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Around the world in seven meals

The days when you could eat ‘authentic’ food only in the country of its origin are long gone. Indian, Chinese and Thai are no longer our top choices while eating out. And the best part? You don’t need a visa to take a culinary trip to these seven countries.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2012 14:20 IST
Shweta Mehta
Shweta Mehta
Hindustan Times
Sernyaa,Oshiwara,Tibet
Taipei-Chicken

The days when you could eat ‘authentic’ food only in the country of its origin are long gone. Indian, Chinese and Thai are no longer our top choices while eating out. And the best part? You don’t need a visa to take a culinary trip to these seven countries.

1. Sernyaa, Oshiwara, Tibet
Walk into this unassuming little eatery and you’ll be greeted by an enthusiastic octogenarian, known to regulars as Uncle John. He’s happy to help with recommendations, which usually include staples like momos (veg, chicken, lamb, pork, prawn), thukpa (noodle soup), bamboo rice and Danzine-De (rice cooked in a clay pot). The quantities are generous and Uncle John willingly whips up dishes according to his patrons’ likes and preferences. There are enough interesting-looking items on the menu to keep you going back for this journey through Tibet.
Call: 6678 4645

2. Arola, Juhu, and Amadeus, Nariman Point, Spain/eastern Mediterranean
Not much is known about Spanish food in Mumbai. Apart from the one-off paella or patatas bravas on the menus of some Mediterranean restaurants, the most common association is with sangria. Amadeus changed that last year with its highly-recommended tapas (bite-sized food) and cocas (flatbread with a range of toppings). Now with Arola at the JW Marriott — the baby of two Michelin–starred chef, Sergi Arola — this cuisine is all the rage. It won’t be easy on your wallet, but we can bet that the tomates maduros, gambas and sardines make for a worthy indulgence.
Call: Amadeus – 2282 1212, Arola – 6693 3344.

3. Hard Rock Café, Worli, and Wild Wild West, Andheri, American comfort food
A country as big as the USA is home to all sorts of foods and Mumbai is spoiled for choice when it comes to burgers and wings. Head to Hard Rock Café for their famous burgers, barbequed ribs and buffalo chicken wings. Wild Wild West’s decor is reminiscent of a traditional American diner. Along with the usual suspects like steaks and southern-inspired sandwiches, there’s also a ChinaTown-style make-your-own-meal menu of rice, noodles, sauce, meat and vegetables.
Call: Hard Rock Café – 2438 2888, Wild Wild West – 2673 2916.

4. Sanchos, Khar, and Sammy Sosa, Oshiwara, Mexico/ Tex-Mex
Here’s a cuisine that appeals to a lot of Indian palates because of its use of tomatoes and beans. Forget the nachos and tacos you eat at fast food joints and head to these slightly expensive but far more authentic eateries. Team your fajitas with beer from an impressive selection at Sammy Sosa’s. Their Mexican rice and chimchangas are filling options. You can also head to Sanchos for a range of taquitos, enchiladas and the very popular chocolate mole. Round off your meal with some cinnamon-dusted churros.
Call: Sanchos – 6709 4455, Sammy Sosa – 6527 8722

5.The Irish House, Lower Parel, Ireland
The popular pub at High Street Phoenix is a great choice for football fans who want to cheer their favourite teams on with a cute little keg (yes!) of beer by their side, and match grub to munch on. The chicken and shrimp popcorn is very popular, but the signature dish here is The Irish Lions — tender chicken with a choice of dip or sauce. Round off your meal with a sinful dark and white Irish chocolate torte. And don’t forget to read the framed funny quotes hung all over the place.
Call: 4347 1111

6. Café Pico, Kurla & Wadi Bunder, Africa
Take your pick from the chilled out café at Kurla’s Phoenix Market City or the more upscale flagship restaurant at Le Mill (same food, higher prices). The interesting mix of cuisines is a huge surprise. There are some unusual South American dishes too, but what will catch your eye here is the smattering of African dishes. The spicy Mozambique chicken is a favourite — the chicken is served on a bed of ‘sabudana’ (sago). There’s even a skewered Suya chicken made using a Nigerian recipe, and Azifa salad — an Ethiopian peasant dish with broken wheat and green lentils. The ideas are innovative and prices, reasonable, by gourmet standards.
Call: 3093 2030 (Ext: 273 – Le Mill and 272 – Kurla)

7. Wasabi by Morimoto, Japan
The past few years have seen the rise of sushi in India. But while many restaurants have experimented with low-cost variations giving underwhelming results, Wasabi has always been the leader of the pack. Headed by Masaharu Morimoto aka Iron Chef, it offers age-old favourites including sashimi, a sake bar and a teppanyaki grill. The sushi bar stocks fresh ingredients flown in from Tokyo’s Tsukiji market. A meal for two here might cost you close to Rs 10,000, but there aren’t many who’ve regretted it.
Call: 6665 3366

First Published: Jun 23, 2012 12:21 IST