Craft Beers apart, this place has some phenomenal cooking going on.
Firstly a mention and thank you to @zomato for their blessings in the form of vouchers for the Sunday Brunch gig by Citibank. After taking a brief look at the options available, A not so typical Sunday Brunch location was selected - Blue Frog.
Your mind has these pre conceived notion of a party hub right ? Dim lights, Neon lines and in general chaos. Then you begin to visualize the same space in bright daylight ready for a meal and importance being shifted from music and drinks to food and service. It's quite a transformation to be true. One look at the Sunday Brunch setting at Blue Frog and you're convinced that its gonna be a great afternoon. Live band strumming tunes on guitar and those circular cocoon's filled with groups of people enjoying the food is a quite a comforting sight.
Assorted Tapas :
Started off with the Tapas bar that features quite some refreshing salad in Chicken, Lamb, Seafood & Pork variations. The hearty lamb shred salad was my pick of the lot since it gave an unrestricted flavour of the meat to the palate followed by some greens and carrots. The Bread & Cheese basket is mildly addictive with its range of breads, buns, crackers, cheese, red grapes and dried apricots. One last mention from the assorted tapas goes to the delectable and pulpy Pumpkin & Dill Shots.
On Order :
Pancakes, Waffles & Poached Eggs dishes all are well executed with adequate portion size and complimenting compote, cream and sauces. The mains were not too over the top, vastly came with a generic base of zucchini, carrot, broccoli, mash of potatoes and topped with the hero component. The grilled Tiger Prawns were contained with minimal seasoning and tasted moderate. The Chicken fillet too was a descent affair. The one that stood out was the Pan Seared Fish with Orange Butter. The Basa fillet was cooked to perfect moistness and drizzled with a zesty orange butter juice. Mushroom Risotto was ordered to satiate our desi stomach that craved for rice of some form. Again, Just like the other mains this one too was a descent fare. On an average the dishes on order proved to be neutral on satisfaction level. It is a good thing when you actually think about the variety you consume than re-ordering the favourite one yet again.
Desserts were the usual suspects of brownie, custard & cakes heavily laced with whipped cream. The sweet selections could have been lesser in numbers yet inviting had they provided Creme Brulee or Molten Lava Cake on order.
In all, it was a fun-day lunching at a gig specialist enclosure with live music and diverse spread of consistent quality. At 2500/- per head (with unlimited drinks) this may be a stellar deal for the guzzlers while others may feel a pinch at 2000/- just for the modest food.
You can book and enjoy your Sunday Brunch by visiting the website - www.sundaybrunch.co.in
Summer has just begun to peak in here in Mumbai, stifling heat and people are looking up to restaurants for respite in the form of light salads & berry coolers. Chili's at Powai is doing exactly the opposite, bringing more meat to the menu ! How thoughtful of them to reassure us with Buffalo meat while Beef has been done away with.
Unfold the discrete menu and the foremost sight is plethora of world beers. That's a welcome addition. The beer based concoctions like Watermelon & Beer, Raspberry & beer & Frozen Beer Rita although sound innovative, should be best kept at arm's length. The watermelon one is marginally acceptable but the raspberry is a strict no no and so is the Beer Rita.
The better part of the menu begins from this point onwards. The Chicken Mince Burger is sure to wow anyone and everyone with its thick juicy patty. The crunch element which was until now restricted to crispy iceberg lettuce is a notch higher due to the addition of thin crisps. The new assorted set of sliders are equally remarkable. We sampled two of their variations - Buffalo Meat and Chicken. The subtly flavoured red meat patty was almost medium rare cooked while the Chicken sliders were yet again tucked with a couple of crisps to provide a different texture.
A few light eats now make an appearance in Chili's menu via the grilling process. Aimed at providing one person gourmet meal, this section is bound to work with health conscious folks. We sampled a gorgeous fillet of Mango-Chile Basa which was glazed with a spicy habanero mango sauce and garnished with chopped avocado and mango. The flaky fish fillet was cooked to perfection while its taste oddly complimented the glaze on top. The side serving of Chipotle Rice though flavourful does not work well along with the mango and the fish. The dish is also available in a Chicken variation. Grilled Chicken Salad & Margarita Grilled Chicken are the other dishes from this section.
The desserts gets a minimal revamp with addition of moist Carrot Cake while the Molten Chocolate Cake makes way for a Cinnamon Molten version. We called for the latter and were taken aback by its aroma as it sat on the table. The caramel drizzle, upside down cake and scoop of vanilla are all plated up meticulously for a vote gathering Instagram post. Cut the cake and out oozes the cream. The flavours are just stupendous leaving no human senses untouched.
