Saturday, December 4, 2010

Butterflies in the Stomach

So one of the first things you notice about butterfly is that it’s tiny, but if it can produce cupcakes like that, then who cares!!

Butterfly Café is tucked away in a little corner of Union Park. You can go down Ambedkar Road and take a left. The road bifurcates after a bit and you have to go to your right. Take a left after that and Butterfly Café will be at your right, be careful though, it’s easy to miss.

There’s no décor to speak of, but like I said the venue is completely subordinate to the food. Or in this case weirdly-shaped mountains of delight!

Hands down the best thing on the menu is the Butterfly Special. The cupcake is lovely and moist, the icing wonderfully silky and each bite into the cake is rewarded with a dollop of chocolate ganache. Priced at Rs 75, it may be a little expensive but it’s a small price to pay for what is truly an orgasmic experience!

A really awesome cupcake for the wannabe foodie is the Red Velvet Cupcake. Its salient features are that it’s red (duh!) BUT it’s also really yummy, because it’s got this lovely cream cheese icing. I know that it might not be everyone’s cup of cake err tea but it’s really pretty good. The slightly salty icing and the sweet cake compliment each other really well. As with all the other cupcakes the texture of the icing is wonderfully silky.

They do a decent peanut butter cupcake and a really good hazelnut swirl. But the Butterfly Special is the one that makes the taste buds sit up and take notice.


Today’s Tip:

After 2 alcohol suggestions I thought we should get back to the foods I’d like to share he recipe for this simple snack I often make for myself on a Sunday afternoon when the maid’s are on leave.

Ingredients

1 packet of Monaco Biscuits

1 box of Boursin cheese spread

5 slices of ham

Method

Spread the biscuits out on a plate

Cover them with the cheese spread

Cover the cheese spread with your slices of ham

Ready to eat!

It’s a lovely little recipe; the spread has a smooth, creamy texture and flavor which offsets the saltiness of the ham and the biscuits. You can pick up the spread at most supermarkets.

Mia Cucina - My House!

We all have our favorite restaurants where when we walk in, the waiter knows our first names, our family history and whether or not we have regular or mineral water.

One of my favorite restaurants is Mia Cucina (my home) in Bandra.

The reasons I go there are varied, for one thing, it’s a two minute drive from my house and for another, I LOVE the food there.

Finding it is really easy. If you’re coming from Turner road, you take a right at the Pot Pourrie signal and go straight until you see Gold’s Gym on your left. You take a left and go into the lane leading to Pali Hill and Mia Cucina will be on your right.

The valet service is prompt and more importantly they don’t loose your keys or wreck your car while they’re in the process of parking it!

The décor is really simple and understated, and no this is not a nice way of saying ‘it sucks’. The restaurant outside is dimly lit and the tables are perfect for a small intimate dinner. When you go inside, things get a little more crowded.

The waiters are quick to take your order and the first thing you get when you sit down is a small roll of the most delicious homemade bread accompanied with a small pat of herbed butter. The bread is soft, with a light crust on the outside and is like a little slice of heaven!

A big let down is that they don’t have a liquor license so they only serve wine and like almost everywhere else in Mumbai the Indian wine is mediocre (Sula and Château Indage again!!) The imported wine was so expensive that I didn’t even try it (Rs 450!!)

I should say that I’m not really a big fan of Italian cooking, I can’t stand Pasta or Lasagna or Spaghetti. When I go to an Italian restaurant I generally order a steak, or if they don’t have it, a chicken and mushroom risotto. I also have a rule about eating pizza, which simply put is don’t eat it unless it has the equivalent of two pigs or a cow as toppings.(Meat Feast from Smoking Joe’s)

Now the starters are good, but not spectacular. I highly recommend you skip the starters and go straight to the main course.

They have a pretty decent steak-that’s what I had the first three or four times I went there. However I once went there pretty late at night and they were out of beef. The owner suggested I try the quarto formaggi (four cheese) pizza. I was pretty apprehensive of trying a pizza with only cheese (what, no meat!) But I was really hungry and too tired to argue so I just went with what he said and boy was I glad to do it!

The pizza crust was insanely good, not too doughy and not too brittle. It’s kind of like the perfectly cooked naan, with loads and loads of cheese on it.

I should tell you I’m not even a fan of cheese, I like my cheese to be light not heavy, but this was seriously sensational! All four cheeses are mixed together on the pizza, its slightly bitter and very heavy (duh 4 cheeses?) It’s impossible to finish a whole pizza (even for me!) At Rs 450, for a 10 inch pizza, the price is pretty reasonable.

