WHAT: The Fatty Bao
    RATING: *****
    WHERE: Junction of 14th and 33rd Road, Linking Road, Bandra West
    WHEN: 12 noon to 3:30 pm; 7 pm to 1 am COST: Rs 2,000 for two, with one drink each CALL: 2600-5220

    The wild mushroom and truffle oil dim sum at The Fatty Bao is a thing of a beauty.  Pungent, earthy aromas of truffles smack you the moment you open the lid of the Chinese steamer. Inside sit six boat-shaped dim sums with beetroot-purple stained wrappings, topped with edamame beans. The dim sums, filled with a mix of chopped mushrooms and, for a bit of crunch, chopped snow fungus, will appeal to  both the vegetarian and the carnivore.

    With a fun space and a menu that crackles, it’s not surprising that Fatty Bao, by serial restaurateurs AD Singh, Manu Chandra and Chetan Rampal, has been packed from the day it opened. We had to call a week in advance just to get a mid-week booking.

    In a kind of Alibaba moment, an unassuming red gate opens into a tiny passage, which leads to a brightly lit area. Outside, in the al-fresco patio, one bright blue wall is painted with an Oriental-style food story map. Beyond the patio is the main dining area that has Chinese tangram-inspired floor tiles. On the tables sit salt and pepper shakers that have superimposed Japanese Kokeshi doll designs on them. 

    We are seated inside, in an alcove across from the bar. We order one each of the deep maroon, raspberry-flavoured whisky sours and the orange-hued Mandalay Bay that are flying off the bar counter. Both signature cocktails are good, but we found the berry-tanginess of the whisky sour more interesting than the citrus-y Mandalay.

    The wild mushroom and truffle oil dim sum was a thing of beauty.

    We begin with the char sui bao; a plump fluffy white bao with a filling of meltingly soft pork, draped in a sweet, sticky, hoisin sauce. Next up is the brie tempura wedges topped with the Japanese spice mix shichimi togarashi — an exotic, Oriental version of cheese pakoras.

    Moving on to mains, we order a bowl of somewhat disappointing cho su ramen. The broth and noodles are fine, but the pork belly and bacon lack richness and we leave it mostly untouched. Thick, sour and spicy, the chicken kapitan curry — full of kafir lime and basil flavours — is so good you can slurp it just by itself.

    And while the lemon sable was missing from our green tea chiffon cake, the lemony freshness of the yuzu parfait and the yuzu sorbet more than made up for it.

    Fatty Bao is so enjoyable because it serves very serious food without making you think too much about what you’re eating, in a really casual, laid-back space.


    (HT pays for all meals, and reviews anonymously)

SpiceJet pilots to double as engineers at smaller airports

Spicejet fliers could be travelling in a poorly serviced plane or with a fatigued pilot. The no-frill airline has begun using its Boeing B737 fleet cockpit crew as engineers at smaller airports. One out of every five domestic fliers travels by the airline.

Pilots are faced with additional pressure to maintain a 30-minute turnaround time for the next flight despite the dual role.

“An aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) is supposed to check around 75 items during a stopover of about 20 minutes,” said a retired Boeing commander requesting anonymity. The AME also refuels an aircraft, which takes about 10 minutes.

Senior pilots said it’s “humanly impossible” to perform both roles within 30 minutes because pilots have to perform other duties such a pre-flight briefing, checking trim and load sheets that contain the weight distribution on a plane.

“Shortcuts are bound to be taken, which means many unfit planes could be flying,” said another senior pilot.

The airline introduced the move in April and began training pilots about two months ago. An internal mail dated April 23 accessed by HT stated that the move was meant to avoid flying AMEs to airports without engineering support.

Worse, the airline backed the move by citing a Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rule applicable during emergencies.

“If a flight gets diverted to a small airfield without engineering support, a certified pilot could perform the basic check but it cannot be a routine policy,” said RK Khanna, deputy director general, DGCA (western region).

On Thursday the Spicejet spokesperson said the airline would respond in a day but didn’t revert till the time of going to press.


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