The changes to the menu are most welcome. Not only is the menu redesigned with an ease to identify various sections, it is also better organized with fewer images. We really hope that some of these dishes are carried forward to the main permanent menu.
*This visit to Chili's was by invitation.
This latest Mediterranean entrant parks itself into the heart of an evergrowing hub of culinary choices - Bandra. At a location that already makes people overindulge into radical salads from Bombay Salad Co. and the legendary Biryani in earthen pots from Khan-e-khaas, Cairo Grill must bring their culinary aces to the table in order to make a mark.
Drawing direct inspiration from the popular New York food truck 'Halal Guys', Cairo Grill brings gyro cart food in the form the meat & rice, pita & hummus, shawarma, and a little more. The food is aimed is to be quick takeaway affair just as their tag line goes - Fast, Tasty & Mediterranean. Having sampled almost all of their menu in the past two weeks, the signature dish - New York style Chicken & Rice takes the 'Popular Dish' vote while the lettuce, croutons, chicken induced 'Shawarma Salad' takes my vote for being the heartiest. The contents of the tangy rich white sauce is something of a myth just as it is back in New York. It was mentioned to us that it contains only a little mayonnaise for the sake of consistency while most of it as we inferred should be sour cream coupled with Tahini dressing.
Cairo's shawarma appears well textured on the outside with crisscross grill marks on the pita. The succulent chicken meat ticks all the right boxes, though it's the filling that seems sparse and one gets an immense portion of the pita in each bite and quite less of the inner goodies. The Falafel mixture itself needs a lot of work as the end deep fried product tastes more of a desi imitation with irregular chunks of peas in each bite. On the other hand, their Hummus is impeccable with the right consistency of all ingredients. We ordered the Chicken & Hummus plate and it was finger-licked in no time. The deep fried garlic topping is a nice touch and adds a crunchy dimension to the paste like texture.
Oreo Nachos, the only sweetened attribute is a not so convincing affair of deep fried pita chips sprinkled with a mix of crushed Oreo, Cinnamon and Sugar.
To sum it all, Cairo Grill though fairly new to the scene does pack enough Mediterranean punches in the right places with its hearty portions of salads, flavorful gyro meat and more importantly tempts you every time with the red & white sauce laced Chicken & Rice. The 'Halal Guys' would definitely have to worry about yet another imitation brand if they ever decided to come down to Mumbai.
Location : Zapata's, Shop 13-14, Pleasant Park, Link Road, Opposite Movie Time Theatre, Malad West
Firstly to get the mood going let's listen to some pop from 80s. Yazoo did this amazing track which i only heard now in 2015 while watching a sitcom #TheAmericans. If you haven't seen it then do check out this thrilling CIA vs KGB drama that has unfolded cautiously over three seasons.
So moving on from Russians to Mexicans. On researching a bit over the internet it was found that Zapata meant an occupational name for a cobbler or shoemaker and also that 'Emiliano Zapata' was prominent figure from the Mexican Revolution. This Malad based eatery paints a different picture altogether. When conversing with one of the expat partner during our chef's table, he felt that Mexican food was not that greatly accepted here in Mumbai and with Zapata they wanted people to get comfortable with their asado style of cooking, tostados, ceviche and more that they have to offer.
Zapata's opens into a mix of high stools and cozy chairs enveloped in a wooden overtone. There's an yet to be complete artwork on one of its wall representing Mexico’s mafia in the form a dog smoking a cigar wearing a sombrero (very 'Snoop Dogg' i would say). My preferred ambiance will definitely be the open patch. The inside is such a stark contrast that it makes you feel you made your way from Mexico to Cuba.
Staff is well dressed with a smile. Makes you feel at ease throughout the meal.
Let me quickly run through the dishes that we tasted at the chef's table :
- Drinks menu is up-to the mark like any other eatery with signature cocktails and other concoctions. Our White Sangria with pears was perfectly suited for the afternoon.
- Nachos de zapata's - This large plate of concentric nacho rings came on a bed of minced chicken and refried beans with topping of fresh 'pico de gallo' salsa, guacamole, olives, jalapenos and sour cream. A supremely filling dish and perfect for a large group, though they do have smaller portions for a couple.
- Tostadas - Presentation and stacking is precise. The use of microgreens is definitely appreciated. Tortilla crust was perfect, but the dish was vastly let down by the bland chicken meat. The dips will surely be of all help here. A roasted vegetables variation is available too. Portion size seems small for an appetizer worth upwards of 300 bucks.
