Yes, you read that right the first time. Brazilian cuisine has found its way to Pune – a sentence I never thought I’d hear myself say.
Last week, I was invited to check out DineFest – a ten-day culinary event (15th Feb – 28th Feb 2016) held across Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. Featuring prix-fixe menus at several of each city’s casual dining restaurants, you can enjoy a three-course feast at a fraction of the a la carte cost.
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.
Contrary to my experience with most Restaurants that pull out all the stops at tastings and then slowly decline in consistency, The Bombay Canteen (TBC) continues to impress. After my first visit (read: What’s Old is New at The Bombay Canteen), I went back for a meal with my family, and even ordered take-out from them. Each visit has been more enjoyable than the last.
There’s a lot that can be said about Indian food – we have more types of cuisines than I care to count, and more than enough restaurants and street food stalls touting the same. I love our cuisine, for all its bold flavours, subtle aromatics and delicate spices. On trips abroad, I often find myself craving it after a couple of days of the regional food – there’s just something about Indian cuisine that no other culture can capture in its flavours.
Among the most popular dishes in our country (and my personal favourite), biryani is way ahead of the rest. The origin of biryani is a highly debatable topic, but we all can agree that it has strong roots in both Mughlai and Hyderabadi (Nawabi or Deccani) cuisine. A simple dinner at the newly opened Food Story on Boat Club Road in Poona, however – changed the way I will look at every biryani dish I eat from here on out.
Pizza is something I take very seriously. Thin crust, hand-tossed with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce base, topped with stringy mozzarella, fresh basil and spicy pepperoni is just heaven on a plate! I hate the fast-food re-heated frozen pizzas with their doughy, pasty bases and not enough toppings. When done right, even a plain cheese pizza can blow your mind. I’d eaten at PizzaExpress – a chain of Italian eateries founded by Peter Boizot in Great Britain in 1965, now with a global reach – before, and had been quite impressed with their pizza, so when I was invited for a tasting of their new Summer Menu, I was looking forward to it.
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.
Recently, I stumbled across an old photo album (if you call 2013 old) from a previous trip to Dubai. The biggest highlight of this trip for me, was a walking food tour that my Dad and I decided to do – not just because of all the ridiculously amazing food involved, but because it was such a great way to learn about different cultures and the way they cook and eat their food. It also opened a door to new flavours that I’d never had a chance to experience before – Arabian, Syrian, Turkish, Iranian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Yemeni.
Here’s a small glimpse of what a five-hour food education looks like.
Sometime earlier this month, I accompanied my friend The Tiny Taster to the launch of the ‘Din Bhar and Lunch Menu‘ at The Bombay Canteen in Lower Parel. Honestly, I was actually quite skeptical at first, since I’d heard that the food was a ‘modern take’ on Indian classics – because every time someone tries to re-invent the wheel, I get a little bored – but I was intrigued to know what all the hype was about.