Earlier this week, the Taste Atlas magazine picked several Indian mentions in its list of 150 legendary desserts in the world. The sole representative from the city was the ice cream sandwich from Churchgate landmark, K Rustom. While the city is more popular for its street fare, Mumbai hides some unique dessert creations that are distinctively original. We speak to city chefs to enlighten us on their pick to add to the list.
Malai magicMy Pick: Malai khajaMunaf Kapadia, founder, The Bohri Kitchen
A dessert that comes to my mind is the malai khaja. If you visit the Bohri neighbourhood near the JJ Flyover, there are multiple shops that serve this delicacy. It owes its origin to the Dawoodi Bohra community. I call it the Bohri baklava — a pastry stuffed with malai with a generous coating of butter on top and garnished with dry fruits. When you cut the pastry, the malai oozes out of it.
Iconic reputationMy Pick: Mahim halwa at Joshi Budhakaka, MahimSantosh Rawat, executive pastry chef, The St Regis Mumbai
Ukadiche modak — simple, and delicious — is a delicacy that I associate with the city, along with the occasional sitaphal ice cream at Haji Ali Juice Centre. The Mahim halwa, though, is one that demands the title legendary for its reputation as a dessert.
A migrant taleMy Pick: Motichoor laddoos from Punjab Sweet House, BandraYashasvi Modi, founder and chef, The Burrow
The story of desserts in the city is the story of migration. My early memories of growing up in Bandra are with visits to Punjab Sweet House. I would love their assortment of North Indian delicacies. My pick would be the motichoor laddoos, which have evolved into so many forms and influenced my own creations.
Persian influenceMy Pick: Falooda at Badshah, Crawford MarketChef Gresham Fernandes
While Mumbai is not renowned for a distinct traditional dessert like other cities, one dessert meriting recognition as legendary is the falooda. Originating from Persian culinary traditions, it has been transformed into a distinctive and whimsical creation. It’s a great example of how Mumbai’s culinary scene combines various influences to create something truly special and delicious.
Of comfort and familiarityMy Pick: Black mawa jalebis on Mohammed Ali RoadHusna Jumani, pastry chef, Crust and Crumble
My usual dessert choices are sitaphal ice cream at Haji Ali Juice Centre or kulfis at Chowpatty. But as a special, I would go for the black mawa jalebis at Mohammed Ali Road. They are unique to the city. While the malpuas are an Eid specialty, the mawa jalebis are a year-round delicacy.
Taste of sweet nostalgiaMy Pick: Caramel custard at Britannia & Co.Chef Irfan Pabaney, country head, SodaBottleOpenerWala
A dessert that deserves a mention according to me, especially because you do not come across it very often and for the people who make it so fantastically, is the caramel custard at Britannia & Co. It is a classic and just superb. This would go on my list, alongside the falooda and the malpuas from Bhendi bazaar.
Childhood memoriesMy Pick: Phirni at MadanpuraShahbaz Shaikh, head chef, Lil Gamby
It is a myth that phirni is made only during Eid festivities. My childhood memories are built around treats of phirni after weekend shopping with my mother or relatives. The dessert is refreshing, diverse and comes in so many delicious flavours that you cannot miss it.
Truly uniqueMy Pick: Aflatoon from Bhendi BazaarAli Akbar Baldiwala, executive chef, Slink & Bardot
I have a deep fondness for malai puffs from Tawakkal Sweets, a treat that holds special memories from my childhood spent at my dadi’s home. But a definitive dessert for Mumbai is aflatoon from Bhendi Bazaar. The term aflatoon means something that has no match. Interestingly, this treat was born right in the heart of Mumbai, specifically in Bhendi Bazaar, cementing its status as a true Mumbai creation.
Choices galoreMy Pick: Falooda at Badshah; gulab jamun at Jhama Sweets in ChemburVicky Ratnani, celebrity chef and author
Pic Courtesy/Jhama sweets
Mumbai has a tonne of desserts to choose from. It can change from season to season. In winters, there is nothing better than the strawberry and cream at Bachelorr’s. A must-have for everyone is the delicious falooda at Badshah near Crawford market. The other choice would be the decadent gulab jamuns from Jhama Sweets in Chembur. They are iconic and stand out.
The aromas wafting across Singapore’s famous street food vendors, some of whom have thrived across decades, thanks to age-old culinary secrets, have drawn visitors from all over the globe. Home to some of the world’s most bustling hawker markets, many of these iconic eateries have even won recognition from the prestigious Michelin Guide. To give Mumbai a taste of one of their most celebrated seafood eateries that opened in 1970, the Consulate General of the Republic of Singapore in Mumbai and the Singapore Tourism Board, along with The Soul Company and Monika Alcobev Limited, are bringing Keng Eng Kee Seafood (KEK) to Magazine St Kitchen in Byculla this weekend.
The family-run business is currently helmed by its third-generation siblings —Wayne Liew (head chef), Paul Liew (managing director) and Jiamin Liew (operations director). Ahead of their first-ever visit to India, Paul shares his excitement over a video call. “We are a four-member team. It’s our first visit to India, so we can’t wait to explore the local flavours. With its rich history there’s so much to learn,” he admits.
The restaurant as it currently stands
The KEK legacy
It all started with a small hawker stall at the former Havelock Road Hawker Centre in Singapore. KEK was opened by Paul’s maternal grandparents, who handed the business over to their daughter and son-in-law. While Paul and his siblings started helping in the kitchen since they were pre-teens, their parents had no intention of having them join in or take over the family business. “My grandparents never wanted my parents to take over because they sent my mom to school; the same thing happened to us. Our parents worked hard to send us to university, hoping that we would work in offices in the business district,” reveals Paul.
