Sawadee Ka Nara Thai Mumbai

If you’re a lover of Thai cuisine, you don’t have to wait to visit Thailand anymore. The folks behind all-time-favorites Yauatcha and Hakkasan are all set to launch Nara Thai – one of the finest Thai eateries in Asia. So next time you’re craving Thai curry or tom yum soup, you know where to head to!

Spearheaded by Karyna Bajaj, Executive Director, KA Hospitality, Nara Thai meaning “Thai woman” in Sanskrit, was originally founded by a group of women in 2003 as a passion project which in no time achieved a cult following – now, a well established brand globally with outposts in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong. Here, one can taste the exquisiteness of age-old Thai cuisine in a modern, casual setting. Like most other restaurants these days, it’s neither dramatic in its presentation nor fusion in taste, it is what it is. If home-style Thai food is what you’re looking for, this place will surely win your heart as every dish strikes a chord with its flavours.

Dotted with Thai orchids, large windows, larger-than-life lamps and ceramic cutlery, the space is elegantly designed with a private dining room in addition to the main dining area and an al-fresco section which will be ready soon. Keeping the interiors in line with its name, designer Nitipattara Yensup ensured the decor is dainty, classy and yet so comforting. Hues of purple, gold and beige are unmissable throughout the space and in some of their signature dishes too.

Every dish served from their elaborate menu is simple yet packed with sharp flavors. Think sour, bitter, sweet, salty, spicy – yes, every flavor is beautifully enhanced with their aromatic soups and curries. If you’re vegetarian, about 50% of the menu is filled with options that you can pick from. So there’s something for everyone!

What I had & loved:
– Thai ice tea: Perfectly sweet and milky with sharp hints of cardamom and star anise.
– Tom Yum Hed – Tom yum soup: Loved the distinct hot and sour flavors of this aromatic mushroom and shrimp soup with fragrant spices and herbs.
– Yum Tua Plu – Spicy wing bean salad: An explosion of flavors with every bite.
– Yum Phak Boong – Crispy fried morning glory: Batterfried leaves served with a chilli lemon chutney, a perfect blend of crunchy, hot and spicy.
– Khao Phad Samunprai – Butterfly pea rice with Thai herbs: Vibrantly hued blue pea flower rice that changes color upon squeezing lime.
– Kan Kiew – Thai curry: Creamy, fragrant curry with jasmine rice.
– Gai Kraprao – Chicken with chilli and basil: A signature Thai dish you can’t go wrong with.
– Nara ice cream with condiments: Sweet with a dash of savoury

All in all, the food is comforting with relatable flavors and textures. I’m surely going back soon again to try their other signature dishes. What I loved most about the food is that it hasn’t really been tweaked around with. I guess that’s something the city has been longing for – a fuss free restaurant with authentic flavors!

Launching on 11th September, 2017 at Raheja Towers, Bandra Kurla Complex.

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Awadhi Menu at Novotel Juhu

Awadhi cuisine, prepared with exotic spices, herbs and dry fruits is an integral part of Lucknow – the city of Nawabs. With cooking styles inspired by the Mughal era, this cuisine is bursting with flavors and aromas making it completely hard to resist. The chefs and cooks of the region invented the dum style of cooking which means cooking over low heat, which has gained popularity all over today. The cooking patterns are similar to Central Asia, Middle East and Northern Awadh region whereas the cuisine bears similarities to Kashmir, Punjab and Hyderbad. Popularly known as Nawabi cuisine, one can expect a variety of tempting kebabs, kormas, shorbas, zardi, biryanis and many more items.

Being a huge fan of the famed Galawati Kebab, when I received an invitation from Novotel Juhu, I instantly said yes.

