Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The diner looks like an informal club. Of hats and scarves and chitter and chatter. Bacon eggs and pancake batter.One of them had a rather stern lady chef feverishly tossing out quiche and omelette, to pen down her impatience with our giggly indecision.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
It didn't take us long to debate over the main course - the menu is short and we were squished between enough patrons to peek at what they were eating and decide what looked good. One of our companions, Kishore, immediately said that he was having the "usal" which is any preparation made out of sprouts. He was referring to the "dalimbichi usal" which was a gravy, again coconut milk based, made out of sprouted field beans. They are also called "vaal". They have a slightly bitter taste, which is what makes them stand apart rather than jar on the senses. The gravy was creamy and the beans were just cooked right, just like home. I half expected them to be soggy from having been made many many hours ago. Though the beans were bitter, the gravy was sweet and eating it was pure fantasy for those with the acquired taste. We also ordered a batata bhaji which is a potato preparation without a gravy - tempering chopped potatoes with mustard, cumin, green chillies, curry leaves and garnishing it with freshly grated coconut and corriander, with a lemon wedge to suit your tastebuds. Enjoyable, but standard.
To wash it down, we didn't have the option of cold drinks, but Kishore insisted that I try the Piyush, which he told me was a kind of Maharashtrian Lassi. Piyush is yoghurt based, like a lot of Indian drinks. The yellow tinge comes from the use of saffron, and the drink was cold and its sweetness and the flavours of jaiphal (nutmeg) and elaichi (cardamom) were a brilliant end to this meal. For dessert I had actually opted for Dudhi Halva which was slightly disappointing.
In conclusion - if you are in Mumbai and if you want to do the whole foodie binge, write Prakash in bold and make sure you get to Gokhale Road and have a meal there.
Don't let ideology stand in the way of fine cuisine!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
The Noor Mohammadi Hotel has been known for decades for its quality of food, though many a prospective patron would find the ambiance slightly lacking, especially when compared to its extravagant neighbour, Shalimar. Nevertheless, the Noor Mohammadi Hotel has its loyalists who make sure the highly divine Nalli Nihari (a rich gravy dish featuring tender mutton and loads of bone marrow) disappears by 9am every day. Celebrities including most of the Khan boys order from here with a vengeance and Sanjay Dutt struck up such a rapport with the owners that one of their signature dishes, Chicken Sanju Baba, is a result of some recipe sharing from the superstar's home cauldron.
(Courtesy the Noor Mohammadi Website)
What does this have to do with a mall food court? Well, if you want the good stuff but don't want to deal with the Bhendi Bazaar/LJ Road traffic, have no fear. Hakim's is "Haute Moghlai Cuisine" (oh yeah, baby) from the house of Noor Mohammedi, as I found out when I confronted the cashier.
"We get the food from there only, madam. We don't cook anything here except the kababs."
He obviously knew what I needed to hear.
So I packed up a Chicken Sanju Baba and a Roomali Roti for dinner. Bombay Foodies are obliged to have Chicken Sanju Baba on their "to do" list, and I needed to score a tick off.
Chicken Sanju Baba has earned its share of hype and prominence, particularly when the owners of Noor Mohammedi cooked and distributed vats of the dish to the poor every day during the pendency of Sanju Baba's bail application before the Supreme Court. However, it doesn't make for a mindblowing food experience, something which even the owners silently acknowledge by not mentioning the dish on their website. I excitedly unpacked the plastic container to find a gravy of a slightly waxy consistency. Puzzled, I popped it in the microwave, and one minute later I discovered why - there was a layer of pure desi ghee, now liquefied, on top of the gravy. Tough pieces of chicken swim in a thin gravy populated by sliced onion and a large number of red chillies, which is highly misleading, as the product is pretty bland. It does have an interesting tartness, but in the end it's a rather amateur piece of cookery which does no justice to the legend that is Hotel Noor Mohammadi.
One day, however, I am going to wake up early and take the Harbour Line to Dockyard Road and trudge over to Noor Mohammadi, and get me the grub that has tantalized patrons for 110 years. The description is on their website which I have no reason to disbelieve (except for the part about the Pepsi):
You can eat anywhere but for authentic "nalli-nahari"you have to visit Noor Mohammedi.It is very tender and just melts in your mouth.You'll have to go early, the nalli nihari finishes by 9 a.m., even earlier. Cooked on slow coal fire for 12 hours, till it becomes so tender that a toothless customer can eat it. That is the boast of Mr. Khalid Hakim, proprietor of the restaurant, and it is not an empty boast. It is just meat, boneless, one nice chunk of it. And it comes with a spicy gravy, quite sharp with garam masala and pepper. In the gravy, somewhat thick, you will spot bits of nalli, eat it fast, before it melts. Order a fresh roti, a tandoori, or a softer chapatti, 100 gms., weigh it in your hand, feel the weight. Dip the roti in the gravy, break the meat with a spoon, and eat. Yes, it is spicy, for your Bombay palate, that is. But if you are from Northern part of India, you will eat it with a sort of a pickle. A combination of thin strips of ginger and chopped green chillis. They call it nihari ka masala, and it is put on the table in front of you. Help yourself to it. One warning, if you find it too spicy, don't drink the water. Order a Pepsi instead. Who drinks Pepsi at breakfast? Those who eat nalli nihari and kheema roti at breakfast.Most of the food is available throughout the day, but for nalli nihari and paya it is early morning and late evening.
Ambiance may be one thing, but wolfing down a dish which celebrates the delicious bone marrow of mutton, is quite another. My sister and I still fight over who gets the 'soo soo bone', as it is refered to in my family, coined on account of the sound one is forced to make while extracting the tantalizing mass from the back of a highly unco-operative marrow bone.
While Noor Mohammadi is at Mahim and Bhendi Bazaar, Hakim's Haute Moghlai Cuisine can be found at the City Centre Mall, Bombay Central, and the Inorbit Mall, Malad.
Monday, July 21, 2008
The other dead animal menu that corroborated my thoughts on Bangalore meat-eating cultures is at the Windsor Pub. An excellent brain and onion fry. And a beef fry (which is sort of lie alu bhruji in beef, super) and the fish fry and the keema something.The liver preparation with too much curry patta was a disappointment but can be washed down with beer. Like Mojo, Windsor (potted in a deceptively un-pub building next to some Bank, near Cantonment Station, off Miller's Road)is home to the boxer-peeping, headswingingtotheDoors, ponytailed boys as well as some Kannadiga moustached macho men.
Meat-eating in Bangalore is definitely recommended to indiscriminate meat-eaters.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
What is interesting other than the fact that it serves chai-coffee and alcohol under the same roof is its food menu. You get a a most gratifying prawn-curry-rice and beef-curry-rice here. And an interesting mushroom toast (saute'd mushroom and onion on bread). And the typical alcohol accompaniments like french fries and gobi machurian. With a distinctly Mallu fragrance, it also carries the stamp of the old lackadaisical Bangalore of endless ups of coffee.
It is a rare one-size-fits-all place. You could have breakfast here, and lunch, and tea and finish with rounds of beer. You could go for a date, a work-meeting, an old-friends-catchup, a quiet solitary read. Bang opposite the new Hard Rock Cafe, Koshy's stands at one end of St. Mark's Road in solemn fortitude.
Friday, June 20, 2008
I could go on about Zalgirious, but I'll restrict myself to the pictures I have. And I will leave you with some nice dessert. This wheat thingie with a creamy filling is called the Napolean snack.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Flavoured with saffron and what else, and embellished with all manner of seafood including prawn and mussel, I was told that that the bit of ever-so-slightly burnt rice sticking to the metallic pan in which it is cooked (and served) is considered a delicacy.
The meal started with some nice ham served on melon, but it paled into insignificance as soon as the paella appeared and invaded the senses with its colour and aroma.