Love ’em or hate ’em – food trends are what can make or break a restaurant. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty of consumer behaviour and how it can affect the food chain (pun intended) but I am going to talk about the latest food trend to hit the scene in Bombay – the humble bao.
Recently, Mamagoto celebrated their five-year anniversary, and I was invited to celebrate with them by dining at their Bandra outlet. On the menu, was a new range of Dumplings and Mantau (Chinese Bread). With open minds and empty stomachs, my cousin and I made our way through Bombay’s horrendous traffic for an 8:30pm dinner.
Olive Bistro has been hosting Wednesday night ‘Blues, Brews and BBQs’ since the beginning of this year. Recently, they’ve refreshed this weekly event with a Mexican wave. Unlike their ‘Bottomless Brunch’ scheme, the BBQ nights are more of a casual, à la carte affair – you pay solely for what you eat. Pick from a list of available Protein (Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Seafood) or Vegetables, combine it with your preferred Sides and Sauces to create your choicest dish!
Last year I made a trip to Dubai, and after sampling almost every type of Arabian cuisine I could get my hands on – one of the things I fell in love with was their Za’atar Bread. Za’atar has this unique herby, earthy, slightly lemony flavour – unlike anything I’ve had before.
Za’atar is a Middle-Eastern spice mixture, comprising Sumac, Thyme, Roasted Sesame Seeds, Marjoram, Oregano and Salt. It’s kind of like an Arabic ‘All Spice’ or ‘Chaat Masala’, if you will. Za’atar is so versatile, it can be used on breads, meats, vegetables, rice – and it’s SO good, it’s almost addictive!
The idea for this dish actually came from two of Nigella Lawson’s recipes, ‘Saffron Scented Chicken Pilaf‘ and ‘Chicken with Spring Onions, Chili and Greek Yogurt‘. I’ve drawn from both these recipes but made quite a few changes to suit my personal taste. This was the first time I’ve ever cooked rice and because I was trying to prep all 3 components of this dish at once, I forgot to take photos of the process!
This meal is perfect for Summer, when it’s so hot you literally don’t even feel like eating anything. It’s delicate flavours and the cool Yogurt are just right to beat the heat!
Here we go: