Our review of Lemon Leaf's new outlet in Andheri West.
"Oogway: My friend, the panda will never fulfill his destiny, nor you yours until you let go of the illusion of control.
I believe Oogway made a reference to many pandas when he said that. The illusion of control is that i cannot ask the young Panda to serve a precise Cantonese meal or a Chinese meal-in-a-box when it (the Panda) has grown in the suburbs and wants to prepare a Funky Asian Gourmet ! Go Panda is neither Funky nor is it Gourmet; It is just Pan-Asian. The menu features a vast variety of Asian flavours right from Burmese Khau suey to Malay Korma to Thai Pot Rice. One can also find an outlandish amalgamation of Asian fillings inside Panini breads and Tacos.
Glamour Quotient :
Well, being situated in Lokhandwala and being subtle is a crime in itself. Therefore, Black, White and Red themed interiors and Yellow takeaway boxes with shiny laminated insides to complete the Lokhandwala fashion quotient.
Expat Flavours :
Overall, the use of ingredients and the generated flavours meet expectations of an informed audience, but may struggle to make it work in an area that is so contrived that it cannot grow beyond Frankies, Tandoori and Barista.
Some of the well worthy try outs would be the Prawns Nest, Barbeque Fish, Tom Kha Soup, Thai Jungle Curry and the Malaysian Lamb Korma (avoid the roti). The deep fried noodle wrapped Asian Prawns Nest works well as a quick bite with its sweet chili drizzle and so do the fragile pieces of Asian Barbeque Fish. Tom Kha Soup is rendered well in taste and texture, but may get rejection if auditioning for the first time to a desi palate. I sincerely loved its mix of flavours coming from the coconut base and kaffir lime leaves. The Jungle Curry traditionally known as 'Kaeng pa' in Thailand is known to not feature any element of coconut, but the version here is rendered with enough of it which works well to our taste-buds. The slow cooked Malay Lamb Kurma tastes alluring and can easily be consumed without it's dull looking roti.
The Vietnamese Smoke Chicken sandwich (mind you, it's not a Banh Mi) is only recommended to one with a craving for Wasabi; Overwhelming would be an understatement here. The Fish in Mustard Sauce is equally overwhelmed by it's mustard base so much so that none of the other ingredients could sensitize the palate. Our Chicken Satay came with barely any seasoning, a very inorganic flavour and overcooked meat. The Peanut Sauce supplied along can be best left unsoiled.
Wholesome portions, mostly well altered Asian flavours and a glamourous brand; 'Go Panda' has it all in order to break into the Lokhandwala food culture. It's a valiant effort by a bunch of young entrepreneurs that reflects their thought of bringing cuisines from various parts of this subcontinent under one roof. Moreover it's the only option in that part of the suburb which serves all these delicacies and for a reasonable amount.
My verdict - Go for their Signature Meals, Pot Meals and Appetizers.
Location : Shop 7, Grenville Building, Near Mala Tower, Andheri Lokhandwala
Me : Hello !
Other end : Hello !
Me : I’m standing close to Joey's Pizza. Could you help me locate your restaurant please ?
Other end : Sure, Continue down the same road once you pass Joey's and take left. First building on the right hand side, That's the one. We're located at the back side of that building.
Few minutes of walking aided by trusty Google Maps, we arrive at the back side of this building to locate 'Frisbees, Pie in the sky'.
Me : Is this Frisbees Burger joint ?
Guy in the head chef kinda attire : Yes, this is Frisbees. So, Did you have difficulties locating us ?
Me : A little. Then you guided us right.
Guy in the head chef kinda attire : Actually we're running an offer this week; if you manage to reach here without asking us for directions, then you get a 20% discount on your burger !
Me : *Rolling eyes* Like really ! Why did you answer that call? Should have just let it ring !
Continued by little laughter and chit-chat leading to the order.
The picture above doesn't particularly feature an idealistic burger, but yes that's what i could manage inside a running kitchen in between flying tickets and no place to sit.
A brief look at the menu and my eyes told me where to look at - Frisbees original beef burger ! Sadly, the Maharashtra Government has declared the lovely protein to be debarred from any kind of a sale. So moving on, between the two of us we ordered a Original Lamb Burger & a Chicken Burger each. The place is full of offers and discount throughout the week. We got Milkshakes at a discounted rate along with our burgers.
The Good Stuff :
The buns are made fresh & in-house. Not your average sized buns but a much larger one that will surely not win a beauty pageant but nevertheless and more importantly tastes fresh. Patties are freshly grounded and made to fit the large bun well. Overall, the substantially sized burgers are devoid of any gourmet detailing and difficult to pronounce ingredient names. Buttered halves are followed by sliced tomatoes and iceberg lettuce topped by their patty and drizzled with house dressings.
The understated glass of milkshake turned out to be a rather wild card winner. The Gulkand, Brownie and the Marshmallow flavours all taste rich and thick. Really appreciate that some extra thoughts have been put to stay away from the run of the mill banana, chocolate & strawberry flavours.
The Debatable Stuff :
Size - At burgers averaging 250-270 bucks from a take away place seems a bit unfair. Even if they are using some blend of slightly expensive herbs still the price seems a tad bit over the margin considering the following factors - No sitting and just an acceptable neighbourhood. An average of 200-220 bucks would make for a stellar deal.
Fries though fresh and crisp are heavily spiked with hot spice. Not sure how that would turn out after reaching the customer in a 20-30 minutes delivery period.
Well, A lot of perks ! Daily discounts and combo offers are just ways to pamper you. You can add extra patty and super-size your burger too. We've seen one getting parcelled and it had to be precisely laminated and stuffed in that card paper box.
Almost a year old brand, and it's barely mined by the locals. Do try them out if you're located in their delivery circle (Lokhandwala, 4 Bungalows, 7 Bungalows, Veera Desai Road etc).
They may not be an epitome in the burger scenario of suburbs, but there is a genuine attempt to satiate those burger cravings of people in it's vicinity. If Joey's Pizza is considered an Andheri legend then Frisbees surely can be it's prodigy in the making.
Location : Shop 37, Andheri Shiv Shakti CHS, Municipal School Road, Indira Nagar, Andheri West
Le-Berian is tucked in one of those unexplored bylanes of Andheri West while being just a stone throw away from the Lokhandwala roundabout. Serving a highly Bohri influenced mughlai cuisine and self proclaimed masters of soulful biryanis, Le-Berian has made a stronghold and niche for itself in under a year. Mind you, it's a more take away oriented eatery with only a handful of tables on the open terrace. The bill of fare is compact with each category averaging a maximum of 5-6 dishes.
We had a tall lunch order for takeaway this afternoon. It's lack of seating space means resorting to their reliable Chicken Bhuna Roll while they processed my ticket. Good amount of flavorful chicken wrapped in whole wheat reshmi paratha is a must have if you don't have the time to stop for a full blown meal. Meanwhile the takeaway list was made up of Bhuna Chicken (yet again !) curry, Chicken Lasooni Palak, Bohri Lamb Biryani, Butter Chicken Biryani, Afghani Tikka Biryani and a stack of Reshmi Parathas.
Keeping it short, I'll go through each of those dishes.
- Bhuna Chicken Curry - This brown gravy is dimly spiced, thick and slightly on the tangy side. The chicken fits well in the dish even though it's not fully cooked in the curry itself. Best enjoyed by breaking the paratha, dipping in the curry and shredding the chicken with two fingers.
- Chicken Lasooni Palak - This was the star of the meal here. The chicken only played cameo to the green creamy spinach gravy with crushed garlic that hits you at every bite. What makes it likable is that the chicken chunks are sized to much smaller cubes such that they don't kill or overpower the dish. Much recommended
- Bohri Styled Lamb Biryani - Although a Bohri Biryani is something that does not belong to my palette, this one was a great effort. One deep aroma and it sent me back to the local masala shop at Bandra Bazaar that bottles these aromatic spice mixes. The lamb was soft pink and perfectly cooked - it splits into two with it's fibers just by a gentle pressure of the thumb and fingers. Overall a very light dish that does not make use of alubhukaray & tomato unlike the mainstream Biryani.
- Butter Chicken Biryani - I always failed to understand it's purpose. A more sweet oriented Biryani that is better enjoyed when kept apart - Butter Chicken & Biryani.
- Afghani Tikka Biryani - Yet another biryani from the today's meal. This has a very distinct peppery flavour that works more on the lines of typical Afghani Tikka Masala with a white creamy cashew base. The rice and tikka masala do come together but not much like they were cooked together to give a gradual color & taste shift from bottom to top.
In all, Le-Berian has managed to retain it's customers after their first interaction for sure. The proof is that the phone doesn't stop ringing at their counter and the kitchen seems busy like it's Bakri Eid.
Location : 311, Snehanjali CHS, Near Samartha Aishwarya, Adarsh Nagar, Andheri West