Taste of Thailand in Mumbai at Sofitel Mumbai BKC

Thai cuisine, one of the most popular cuisines in the world influenced by Chinese and Indian foods, is unique and has a distinct flavor of its own. With strong aromatic components, Thai food is a wonderful amalgamation of five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy. But don’t worry! You don’t need to travel all the way to Thailand to experience its national cuisine – simply head to Sofitel Mumbai BKC before 5th June, 2016!

The bustling BKC property is hosting ‘Tastes of Thailand,’ a ten-day long Thai festival in association with the Tourism Authority of Thailand and SO Sofitel Bangkok. Mumbaikars can revel in an array of authentic and sumptuous Thai cuisine prepared by Chefs Chitsanuphat Dungjampa and Chalermchai Tavornaroonrat from the Bangkok property, who have specially flown in to provide a true taste of their homeland. Indulge in an eclectic mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes complemented by a range of exotic spices and fresh herbs. An innovative menu has specially been crafted by these talented chefs featuring Thai speciality dishes.

Chefs Chitsanuphat Dungjampa, Manavl Koul and Chalermchai Tavornaroonrat

Chefs behind this festival

I attended the launch of the festival on 27th May, 2016 in the esteemed company of Mr. Biswajit Chakraborty, General Manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC and Ms. Sirin Surathin- Deputy Consul General. Our evening started with a traditional Thai dance performance that took place in the lobby – the grace and grandeur of which set the perfect tone for the meal ahead!

Cultural Performan at the inaugral ceremony of 'Tastes of Thailand' at Sofitel Mumbai BKC (2)

Traditional Thai dance performance

Soon after, we made our way to Pondicherry Cafe, the hotel’s lively coffee shop that’s playing host to the festival. The regular buffet spread did grab our eyeballs for a few minutes until we reached the Thai section. The salad counter featured the likes of Yum Woon Sen (Glass Noodle Salad), Som Tam (Spicy Papaya Salad) and lots more. The latter was being prepared on the spot with chilli, garlic and tomatoes and was a sight to see. It surely hit all the right notes with its flavors and spices. The main course consisted of Gai Phad Kra Prao (Basil Chicken), Pla Nueng Manao (Steamed fish with a raw garlic, lime and chili sauce), Phad Thai Goong (Shrimp Phad Thai Noodles), Gang Phed Ped Yang (Roasted Duck Curry) among others. Out of everything I tried, I loved Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Prawn Soup), Gang Kiew Wan Puck (Green Thai Curry), Chu Chee Pla (Fish with Red Curry Sauce).

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Menu

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Shrimp sesame toast

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Som Tam (Spicy papaya salad)

Chu Chee Pla (Fish with Red Curry Sauce)

Chu Chee Pla (Fish with red curry sauce)

Known for its lavish dessert spread, the counter had endless varieties ranging from ice creams to chocolate-based desserts to Thai-inspired desserts and more. Though its hard to pick what I liked most (considering I’m a dessert person), the refreshing coconut based Woon Ma Prao Orn (Young coconut jelly), Sticky Rice with Black Bean in Coconut Milk, Banana in Coconut Milk, White Chocolate Brownie and the Himalayan Honeycomb were unique and worth trying.

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White chocolate brownie

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Brownie with banana, caramel, green apple & Himalayan honeycomb

Overall, I had an enjoyable experience with impeccable hospitality, superb service, great food and entertainment.

Venue: Pondichéry Café, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
Date: 27th May to 5th June, 2016
Time: Lunch – 12:30 pm onwards and Dinner – 7:00 pm onwards
Price: Lunch and Dinner – INR 3,100 (plus taxes)
For table reservations, please call +91 (22) 6117 5115

*The meal was paid for by Sofitel Mumbai BKC

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Cook Healthy…Eat Healthy!

More often than not, when we see a delicious food picture, we want to jump right into our screens and savor every bit of it. Being the social media freaks that we are, our timelines are always flooded with those tempting videos/pictures that leave us drooling for hours. Most of us either land up at those restaurants to satisfy our cravings or simply make those dishes at home without paying attention to the health aspect of it. We seldom realize that what looks good may not always be healthy. But healthy food can surely taste and look good.

Fresh ingredients and the use of a good oil are the most important aspects involved in cooking. Problems like high cholesterol, heart risks are on a rise due to a wrong choice of oil. However, in a city like Mumbai where people are exposed to global cuisine and basic health orientation, consumers are getting more conscious about the oil they use for their day-to-day consumption. Keeping in mind the number of brands advertising on TV and on the internet, making the right choice can surely be a task! But after having tried various brands of olive oil, I recommend using Leonardo Olive Oil by Cargill Foods India – available in three variants – Pomace (used for frying), Extra Light (used for stir frying, sauteing and shallow frying) and Extra Virgin (used for salads, pastas and dips). Now I’m sure you’re wondering what is so special about this oil? So here’s why I recommend it:

  1. It’s lighter than most other oils available in the market
  2. Your food will surely be tastier than ever before
  3. It is 100% natural and very high in antioxidants
  4. It has innumerable health benefits, some of which are listed below:
    – Lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and hypertension
    – Maintains cholesterol and sugar levels
    – Reduces the risk of breast cancer
    – Protects the skin from premature aging
    – Helps in controlling weight
    – Improves metabolic rate
    – Fights stomach ulcers and chronicle gastritis
  5. Repairs damaged skin by making it softer, smoother and healthier. Not just that, it also exfoliates chapped lips and is a great moisturizer that can be used all over the body too
  6. Adds lustre, body, softness and bounciness to the hair and also prevents dandruff
  7. Pocket-friendly and easily available at all modern retail stores and hyper markets.