“As Asians, family values play a significant role. Even in our youth, we had always helped out at the hawker stall. We wanted mom and dad to be less tired. Unknowingly, it instilled a sense of passion in us. When I finished university, where I majored in business marketing, I thought that I would obey my parents; wear a tie, dress well, and work in an office. After I graduated — around Chinese New Year, which is the peak session for our business — mom suggested that before I step into the real world, I should help them for a while. That became a couple of months, and then, years,” he recalls.
KEK’s signature chilli crab; moonlight horfun; Coffee pork ribs
While Singapore’s hawker culture has been thriving, it faces a challenge as few gen-next owners wish to take the family business forward. “The long hours discourage them from joining the industry. But there are also a few like us who share the passion. Newer generations can contribute beyond technology; they can bring fresh ideas into business management.” The siblings possess no sense of entitlement. “We started from scratch, as apprentices would in the kitchen. We cleaned the kitchen and the washrooms, and learned to take stock. Our parents didn’t want us to take over a business but to value its origins and appreciate our staff. Wayne has a better palate, so he headed to the kitchen. He speaks less, unlike me; so, I went into marketing,” reminisces Paul. The restaurant was listed in the Michelin Guide in 2016, and was also awarded The Michelin Plate. Paul is unfazed by the accolades, “All Singapore restaurants were excited that Michelin was coming. We were a street food restaurant, so we didn’t expect much. We stuck to our usual routines; that worked for us,” he maintains.
(Clockwise from left) Wayne Liew; Jiamin Liew and Paul Liew with their parents, Liew Choy and Mdm Koh; (right) chef Wayne in his kitchen
Cuisine of our land
KEK is most popular for ‘zi char’, a distinctive Singaporean dining term used to describe dishes inspired by home-cooked Chinese food that is meant for sharing. “Singapore is a young country but in terms of food, we are diverse and embrace different communities that settled in Singapore. It’s not just Chinese fare; there is Singapore-Chinese, with Malay ingredients, Indian flavours and even Westernised flavours,” Paul elaborates. “We don’t have extensive lands for agriculture, so we have limited supply of produce. If we source local produce, it gets too expensive; street food should be economical. Since my grandparents’ time, we’ve been importing supplies: shrimps come from Vietnam while crabs arrive from India. We borrowed a lot from our friends from across the country to create what we call Singaporean cuisine.”
While some dishes have survived the test of time, a lot has changed. “Our grandparents and parents had their signature dishes. These dishes evolved not just because of different ingredients in the market, but also due to a change in the diners’ palates. In my grandparents’ time, they preferred strong flavours, and dishes were oily, while in my parent’s time, they preferred lighter and subtler flavours. Today, diners want variety and complex flavours,” Paul explains.
The pop-up menu will feature some of their hit dishes, while also representing flavours from the past. “Since it was our first time in India, we wanted to serve the entire menu, but couldn’t. So, we carefully chose dishes that would showcase the KEK story,” says Paul. The menu includes claypot pig’s liver, a recipe by the siblings’ grandmother. There will be moonlight horfun, a wok stir-fried rice noodle dish with raw egg on top, which is their father’s specialty and Mingzhu rolls, a treasured recipe crafted by their mother, where tau fu poks (tofu puffs) are stuffed with salted egg yolk, prawns, ham, mushroom, and parsley. Among recent additions are their sought-after coffee pork ribs and chilli crab. “Coffee is not a typical ingredient but we were keen to blend it into a dish. Our marination technique is traditional, but the sauce is innovative and modern,” Paul reveals. He confesses that their iconic dish isn’t spicy by Indian standards. “Our family version is sweet, sour-ish and mildly spicy. When we were younger, our parents cooked a sweet and sour crab. When we grew up, a bit of spice was added; this gradually increased over the years. That taste reminds us of our childhood. The three-layered dish represents how Asian cultures are similar: it represents several layers of complexities. Yet, at the end of it, when you put it in your mouth, the flavours must all harmonise.”
On September 22, 23; 7.30 pm onwards (dinner); September 24; 12.30 pm onwards (lunch)At Magazine Street Kitchen, Devidayal Compound, Reay Road East, Darukhana, Byculla. Log on to foodmatters.inCost Rs 5,000
Paul believes that the common connection between both cultures is the community dining experience. “Asian families sit around a table, talk and share their meals even at home. Recently, I dined with chef Varun Totlani from Masque. We talked about life; we shared our food and he poured drinks for me. That’s how our cultures are.”
We are quite at home seated inside Dadar’s latest eatery Coast and Bloom, with half of the Walke family of the famed seafood haunt Chaitanya. The interiors — with conch shells, handmade coconut fibre netting and a concrete accent wall mimicking a wave — pronounce the coastal theme; so despite being plush, the ambience is familiar and cosy for this seaside-raised Mumbaikar.
Roasted plantains with cilantro chiffonade
Extending the legacy
We are seated in one of the two private dining areas. There’s also a well-lit family-styled, high-seating space with a moody bar ambience. This dual set-up for a familial dinner and young patrons is where the legacy of Chaitanya extends through the vision of Coast and Bloom that opens its doors tomorrow. In 2023, three decades after the launch of Chaitanya, Mitra Walke, the second-generation owner of the family-run business, carries forward the aim that his mother set out with — to make better known the wholesomeness of Malvani fare — but this time, with a new generation, one that seeks fine-dining experiences and an experimental global cuisine backed by a foundation that only tradition and home-style food can offer. And this legacy is anchored by the woman seated with us, Surekha Walke, Mitra’s mother.
