicken, mutton and fish), fish fry, tisrya, prawns, and mutton/chicken sukha among many others.  Sunil Borkar proudly points out that Gomantak Hotel is one of the rare ones that serves soft boneless mutton dishes which makes it a favourite of many. This seafood restaurant also is famous among actors like Bharat Jadhav, Siddharth Jadhav, and Jhonny Lever. Sunil says, “Some actors are regular visitors and mostly order our thalis and fish fry.” He adds, “When customers give us feedback about how much they love the food served at our hotel, it makes our day. Ultimately, customer satisfaction is what we aim for.”  4. Tibb’s Frankie A famous frankie brand across Mumbai finds its strong roots in Dadar’s Shivaji Park out of the many outlets in Mumbai. Helmed by Yogesh Powar, a 53-year-old resident of Dadar, this Tibbs Corner was established in 1993. Prior to this, Powar only sold ice-creams and soft drinks from 1987. Tibbs Corner is a franchise owned by a Punjabi individual named Amarjit Singh Tibb.  Powar says, “Mumbai is the birthplace of frankie. It is a Mumbai staple just like vada pav is.” The frankie seller began selling this dish observing customer demand for this item. Initially, frankie had only three variations — chicken, mutton and veg frankie. “The classic chicken and mutton frankie is relished by old customers of Dadar even today,” says Powar.Frankie is a popular snacking and meal option among Dadarkars. Its unique taste is unlike any other roll. The blend of unique masala and meat gravy coupled with sliced onions rolled inside a flatbread is what makes Tibb’s Frankie unique. When asked what makes him happy, Powar reminisces, “When the customer takes his first bite and satisfies his cravings, the happiness that reflects on his face thereafter is what makes me happy. Earlier we used to serve frankie in a small plastic cover that collected the leftover meat soup and gravy. After finishing the frankie, the customers would sip on the gravy from the plastic cover. Watching them relish the item used to truly make me happy.” Now, the frankie is served in a rolled paper that soaks in all the gravy.  Now, the frankie is served in numerous variations ranging from schezwan frankie to chipotle rolls to cater to a wider customer base.  5. Ashok Vada Pav When we think of eating a vada pav in Dadar, Ashok Vada Pav is the first one that crosses our mind. Needless to say, this stall serves a loaded, bulky vada pav, one that is rare. Besides, its spicy green and red chutney coupled with chura is what makes it so popular.  Established in 1978, the vada pav that we relish at Rs 30 was earlier sold for just 30 paise.  Ashok Thakur, the man behind one of Mumbai’s most famous vada pav stalls says, “I opened the stall because I couldn’t find a job anywhere. I needed to do this for my survival.” Today, his stall has been visited by prominent Indian personalities like Sachin Tendulkar and Shabana Azmi.  Thakur who loves to cater to the customer’s needs and chutney choices standing at the stalls says, “I don’t add any artificial flavours or even baking soda in the batata vada. We prepare vadas in the way they are prepared at home. The red chutney I serve along with the vada pav is my speciality which is made from over 44 ingredients.”  At the stall, Thakur is often spotted urging customers to eat another vada pav after gulping down the first with much love.  While these are a handful of popular eateries in Dadar that continue to tingle every Dadarkar’s taste buds, there are many others like Mama Kane's Swatchha Upahar Griha Aaswad, Light of Bharat, Shree Krishna Batatawada, and Gokuldas that are surely worth trying.

12 July,2024 07:03 PM IST | Mumbai | Aakanksha Ahire
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