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It’s been a week since I’ve been using Leonardo Extra Virgin Olive Oil and it’s made cooking easier, faster and so much fun. In the past seven days, I’ve made spaghetti Aglio-olio, zucchini and cream cheese bruschetta, hummus and spaghetti in pesto sauce!

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Spaghetti Aglio-olio

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Zucchini & Cream Cheese Bruschetta

If you also want to relish good food without compromising on health, start with these two quick and easy recipes. Incase you land up making them, please do share the same with me 🙂

Hummus:
For those of you who have never tried hummus – it’s a thick spread/food dip, beige-ish in color, originally from the Middle East but now popular all over the world. Traditionally enjoyed with warm pita bread, it can also be used in salads, sandwiches and wraps.

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Hummus

Ingredients:
– 2 cans of chickpeas (preferably soaked overnight/for a couple of hours in water)
– 4 tbsp Tahini paste
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tbsp lemon juice
– Salt (to taste)
– Paprika (optional)
– Olives (optional)
– Parsley (optional)

Preparation time:
5 mins

Method:
– Add chickpeas, tahini paste, crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and some water from the chickpeas into the food processor.
– Turn on the food processor and slowly pour oil into it.
– Check the consistency – it should be properly combined, thick and smooth. The color will also change. Incase it does not, add more tahini paste and oil.
– Once done, remove in a serving dish and generously drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil. Decorate with black/green sliced olives or finely chopped parsley. Sprinkle paprika over it and cover.
– Place it in the refrigerator and remove 20 minutes before serving.

*This is a basic recipe of hummus. You can keep experimenting with the flavorings.

Spaghetti in Pesto Sauce:
Pesto is a green colored, flavorful sauce originally from Italy. It goes perfectly well with different kinds of pastas and can also be used in wraps and sandwiches instead of butter and mayonnaise.

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Spaghetti in Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:
– 1 packet spaghetti, boiled in a pinch of salt and extra virgin olive oil, until al dente
– 2 cups basil
– 1/2 cup pine nuts, shelled
– 1/2 cup Parmesan
– 4 cloves garlic
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– Salt (as per taste)
– Cherry tomatoes (optional)
– Olives (optional)

Preparation time:
10 mins

Method:
– Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a food processor. Add more olive oil and Parmesan, if required.
– Once perfectly combined and smooth, remove in a pan.
– Add boiled spaghetti and mix well with the sauce. Cook for about 1 minute.
– Garnish with Parmesan. Can also use cherry tomatoes and olives .

By switching to Leonardo Olive Oil, #IChooseHealthy ….. What about you?

Mumbai Gets Farzified! Foodie Reviews: Farzi Cafe

Known to have transformed the face of Indian cuisine with their past gems, impossible is just another word in the dictionary for Jiggs & Zorawar Kalra. Dream of a dish and this father-son duo will serve it to you on a platter! And just when you think they have outdone themselves with MasalaBar – rumored to be the world’s first candle-lit bar… you have Farzi Café!

When the invite for their launch party came in, I assumed it was just a sheet of paper until I read ‘Disclaimer: This is an edible invite.’ Yes, you read that right! It was made with flattened sugar paste and could only be destroyed by eating. Now that’s next level awesome, isn’t it? I was eagerly waiting to see what set’s this apart from the other outposts under their renowned food company.

Invite

Though the Urdu meaning of Farzi means ‘fake’ – this modern day diner is anything but that. Here, it means creating an ‘illusion through food.’ After creating a buzz in Delhi & Dubai, it is all set to rock Mumbai with its extravagant cooking techniques, mind-blowing presentations and ofcourse molecular gastronomy without compromising on taste and quality. Situated at Lower Parel’s bustling Kamala Mills Compound, Farzi Café aims to provide a unique Indian bistronomie dining experience where traditional Indian flavors marry global cuisine with oodles of action and drama.

Covering an area of approximately 4400 sq. ft. and accommodating nearly 250 guests at a time, the interiors are inspired by Rajasthani jali work. It offers patrons a view of lush greenery through the day and transforms into a high-energy space with projection lighting and a dynamic ambiance in the night. Comfy couches are placed on the right side while adjustable tables are placed in the centre that can be converted to high tables, post sunset. An in-house DJ plays soft tunes during sundown and gets you into the groove as the night sets in. One can also enjoy live performances that are scheduled to take place on Friday nights, as of now.