Kokum shrimps with blanched sea shrimps on haas avocados, rocket leaves, fresh fennel, peanut granola, and kokum kala khatta dressing
“In 1993, when we opened the restaurant in Malvan, I followed my mother’s advice to serve guests fresh food — the day’s catch is served on that day itself,” Surekha tells us. Pointing out the window to a nearby building, Mitra shares, “We first set up there as a takeaway and delivery kitchen. I remember that when we moved Chaitanya to Mumbai in 2010, the building we’re in currently was coming up. Our first customers were a few Koreans who were doing glass work here. They ordered chapatis.” Surekha adds, “And our first newspaper article in 2010 was with mid-day, too.”
Wood-roasted chicken liver
An authentic offering
Chef de cuisine, Prasad Parab, also hailing from Malvan, brings recipes and flavours from the coastal township along with dishes from the oriental and continental coasts. Along with taking Malvani offerings to Gen Z patrons, the family was keen to also cater to their expanding taste preferences. Armed with Mitra’s coast-hopping experience across various global cuisines, they dipped into chef Parab’s knowledge of international cuisines from a 23-year-long career to curate the nearly 70-dish menu. Mixologist Shobith Salian has added eight cocktails inspired by coastal flavours from Goa, Lakshadweep, Mangaluru, and an in-house Malvani tirphal liquor.
Oysters Rockefeller with baked oysters, sambuca and butter cream
This includes working with home chefs and the gatekeepers of recipes — Malvani moms, two of whom we meet in the kitchen. The thoughtfully-curated menu highlights traditional cooking techniques such as cooking chicken liver directly on cashew wood with salt and Malvani masala; motla which includes a banana-wrapped fish cooked over burning cashew leaves, and using triphal, a mouth-numbing spice, in mackerel. Even the classic chicken broth banga (Rs 425) and a no-nonsense kolambi khichdi (Rs 655) are available.
More than seafood
The bar and high-chair seating extend into the family section. Pics/Shadab Khan
A mark Mitra aims to make is for coastal cuisine to shed the ‘solely seafood’ tag. “Vegetarian dishes are an important part of the coastal diet. Malvan food has many vegetarian options such as neer phanas and kaccha kele; that every day, our plate will have a patte ki sabzi. We have seen this balance of fish and vegetables across international coasts,” the Walkes tell us. This wide offering is reflected in the menu. The cilantro plantains (R455) include crushed roasted plantains to help absorb and release more flavour. This Hong Kong-styled dish with a cilantro chiffonade sings of burnt garlic and ginger, but the highlight is the plantain’s firm yet crumbly texture. The spanakopitas (Rs 525) is a nod to the Athenian coast with red spinach and goat’s milk feta wrapped in phyllo with an earthy red pepper tomato sauce.
A taste of the coast
Surekha and Mitra Walke
Other highlights are the oysters Rockefeller (Rs 955), a New Orleans touch with creamy sambuca-baked oysters. From the trio of prawns (R1,295), the Mangalorean Kundapur coconut crisp is a crumbed and deep-fried sphere of minced and whole prawns that is elevated with lemony accents from Kerala green pepper. Don’t miss the luxurious flavour profiles with minimal ingredients in dishes like pan-seared Alaskan king scallops trifolati (R2,455) and teriyaki-glazed Norwegian salmon (R1,455). Chef Parab concludes, “We are not a butter and cheese-heavy restaurant. You will find authentic home-style food from the coasts that follows the seasonal availability of ingredients. We plan on introducing regional fish from the Malvan, Goa, Mangaluru, and Kerala coasts like false trevally and ladyfish in seasonal menus.”
Coast and BloomAt: Second floor, Kohinoor Square, Shivaji Park, Dadar West. Time: 12 pm to 12 am Call: 9137019345Log on to: @coastandbloom.mumbaiCost: Rs 2,500 (for two, without alcohol); Rs 4,000 (for two, with alcohol)
A complete guide
While fasting, the first thing to keep in mind is to have enough water. Start your ekashna [one meal a day] and biyashna [two meals a day] with protein-rich food like one bowl of moong or chickpeas. Incorporate good-quality fat in your diet like khichdi with ghee, and try to have a portion of curd rice in one of the meals as it aids in digestion.
If you are eating one meal a day, eat high-protein and good-quality carbs like moong dal and rice with ghee, moong dal dosa with paneer and dalia khichdi with curd. Eat a small piece of jaggery and roasted chana by the end of the meal. If you are eating twice a day, for your first meal, consume a bowl of moong, a whole wheat paratha with curd, nachni porridge and rava uttapam. Your second meal can include dal rice and ghee, two besan chillas, and paneer curry and rice. Finish with a glass of fennel water.
You can practise paryushan at work as well. Carry simple dishes such as curd rice, moong and khakra, masala puri and urad dal dhokla. Don’t worry too much about weight loss, and instead, focus on the improvement of your mental health for these eight days.
Ekta Pande, nutritionist and lifestyle coach
Hear it from the moms
Being one of the holiest phases in the Jain calendar, naturally, parents try to introduce their children to the festival in a healthy, convenient manner. Recipes have been passed on from one mother to another over generations, and now we all have a list of must-haves. Children tend to look forward to paryushan because their mothers make special sweets like gud [jaggery] matar, tal [sesame] matar and pipramul sonth. While these are tasty, they are known to increase body strength, especially when you’re fasting. We also make gud ka pani and variyali pani for beverages — which provide stamina. Our star dish has to be the traditional dal bati churma that we generally consume on Mahavir Jayanti, which is the fifth day of the festival.
Neeta Doshi, Grant Road
The sesame seeds need to be washed few days before preparing and consuming tal matar
I make nachos chips, which are made of wheat and mogar dal. Whenever my children feel like snacking, instead of turning to off-the-shelf chips, they spread my milk-based gravy over this homemade variety. I also prepare khaari, makai ka chivda and gundar gas. For the latter, I fry gond [edible gum] and mix it with milk. It tastes exactly like mava; my children love to end their ekashana or biyashana with this.
Kavita Jain, Mulund West
Do not overeat
During paryushan, green vegetables and fruits are avoided. There is a tendency to lean towards sweet and fried food to curb hunger. But keep your sugar intake in check. In fact, the most important thing to bear in mind during these eight days is to not overeat. If you’re eating once a day, your first instinct will be to eat as much as you can. But that will only harm your body because it is not used to so many calories in one go. It is okay to eat more than what you usually eat for a meal, but don’t keep pushing yourself if you feel full. Understand the signs that your body sends, and stop when needed. During these eight days, people generally take a break from their regular fitness routines. So, being sedentary might cause one to gain weight in case you consume extra sugar or fried items like wafers and puris.
If you are a working professional, prepare [paryushan-friendly] idli sambhar, paneer paratha, moong dal and thepla in the morning, and carry it along to the office. These make for well-rounded meals that can be consumed even in the evening.
Saloni Kothari, nutrition counsellor and life coach, NLP practitioner
Chilli oil idli bullets
Ingredients£ 1 tbsp ghee£ 1 tsp salt£ 1 cup rice flour£ 1 and ¼ cup water£ 2 tbsp oil£ 1 tbsp chilli flakes£ 1 tbsp sesame seeds£ 3 tbsp peanuts
MethodTake water in a pan, add salt and ghee to it. Once it comes to a boil, add rice flour. Mix it up and break lumps. Simmer for five minutes. Transfer into a bowl and knead into a soft dough while it’s hot. Grease hands with ghee, take small portions of the dough and roll into mini spheres. Place in a steamer of your choice. Make sure that the spheres don’t stick to each other. Steam for 10 to 15 minutes. In a pan, heat oil and add chilli flakes, sesame seeds and peanuts. Mix well. Toss in the idli bullets, serve hot and dig in!
Nikita Shah, recipe developer, founder, Salt in All
Where to order
Here are a few cloud kitchens that serve all three paryushan-friendly meals and deliver across Mumbai and the suburbs
The soul kitchen Call 9967317275 Log on to @tskbymihika (for the menu)
Rasoi cooking kitchen Call 9819646633 Log on to @rasoii_cookingstudio (for cost and other details)
Snacky Ideas Call 8850085563Log on to amishadoshi.in
A New York Times article in 2022 declared that the mushroom was the ingredient of the year; it rang a bell that we should be looking at mushrooms. Also, during this time of the year, many Indians turn vegetarian, and look for interesting options. We think mushrooms are close to meat in texture, and could possibly appeal to those who prefer non-vegetarian fare. It’s how the idea was born,” reveals Gautam Mansinghania, general manager at Perch Wine and Coffee Bar. He, along with executive chef Arun D’Souza, decided to make it the hero ingredient across their cocktail, coffee and dessert sections of the menu.
The menu includes nine varieties of mushrooms, such as porcini, shiitake, reishi, portobello, shimeji, enoki, king oysters, baby bellas and oysters, cultivated by The Mushroom Co near Mumbai. He believes that the mushroom-and-coffee combination could become a popular trend. “Mushrooms pair well with dark chocolate; it’s why we’ve created a mocha. It has a well-rounded umami flavour, especially if you’re using reishi mushrooms or shiitake blend. It has a long-lasting pleasant aftertaste on the palate. We ground the mushroom with coffee beans and extract the espresso. That’s where the infusion happens. For the foam, we throw in some reishi mushroom powder, and fork the milk. When you sip it, the first taste will be coffee and mushroom at the same time, while the aftertaste on the palate will be of pleasant coffee.”
Truffle mushroom panzanella; (right) piglet negroni
In the case of the black forest coffee shrub and tonic, single-origin coffee is pickled with shiitake mushrooms while soda is added for volume. Then there’s might be a delusional shake with coconut cream. “Shroom shakes are popular in other parts of the world, whether legal or illegal. We wanted to do what they do, but recreate the same taste without the after effects. We’ve used shiitake mushrooms for this since they have a strong flavour. This is a great vegan option,” says Mansinghania.
This special menu features versions of the whiskey sour, old fashioned and negronis with mushroom in it too. The team has crafted cocktails infused with mushrooms, including penny bun highball, with broken bat gin infused porcini, vermouth, porcini cordial and a house-made mushroom soda with umami, mildly sweet and refreshing flavours. “While making liquor, the sugar content increases. Many consumers prefer less-sweet cocktails. With a highball-style cocktail, it’s a challenge. We used left-over mushroom and carbonated it, and used that as a filling agent to give it flavour, body and texture it needed,” informs Mansinghania.
In the food menu however, mushrooms aren’t always used as the star ingredient. “Mushrooms help accentuate the flavours of other dishes. So, in each dish, one mushroom is showcased in a way that it helps the other ingredients shine by themselves,” elaborates D’Souza, who picks the panzanella as one of the most innovative dishes on his menu. “It’s a classic salad. So, most people usually don’t play around with it. Adding the mushroom improves it in more ways than one.” Apart from appetisers and salad, the menu includes a creamy eggplant and portobello sandwich, pan seared snapper and mushrooms, bacon wrapped chicken loaf with mushroom gravy, mushroom and cashew cream pot pie and tagliatelle in truffle butter, and mushroom sauce.