I recommend the mushroom risotto, to which you can add chicken for an extra cost. It’s a rich, creamy risotto, the chicken is well cooked and succulent and the mushrooms add a lovely chewy texture to the dish. The dish is priced at Rs 400 + Rs 60 for the chicken

And now we come to my favorite part of a meal. Dessert!

Don’t even think, go for the Decadence cake and you’ll never regret it! The chocolate in that cake is among the best I have ever had, the only word to describe it is ambrosia!

The cost for this decadence (pardon the pun) is Rs 150.

A meal for two as described above without any drinks costs about Rs 1200

What I liked:

Food
Service(reasonably prompt)
Waiters(actually knew what they were talking about when they were suggesting dishes)

What I did not like

Tables are too close together
No home delivery
Very crowded even on a Tuesday night (I suppose that’s a good thing)


Today’s tip is another cocktail; I invented this for a girlfriend of mine who didn’t like any of the regular cocktails you normally get in bars

The Chocolate Bomb

Ingredients

1. 1 bar of cooking chocolate (you can use Cadbury’s in a pinch but this is better)
2. 4 tablespoons of sweetened cream
3. 2 scoops of chocolate Ice Cream
4. 2 Tablespoons of Kahlua (use dark rum if you don’t have any but it’s not as good)
5. Half a bottle of Brandy (Honey bee will do)

Method

Melt the chocolate in a saucepan
Once it’s melted add the sweetened cream
Stir well
Add brandy
Add Khalua
Stir again
Pour into two big glasses
Add Ice Cream
Chocolate Bomb explodes!

Monday, November 29, 2010

All Star Fry

All Star Fry

It’s high time I wrote a restaurant review; after all it’s what I’m supposed to be doing in this blog!

So it’s fitting that my first review should be of a place where I have so many happy dining memories – All Stir Fry.

This lovely little restaurant is located on the ground floor of Gordon House hotel and is very easy to reach; you simply tell the cab driver to take you to Colaba Causeway (via Regal cinema) take a left at Café Mondegar and the first left after that and your there. Gordon House is on your right.

The doormen and security guards are attentive and polite; the restaurant itself is very well lit, without being too bright. The seating is pleasant as well with wooden benches and tables. The only improvement I would make in the décor would be to make all the benches have backrests; this would make the dining experience much more comfortable.

The cocktail menu looked good which is always important! The names were creative and the descriptions gave a good idea of what the drink would taste like (crucial!) Priced between Rs 300 – Rs 375 they were reasonable too.

A big letdown was that they only served Sula wine and no other brand of Indian wine, which is sad because with the great selection of meats there, a good York Shiraz would have gone very well.

And now we come to the important part. The Food!

All Stir Fry is famous for its delicious Wok which priced at Rs 420 (with taxes) is one of the best deals in the city. It combines a buffet experience with a live kitchen and you can choose from different types of noodles and a wide variety of meats (lamb, beef, chicken, pork, salami, chicken salami) seafood (squid, prawns, fishcakes) and a HUGE selection of vegetables. They have other condiments like eggs, tofu and paneer too.

Some of their vegetable offerings include Pak choy, spinach, button mushrooms, baby corn, corn, spring onions, French beans, Chinese cabbage, broccoli and more.

Once you fill your bowl you go to the live kitchen where you can choose from a variety of sauces (categorized by the level of spice) and condiments (garlic, chilli flakes, crushed peanuts etc)

Again I must pay tribute to the menu which specifies what sauce goes well with different types of meat/vegetables.

Now of course you can order whatever combination that you like but here are some of my favorites.

Non – Spicy: This one works well with chicken. The spring onions and cabbage add a nice crunch which offsets the sweet sauce nicely. Chicken, Chinese cabbage, spring onions, paneer, mushrooms and noodles with ginger oyster sauce and garlic flakes are a good combination.

Spicy: This one’s good for beef/lamb. The pak choy and spinach absorb some of the heat and the crushed peanuts add a nice texture. Beef, pak choy, baby corn, spinach, mushrooms, onions with Takkoe sauce and crushed peanuts is a good mix.

Very Spicy (also my favorite): Keep this one simple. Pak choy and mushrooms absorb the spices nicely. Beef, pak choy, onions, mushrooms with Devil sauce and crushed peanuts is like finding heaven!

For each of the woks, I recommend the noodles, not the ultra thin or the pasta.
This is one of my favorite restaurants as it works very well for lunch or dinner.

Today’s Tip: My take on vodka and tang. It’s another Matheran recipe.

