Archive of ‘GourmetItUp Recommendations and Reviews’ category

The Thai High Club

For nearly a decade, Busaba was the unquestionable authority on good Thai food in Mumbai. Thai curry and rice have since then turned into somewhat of a staple in Indian homes. Every homemaker can get their hands on a packet of Namjai or Real Thai Curry Paste and stir up a heady vegetable-laden Thai broth that passes off as authentic. Thai cuisine is extremely familiar to the Indian palate though. The rich aromas that Thai cuisine plays with (and very often depends upon completely) are never subtle and ingredients like Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime are integral. Fish sauce is another essential ingredient that Thai food can’t do without but Indians often tend to avoid it. Sanat Patel of o:h cha kitchen & bar has taken into account the Indian palate and has given the city its boldest Thai offering to-date.

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Tucked into Mathurdas Mills that shares a compound with Café Zoe and The Barking deer Brewpub is O:h cha kitchen & bar. With its lime green paddy field walls and subtle design, o:h cha is delightfully Asian. The cage lights, native to Bangkok street culture hang overhead casting an ethereal glow over the dining room. Chef Pipat Niyomsin presents an assortment of Thai dishes which range from street food favorites to more elaborate preparations, which are winners in terms of aesthetics. The Four Course Experience at o:h cha was carefully put together by our founder and head curator, Mrs. Deepa Jain. A shared experience between two people, the selection of items include all of Jain’s favorites and a smattering of the classics too.

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Start with a choice between a Soup or Salad. The Som Tam or Raw Papaya Salad strikes the perfect balance between sweet and spicy. This extremely flavorful and nutritious salad goes very well with chicken too. Alternately, you can try the Tom Yum Hed (v) or Tom Kha Khai (nv) which are vegetarian and non-vegetarian variations of the classic hot and sour Tom Yum soup – both items make for a delicious First Course.

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For Course Two, choose two small eats or appetizers from a selection of six. Our recommendations are the Spicy Fried Banana Blossom Cakes for vegetarians and the Kung Tempura Prawns for non vegetarians. The batter fried Prawns are perfectly crisp and light whereas the Banana Blossom Cakes are spicy and teeming with flavor. Purists should try the chicken skewers served with a slightly chunky but flavorsome peanut sauce while the more adventurous have got to bite into the Neua Yang or grilled beef tenderloin served with a spicy green sauce.

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The third course has got to be the highlight of your evening. You can chose two mains and pair it with a host of staples. The Pad Pak Si Sa Hi brings together “four friends”- asparagus, broccoli, shiitake and white fungus in a soya bean sauce that makes for a light and refreshing main for vegetarians. Seafood lovers have got to try the succulent steamed fish with garlic chili sauce. If you’re looking forward to sampling o:h cha’s Thai curry, there’s a choice between a Panang or Green curry with vegetables or meats. All of these can be devoured alongside a portion of Fried rice noodles or steamed jasmine rice.

By the time we reach Course 4, we’ve come to understand that the essence of Thai food does not lie in any stark coconut-ey flavor like we’ve been made to believe but rather, disparate flavors coming together harmoniously to create a very unique experience that is part comfort and part intoxicating. End on a sweet note with the chilled Water Chestnut Dumplings in fresh coconut syrup that tastes simply divine.

You can make a reservation for this exclusive experience on GourmetItUp.com by clicking on the link below and experiencing o:h cha’s authentic Thai fare for yourself.

Make A Reservation For The 4 Course Experience at o:h cha Kitchen & Bar

GourmetItUp Recommends: The Best Restaurants In The City To Spend A Rainy Day At

After days of sticky-humid weather, the monsoons are finally here. This puts us in a rather delightful mood and we itch to go out and dine at a quaint and cozy standalone. Imagine reading a book listening to the downpour or holding an intimate conversation while the pitter patter raindrops roll down the windowpanes.

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Here’s showcasing the best restaurants to spend a rainy afternoon at-

The Tasting Room

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Located in a posh lifestyle accessory store inside an old textile mill, the restaurant creates an atmosphere of sophistication that sets it apart, leaving you feeling pampered. A unique offering at The Tasting Room is the ‘High Tea menu’ where one can choose from a variety of Tea Infusions, pastries, scones and finger sandwiches.

