One of my favourite finds of the year has been Bayroute at Cuffe Parade, with its gorgeous decor and its take on the food of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Greece.(HT File Photo)
One of my favourite finds of the year has been Bayroute at Cuffe Parade, with its gorgeous decor and its take on the food of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Greece.(HT File Photo)

Kunal Vijayakar looks back on some of his favourite meals of 2018

It’s been a year of spot-on cooking from new restaurants offering Goan, Bengali, French, Mangalorean and Mumbai fare - plus, a flea bazaar like no other, says the foodie.
By Kunal Vijayakar | Hindustan Times
PUBLISHED ON DEC 28, 2018 06:02 PM IST

As 2018 comes to an unusually equable end for me, I try to take stock of what I have achieved and gained this year. Honestly I’ve gained about 20 lbs. and how I have achieved all this is plain for anyone to see. I’ve been eating to my heart’s content, unable to resist carbs, meats, fried stuff, dessert or the occasional 75ml of malt. So, I thought, what could be better than sharing with you some of those places that have contributed to my kilos.

Every year for me starts off as a quest to find out what new place has opened up, or what new place that opened up has shut down. The Mumbai restaurant scene has a high fatality rate, and only those with genuinely good food survive. So here is a short list of some of the new places I ate at this year, that I think will survive. A few I’ve been to several times, and some just once. But they’ve all left a lasting impression on me. Mind you, this is not meant to be a “best of” list, it’s just a list of new places that I have loved, in no particular order.

Let me start off with a new Goan restaurant that had me screaming Balchao! I went to lunch one Sunday at House of Lloyd. I’m always leery about eating Goan food, and I peer at most dishes with distrust. I grew up with Goans, and I have eaten too much great Goan food to be forgiving of anything that doesn’t come up to scratch. But Lloyd and Nerissa Braganza’s cooking had me quite floored.

Bombay Vintage in Colaba had me smiling from the moment I walked in, with its arty yet earthy decor and distinctly melting-pot-Mumbai menu. Above, the East Indian Bottle Masala Prawn Pulao.
Bombay Vintage in Colaba had me smiling from the moment I walked in, with its arty yet earthy decor and distinctly melting-pot-Mumbai menu. Above, the East Indian Bottle Masala Prawn Pulao.

The dishes are named after (I’m guessing) the source of their recipes, so Robert’s Pork Sausage Pate, Nathan’s Tongue Roast and Tia Morgarita’s Mutton Jeeremeere hit the spot, and since Lloyds menu comes straight from the homes of Goa and includes Goan staples like Keelhaul (Raw Banana Flower), tender Cashews, Kismur (crispy dry shrimp salad) Amboti, Balchao and Sorpotel, I’d go there again and again, if only they were closer to where I lived.

Close to where I live is Mustard. Shilpa Sharma, Poonam Singh and Pritha Sen decided to open a restaurant that serves Bengali food and French food. Not French-Bengali or Bengali-French, just Bengali food and French food. Both accomplished and enduring cuisines sit comfortably side by side here, like an old couple who’ve known each other for years. Besides the additional allure of a spectacular bar, for me most of the Bengali food had me swinging from the Howrah Bridge (in my head).

The Chingri Malai Curry is one big prawn with head and shell, cooked in the most subtle coconut and turmeric emulsion. There was a nice dark Kosha Mangsho eaten with pure white lucchis. And a Croquembouche de Langouste Thermidor, which is choux pastry filled with thermidor sauce and poached lobster with a side of Oeufs Brouilles a la Moutarde, creamy scrambled eggs with onions and crispy potatoes finished with grain mustard (or as we know it, Kashondi).

It’s not often you get asli coastal bhojan in ambience that’s pretty as a picture. Anything you try at the Mangalorean restaurant Ferry Wharf in Bandra is guaranteed to please.
It’s not often you get asli coastal bhojan in ambience that’s pretty as a picture. Anything you try at the Mangalorean restaurant Ferry Wharf in Bandra is guaranteed to please.

Also close to where I live is Flea Bazaar Café, in Lower Parel. This is Riyaaz Amlani’s genius idea of a large air-conditioned space where food stalls serve any and everything, and there’s a bar plonked in the middle. The foods stalls have of course been curated carefully. From Goila’s butter chicken to The Bohri Kitchen thaal, appams, quesadillas, pasta, burgers, sushi, Chinese and pav bhaji, it’s all there, with the added advantage of being able to order from The Social drinks menu.

From here let me jump to Cuffe Parade and the recently opened Bayroute. It’s a quaint patch of garden leading to a cheerful bright inside that used to once be Moshe’s. The Levantine menu created by chef Akhil Multani is his take on the food of Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon and Greece. Start with Shorba Manti, a mild yet meaty dumpling soup flavoured with turmeric and saffron. Then stick hot pita into silken, buttery, crunchy and nutty Hummus Beirut. Their Lamb Shish Kabab is juicy mincemeat, perfectly spiced and grilled, nothing like our seekh kababs.

Kebab Istanbul are chunks of meat on skewers with the flavour of nothing but meat. They also make really good flatbread, like the oregano spiced Manakeesh Za’atar. End with Bakalava with Ice-Cream and nitrogen-frozen Rose. You need a couple visits there to really explore the menu.

Flea Bazaar Café in Lower Parel is Riyaaz Amlani’s genius idea of a large air-conditioned space where food stalls serve any and everything, and there’s a bar plonked in the middle.
Flea Bazaar Café in Lower Parel is Riyaaz Amlani’s genius idea of a large air-conditioned space where food stalls serve any and everything, and there’s a bar plonked in the middle.

This year I also discovered a new Mangalorean restaurant, Ferry Wharf. Prakash Rai’s seafood at this pretty and quiet eatery tucked away at Bandra Reclamation is spectacular. Red Snapper in Green Curry — creamy and delicately spiced with a slightly refined taste of otherwise macho Tuluva masalas. Clam and Prawn Sukka generously cooked with grated coconut goes roaring well with neer dosa. And the Prawn Ghee Biryani is red hot and smoky. His kheema patties, tarli pulimunchi, chicken ghee roast and mutton green curry with rice are my favourites.

Bombay Vintage at Regal Circle, Colaba, had me smiling from the moment I walked in. Co-promoter Abhishek Honaver, who runs this ode to Bombay (along with his partners Pankil Shah and Sumitraj Gambhir), had me quite anticipative even before its opening. I heard from him how they were trying to capture the diverse cultures and landscapes of Bombay on one menu. And they did — starting with Aunty Freny Irani’s Kheema Pav, allegedly from one the first cafes in Khetwadi, to Bhuleshwar Papdi Tuk Chaat.

Their dark, spicy version of Liver Masala goes epically well with toast. Add to that a bit of Goan Prawn Rachado, Parsi-style Bheja Cutlet Fry, Dhansak or Patra ni Macchi, Bohri Smoked Samosas, East Indian Mazarin-Chi Chicken Khudi Curry, Saraswat Style Mushroom and Tendli Tonak or Bharli Vangi and you have a truly Bombay menu.

These were just some of the new places that had me eating out of their hands this year, but as 2018 comes to an end, there was sad news too. That little Thai-Japanese restaurant, The Blue, the city’s best-kept secret, shut down, sending shock waves among those in the know. The good news is, the couple that ran it, Seefah Ketchaiyo and Karan Bane, will reopen it as Seefah. So here’s to ending this year on a flavourful note of lemongrass and galangal. Bon appetit, and see you next year.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
File photo: Passengers at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.(HT Photo)
File photo: Passengers at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.(HT Photo)

4 airlines to resume domestic operations from terminal 1 of Mumbai airport

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:40 PM IST
  • From midnight of March 10, four airlines - Go Air, Star Air, Air Asia and Trujet - will resume their domestic operations from Terminal 1.
Close
Indigo will resume its operations from T1, while most of its operations will be managed from Terminal 2, the base flights of the airlines will resume operations from Terminal 1.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Indigo will resume its operations from T1, while most of its operations will be managed from Terminal 2, the base flights of the airlines will resume operations from Terminal 1.(Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Terminal 1 of Mumbai International airport to resume domestic operations

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:07 PM IST
All international flights by the airlines will, however, be operated from Terminal 2 only.
Close
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries. (REUTERS)
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries. (REUTERS)

Threat letter to Mukesh Ambani calls bomb scare ‘trailer’

By Vijay Kumar Yadav
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:23 PM IST
On Thursday, an abandoned SUV with explosive material was found parked around 600 metres from the house of Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani on Pedder Road
Close
One of the residential buildings sealed by KDMC in the wake of the rising Covid cases in Kalyan-Dombivli. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT photo)
One of the residential buildings sealed by KDMC in the wake of the rising Covid cases in Kalyan-Dombivli. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT photo)

Kalyan-Dombivli civic body seals 17 buildings, brings in stricter curbs

By Sajana Nambiar, Kalyan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:21 PM IST
At least 17 buildings in Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) limits have been sealed on Thursday
Close
Mumbai Police deployed its personnel outside Ambani's house after the explosives were found in the area on Thursday.(Reuters Photo)
Mumbai Police deployed its personnel outside Ambani's house after the explosives were found in the area on Thursday.(Reuters Photo)

Just a trailer: Letter in car carrying explosives near Mukesh Ambani's house

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 01:00 PM IST
Mumbai Police also called in the bomb squad after the police control room was informed about the vehicle near Amnabi's house.
Close
Desraj, an auto driver, has received <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>24 lakh which were raised after his story went viral on social media. (Photo: Facebook/Humans of Bombay)
Desraj, an auto driver, has received 24 lakh which were raised after his story went viral on social media. (Photo: Facebook/Humans of Bombay)

Viral auto driver Desraj: Will fund my granddaughter’s education now

By Mallika Bhagat, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:38 PM IST
Mumbai-based auto driver Desraj’s tragic story, of being the sole breadwinner for his family after the untimely death of his two sons, was recently shared on social media.
Close
Representational image.
Representational image.