Coming to the food & drinks, the menu (don’t miss out on the doodles) is exhaustive with a mix of molecular and regular fares that sound bizarre on the onset but are as flavourful as you can imagine them to be. Bartender Arjun Chaudhary is like a magician at work. He has the power to hypnotize you with his flawless art of making cocktails. Make sure to keep your camera ready – his skills of playing with fire and nitrogen are par excellence and Instagram worthy too. The servers are well informed about every dish on the menu and are extremely kind, helpful and friendly.

What I tried:
– Mishti-doi
amuse bouche
– Mini Raj Kachori
Chicken Changezi Quesadilla
– Tempura Fried Prawns
Dal Chawal Arancini
– Delhi Belly Tikka
– Grainy Mustard Fish Tikka
– Tandoori
Margrita Kulcha
– Khandwi
Popsicle
– Spaghetti Aglio-olio e Cocco
– C.T.M Chicken Tikka Masala
Baileys Lollypop
– Parle-G Cheesecake
Paan Ghujiya

What impressed me:
All the three palate cleansers were outstanding. While the mishti-doi amuse-bouche (served at the beginning of the meal) was refreshing, the khandwi popsicle (served just before the mains) topped with caramel sauce, was cooling and flavorful. Dehydrated meetha paan enclosed in a ghujiya (served at the end of the meal) made with candy floss was a delightful end to the meal
– Mini Raj Kachori topped with chutney foam and served with crispy okra salad on the side was a great reminder of childhood chaat parties. The sweet curd mixed with the tamarind and mint chutney created a riot of flavors and colors in the mouth and on the plate as I dug into it
– Made with ghee-infused Malabari Paratha and a spicy tandoori chicken filling, the Chicken Changezi Quesadilla was an innovative take on the Mexican staple
– Tempura Fried Prawns came with lemon-chilly foam and were tossed with Sriracha and an in-house mayonnaise. The foam evaporated instantly leaving behind sharp hints of the spicy sauces – very similar to the Dynamite Shrimps served at P.F.Changs (an international chain known for its mayonnaise-coated shrimps served in cocktail glasses)
– A round deep-fried ball of dal khichdi and papad crumbs, garnished with green chutney, aachar and papad, known as Dal Chawal Arancini was unique and comforting
– The Delhi Belly Tikka served in a grill with roasted russet apples hit the spot for me. Succulent pork belly marinated in anardana chutney, glazed with murabba and slow cooked for about 2-3 hours was saucy, tangy and melted in the mouth
Tandoori Margrita Kulcha a.k.a ‘desi pizza’ was finger-licking delicious. Bite-sized kulchas served with a Bloody Mary ketchup dribbled mozzarella with every bite.
– The British import C.T.M – Chicken Tikka Masala presented in a replica of the red telephone booth seen all over London was served with Cornish cruncher naan. The subtle flavors of the cheese naan perfectly balanced the sharp flavors of the spicy chicken gravy
– Bite-sized Parle-G cheesecake made with Philadelphia cream cheese and decorated with nostalgia-inducing gems was carefully placed in home-style rabdi with flaky pistachio – perfectly sweet and touched upon all the right notes.

What didn’t impress me much:
Grainy Mustard Fish Tikka was slightly bland and could do with a stronger flavor
– Similar to the famous Burmese Khao-suey, the Spaghetti Aglio-olio was a tad bit salty for my liking
– Served on a tree-like structure, the highly recommended chocolate and baileys-infused lollypop, though interesting, lacked a punch of baileys.

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Mishti-doi amuse bouche

Mini Raj Kachori

Mini Raj Kachoris

Chicken Changezi Quesadilla

Chicken Changezi Quesadilla

Tempura Fried Prawns

Tempura Fried Prawns

Dal Chawal Arancini

Dal Chawal Arancini

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Grammy Mustard Fish Tikka

Kulcha Margherita

Kulcha Margherita

Khandwi Popsicle

Khandwi Popsicle

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala presented in London’s famous red telephone booth

Baileys Lollypop

Baileys Lollypop

Parle-G Cheesecake

Parle-G Cheesecake

Paan Ghujiya

Paan Ghujiya

Upon being asked about his newest baby, Zorawar Kalra, Founder & Managing Director, Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd. said, “Farzi Café was born out of our sheer passion for Indian food. It is this faith, coupled with the demand, which has encouraged us to bring the concept to Mumbai and are confident that our guests would enjoy the freshness incorporated in the overall experience.”

Rating:
4/5

Address:
Kamala Mills,
Near Radio Mirchi Office,
Lower Parel,
Mumbai.

Timing:
5pm to 1am. Will soon be open for lunch as well.

*The meal was paid for by Farzi Cafe.

Farzi Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Also on Polka Cafe – http://www.polkacafe.com/farzi-cafe-mumbai-food-review-2790.html