This is really simple and I don’t know why more people don’t do this.

Ingredients:

1. A packet of orange tang
2. A big (preferably glass) jug
3. A bottle of any decent vodka. NOT Smirnoff (Absolut is good)
4. Lots of ice
5. Water or soda according to preference.
6. 4 lemons

Method:

1. Pour as much tang as you like into the Jug, I use 4 tablespoons
2. Pour in your vodka, half a bottle is good
3. Stir well
4. Add juice from 3 lemons
5. Stir again
6. Fill your jug with water or soda
7. Add the juice from the 4th lemon
8. Stir again
9. Add your Ice
10. Ready to serve

Vodka tang is really good on a hot summer day. I prefer it with soda but it’s as good with water and the lemon gives it a really good zing. Try it out and tell me what you think!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gourmet's Circle

The Gourmet’s Circle

Everyone likes eating good food. It’s an unavoidable fact of life like income tax or corruption!

Unfortunately, like most other unavoidable facts of life, eating really good food at good restaurants comes at a price!

In case I haven’t made it clear in my earlier post, I REALLY like good steak.

The cost of a top-class steak can range anywhere between Rs 600 to Rs 2,500 depending on whether you go to The Zodiac Grill or Blue Frog. Honorable mentions should go to Yellow Tree Café and Hard Rock Café which have decent steaks for around Rs 400.

Eating well however doesn’t have to be so expensive. All you need is a bit of innovation, a bit of creation, a love for cooking and a really good appetite! You also need really good friends, which brings us to the subject of “The Gourmet’s Circle.” Some of my closest friends who share a love for good food coupled with a horror for paying exorbitant rates in restaurant’s (unless accompanied by parents) meet up every month with the sole aim of drinking cheap wine, munching on homemade dip and wafers and cooking a decent meal of steak and mashed potato.

We take turns to act as host, (quite easy, host brings food everyone else brings dessert, wine, wafers etc.) and then we all cook. It’s awesome fun; three people, a whole lot of steak and tons of the most delicious garlicy, buttery, cheesy (and occasionally vodkaey) mashed potato, some garlic bread and a LOT of wine.

The steak can be bought from various places in the city; they all have really good beef.

1. Sante’s – Pali Naka, Bandra(really expensive but delicious)
2. Nature’s basket – Hill Road, Bandra (rib-eye costs Rs 600/KG and its awesome)
3. Farm Products – Colaba (reasonable and very good)

To complete our perfect evening the last time we met, we played loud music, drank a lot of wine (repeating myself am I) and ate a lovely cake prepared by one of our number (whose cakes look almost as good as she does, don’t know how she tastes but the cake was WOW!) I got the ice cream and all in all we had an AWESOME time.

The second meeting of The Gourmet’s Circle is this Friday, I will update the blog with the culinary delights we had soon after.

Tip of the Day

Today’s tip: The recipe for my Matheran Mashed potatoes.
We made this in my house in Matheran (a small hill station outside Bombay) using everything we could find, and it turned out to be really good. We had a version of it at our Gourmet’s Circle and it was much appreciated (well you can’t go wrong with so much butter and cream can you?)


Matheran Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

8 Potatoes

4 Cloves of Garlic

1/2 Kg of Butter

4 Slices of Cheese

5 tablespoons of Vodka

4 Cups of Milk

1 Cup of Cream


Method

• Peel, boil and mash the potatoes

• Crush garlic till it forms a paste

• Add milk

• Add Butter

• Add Garlic

• Add Cream

• Put the mixture on the boil and add the cheese when it’s hot, keep stirring until the cheese melts

• Add Vodka

• Add salt to taste

• Wait till the potatoes have cooked and serve hot.

Viola! Instant cholesterol!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food

Food!

No one can live without it, and almost everyone likes it.

I live in Bombay, which is a foodie’s paradise.

The food the city offers ranges from sev puri at a tiny thela or cart to a steak in wine sauce at one of the most prestigious restaurants in the city.

I will be doing two or more blogs a week as time permits. My blogs will contain a food/drink tip at the end. Do leave a comment and let me know if you liked it or if you have any suggestions.

Today's tip: The steak with spinach risotto at Moshe's

The steak is cooked to perfection, with the thin red line present in every good steak. It has the right amount of juice and isn’t tough (unlike most steaks in the city.) Creamy yet not too heavy, the spinach risotto is a perfect accompaniment to the steak. The crisps add just the right amount of crunch synonymous with every good steak dish.

Hope you enjoyed this entry, I promise the next one will be bigger.