Bombay HC cites lack of evidence, acquits man convicted of rape, murder of child

By KAY Dodhiya
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:26 AM IST
In its order on February 11, the high court said it was anguished by the insensitive way in which the prosecution went about the trial
Close
On Thursday, district collector Shanmugarajan S visited the school and instructed the district health department to provide care to the students and the school staff. “(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT file photo. Representative image)
On Thursday, district collector Shanmugarajan S visited the school and instructed the district health department to provide care to the students and the school staff. “(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT file photo. Representative image)

229 students at Maharashtra school test positive for Covid-19

By HT Correspondent, Nagpur
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:59 AM IST
Four teaching and non-teaching employees at the school have also been infected, Washim district health officer Avinash Aher said, adding that the area has been declared a containment zone.
Close
The nationwide strike has been called a protest against rising fuel prices, GST, and e-invoice. (HT FILE)
The nationwide strike has been called a protest against rising fuel prices, GST, and e-invoice. (HT FILE)

Mumbai: Transporters to join nationwide strike; essential supply won’t be affected

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:28 AM IST
The Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA) will participate in Bharat bandh by keeping their goods vehicles off the road on Friday. Around 1670 truckers are expected to go off the road.
Close
Workers sanitise a classroom at SIES College in Sion, Mumbai. (HT FILE)
Workers sanitise a classroom at SIES College in Sion, Mumbai. (HT FILE)

Maharashtra: Another admission round likely for FYJC aspirants

By Ankita Bhatkhande, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:24 AM IST
In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), around a hundred students are without a seat even as colleges started classes in January.
Close
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi. (HT FILE)
Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi. (HT FILE)

Refurbished cell at Arthur Road jail awaits high-profile inmate like Nirav Modi

By HT Correspondent, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:19 AM IST
Cell number two in Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail which was refurbished in June 2019 has been maintained by the jail authorities in the proper condition anticipating a high-profile inmate such as fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi, a prime accused in 13,600-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank.
Close
CM Uddhav Thackeray (right) and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Vidhan Bhavan. (HT FILE)
CM Uddhav Thackeray (right) and Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Vidhan Bhavan. (HT FILE)

MVA may ignore Governor Koshyari’s order, delay Speaker’s election

By Surendra P Gangan, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 12:12 AM IST
Ruling coalition may remind Governor BS Koshyari about 12 pending MLC nominations; BJP says government is using Covid to avoid issues.
Close
Police personnel stand guard outside Mukesh Ambani's residence Antilla after explosives were found in an abandoned car in its vicinity, in Mumbai, on Thursday. (Bhushan Koyande / Hindustan Times)
Police personnel stand guard outside Mukesh Ambani's residence Antilla after explosives were found in an abandoned car in its vicinity, in Mumbai, on Thursday. (Bhushan Koyande / Hindustan Times)

Explosive, threat letter found in a car near Ambani house in Mumbai

By Vijay Kumar Yadav and Manish K Pathak, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:57 PM IST
Parts of south Mumbai were on alert on Thursday evening after an abandoned sport utility vehicle (SUV) with explosive material was found parked around 600 metres from the house of Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani on Pedder Road
Close
Sena minister Sanjay Rathod at Pohradevi temple. (HT FILE)
Sena minister Sanjay Rathod at Pohradevi temple. (HT FILE)

Will take action based on probe report, says Shiv Sena on allegations against Sanjay Rathod

By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:54 PM IST
Amid mounting pressure to take action against Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod, the party has adopted a wait-and-watch stance. Sena ministers said that allegations of flouting Covid rules are being probed and action can only be taken after the report is submitted.
Close
An aerial view of the Mumbai Metro 2A at Kandivli, in Mumbai, on Thursday. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
An aerial view of the Mumbai Metro 2A at Kandivli, in Mumbai, on Thursday. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

MMRDA begins pre-trials for Mumbai’s Metro trains

UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:50 PM IST
Close to a month after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray unveiled the first indigenously built Metro train for Metro-2A (Dahisar-DN Nagar) and Metro-7 (Dahisar E-Andheri-E), the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) conducted pre-trials for the train at the Charkop depot before testing begins on the actual route in a month
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP