Things are looking up
WHERE: Ramada Hotel and Convention Centre, near Renaissance, Saki Vihar Road, near L&T, before Vihar Lake, Powai
WHEN: Daily 5pm to 1am
COST: About R3,500 for a meal for two, with no drinks. Full bar available.
OPENED ON: October 24
Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
If Skky was in Bandra, it would be full every night. The place is beautiful. It's on the roof of the Ramada Hotel, 8,500 square feet open to the sky, a vertical garden sparing us the view of ugly modern buildings nearby, a 24-feet long bar along one wall, and an open kitchen flanking the other. The tables are laid out with possibly the most generous use of space in the city - Skky could have comfortably fit in about five times more covers than its current 100. Almost every table has hip-high pools on three sides, and flowering frangipani trees rise up from pebbled islands in every pool. Sit at one of these booth-like tables, and it instantly feels private, romantic, really relaxed. Some seats even have a view of the forest; just before sunset is the perfect time to visit. Why didn't Mumbai's other rooftop restaurant (the other one with an unnecessary K in its name) Shockk in Bandra, use its massive space better?
Skky's menu is mostly pan-Asian featuring sushi, soup, dim sum, teppanyaki, noodles, and mains. But then, like so many restaurants, it chickens out and slips into multi-cuisine territory with pizza and tandoori items. The fundamental flaw in Skky's menu lies not in its contents, but in its user interface. Each diner gets a tablet. Now, if there are over 200 dishes, and each dish requires multiple clicks to figure out, it becomes impossible to decide what to order without going back and forth. It took 20 minutes of poking at the screen to pick our main course. Worse, the order doesn't get ticketed immediately. The server takes the tablet and walks over to the kitchen with it to place the order.
Skky's food is enjoyable and well-presented, but expensive for Powai, considering the restaurant is not even paying rent. (Fewer covers mean higher bills, perhaps?) Though, we had to admit that the servings were generous. Our appetisers of hed krob (batter-fried mushrooms tossed in black pepper sauce) and the tangy, creamy dahi ke kebab were both good enough for four, and delicious enough to polish off in minutes even as we neglected our cornfloury, musty smelling drunken prawn soup. There wasn't enough of the promised heat in the Sichuan-spiced chicken salad, but it was nothing Skky's burnt-chilli oil couldn't fix. However, all of the garlic and egg in Skyy's sticky fried rice was overridden by the seriously strong-smelling chunks of salmon in it.
Philly cheesecake seemed like an odd way to end a mostly Asian meal, but it worked. Ours came chilled, with a wedge of caramelised mandarin on it, and a citrusy caramel sauce alongside. Skky's rendition is dense, but packed with cream cheese flavour. Any dessert that is mildly sweet somehow seems more elegant, and so did this.
(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)
Flesh it out
WHERE: Rizvi Complex, off Carter Road, Bandra (West). Delivery in Bandra, Khar, Santacruz and Juhu. Customers can also arrange to pick up the food.
WHEN: Daily 6pm to 11.30pm
COST: About R600 for a meal for two. Alcohol not available.
OPENED ON: December 18
On a busy Monday evening on Carter Road, two tough-looking guys I had never met before waved at me and then rode up to me on their nicely broken-in bike. I can't blame them for being so forward, I had waved back excitedly, eager to rid them of their wares. They were delivery boys from the new Hyderabadi Bohri and Irani kitchen down the road, and they had with them two plastic bags filled with all manner of meaty delights: nihari, khichda, chicken farcha, and that offal dish with a beautiful name - mutton jugalbandi.
Charminar offers big helpings off a long menu for small budgets, and like Imbiss, doesn't care for vegetarians. Two carnivores can eat a full dinner for R600, and have enough left over for a big breakfast. My plastic container of nihari was more like a small bucket. The next morning, the deeply spiced breakfast specialty came out of the refrigerator with a crème brulee-like crust of fat, under which a pepper- and saunf-studded jellied gravy held delicate morsels of meat. The mutton khichda was an equal joy to eat, spoonfuls of nutty, chewy wheat, ghee-caramelised onions, and soft mutton chunks. Not as much fun were Charminar's chicken dishes. The poultry was slightly overcooked in the otherwise aromatic and light biryani, and the farcha was an oil slick. Charminar's shaami kebab is a patty of creamy mince spiced to deliver a slow burn, encased in the same lacy batter as the farcha. Organ meats (liver and kidney) are tossed together with spicy kheema in the jugalbandi. It's fantastic when paired with the platter-sized tandoori rotis, or to make a cardiologist cringe, with the slightly sweet, very rich Charminar-special mewa paratha which is prettily dusted with finely grated hardboiled egg.
- Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
WHAT: Ustad Halim Jaffer Khan's (above) felicitation programme
WHERE: Rang Sharda, Bandra Reclamation
WHEN: Saturday (Feb 23), 6 pm
Entry Is Free
Sitar legend Ravi Shankar isn't one to easily praise a sitarist. But in 1998, in a book commemorating the 60th birthday of Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, compliments flowed freely.
"Bhai Vilayat Khan and I have been able to broaden the spectrum of sitar playing," Shankar wrote. "Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, happens to be the other musician popular with the connoisseurs as well as young 'rasik' listeners. I appreciate very much his virtuosity (tayyari) and complete control of the instrument." Today, 15 years later, Khan's 85th birthday celebrations once again bring musicians, fans and pupils together to honour him.
"His stupendous command of the sitar made him stand apart," said bansuri maestro Nityanand Haldipur. He recalls how, in 1952, when Khan was only 24, All India Radio (AIR) offered him a special programme, which was broadcast from all stations - a rare distinction indeed. "He played the raga Chhayanat which is never attempted on the sitar," Haldipur adds. "His performance became the talk of the community all over the country."
There is little doubt over Khan's contributions to the music scene. Composer Naushad says that "his sitar lent prestige and izzat" to his compositions. Khan's own reaction to his success is modest. "My style involves simultaneous use of two or three strings," he says. "The left hand is engaged in more activity, which results in better synchronisation between two hands and produces echoes. And several notes can be played with one stroke of the mizrab (plectrum)."
Santoor player Shiv Kumar Sharma, will perform at the concert, which will also feature a tabla jugalbandi by Juhu-based Nayan Ghosh and Hyderabad-based Shabbir Nisar. Shubha Mudgal will also perform.
A Summer's Day: Opening acts
WHAT: Opening acts for Norah Jones
WHERE: Turf Club, Mahalaxmi Race Course, Mahalaxmi
WHEN: Sunday (March 3), 4.30 pm to 8.30 pm, after which Norah Jones will perform till 10 pm
COST: R3,000 per head; VIP tickets are for R7,000 per head. To book tickets log on to www.nh7.in/asummersday and www.bookmyshow.com
Next Sunday, on March 3, a summery orange will coat the lawns of Mahalaxmi's Royal Western India Turf Club for the debut edition of 'A Summer's Day'. Headlined by folk/jazz singer Norah Jones, the one-day festival will feature two stages with six soulful, chilled-out acts. Here's what's in store between 4.30 pm and 8.30 pm at the Main Stage and the Think Pink stage - until Jones takes over from 8.30 pm to 10 pm. Fortunately, you won't have to pick and choose acts; they are scheduled a way that lets you catch them all.
The Main Stage
Ankur and the Ghalat Family (5 pm to 5.40 pm): Warm up with retro-ish Urdu and Hindi rock 'n' roll and folk rock ballads. Sit back, chill and wait for 'Mohabbat Zindabad'.
Karsh Kale Collectiv (6.10 to 6.50 pm): Karsh Kale's band has some of India's finest indie artists - Jai Row Kavi, Johan Pais, Warren Mendonsa, Benny Dayal, Jayant Luthra, Monali Thakur and Shilpa Rao. Expect classical vocals with modern rhythm, tabla segments with frenetic drumming and intense guitar work to offset melodic vocals and the flute.
M Ward (7.20 pm to 8 pm): The singer-songwriter and guitarist is one half of indie folk duo, She & Him with Zooey Deschanel, and part of American supergroup Monsters of Folk. His brand of new folk, blues, indie and pop will be the perfect act to warm you up to Jones' seductive jazz and folk set. It's happy, easy-listening, likeable music.