The Juhu property has been a favorite for quite some time now. Be it a chilled out Sunday afternoon at Gadda Da Vida, a celebratory dinner at Sam Pan or some late night chit chat and coffee at Square, Novotel has always been special to me in some way or the other. Their 24-hour diner offers a delightful buffet spread with lip-smacking dishes and desserts. Now, for the next one week, the chefs have prepared a special Awadhi menu and are all set to give patrons a true taste of Nawaabi food.

What I tried & liked:
– My experience began with a chilled glass of perfectly sweet and refreshing Gulab ka Sarbat and some crunchy, spicy and masaledar chaat.

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– Soon after, came the shorbas. Since I am a non-vegetarian, I opted for the Paya ka shorba. The vegetarians were served a bowl of Gucchi dal ka shorba. My soup was flavorful and aromatic with succulent pieces of lamb that literally melted in the mouth in one shot. On asking the chef, he said the lamb had been slow cooked for 12 hours with delicious aromatics in order to ensure that all the flavors get infused in the broth.

– Next came the starters. First one was the dish I had been waiting for – the Galawati Kebabs. The word ‘Galawati’ means ‘melt in the mouth’ and that’s exactly how the kebabs were. History has it, that this kebab was specially created for the aging Asaf-ud-daulah, who had weak teeth but was a meat lover. The traditional recipe is made up of minced mutton meat and hence does not require chewing.
The Murgh Hasuni Tikka served on a steaming hot griddle had been marinated for several hours before being served but was just like any other murgh tikka.
Mahi Taj – cheese infused delicious fish cutlets were packed with aromatic Indian spices and herbs.
Aloo gul gulstan – dum cooked aloo with poppy seeds and almond flakes was intriguing at first but was a real treat.

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– After so many starters, I was unfortunately quite stuffed already. But from whatever I tried in the mains, I loved the Sikandari Raan and the Murgh Awadhi Korma the most. The former was so visually appealing that I couldn’t resist trying it and trust me, I’m so glad I did. Also the korma, packed with tantalizing flavors and spices along with the Bakerkhani Shermal – something I have been wanting to try for a really long time was just perfect. Bakerkhani is a luxuriously rich 14-layered bread garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. In olden days, it was a star attraction at Hyderabadi feasts and was served during every celebratory occasion. It was rich, sinful but so delicious. Totally worth the calories! Apart from these dishes, I was also really excited to see my own personal pot of dum biryani. If you’re at an Awadhi food festival, you know the biryani will almost always be pleasing.

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– We literally had no space left for dessert but no meal is complete without some sweet right? Each person was served an individual dessert tray that consisted of Shahi Tukda, Khumani ka methi, Zarda and Jalebi with hot milk. The Shahi Tukda i.e. saffron infused fried bread served with rabdi was absolutely divine. I also thoroughly relished the saffron flavored hot milk with dry fruits.

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All in all, it was a wonderful meal. I would sincerely urge you to not miss out on the opportunity of savoring this scrumptious cuisine made using age-old traditional recipes.

Where: Square, Novotel Juhu
When: On till 23rd July
Time: 7pm to 11pm (Dinner buffet only)

 

The Square - Novotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Behind closed doors & windows…

I was just browsing through my photo gallery and realized there are so many different themes that I haven’t really focused on like I used to do before. So from now on, I’m going to make this a monthly post. Ill share with you all the pictures from my several trips, keeping a particular theme in mind. Hope you enjoy it!

For this month, my theme is doors and windows. During my recent trip to Rajasthan, I almost went crazy taking pictures of so many artistic doors and windows. Somehow, they have always fascinated me. A door and window could mean so many different things – A home. A beginning. An ending. A hope. A dream. An opportunity. A new adventure. Behind every door and window, there is a story…A story that gives you a glimpse into another persons life. And that’s what piques my interest. I love the fact that when you encounter a door or window, you begin to guess what could possibly be happening in there – is it a home with laughter and love or one with an array of secrets and mysteries you’ll probably never know!

So here’s a mini photo story. If you have any pictures, don’t forget to tag me (Instagram: @thatfoodie_chick or #ThatFoodieChick) 🙂

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Happiness often sneaks in through a window you didn’t know you left open.

