Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dining Companions - Bhavs

A very wise lady once told me that

“The best way to cook is to use the best, freshest ingredients and understand the way they behave, the way they taste, use all five senses at all times and make sure you add plenty of love” And then she told me this how every mother cooks.

Meet Bhavini Merchant, the youngest old lady in the world, also the reason I started eating vegetarian food (however rarely) and am now in love with cherry tomatoes, green peppers, asparagus and buffalo mozzarella. I love them for the colour, the texture and the taste that they bring to my boring (joke) non vegetarian meals

She’s not a dining companion in the sense that we don’t go out much. But I still have the fondest memory of the awesome snacks her mother used to make for all of us when we had our “meetings” These often lasted till 3 AM and one of the reasons we kept coming back (apart from the gossip) was the food! Just remembering that fantastic cheese toast (more like pizza on bread) makes me drool.

Whenever I make fun of her for being vegetarian and missing out on the finer things in life (like steak) she always reminds me that I have NEVER eaten anything bad in her house.

She’s also a fantastic hostess, always circulating, always taking care of her guests and best of all always smiling ,she also happens to give the best advice in the world, even if the advice is sometimes less palatable than the food, which is how we know it’s good advice

She’s your one stop solution for good food, good advice and (best of all) good advice about food.

Thank you for the memories, the advice and the food

Cheese Toast


Boiled Potatoes


Make a dough with the above ingredients
Apply it to lightly toasted bread
Serve hot

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dining Companions - Bro

Dining Companions – Siddharth Bafna

Sid Bafna has been one of my best friends throughout my college years, and he is one of the few vegetarians I have fun eating with.

I still have the fondest memories of the super chana at his house, he has taken me to places I never thought I would ever get good food at, but I’ve always eaten well.

Through our college years we went through all the seedy places Churchgate had to offer. We gorged at places like Satkar, Mocha (when I had enough money) the canteen at the international students hostel, the university canteen and we were once nearly thrown out of New Yorkers (long story)

We were also nearly thrown out of Mama Mia once but that was my fault (longer story and involves French fries)

Siddharth also introduced me to Five Spice, a super Chinese restaurant in Fort where we ate almost every week.

Sid and Mohena gave my granddad a super birthday present when we all went out for lunch to Out of the blue for his birthday, he had so much fun he still talks about it.

We’ve also had many happy times at restaurants all over Mumbai and we’ve had great fun!

Some of Siddhath’s suggestions for places which serve good vegetarian food are

Voleare Colaba – super Greek Food and Pizza’s

Swati Snacks – almost everything on their menu is awesome

China Garden (Kemps Corner) great Chinese food

Joss – the best khausway in Bombay

Babulnath Dosa wala- Dosa’s (duh) and pani puri

Society (Ambassador Hotel) – The best fondue in the city

We’ve had brilliant parties at my house which were organized in 5 minutes with Sid ordering the food and picking up the booze on his way from town.

Here’s looking forward to many more!

Dining Companions - Dad

Dining Companions - Dad

One of the best people to eat a meal with is my Dad. Not only is he very knowledgeable about food in general, but his company always makes even the most boring dish taste better (this was put to the test for YEARS)
His stories of the weird food he’s eaten and the weird places he’s eaten them in always make me laugh.

Even accounting for the fact that I read at the table when we’re eating together, he still finds a way to make sure I take part in the conversations happening.
We have a cook in my house, whose an absolute treasure (also the reason we’re all so fat) we download recipe’s and dad explains them to her in simple hindi and viola! We get fatter! Our bacon roast beef and Honey Chicken are prime examples of this.

One of my favorite things about my dad is the gusto with which he lives his life. Obviously, this extends to eating as well!

It is completely because of his perseverance that I now eat fish! Also his patience at removing bone after bone for me!

One of my happiest childhood memories are of when we didn’t have a regular cook and Dad used to make breakfast for us on a Sunday morning, if your idea of breakfast is a feast of such proportion that you can’t eat lunch (or sometimes even dinner) then you would love the breakfast he makes.