The Think Pink Stage
Siddharth Basrur (5.40 pm to 6.10 pm): Frontman of bands Goddess Gagged and Bones for Bertie, Basrur's strong, deep vocals sound wonderful on alternative rock, acoustic singles and covers. Think Thrice, Fink and even Adele.
Nischay Parekh with Jivraj Singh (6.50 pm to 7.20 pm): All set to launch his debut solo album, 19-year-old Parekh, frontman of alt-pop band The Monkey in Me, recently showcased his solo act with Pinknoise's ace drummer Jivraj Singh at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Bangalore in December. Expect a chilled-out melodic, playful pop set by the young duo.
Spud in the Box (8 pm to 8.30 pm): Mumbai's six-piece alternative pop-rock band, Spud in the Box, launched their EP last month. Their sound is chilled out and yet energetic and enthusiastic. They come on right before Norah Jones.
A 'sun session' rises
WHAT: Sun Session, a day-time gig with outdoor brunch
WHERE: Bonobo, 2nd floor, Kenilworth Mall, Phase 2, off Linking, Road, Bandra (West)
WHEN: Sunday, (Feb 24), 2 pm to 7 pm
ENTRY IS FREE
Online music magazine, Wild City and creative community, WeThePpl, hold a day-time gig on the terrace of Bandra bar, Bonobo. An outdoor grill brunch will accompany trip-hop, glitch and drum 'n' bass. It's headlined by Bangalore-based Sulk Station (formed by Rahul Giri and Tanvi Rao) who define their music as "mellow dramatic pop", a sound influenced by electronic and down tempo genres along with Indian classical music. The afternoon will also include DJ sets by Wild City DJ Moniker and WeThePpl DJ Eng.
WHAT: Kala-Deep, annual
exhibition of over 1,500 art works by students of JJ School of Art
WHERE: JJ School of Art, 78, Dr DN Road, Fort
WHEN: February 19 to 24, 11 am to 7 pm
ENTRY IS FREE
In the stone buildings inside the JJ School of Art, 500 students of the school are busy placing more than 1,500 paintings, sculptures and installations in different halls and classrooms, which for a week will be transformed into exhibition spaces.
Kala-Deep, the college's annual art exhibition, gets graduate, masters and part-time course students specialising in textile, painting, sculpture and ceramics to show two of the finest works they've created in the last academic year. Top draws, like in previous years, are likely to be the 15 best artists whose works have been chosen by a special jury appointed by the government of Maharashtra.
This year's jury favourites include Ajay Singh Bhadoriya, a final-year student of the ceramic department, whose nature-inspired lamp has won him the first prize. "The fluid form of the sculpture describes the vulnerable nature of the environment and stresses on the urgent need to protect it from further damage," he explains.
From the textile department, final-year student Vijaya Vagde's white sari, screen printed with images of Goa's Portuguese-style windows, won the first prize. "My idea is to fuse Western ideas in a typical Indian outfit," she says. "I wanted to design a sari that I hadn't seen before and hence chose elements from architecture."
Apart from showcasing sculptures, installations, paintings and textile designs at the exhibition, the college is also hosting a 10-day art camp organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi. Ten sculptors from Vadodara, Kolkata and Delhi will demonstrate their distinct style of working, says Vishwanath Sable, dean of the JJ School of Art.
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Under the mango Tree, a social enterprise that promotes beekeeping, is celebrating the second edition of National Bee Day. The event includes a panel discussion with beekeepers from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, bee walk, photo exhibition, cooking with honey and film screenings.
WHERE: Maharashtra Nature Park, Sion Dharavi Link Road, Sion
WHEN: Sunday (February 24), 9 am to 7 pm
Entry is free
Shamiana- The short film club, will screen four short movies at Andheri bar, The Little Door. Each of the four films - The Kinematograph, Time Freak, Pentecost and Death of a Shadow - were nominated for the Academy Awards.
WHERE: The Little Door, ground floor, Shree Siddhivanayak Plaza, off New Link Road, Andheri (West)
WHEN: Sunday (February 24), 6 pm to 8 pm
Entry is free