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Every window tells a different tale.

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He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.

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Live simply…so others may simply live.

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If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.

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May your choices reflect your hopes. Not your fears.

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You are the window through which you must see and observe the world.

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If you don’t go through life with an open mind, you will find a lot of closed doors.

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Stop looking at the walls. Look out the window. There’s a world out there that’s waiting for you.

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The doors we open and close each day, decide the lives we live.

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Maybe a reason why all windows are closed is so you open the ones that lead to happiness.

From the farm to your cup – only at Blue Tokai

Blue Tokai, started by Matt Chitharanjan and his wife Namrata is a cozy little space with simple, cheerful interiors, known for its freshly brewed coffee from freshly roasted beans sourced from various farms across different regions in India.

For the longest time, India was predominantly a tea-drinking country. However, over the recent past, we have seen a rise in the number of coffee drinkers. Let’s admit it! Coffee is surely cooler, sexier and a great conversation starter than tea. You will always hear people say ‘let’s catch up over a cuppa coffee’ than ‘let’s catch up over a cuppa tea’. So if you’re a coffee lover or a caffeine junkie, there’s a roastery at the rear end of a mill compound in Mahalaxmi that’s waiting to welcome you.

Blue Tokai, started by Matt Chitharanjan and his wife Namrata is a cozy little space with simple, cheerful interiors, minimalistic furniture and large glass panes bifurcating the roastery and café space located in Laxmi Mills compound. After making waves in Delhi about four and a half years ago, this roastery-cum-café opened doors to aamchi Mumbai with their second outlet, last year. Think freshly brewed coffee from freshly roasted beans – Yep! That’s exactly what this tiny space is known for.

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Initially, Matt and his wife lived in Chennai where they came across coffee houses offering freshly ground coffee. But ever since they moved to Delhi, they were disappointed with the quality of coffee available – either it was stale or imported from various other places like Japan, Australia and UK that made it overly expensive due to import duty. Every place they visited up North, they found several national and international chains dominating the market by focusing on providing a nice café experience rather than serving good coffee. Being a coffee enthusiast himself, Matt travelled down south, interacted with various farmers and decided to take it upon himself to bring about a change in the country’s coffee culture. He decided to connect Indians to their farmers by making superior quality coffee himself. After several trips and convincing sessions, he successfully purchased green beans from local farmers and started roasting them at home with the help of a roaster. Soon, he started selling them online and received a great response for the same. In no time, they opened a café in Delhi and people knew where they could find real coffee.

We all love a good cup of coffee, once in a while, if not everyday. But most of the time, the coffee we start our day with, isn’t even fresh. Every coffee has a shelf life and should be consumed within that time period. Also, it’s not only about mixing the powder with milk and sugar or water, there’s a lot more to it than that. The quality and taste differs from place to place, depending upon how and where it is grown. So different terrains give you different varietals. For e.g. one farm can give you notes of cherry while another can give you notes of chocolate. At Blue Tokai, unlike commercial coffee where all estates get mixed together, they do single estate coffees, which means each of their coffees is sourced from a particular farm. After tasting a range of coffees from various farms across different regions in India, they source from Attikan, Baarbara, Bynemara Estates, Bibi Plantation, Biccode, Kalledeverapura, Karadykan, Nachammai, M.S and Yellikodige Estates. When you step in, you’ll see a board that states which coffee is available for the day.

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Once they receive the coffee, they roast the beans at their café (which btw can be seen by anyone who walks in) and develop different profiles for each one. Each profile has a different characteristic that brings out a unique flavor to the coffee. It is very important to stay focused while developing a profile as a minute more or a color darker can make a world of a difference to the flavor. It should be a perfect balance of flavors and acidity. This cozy café currently whips up several different brews with the help of continuous sample roasts. Once they find the desired profile, they keep roasting to that profile only in order to maintain consistency in quality. In order to provide the freshest possible coffee, they roast every Wednesday & Sunday and dispatch orders the following day.

