2015 was quite action-packed when it comes to food; we saw some big restaurant openings, budget bars (not all of them worked though) and a number of cafe style eateries. Home chefs and pop-up regional meals became bigger and better and we had restaurants focusing on regional Indian dishes (my favourite part of 2015). I had the privilege of tasting some of the finest dishes by excellent chefs and it only made sense to end the year with a round-up of my most favourite dishes.
Amlori (Red ant Eggs) @ Gitika’s Pakghor, Mumbai
2015 turned out to be quite adventurous for me. I went for Gitika Saikia’s pop-up not once but twice and tried all sorts of exotic ingredients – a piquant red ants’ eggs chutney, stir-fried silkworm, duck intestines and the sweet and tangy rice beer; definitely a meal worth remembering. The Amlori – red ants eggs were my favourite. The eggs were stir fried with onions and garlic in mustard oil and mixed with hen eggs to make it look and taste like bhurji.
Mutton Curry and Rice @ Monkey Bar, Bandra West, Mumbai
When Monkey Bar opened in Mumbai, I expected it to be a fun and upbeat place with a food menu that plays around with ingredients and serves bar food like never before. The Laal Maas Tacos, Duck Empanadas and Black Burger were all impressive, but my meal ended with me getting nostalgic over Chandraji’s Mutton Balti. The typical Kayastha-style mutton curry – a recipe that Chef Manu Chandra has learnt from his father – is something I have grown-up eating and to find it on a restaurant’s menu was the ultimate food high for me.
Chashu Ramen @ The Fatty Bao, Bandra West, Mumbai
The Fatty Bao is redefining Asian food and was one of the biggest openings of 2015. Apart from their famous baos and PB&J, I was looking forward to the Chashu Ramen. You know that quote about coffee being a hug in a mug; I would say that about Fatty Bao’s ramen. The fresh alkali noodles, made in-house, are served in a bowl of comforting pork-stock broth with bacon braised pork belly, egg, bean sprouts, scallion and hints of burnt garlic. With Mumbai’s temperature dipping, this is the perfect time to tuck in a ramen bowl.
Banana Leaf Wrapped Roasted Fish @ The Bombay Canteen, Lower Parel, Mumbai
The Bombay Canteen opened with a lot of fervour this year and it managed to keep the buzz going all through 2015. To be honest, my first meal there was not so satisfying, but The Banana Leaf Wrapped Roasted Fish definitely stood out and stayed with me. The beautifully-flaky fish (I got red snapper) marinated in Kerala style tomato masala with a subtle flavour of coconut has so much character in it and you can instantly see Chef Thomas’s inspiration from his home-state. It took us exactly 30 seconds to wipe out all traces of that lovely fish and lick away the remaining sauce.
Scallop Carpaccio @ PaPaYa, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Zorawar Kalra has been revolutionizing Indian cuisine and how. PaPaYa was his 2015’s firecracker where he re-invented Asian food. the restaurant served sushi burger and charmed everyone with its quirky presentation. My favourite from the menu is the Scallop Carpaccio – thin slices of scallops marinated in chilli and lime vinaigrette, dressed with edible flowers, micro greens and fish roe. The dish is so delicately plated and flavoured that it’s a treat to the eyes as well as the palate.
Bagel With Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon @ Cafe Bodega, Goa
It was a bit of a task to find this cutesy cafe in Panjim but all worth for that bagel. Run by a chef trained from the Culinary School of America, Cafe Bodega serves lovely breakfast. You can spend long hours here with a book and coffee. The freshly baked Bagel with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon is the must try here.
Crab, Mango and Avocado Salad @ Bay 15 Goa
This delicate salad at the lovely Goa property impressed me tremendously. Fresh crab paste is sandwiched between layers of chopped avocado and ripe mango which adds a nice sweet-sour touch to the dish. The flavours were in complete tandem with each other and the plates were wiped clean.
Salli Jardaloo Ma Gos @ Katy’s Kitchen, Mumbai
This is the first time that I truly enjoyed a Parsi meal. We ordered the Navroz special bhonu from Katy’s Kitchen; all the dishes were spot on with a special mention to the Salli Jardaloo Ma Gos which had perfectly cooked mutton in sweet gravy. I also had the best Patrani Machchi and Lagan nu Custard in Mumbai. No Irani or Parsi restaurant in Mumbai is ever going to match-up to this.
Tuna Salad Tartine @ Le Pain Quotidien, Colaba, Mumbai
The Belgian restaurant just launched its new seasonal menu and the Tuna Salad Tartine is one of the best additions. The crusty sourdough bread is topped with tuna, fennel, celery, blavk olives and red bean hummus and is packed with freshness.
Raan Bao @ 145, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai
This dish gets a mention purely for the quality of meat. Shreds of meat from the leg of lamb are stuffed in steamed buns. The perfectly cooked meat is coated with spicy masala giving a quintessential Indian touch to the Chinese dumplings. The restaurant has other dishes that are twist to the classic Bambaiya food.
A part of this article was published on Burrp!