Click Here To Make A Reservation For Our High Tea Experience

Salt Water Cafe

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The elegance at of this clean-lined eatery is understated. At Salt Water Café you will be rewarded with a menu that offers both adventurous items for the daring and comfort food for those who prefer the familiar. A good escape from getting drenched in the rain, fork your way through a showcase of some of Chef’s freshest and best.

Click Here To Make A Reservation For Our Three Course Experience

Café Sundance

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With cream walls, bleached wood tables and large windows overlooking the street, Cafe Sundance makes for a nice spot to indulge in a lazy lunch on a rainy afternoon. Sundance also sets in a feeling of nostalgia with its wall of curios that include a weathered typewriter, a beautiful carousel set and a 1950s- style radio.

Click Here To Make A Reservation For Our Totally Stuffed Experience

Polpo Café

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The 1,200 square feet of space is split into an indoor and outdoor strip, replete with printed black and white flooring, a wall covered with plants and a long table that serves drinks to the grownups. The huge sunny glass doors make for a good view of the dancing rain while you dig into your sumptuous afternoon meal.

Click Here To Make A Reservation For Our Four Course Experience

If you still can’t pick, simply follow the link to view all our other experiences till you find the perfect one for you.

GourmetItUp Experiences

- Renata Millet

Ramadan Specials With GourmetItUp

The holy month of fasting just happens to be the time when every Mumbaikar turns their attention towards Byculla and Mohammed Ali Road. The aromas that take to the skies are potent with heady smoky flavours from the Kebabs and Biryanis. The Nalli Nihari is so tender and juicy that it simply falls off the bone and The Haleem is thick and flavourful.

But if wandering the streets is not your cup of tea and you’d rather feast leisurely on these Ramadan favourites, then we suggest you head for some of our brilliant specials for Iftaari:

Neel’s Ramadan Menu:

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Chef Mukhtar Qureshi knows how to whip up a true Ramadan feast. The Five Course Ramadan Menu consists of Shorba, Appetizers, Mains, Pulao & Biryani, An assortment of Indian Breads and Dessert. Each of the items on the menu are favourites from Chef Mukhtar’s repertoire of authentic Indian recipes and we recommend his Hare Masale Ka Murgh Pasanda, the Gosht aur Paya Ki Nihari and the delicious Paraat Ki Biryani that comes with a succulent leg of lamb.

This experience is priced at Rs. 1199 + taxes per person.

Click Here To View The Experience and Make A Reservation

The Fiery Three Course Experience at Kebab Korner:

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Kebab Korner at the Intercontinental houses a brilliant menu this Ramadan that you can feast on, courtesy of GourmetItUp. Their Afghani Tikka is a star on the menu, as is their Subz Nawabi Seekh. For Mains, you have got to whet your appetite with their Gosht Rogan Josh to be enjoyed with assorted Indian breads and a portion of Khaas Dal Makhani on the side. Finally, end with a classic Angoori Rabdi that’s absolutely delicious.

This experience is priced at Rs. 1280 + taxes per person.

Click Here To View The Experience and Make A Reservation

The Three Course Weekday Experience at Veda/ Weekends With Veda:

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It’s our most extensive Indian menu yet. Choose from over 15 different kinds of kebabs to have alongside your Mains at Rohit Bal’s beautiful Indian restaurant, Veda at Palladium, Lower Parel. Veda still retains its charm with it’s clever usage of mirrors, drapes and chandeliers that create a space where you can enjoy our Four Course Meal. Do try their Dal Veda which is cooked overnight and end with their Shahi Tukra which is extremely palatable.

The Weekends With Veda Experience is priced at Rs. 1103 + taxes per person

The Three Course Weekday Experience is priced at Rs. 716 + taxes per person.

Click Here To View The Experience and Make A Reservation For The Weekday Experience

Click Here To View The Experience and Make A Reservation For The Weekend Experience

If you’re still looking for more recommendations, follow the link below to view our entire Ramadan Collection for more recommendations.

GourmetItUp’s Ramadan Dinner Collection

GourmetItUp’s New 6 Course Tasting Experience at Le Pain Quotidien

Unless you’re a Francophile, you’ve had trouble pronouncing this restaurant’s name at least once in all the time you’ve spent eating out. Originating in Brussels, this international chain has become famous for it’s communal table seating and an unbeatable selection of organic sourdough, rye and multigrain breads that are served warm in a bread basket with butter to every guest.

The Bandra Kurla Complex outpost of Le Pain Quotidien is easy to miss if you don’t know where Maker Maxity is and navigating the empty streets of Bandra Kurla Complex can be quite daunting. Nevertheless, once you’re there for the GourmetItUp experience and greeted by the warm and attentive staff, things certainly start to look up.menu

I walked in on a weeknight to avoid the swarm of office goers. The communal table was empty of course, so I chose to sit in one of the comfortable pockets of the restaurant. The signature wooden interiors of LPQ were no stranger to me as I had spent the latter part of my college life grabbing breakfast at LPQ Colaba between lectures. I generously buttered a warm slice of sourdough as my eager-to-please server poured me a glass of Grover Zampa Viognier that was pleasantly chilled. I was ready to be amazed.

Course One: The Chicken Club Tartinetartine

It’s not just an open-faced sandwich; it’s so much more. My club tartine was topped with sprigs of parsley, egg, a tiny slice of bacon and intensely flavored chunks of Harissa chicken that was both sweet and mildly spicy. The bread had just the right amount of crunch to it and the two tartine slices were sized decently. I assumed my tartine would be quite dry and I would have to sip between bites, but I wolfed the whole thing down quite quickly.

Course Two: The Grilled Mushroom Cobb Saladsalad

Tossing up a great salad is all about balancing flavors. Its versatility makes it rather simple to make but difficult to get it to taste “out-of-this-world”. The Grilled Mushroom Cobb Salad is, hands down one of the best salads I’ve tasted. Since I’m one of the few who doesn’t turn up their nose at the thought of being served blue cheese, I enjoyed the wonderful amalgam of mushrooms, rye crisps and vegetables coated in a green tea dressing. The salad was quite light and the blue cheese surprisingly did not overpower any of the other flavors.

Course Three: The Confit Chicken and Porcini Mushroom Ravioli confit-chicken

I do not exaggerate when I say that this is the one dish that might stay with me for many years to come. I’m aware that the chefs at Le Pain Quotidien hand roll their pasta so the stuffed ravioli was bound to taste delightfully fresh, but the creamy porcini mushroom and chicken filling tasted incredible. The strong flavors of rosemary in the sauce complimented the ravioli and the Parmesan finish turned this into a tour de force of a dish.

Course Four: Mango Sorbet sorbet

Summers are harsh in this city and LPQ stays true to season with a sensational Mango Sorbet. Of course I was feeling quite full by Course Four, so I was quite thankful that Mr. Imran let me take a breather for a couple of minutes to enjoy my wine and sneak glances at the dessert counter to my right.

Course Five: The Fourteen-Hour Slow Cooked Tenderloin tenderloin

Resting on a bed of mushrooms, asparagus and spinach lay two wonderful cuts of tenderloin steak. From the second my carving knife grazed the glistening meat , the wonderful thyme scented juices it had retained came rushing out, mixing with the rich deep brown gravy served with it. The sprinkling of prunes on the steak together with the sharpness of spinach and crunch of the asparagus made this a remarkable dish.

Course Six: The Dessert Trio dessertForever nursing an obsession with desserts, I was kind of disappointed to be completely full by Course Six. I still egged my taste buds on, of course. The three desserts were served on a banana leaf with thin slices of mango placed in between. The Belgian Chocolate Brownie was fudgy and rich in both texture and taste. The dark chocolate packed an intense and full-flavored punch to my taste buds. The Mocha Opera Slice had hints of coffee, a sponge base and a thin slab of chocolate on top. It tasted good but because I’m partial to pecans, I was waiting to sink my teeth into the Pecan Nut Tart all night. The filling was unfortunately not very appetizing, the tart shell was a bit too thick and took away from the nutty flavors that were supposed to play on my palate.

Before I knew it, I had drained my glass of wine and it was almost time to go. Another bite and I knew I would have to be rolled out of the restaurant, content and with a smile on my face. A big thank you to Team LPQ for being extremely attentive and providing me with fantastic and speedy service. You guys have turned me into a regular.

Click Here To View The Experience and Make A Reservation

Ankiet Gulabani

GourmetItUp

Sonam Kapoor presents – Mumbai Masala

As seen in Condé Nast Traveller India December 2013 – January 2014 issue.

For BLOG

Sonam Kapoor has just finished her daily yoga session; she’s now making plans to watch a performance at Lower Parel’s Canvas Laugh Factory comedy club and go out for dinner afterwards. Ask her what she would like to eat or what her favourite restaurants are and you’ve really let the cat out of the bag. “I am an absolute foodie,” she squeals. “I love eating junk food, and the stuff you get in Bombay is simply delicious! You must have vada pav when you’re here.” “I don’t want to hear this,” her personal trainer mutters, before dashing out of the room. Kapoor laughs, then lapses into a monologue: “I love street food, fine dining and everything in between. It’s great that restaurants such as Le Cirque are coming to Bombay, but this city already has some amazing places such as Ellipsis, Two One Two Bar and Grill and Hakkasan. And Bombay has the best seafood in the country—fish, lobster and crab. I love beef, but I’m obsessed with crab.” Kapoor prides herself on knowing the sort of restaurants that only locals frequent. “Although I’m a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, I was disappointed with his Bombay episode. I would have been a better guide.” After listening to her list of Mumbai recommendations, I can’t help but agree.

SONAM KAPOOR’S GUIDE TO FINE DINING IN MUMBAI 

If you want to make eating out a memorable event, these are Kapoor’s restaurant recommendations. (For its old-world charm and service, her perfect place to ‘pop the question’ is The Zodiac Grill at the Taj Mahal Palace.)

Ellipsis: Kapoor picks this place, which serves American and European cuisine, for preparing ‘some of the best food she’s had in recent times’. “The chef there made me pork burgers that make me hungry every time I think of them,” she exclaims.

View our Sunday Brunch Menu at Ellipsis

Two One Two Bar and Grill: This hugely popular Italian restaurant in Worli serves classics such as spaghetti with prawns as well as innovative pizzas such as one made with mozzarella, fontina, Gorgonzola and taleggio. Kapoor recommends the tenderloin carpaccio pizza with old balsamic vinegar, Parmesan cheese and rocket leaves, and the piccante, a spicy pepperoni salami pizza.

View our Six Course Mediterranean Experience at Two One Two

Hakkasan Mumbai: The Mumbai outpost of this international Asian food stalwart serves many of the dishes that have made it a hit elsewhere in the world, along with an extensive list of vegetarian options. “They have a really good wine menu,” says Kapoor. “Since I’m very partial to wine, I love dining here.” Her favourite dishes include the crispy-duck salad with pomelo, pine nuts and shallots, fried quail and the soft-shell crab flavoured with almonds, chilli and curry leaves.

View our Four Course Experience at Hakkasan

The Table: This is probably the only restaurant in Mumbai that sources seasonal vegetables from its own farm in Alibaug. It also works with a local urban-farming initiative to source organic produce for its kitchen. Kapoor says of the food: “I love beef and you normally don’t get good beef burgers in Bombay. But the big, fat burger at The Table is simply outstanding. It’s by far the best in the city.”

Cheval: The name is French for horse (a nod to its location, Kala Ghoda) and the cuisine is European, with dishes such as wood-fired pizzas, soufflés and tiramisu. Explaining why this is on her hotlist, Kapoor says, “The place has a great vibe and everybody goes there for a good time.”

Pali Bhavan: For those looking for an Indian fine-dining restaurant, Kapoor picks this Bandra establishment. It’s decorated in dark tones, muted lighting, plenty of old, fading images, mounted deer heads, porcelain plates and other quirky decorations sourced from local markets such as Chor Bazaar. “The food is great and I love the way the place is done up,” she says.

Words by PRASAD RAMAMURTHY