Monday 29 May 2017

The Sunday Brunch at The Earth Plate in Hotel Sahar Star - Vile Parle, Mumbai.

The Earth Plate is a massive multi cuisine restaurant within the Sahara Star property. A meal here will always be an experience to remember. But when Sahara Star goes out of the way to take the meal experience to the next level -  sparks fly, flavors explode and one experiences a culinary journey like none other.

The Sunday Brunch Buffet at "The Earth Plate" is a very special affair. Unlimited food, beverages, desserts, Live music and live food counters await the patron. As opposed to the other days of the week, this brunch is far more massive and has live counters which cannot be found on other days. And if this isn't impressive enough then how about a dip in the pool after your meal? As part of the package, Sahara Star allows the patrons to have a dip in the pool post Brunch.

Sahara Star's unique closed dome structure makes it a completely different biosphere isolated from the pollution, noise and chaos of the outside world. And within this Biosphere, each of its restaurants inspire unique feelings. For me, The Earth Plate felt like a resort restaurant in the midst of a popular tourist destination. The restaurant was classy, yet embraced simplicity in design. I completely forgot that I was still in Mumbai.

There were seven live food counters each managed by a resident chef. Pictured here is the Bombay Street food live counter.

These appetizers caught my eye, it was almost as if I was in a designer Jewellery store. These edible beauties were extremely pleasing to the eye.

Both these pictures sent my Instagram following into a frenzy. I received numerous messages about these two pictures. Take it from me, the food tasted as wonderful as it appeared.

After quickly framing the food on my phone, I went on my tasting spree. Each of the appetizer was extremely well made. I have to admit that the Kitchen team takes their job very seriously. These were some of the best starters that I have had anywhere in the world. Each morsel was an unique experience.

I am not a salad person but these Prawn salad cups made me go absolutely bonkers. These were quite scrumptious. I found myself picking up seconds after my initial tasting. Something one would rarely see me do with salads.

The mains rotate every brunch so its unlikely that one would find the same as those pictured in this article. There were far too many mains to taste. I managed to sample a few and below are some highlights of my experience.

The Beans Pie was extremely pleasing on the palate. T'was subtle in flavoring and made for a Global crowd. The Sweet bacon pork tarts were quite addictive and I found myself chomping down a few of these.  The Panchporan Murg Tikka was Chicken Tikka with a twist. It was sprinkled with the Panchporan spice mix which is an East Indian specialty.

The Chicken Burrito and Shawarma were delicious wraps made at the live counters. One need not wait at the counter for their serving. Give the line cook your table number and a server will bring your food to the table. It was quite convenient and something not often seen in most five star hotels. The restaurant experience would surely spoil me ha.

The dessert platter felt like a wonderland where one could unleash their inner kid. You think you have grown up into a serious, mature and a professional man till you see these desserts and the world feels young again. There is always room for dessert but there were too many desserts in the room. I sampled quite a few and I found the Black Forest cake to be my favorite.

The service was exemplary despite the Sunday rush.  It displayed the professional calibre expected off the staff of Sahara Star.

Priced at INR 3450 PAX, the brunch feels a bit steep initially but consider the fact that it includes unlimited premium liquor, wines and cocktails on top of unlimited food and desserts. This is a meal fit for a King and if you drink and eat to your heart's content then its worth every rupee spent. Lets not forget, this includes a dip in the pool which is far better than your average community pool.

The Brunch is here to stay for the time being. If you are near the Airport or planning a memorable Sunday Brunch, Sahara Star makes one of the best choices in the city. As far the buffet experience goes, its one of the best that I have had. Captain Says Onward, Ho.

The Captain's Score : 9/10

Map Co-Ordinates
The Earth Plate,
Hotel Sahara Star,
Opposite Domestic Airport,
Vile Parle, Mumbai.

-I was invited by the restaurant to sample the Brunch. My review however remains neutral.-

The Earth Plate - Sahara Star Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Bohemian Brew - Khar, Mumbai.

The word Bohemian has both an artistic and adventurous context to it. It evokes the feeling of being different, liberal, adventurous and an explorer of the unknown. Mumbai is quickly becoming one of the World's best places for food. It joins the ranks of New York, Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong when it comes to having multicultural food, fusion food and restaurants with interesting themes.

Bohemian Brew is a new hangout kind of a restaurant near the Khar railway station. It is the perfect place for the Bohemians to flock together and discuss their intrepid craft. The Brew part may initially throw you off making one believe that its a beer marker but make no mistake, the brew here actually means tea. Helmed by Chef Rahul Desai who is a Tea sommelier and a master brewer, the place shows great promise.

The place is made up of four distinct zones. The indoor dining area which is good for the quieter refined crowd, the outdoor area which is a shisha zone and perfect for large groups of people, A small private seating zone for elites and an underground room with board games for the cool kids.

Regardless of what kind of person you are, you will always find your zone at Bohemian brew. The decor is impressive. It is not over the top, radical and in your face ambiance. And it makes maximum use of every bit of estate available. It thus scores highly in ambiance. Do note that it looks far more beautiful in the evening.

The Feta and melon salad was a simple but rather effective construction. The salty feta complimented the balsamic drizzle very well and the sweet, tangy, savory flavors created a medley of sensations on the palate.

The Potato Gnocchi scored high on visuals but was average in flavor. I won't say that it was bad but I have definitely had better.

The Hummus bin Lamhe was delightful in both optics and flavor. The pulled lamb in the middle went excellently with the well flavored house made Hummus but I felt that this needed a bit of roughage. Maybe a piece of Pita or Lavash cracker at the side would have fit the bill. The menu did mention grilled pita as an accompaniment but none was served to me.

The Tea leaves Salad was suggested by Chef Rahul as a house specialty. Now I am not really a salad person but this did taste quite well. It was far better than the salads that I have had at many other places. So here is a healthy option for those who would like to narrow down their waistlines ha.

The Three stuffed cheese Mushroom was a disappointment. The cheese felt rather low as each bite was only mushroom all the way. A relatively simple construction and quite popular across many restaurants, this could have been better.

The Cajun Spiced Chicken pizza was the perfect meaty and cheesy pie. Light, less oily and made on a thin crust - this was one great offering of a pizza. The juicy Cajun chicken chunks were full of flavor which jumped out with every bite. And the cheese had a bit of stretchy lift effect too.

This Gooey Chocolate cake was a nice end to the whole experience. Sweet and decadent, just the way I like it. It was not on the menu as desserts supposedly rotate everyday, ask your server for your sweet options.

I cannot comment much on the service since the place is new but it appeared variable. Some servers seemed to perform better than some others. Probably a teething issue at this stage.

The pricing is pocket friendly and seems suited to cater the masses.

In entirety, the Bohemian Brew experience was good. There were some kinks that need to be worked upon but the restaurant concept feels refreshing and the food was mostly good. Do note that the restaurant serves thirty different types of tea. The Brew forms a big part of the restaurant and many a times your concoction will be brewed by Chef Rahul Desai himself. The Bohemian steampunk in me demands more tea mate.

The Captain's Score : 7/10

Map Co-Ordinates
Bohemian Brew
Shop 1, Mahesh Apartment,
Off SV Road,
Khar, Mumbai

-I was invited to sample the grub by the Restaurant. My review however remains objective.-

Bohemian Brew Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday 6 May 2017

South African Food Festival at Cafe Pondichery at Sofitel - BKC, Mumbai.

Food festivals are becoming quite a thing in Mumbai but surely people must be tired of the same old Middle Eastern, Iranian, Indian and Asian food festivals. I know I am. Its rare to see continental African and South African food in Mumbai for a change.

Rising up to the occasion, Sofitel Mumbai has hosted yet another exotic food festival from a land whose food we Indians do not know much about. It is indeed time to take a break from the same old cuisines and try out something new.

And unlike the previous Turkish food festival, this one is more than just food. There are African drummers playing tribal music, face painting and hair braiding kiosks. All in all, the mood feels very African. To celebrate the Rainbow nation's fiftieth independence day, Cafe Pondichery has rolled out a South African food festival.

The South African food is specially prepared by a trio of pleasant chefs flown in from South Africa.
Chefs Vasathan Moodley, Mavis Netshituka and David Aobakwe Phagane will be joining Sofitel's resident chefs for the event period till May the 7th, 2017.

The South African food stand is a welcome addition to the already huge multi cuisine buffet platter of Cafe Pondichery. There were two stands this time, one for the mains and another one for live food near the restaurant's entrance.

Do note that the dishes rotate in the buffet everyday and the things mentioned here may not be found on the day you visit.
Live Music to drum up your spirits.

Kiosks for kids and the occasional adults ha.

Here are some of the things that I sampled. The live counter had offerings like Bunny Chow which has surprisingly originated from the South African Indian community. It has been quiet popular in town but somehow I have not quite bought into the idea, preferring to have the curry and bread separately. There were two options available - Lamb and Mushroom curry. The Lamb curry felt very familiar to the Indian flavors that I am accustomed to. I assume that it comes from the Indian origins behind the dish. The live counter also had a few desserts like Lemon Tarts and Koeksisters(more on this later).

Tilapia and Leek soup. Though Tilapia cooking is often attributed to West African cuisines. It has been brought into the Rainbow nation's culinary sphere and adapted to the native palates. The result over here was a flavorful concoction. It was quite an experience to have a fresh water fish other than Basa. Again a soup you would rarely find in Mumbai. Tilapia is only found in African rivers.

Pap and Sheba was a South African favorite that was adjusted for vegetarians. Made with a fluffy polenta like white cornmeal preparation called pap and served with "Tamatiesmoor" or Sheba which is a South African tomato and onion gravy. It was an easy on the palate, satisfying dish that anyone could eat. The gravy had a very addicting flavor.

Pork Casserole had a subtle flavor. The texture of the stew felt a bit rough on the tongue. The flavor had a frontier feel to it.

And as last time, Cafe Pondichery has an amazing dessert platter. It was mostly different from last time and I pounced upon it like a ravenous gourmand.

But sticking to the South African theme, lets revisit the live counter for Koeksisters.
Image Courtesy :
Koeksisters was a South African dessert which was made of fried dough strips shaped like braids and infused with Maple syrup. The flavor was delectable and this was the first time that I have had this. It was a wonderful first experience. Adds to my list of Fried Dough based desserts like Jalebi and Churros.

Combined with the impressive multi cuisine platter, the experience at Cafe Pondichery is always an amazing one for me. The buffet servings are some of the most satisfying that I have had anywhere. Its real value for money. With an appetite like mine, the buffet is a food paradise.

Do note that the festival concludes on Sunday, May the 7th, 2017. However, the complete buffet experience at Cafe Pondichery itself is worthy of a visit for any food lover.

The Captain's Score : 8/10

Map Co-Ordinates
Pondichery Cafe,
Sofitel Hotel,
C 57, Bandra Kurla Complex,

-I was invited to sample the event menu by the Restaurant. My review however remains objective.-