When Sante’s opened in Pali Hill a few years ago there was no stopping my dad, he goes there every Saturday evening and practically buy’s up the place.

Our Sunday breakfast looks something like this

2 fried eggs per person/Scrambled eggs

Streaky or Back bacon

Spanish cured ham with olives

Belgian smoked ham

Bacon Sausages/Frankfurters

Cheese and garlic spread

Boursin cheese

And sometimes when Dad is feeling particularly happy, he makes akuri (see recipe below)

Akuri (feeds up to 5 people)


8 eggs
Half a cup of milk

Salt to taste

Milk and or cream

Half an onion finely chopped

2 gloves garlic finely chopped

Half teaspoon haldi powder

Half teaspoon garam masala

1 green chilly finely chopped

1 & half tablespoon oil, preferably from the just fried bacon.


Break the eggs in a large bowl and beat them well till they are frothy

Add the milk and salt and beat the mixture well. Keep aside.

Heat the oil in an aluminium kadai

Fry the onions till slightly brown on a slow flame

Add the garlic and fry till onions are golden brown

Add the haldi powder, half the green chillies and garam masala and fry well

Make sure the flame is low and then slowly pour the egg mixture into the kadai.

Use a spatula and constantly stir the mixture, scrapping the bottom and sides of the kadai.

As the mixture starts thickening, lift the kadai off the flame for a few seconds, constantly stir the mixture and set back on the flame.

Again, just before the eggs are cooked, lift the kadai off the flame and allow the mixture to thicken by constant stirring, don't over cook the eggs. The eggs should be moist and only slightly firm. When served in a plate, there should not be any watery liquid seeping out to the sides.

Add the remaining chillies and some chopped coriander on top and serve hot with well-buttered toast.

Dining Companions - Delzad

Dining Companions – Delzad Avari

When you’re eating, 3 things are important for you to really enjoy yourself

1. Good Food
2. Good Alcohol
3. Good Company

Company is as important as the food, because you always enjoy food when you’re with someone fun

With that in mind, I’ve decided to come up with a profile of some of my favorite dining companions, and I’m starting with the best of them all.

Delzad Avari is currently training to be a cordon bleu chef in London, he used to work at the Taj and before that at Tetsuma which makes him the best dining companion a foodie could ask for.

Not only does he talk almost exclusively about food (the other things we talk about are booze and girls) but he knows the best places to eat AND if you tell him what you like to eat, he will suggest the perfect dish to suit your tastes.

Apart from being a good cook, he also happens to be excellent company, his stories of what really goes on in a 5 star kitchen may not always be true but they are always funny. He’s also really bitchy about people I don’t like, so our meals together are never boring.

Apart from disliking the same people we share a passion for steak, wine, old monk and making fun of stupid people.

We have a ritual, every month or so we go to China Gate Global Fusion and have the buffet there (which is totally awesome but that’s a story for another blog)

We start at 12:30 PM as soon as their doors open, we head to the starters and go crazy (again, will be described in detail when I do the review)

At about 1:30 PM after drinking copious amounts of green tea to help digest the starters we go in for the second round.

This time we attack all the starters we haven’t previously tried and Delzad makes me eat Sushi (I HATE fish) and introduces me to some obscure seafood I’m (hopefully) not allergic too. It’s at his prompting that I’ve eaten and fallen in love with Sushi and Whitebait Roe.

This course takes a little longer; by about 3 we’re ready for the next course, the main course.

Now the main course at global fusion’s nothing great so we just grab noodles and crab (Delzad not me, I’m allergic) and binge on the starters or dim sum again.

Like I said this doesn’t take too much time so we’re done by 3:30 PM and that’s when we attack their dessert, paying no attention to the scandalized servers who keep telling us that they close at 4.

We then leave at 4:30 PM with full stomachs and happy memories.

There are very few people I can spend 4 hours with without getting bored.

So thank you Delu! Come back soon, Global Fusion misses us!