In the recent past, we have seen so many entrepreneurial ventures in the coffee industry where companies are directly sourcing coffee beans from the farms, roasting them and selling them online or on the shelves of retail stores. Their aim is to make the customer buy a bag of coffee and switch from instant to a more brooding variety. India has predominantly been a tea-drinking country, with coffee restricted to filter coffee, atleast down south. So the idea of brewing a cup seems rather tedious and overwhelming. Most people are not even aware about the different brewing methods. Each method gives out different flavors. For e.g. French-press coffee has a medium body with intense aroma and flavor whereas a Moka Pot is bold, almost similar to an espresso. Pour-over coffee, on the other hand, has a lighter body as the paper filter removes all coffee particles and oils, thus giving it a cleaner flavor. And if you’re a filter coffee loyalist, then Aeropress is your best bet.

At Blue Tokai, a customer can watch the entire process of roasting, sample various coffees and then select something that suits their palate. The day I visited, the café was serving coffees from Nachammai Estate, Bibi Plantation and Attikan Estate. I opted for the lightly roasted Nachammai coffee that was freshly brewed using the pour-over method. I was also intrigued to try their Nitro coffee (iced coffee infused with Nitrogen) that is currently available on tap only at this café. Cold-brewed for 20 hours, it was fruity and chocolaty with a creamy mouth feel and an after taste that lasted long after it was over. Since they don’t have an in-house kitchen, they have a limited food menu consisting of croissants, pain au chocolats, sandwiches and custard cruffins from The Magazine Street Kitchen, from the folks behind The Table.

Apart from sampling different types of coffees, I got to learn so much from the experts at Blue Tokai. It indeed was an enriching experience as I got a different insight into the world of coffee. For me, a good cuppa coffee has always been the one that evokes all the five senses. And for Matt, a good coffee is the one that his customer likes!

Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Fine Dining Restaurants in Dubai – KeepDining.com

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We all love to explore different kinds of foods while traveling. But if you’re an Indian, no matter where you travel, your trip is incomplete without some desi khanna. There’s something so comforting about Indian food. Even if you’re miles away, you feel at home in just one bite. Those rich creamy curries bursting with irresistible flavors, aromatic lentil preparations and drool-worthy sweets are like a warm hug on a cloudy day.

Known for its spicy palatable preparations, Indian food is famous world-over… specially in a multi-cultural place like Dubai, that is home to a large number of Indians. Just like Arabic food, it is easily available in every nook and corner. But in order for a place to become the ultimate restaurant, food isn’t the only thing that needs focus anymore. It also needs that extra touch of uniqueness coupled with immaculate presentation and hospitality.

So if you’re on the lookout for some tadke wali dal with a modern twist, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our list of 6 restaurants that make Indian food look as good as its taste. These are restaurants that serve much more than just your average dal and rice. These are restaurants that stand out in a city boasting a glut of Indian restaurants. These are restaurants people seldom pop into on a whim because a meal here is best saved for those special occasions with your loved ones. These are restaurants that are changing the face of Indian cuisine globally by creating awareness of its impeccable diversity by serving food that is everything ‘Indian’ in taste but nothing in appearance.

Indego by Vineet
Awarded the Best Indian restaurant in the 2016 Time Out Dubai Awards, Indego is a place where textures and flavors are sumptuously brought alive with the use of traditional spices and ingredients. Guided by Michelin-starred Chef Vineet Bhatia – highly regarded as the ‘face’ of modern progressive Indian cuisine, one can expect an expressive range of Indian food with exemplary fine-dining presentation. Like he says, ‘If you eat my food at Indego with your eyes closed, it’s India on your palate but if you look at it, it’s very modern, very European.’