- Taquitos - These mini tortilla snackers with a softer crust are available in Asado Lamb and Beer-battered (Basa) fish variations. Take it with a squeeze of lemon and both of them will surely tantalize your tastebuds.
- Burritos - We tried the Chipotle Fish variation which is plenty in portion but each bite rendered a lot of tortilla roll than the inner stuffing.
Having gobbled a lot of tortilla and nachos, we gave the next section 'main course' a miss. If Fajitas, Enchiladas or mixed platter is your game then you can surely go for it. With least regret in the stomach, we knew a better pasture was waiting for us. A dessert platter made its way on the table.
- Desserts - Tres Leches & Churros are impeccable in taste and texture. The Flan was bit stiff and reminded me more of the pudding that mum makes at home. Having no previous taste memory of an 'Empanada', this one seemed more like a diwali karanji filled with caramelized nuts. The first try felt descent while the next one when accompanied with a little dollop of ice-cream and chocolate sauce made a small impact to the palate.
Zapata's will fare well from a corporate dining standpoint or weekend social gathering. The food though mostly flavourful and visually inviting still draws only a caricature of the Mexican culture. Nachos, Quesdillas, Fajitas and more has been done repeatedly by Chilis, Sammy Sosa, Sanchos and a few more. Mexican cuisine is not restricted to nachos, but consists of a lot of more like Mole Poblano, Tamale and Torta which can bring a lot of variety to the table than repetitive tortilla based dishes.
Folks staying in the final third of Mumbai - If sipping on strong concoctions and binging on typical Mexican food is what you're looking for then surely this is your place. Baba's & Baby's of South Bombay and Hipsters of Bandraites are certainly not missing anything by giving this place a miss.
Two-One-Two's all day cafe & bar recently opened its door to the lesser fortunate side of the eastern suburbs at Phoenix Marketcity, Kurla. Located at the upper floor, 212 occupies the spot next to the Irish Pub and also extends at the backside into a descent al-fresco area too. The thought of having a Sunday brunch in al-fresco was near perfect, but was dropped as soon as we saw the construction work within a few metres and also the afternoon heat was making things all the more uninviting.
So, We settled on one of the corner high seating table with an 180 degree view of the restaurant. The Lime Green dress code of the staff and the classy wooden interior builds quite a contrasting imagery on first reception. On a good note, the well staffed service is easy to spot without having to stress your eyes.
Menu is well segregated and compact without much of a fuss. The same cannot be said about the Drinks menu, which is a lot more columned. Our brunch started off with a portion of beer battered onions rings along with one deadly indulgence, one of the martini and a glass of 'Rising Sun' to sober us up. Portion was large, rings were fresh and filled with absolute crunch from the thick beer batter coating. To cover the void, we had also ordered a flat bread pizza 'Bolognaise' which sits as a chef's recommendation on their zomato page, but was a bit of a dud on portion size. The crude rectangular shaped pizza seems to be fad these days and the same is followed here. It is high on taste, texture and ingredients though better justice on the portion size is needed considering the price of the dish (495/-).
Next up on our order was the Sunday special - Beef steak, but soon conveyed to us was out of stock. Weird that in first hour of service and not many tables filled, one runs out of the day's speciality dish hero ingredient ! Quite unacceptable in my notebook. Replacing the mains was a Three Egg White Omelette and a portion of Chicken Skewers. The fluffy omelette was served hot in a skillet with potato wedges, grilled tomato and a spoonful drip of Mushroom cream sauce. Neatly executed and it is high on combination of textures from the foamy egg whites with wedges and the cream sauce. Chicken Skewers is an absolute must-order dish. The bird meat is ever so succulent and the tomato chutney plays the perfect accompaniment for it along with a handful of mix greens.
Lastly, Dessert was part disappointment and part orgasmic. My Crème brûlée ramekin was double the size of any other restaurant, but the custard inside was firm - Almost mousse like in texture than the runny one it should have been. Cheval's Crème brûlée in the past many months has been an epitome and I’m still to find someone to take that crown from them. The Lava Cake and it's oozing centre was copybook stuff. Piercing through the sponge and reaching for that molten chocolate is so sensual that there isn't any replacement for it.
212 defnitely has an audience in this mall and the potential to thrive provided their teething issues (mentioned above) are resolved sooner. One important fact to be noted here is the level of salt in each serving, which was always on the lower side and that surely gets them the brownie points. The fare for three people inclusive of taxes ran to slightly above 3k. That's on par with SMD or Tertulia or any other European cafe across the city.
So, Until the next one - Salud !