Chef D’Souza’s favourite desserts include the mushroom tiramisu with reishi mushrooms and truffle oil. “The mushroom is powdered and roasted to offer a delicate flavour of mushrooms that also balances out well with the rest of the ingredients. You taste truffles, mascarpone, and coffee.”
Perch Wine and Coffee BarTill November 5 time 8 am to 1.30 am (coffees and cocktails will be available all day; food menu available from 12 noon to closing) at 12 Union Park, Union Park, Hotel Oscar, off Carter Road, opposite Hakin Aalim, Khar West. Cal 9321375915
Cooking is the most performative of arts. Visual, motion and sonic exhibitions blend together with flavour and smell to set it apart from any other form, style or experience. The best chefs understand this. None better than Masaharu Morimoto, chef and owner of Morimoto Restaurants, and best known as Iron Chef Morimoto.
Chef Morimoto during a session
Since he switched to the kitchen after an injury hampered his fledgling baseball career, Morimoto has been at the forefront of taking Japanese culinary styles and cooking to the global stage. In 2004, he set up Wasabi by Morimoto at The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Colaba to introduce the city to the intricacies of Japanese cuisine.
Now, 19 years since the founding of the restaurant, and five years since his last visit, he returns to Mumbai on Saturday with a presentation that highlights his repertoire of Japanese cuisine. A part of the event will be an exclusive omakase menu curated by Morimoto for the evening. Omakase refers to the practice of patrons leaving the choice of the menu up to the chefs. In an exclusive chat before the homecoming, the chef spoke with mid-day about Wasabi, the journey and the future of the restaurant.
Grilled lamb chop with gochujang sauce
Excerpts from the email interview:
Welcome back to Mumbai after a span of five years. What is the prominent change you notice in the patron’s palate preferences since your past visit? What research do you and your team undertake to ensure this change makes its way in the menu?Masaharu Morimoto: It’s so good to be back in Mumbai after five years. I’ve noticed quite a few changes in the guests’ palate preferences, such as the heightened appreciation for fusion cuisine and bold flavours. I’ve also noticed that guests are much more curious about the story behind the food and where it comes from. My team and I always find it very important to ensure we are in touch with the current global and culinary trends so that our menus stay updated with what guests are looking for. Mumbai has a diverse palate and has always been a city that appreciates finer flavours and textures.
Sashimi moriawase from Morimoto Napa
Now 19 years old, Wasabi has become part of Mumbai’s culinary expansion. How do you view that journey in hindsight? How did the city warm up to the cuisine all those years ago?MM: Nineteen years ago, the people of Mumbai weren’t very familiar with Japanese cuisine, so I put my best effort into introducing the city to the artistry of Japanese dishes, and my guests enjoyed it. Our guests at Wasabi always appreciate our food because it is made with care and respect for all the ingredients. Since Mumbai’s culinary scene has a wide range of flavours, our cuisine at Wasabi was easily accepted. It makes me so happy to see how the city accepted it and celebrated Japan’s unique and harmonious flavours, especially with vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Sushi moriawase from Morimoto Napa
What is the next stage of evolution in Wasabi’s journey?MM: We’re always looking for new ways to expand at Wasabi and how our guests experience and consume each dish. We are committed to continuously refining our culinary techniques, sourcing the freshest ingredients while honouring the flavourful essence of Japan and mixing it with global influences. As we explore the next stage, we know to keep in mind the vibrant flavours of Mumbai. I’m very involved in the operations of all my restaurants, from menu creation to design, so I have an active role in ensuring that all my restaurants keep up with current trends and what guests want to see.
Interiors of Wasabi by Morimoto
Omakase harks back to a tradition that evokes trust in the chef’s ability and style. What is the secret to keeping that trust current in times of a well-travelled customer?MM: Maintaining trust in the tradition of Omakase, especially with our well-travelled customers, is one of our core culinary standards. An Omakase experience is an adventure unlike any other. In Japanese, omakase means ‘to entrust’ — you put your dining experience into the hands of the expert sushi chefs who create an unforgettable, multi-course dining experience that features the freshest fish and various other specialty ingredients that are reserved for this truly unique meal. The secret to keeping the trust is ensuring that we stay tuned to all the local and global culinary trends. By doing this, we promise an authentic and adaptable experience for all. That, to me, is a very special experience and offers guests a one-of-a-kind experience, which I love.
On: September 9 and 10; 12.30 pm onwardsAt: Wasabi by Morimoto, The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, Apollo Bunder, Colaba.Call: 266653202Cost: Rs 20,000 onwardsEntry By RSVP only
Why choose one when you can have both? This double-layered delight is a combination of a waffle and a brownie that’s loaded with melted chocolate and almonds. So sinful! The Belgian Waffle Co.At Shop 6, plot 19, Shanti Niketan, Mahim. Call 8657787662 Cost Rs 600
Try the Brussels waffles that can be clubbed with three flavours, but if you are looking for something that’s not too sweet, pick the lemon custard brulée. It comes with a side of maple syrup and vanilla chantilly cream, which is made in-house. Kuckeliku Breakfast HouseAt Kamal Mansion, first floor 4, 25, Arthur Bunder Road, near Radio Club, Colaba. Call 8591042796 Cost Rs 425
From the black forests
Inspired by the classic childhood favourite black forest pastry, this black forest waffle is a classic deep pan waffle. It is served with cream, cherries, chocolate ganache, chocolate chips and shavings, and a seasonal fruit compote. Smoke House Deli At 462, High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel (available at all outlets). Call 9152017981Cost Rs 425
For coffee lovers
This one is not for the weak-hearted. The tiramisu experience waffle comes with a decadent chocolate base, loads of coffee, white chocolate and cheese cream! It’s a mad medley of bitter and sweet. Waffle WorldAt K-3, third floor, Food Court, Korum Mall, Near Cadbury Junction, Vartaknagar Manpada Zone, Khopat, Thane West.Call 9833441118Cost Rs 150
Take a break
Here’s the good ‘ol chocolate bar Kit-Kat thrown into the delicious crunchy waffle with melted Belgian white chocolate. And voila! There’s a KitKat crunch waffle that’s less bitter-ey, and more buttery. BrufflesAt Shop 9, Daffodil CHS, Hiranandani Garden, AS Marg, Powai.Call 46001230 Cost Rs 140
Bubble waffles, is a variation of the good old waffles and is a bit crunchier. The red velvet bubble waffle has dollops of white chocolate, milk and white chips; and is topped with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, and garnished with milk and white chocolate and chocolate chips. Dessert Cloud At CG Road, next to Raj Restaurant, opposite Hira Stores, Chembur. Call 7977695453Cost Rs 230 (full size)
Blueberry cheese waffle
Ingredients. 2 cups all-purpose flour. 2 tbsp sugar. 1 tbsp baking powder. 1/4 tsp salt. 1 and 3/4th cup milk. 3 tbsp vegetable oil. 2 tsp vanilla extract. 1 tsp almond extract. 2 tbsp spoon blueberry filling . 2 tbsp spoon cream cheese
MethodWhisk all the dry ingredients together, before adding milk and oil and vanilla and almond extract to form a batter. Store it in the refrigerator for at least an hour to ferment. In a waffle machine, spread the butter with a silicon brush and pour the batter evenly. Cook the waffle at 170 degrees with the timer switched on. Once ready, keep it aside in a bowl. Mix the blueberry filling with cream cheese and spread it over the waffle like a sandwich spread. Garnish with your choice of sprinklers and serve.
Recipe courtesy: Chef Aditya Purohit, Zoca Cafe
. You can also order this blueberry cheese waffle.
Zoca CafeAt Shop no 4, ground floor, Kshitij Building, Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri West.Call 7506926864Cost Rs 239
Food: ComfortingAmbiance: SereneService: PromptCost: ExpensiveVerdict: 1/4
The overcast sky caused a slight nip in the air, inspiring us to drive down to Lonavala. En route, we spotted tiny streams rolling into crevices of the green-topped ghats along the Expressway. The drive is scenic but we had an added incentive this time; the family responsible for creating the popular Cooper’s fudge since 1940, has now opened a new restaurant called Markaiz, and is a recent addition to Lonavala’s growing list of eateries. The name comes from Marzia and Kaizaan, the young members of the Cooper family who helm this new venture. A student hotel management and pastry baking from Le Cordon Bleu, London, Marzia, London, Marzia partnered with her sibling who pursued business studies from RA Podar College in Mumbai. The attractive standalone structure constructed by the family also offers a large open parking space. The signboard on the ground floor mentions the fudge shop that opened at this new address on Navroze last March. The restaurant followed this June.
Markaiz, located on the first floor is bright, airy and roomy and has been designed by architect Bomi Irani. The space is divided into three: A cosy coffee shop that serves baked goodies; a lavish indoor dining space with a large bar and an oven where you see your pizza baking. Our preferred table, though, lies in the al fresco section. The lush green interiors as well as the soothing view of the rolling hills make for a therapeutic get-away.
Burrata bowl; Cooper’s chocolate fudge cake; Khandala keri-keri collin
The menu is a mix of continental and Parsi fare. “We always wanted to try continental and European food, but since we are Parsi, there was a certain expectation. Even when we opened the shop on the ground floor and were getting work done upstairs, patrons would ask us what was coming up. They would say, ‘You’ll serve Parsi cuisine, right? We want to eat dhansak.’ So we felt we must serve Parsi food as well. We don’t have an extensive Parsi menu; just a few select dishes. The recipes have been sourced from my mother and grandmother, and our executive chef Jenny Mooken has done a great job with both kinds of cuisines,” Marzia tells us, when we catch up with her after our meal.
We try a bit of both, but lean towards the Parsi fare. We ordered a burrata bowl (R650) where fresh burrata is drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic caviar and pine nuts in a pesto base. It’s fresh, creamy, and almost luxurious on the palate. The crunchy chicken straws (R600) are crisp, elevated by the spicy mango ketchup they are served with.
Our drinks are refreshing. The Khandala keri-keri collin (R600) with gin, raw mango, soda, lime, salt and ginger and the Khandala cooler (R600) with rum infused with cardamom, lime, mint, bitters and ginger beer are perfectly balanced in a manner that no ingredient overpowers the other. The Parsi fare is delicious and overpowers the other. The aromatic and flavourful chicken dhansak (R600), mutton cutlets served with saria (R600) and the salli gosht (R750) where succulent mutton is cooked in a tangy gravy and served with with potato salli and pav, turn out to be our favourites. While its café ambience and laid-back vibe won our vote, we found the pricing steep. Similar authentic Parsi fare is available at economical prices back in Mumbai’s Irani cafés.
The menu also features wood-fired pizzas, pasta, soups, salads, savoury and sweet bakes, gourmet sandwiches and a long list of specialty coffees. The dessert menu is extensive too. Some of them also use the Cooper fudge as the star ingredient. There’s fudge cake, fudge croissants and fudge macaroons. While we tried the Cooper’s fudge chocolate cake (R380) the one thing we will keep coming back for is the moist, boozy layers of the tiramisu (Rs 428).
We chose a weekday afternoon to visit Markaiz with the intention of skipping the busy Lonavala traffic over the weekend but we learnt later that the restaurant invites live performers from Lonavala, Mumbai and Pune every weekend; take your pick.
MarkaizAt Cooper’s Fudge, 1st floor, Ryewoods, opposite Viner Resort, Thombrewadi, Lonavala.On Daily; 10.30 am to 11.30 pm Call 9373339099 (for reservation)
4/4 Exceptional, 3/4 Excellent, 2/4 very Good, 1/4 Good, 0.4/4 Average. Markaiz didn’t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
Like every culture has its own version of bread wrapped around a meat or vegetable filling, whether a hotdog, the Lebanese sfeeha, or vada pav, it seems as though we also have our own versions of a cream bun. If we didn’t make do or innovate them, we’d all go hungry or at the very least, dissatisfied. Now, while the term, maritozzo might be a new one for most sweet-toothed Mumbaikars, its description will ring nostalgic bells. This Italian cream bun is a sweet bread beautifully packed with whipped cream, and sounds a lot like the local bakery buttercream buns we might have grown up eating. You can’t go wrong with this gloriously sweet carb hit. And city eateries are making sure to offer maritozzi (plural) with twists.
Maritozzo; (right) Nikhil Jain
Coppetto Artisan Gelato launched their variation of the maritozzo with gelato in a sweet bun instead of whipped cream. Founder Nikhil Jain loves the combination of warm bread that isn’t as sweet as brioche and cold gelato, noting that it strikes a good balance. He adds, “People have a certain taste for desserts today; they are less tolerant of excessive sugar. The bread reduces the frozenness and sweetness of the gelato, making for a good pastry dessert. Executive head baker at Bandra’s TwentySeven Bakehouse, chef Rachelle Andrade serves the city a brioche bun with mascarpone — it is creamier and richer than whipped cream and gives a better mouthfeel, she notes. The fluffy bread and cream make for a light bite even though the maritozzo is quite large. The bakery also tops its product with seasonal toppings such as cherry compôte, mango passion fruit and milk chocolate.
Chef Rachi Gupta; (right) Brioche with gelato
Recalling a trip to Italy where the aim was all things gelato, chef Rachi Gupta of The Gelato Bar and The Bread Bar shares, “Maritozzo is traditionally a sweet bread with a whipped cream filling, some jam, and sugar dusting on top.” Bandra’s The Gelato Bar offers an in-house brioche bun with gelato. She continues, “During the winters, gelaterias [in Italy] serve crêpes, breads and pancakes because it’s too cold to eat gelato.” The combination of fluffy breads filled with cold treats seemed only inevitable. “In Sicily, granita or sorbet is served on the side of the brioche during the summers; warm buttery milk breads are also used to make a gelato sandwich or are dipped in gelato. You’ll see people eating it with a cup of coffee, or having a traditional breakfast of brioche and gelato,” chef Gupta tells us.
Chef Rachelle Andrade
But how far removed from the original can one go? That’s the best part about food, chef Andrade remarks. She says, “There can be unlimited variations, there is no right and wrong with maritozzo.” Jain adds, “It’s fun, everyone is doing something different. And as people [get used to] maritozzo, we can add different ideas to it like topping it off with coarse nut powder and seasonal fruit. Right now, we offer it with any gelato of your choice; my favourite flavour to pair it with is tiramisu.” The eateries have also had no trouble introducing the dish to customers. Chef Andrade adds, “With people travelling or reading and seeing things online, more people are aware of maritozzo and are curious to know what it tastes like.” With a simple bread-sweet filling-bread concept, maritozzo variations with croissants and donuts filled with different creams and gelatos have already become a favourite across city menus. Perhaps the only time this writer has savoured the traditional Italian bread-cream combination is a homemade version crafted by her sister, who assures that the dish is delightful to eat and easy to prepare. A cue perhaps, for Mumbaikars to create their maritozzo versions at home.
Sweet, happy ending
From the short list of stories, our favourite is the one where a man gives his wife-to-be a maritozzo with jewellery hidden inside. Eventually, marito or maritozzo became a term of endearment for husbands.
. Maritozzo, sweet bun with gelato At Coppetto Artisan Gelato at Bandra, Chowpatty, and Juhu outlets. Cost Rs 250
. Maritozzo, brioche with cherry mascarpone creamAt TwentySeven Bakehouse, Pali Hill, Bandra West. Cost Rs 180
. Gelato sandwiches with brioche and croissants At The Gelato Bar, Pali Hill, Bandra West.Cost Rs 280
. Brioche ice-cream sandwichAt Toast Doughnut Shop, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel.Cost Rs 350 onwards
. Croissant gelato sandwichAt Affogato, 17th Road, Khar West.Cost Rs 290 onwards
The youngest member of the world-famous boy band BTS, Jeon Jung-kook will turn 26 on September 1. To mark the celebration, over 200 fans will gather at Mira Road’s Lata Mangeshkar Natyagruha Auditorium not only from Mumbai, but also from Bhopal, Bengaluru, Delhi and Pune. “It is going to be a treat!” exclaims Shital Sikarwar, founder of Tani Events and Entertainment, the media partner for the event.
The Korean fare will include gimbap and kimchi fried rice
“There will be several performances by popular Indian K-pop performers, K-pop-themed freebies, live DJ acts, games and merchandise, photo booth, stalls for Korean food, and of course, a birthday cake. This is an event where ARMY members and K-pop enthusiasts will come together to have fun, but for a cause,” she adds, explaining that all proceeds from the event will be donated to Ankur’s Children Home in Mira Road.
Jung-kook. Pic courtesy/Instagram
The event was planned by 30-year-old Riya Goon, a K-pop fan, and owner of BTS-themed restaurant Bang Tan Shefs. “The restaurant hosts [BTS and K-pop-themed] events like this across India. But we always try to weave in a good cause. I love K-pop, but at times, the fandom is so overpowering, that we end up forgetting our surroundings. This event, like many of our previous events, celebrates the music genre, but not without including the people and causes immediately around us,” Goon explains.
Indian K-pop performer Kris
The restaurant will cater for this event; the all-vegetarian menu will include their bestsellers such as veg pickled gimbap, exotic mixed vegetable kimchi fried rice and kimchi cucumber salad. Sikarwar adds that among the people that are expected to perform are Bhopal’s Ryuxin, Kris and Rishi from Delhi, Japan’s Koki, and Mumbai’s Axiom and Harshita Dave, among others.
On: September 1; 3 pm to 7.30 pmAt: Lata Mangeshkar Natyagruha Auditorium, 588, Mahajan Wadi, Mira Road EastLog on to: @bangtanshefsrestaurant (registration link in bio)Entry: Rs 899
It's a few hours before service, and the kitchen is abuzz. The world’s first Indian cuisine vegetarian restaurant to have been awarded a Michelin star, Dubai’s Avatara is doing a showcase at Pune’s Conrad Hotel, with a 15-course pop-up meal. The event was crafted by Conosh, a Bengaluru-based platform that curates unique dining experiences with international chefs. “The team from Conosh approached us to host this pop-up in Pune in April, even before we won the star. The Michelin win happened in May,” reveals Rahul Rana, Avatara’s executive chef. The restaurant is part of the Passion F&B group, the parent company to Trèsind (Mumbai and Dubai) and Trèsind Studio in Dubai, among other restaurants.
Avatara’s specials are a tribute to India’s diversity. The amuse-bouche is a combination of makhan malai (freshly churned butter) with popping mishri (rock sugar), saffron and panchamrita, inspired by the food that’s offered to the gods. There’s panasa, a jackfruit momo with sea buckthorn thukpa and black rice papad that celebrates Northeastern India; karuvelvilas is a delightful ghee roast karela with a mango sambar gelato and dosai crisp from South India; dalika, a horse gram curry with ragi bhatura and jakhiya aloo, is a hat tip to the chef’s home state — Uttarakhand. Gujarat finds representation in a unique version of jalebi-fafda, butternut dhokla and khandvi ice cream. There’s also a modern take on the humble khichdi.
Panasa or jackfruit
The dishes are meticulously crafted and almost too pretty to eat, while the flavours blend familiarity with surprise. “When you travel to showcase your food, you find new ingredients, get educated, and also educate patrons. We are opening an outpost in Mumbai this November,” the chef confirms. Intrigued, we chat with chef Rana to find out more. Excerpts from the interview. What can we expect at Avatara Mumbai?We are excited. At Trèsind in Mumbai too, we noticed that it’s a 60-40 split between the non-vegetarian and vegetarian patrons. There’s huge scope for an imaginative vegetarian fine-dining experience. Chef Sanket Joshi is most likely to head the Mumbai outpost, while I will be in the city to set up the restaurant initially. There will be a 16-course vegetarian tasting menu, cooked without onion and garlic. This will include a selection from our previous menu, and present menu with new dishes. There will be a live kitchen, like in Dubai, where people can interact with the chef during their visit.
Chef Rahul Rana
What inspired you to start an Indian vegetarian restaurant in Dubai?In the past, I’ve worked with various concepts across restaurants. However, I’ve always felt that vegetarian food doesn’t always get the appreciation it deserves. I hail from Rishikesh where I grew up in a predominantly vegetarian community, which exposed me to a varied cuisine where different possibilities can be explored. It was a conscious decision to steer clear of onion, garlic, paneer and mushroom. Instead, we chose turnips and bitter gourd as hero ingredients. The menu is inspired by fresh and seasonal ingredients. Tradition and innovation always go hand in hand. When people dine out, they expect a certain level of creativity. Here, we innovate while keeping traditional flavours and taste in mind. Take the example of the sea buckthorn thukpa and the jackfruit momo; if you visit the North East, it’s a common perception that people there are predominantly meat eaters. In their homes, however, vegetables are a staple, and jackfruit is one of them. Our take on the thukpa has sea buckthorn berries. I tasted it for the first time in Russia, and later discovered that it grows in Ladakh too.
Even vegetarians don’t usually order karela and lauki at a restaurant. Bitterness is the flavour profile of the karela so people tend to reduce it while cooking. I wanted to retain the flavour as part of the aftertaste. Lentils are sourced from my hometown. The jakhiya (wild mustard) is also not easily available, and found only in Uttarakhand. Most importantly, we should be aware that these ingredients form a part of Indian cuisine.
Karuvelvilas or bitter gourd served on the menu
You have an interesting take on the khichdi where the presentation includes a world map. Tell us about the process?Seven to eight months ago, I discovered that the first world map was created by an Indian during the time of the Mahabharata. I have always been interested in the history of Indian food, and so I began researching the food available at the time. When the Pandavas were exiled to the forest, they would visit the homes of the villagers and request food. In the bag, people would put all kinds of ingredients such as rice, vegetables and lentils.
When they returned home, they would empty the bag and cook all the ingredients together. That’s how khichdi originated. Khichdi in a bite is an ode to that. Naivedhya has a great significance in Indian culture; it stands for offerings to God. People tend to often confuse it with prasad. Whenever we consume food, we first offer it to God; this is naivedya. Once the food is blessed and we eat it, it is referred to as prasadam. In India, we also believe that before you start something good, you must sweeten the palate. This is a constant on our menu.
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