Junoon
Junoon meaning passion is a contemporary Indian restaurant offering myriad flavors with a homely touch. True to its name, one can truly see the passion and commitment of the ever-so-busy culinary team as they whip up magical preparations behind the open kitchen. It’s like a theatrical show – there’s always so much happening. Watching them plate, brings in a whole new level of excitement. It’s a vibrant; trendsetting place that combines traditional taste with a je ne sais quoi that truly makes it par excellence. Perfect for a gathering or celebration, it exuberates sophistication and energy with a spectacular selection of food and wines. The original outpost in New York is a Michelin star and has made a name for itself all over the world.

Mint Leaf of London
Entice your senses with culinary delights in a luxurious setting at DIFC’s hip award-wining restaurant. From the English capital to the emirates, Mint Leaf of London made its way to Dubai, not-so-long ago and has taken the city by a storm ever since. A cozy restaurant offering Indian foods, true to its culinary roots with stunning views of Downtown Dubai and the tall and mighty Burj Khalifa. The food is elaborate and fancy yet heartening. Though they serve a diverse range of dishes, they’re known for their spicy and zesty Indian preparations.

Patiala
Named after the princely state in Punjab, Patiala offers a relaxed yet refined ambiance, stylish interiors and classic Indian food. With a display kitchen, guests can watch age-old recipes being fabricated with a modern twist. The menu is carefully divided into two parts – the classic that brings out the old-world charm out of Indian food and the innovative that is young, effervescent and experimental. An energetic vibe with hearty food, the restaurant reflects a ‘joie de vivre’ that redefines fine-dining experience in the true sense.

Rang Mahal
Discover a touch of tradition with contemporary flair at Michelin- starred, Indian-born, UK-based Chef Atul Kochhar’s palace of color also known as Rang Mahal. Located at the world’s tallest JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, the restaurant is one of the main culinary draws known for its flawlessly textured, delicately flavored, perfectly spiced lip-smacking preparations.

Carnival by Tresind
If you want to enjoy a dining experience like never before, this is the place for you. Modern, chic and vivacious with an urban feel – Carnival by Tresind, sister outlet to notable Tresind is a restaurant that perfectly exemplifies the marriage of Indian cuisine to molecular gastronomy. Expect a carnival-like feel with elaborately prepared dishes that have playful names like Game of Corns, Thai Tanic and lots more, an occasional spray of bubbles by servers, mind-blowing theatrics, exceptional food and a buzzing ambiance – all under one roof. Nearly every dish, from the textures to the spices is impressive and innovative in equal measure. A true surprise and delight at the same time, everything is flawlessly prepared and executed. Whether you call for one, two or everything on the menu, you are sure to walk away content. The only thing that you will regret is having to walk away!

Also on – http://keepdining.com/indian-fine-dining-restaurants-dubai/

 

Bombay Brasserie – reopens after 15 years

If you were born and raised in Worli, you have surely heard of the iconic restaurant – Bombay Brasserie. It ruled the city with its authentic Indian fare for quite a few years until it shut down in 2002. Now, after 15 long years, it has comeback with a bang.

The first ever outlet was launched in 1989, after which they launched multiple branches in Bangalore, Chennai and Kolkata. Located at Worli, Bombay Brasserie is an all-day diner that can house about 130-150 people at its four different dining zones. The decor is quirky and cheerful, with an indoor and al fresco section. White background with color blocked furniture, wooden chairs, swing seats and a cozy vintage vibe – what’s not to love? The staff is courteous and well-informed and the service is great too.

Think experimental and fusion Indian speciality dishes from different states in the country…Yup! That’s their USP. Whether you’re looking for Naga Ghost Pepper Wings, Andhra-style Chicken or Kashmiri Kebab, rest assured you’ll find it here. Their eclectic menu promises to bring out the best Indian flavors by literally serving you the country on a platter. Pair this and more with their super selection of mocktails, desi cocktails, beers or a variety of Indian teas and you’re sure to have a memorable night.

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Bombay Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato