Apr 20 2016

Ganga- The Soul of India- Show Launch


IMG_20160419_153653642_HDRI was invited for the launch event that took place on 19th April 2016 at Four Seasons Hotel, Worli, Mumbai.  I can’t tell you how excited I was, more so because I was going to see Dia Mirza in person. I think she’s one of the most beautiful, poised and positive actresses we have in Bollywood.

Freishia 1The event was hosted by the lovely Freishia who I’ve seen at many events before and also on the show Band Baaja Bride. After a short trailer of the show, she introduced to us Mr. Piyush Sharma, CEO (India & APAC) of Living Group, Zee Entertainment, Mr. Amit Nair, the Business head at Living Foodz and Mr. Shrikant Malladi, the head of programming for the Living Foodz channel. They spoke about the concept, the experience and how Dia Mirza was the perfect person to host the show.

Ganga- The Soul of India

IMG_20160419_155841107 IMG_20160419_155926178 IMG_20160419_155948779Once the short speeches were done, it was time to see the beautiful lady herself- Dia Mirza who made a grand entry on stage. She looked absolutely gorgeous in her Ritu Kumar full length dress and Amrapali earrings. She spoke to us in the audience about her new show.

So what is the show about?

It is Dia’s fascinating journey along the Ganges on ‘Ganga- The Soul of India’ which is all set to air on the  Living Foodz channel. From the 1st of May 2016, every Sunday at 12 noon and 7pm, Dia Mirza will give viewers a peek into the fascinating legacy that is shaped by the country’s longest river. The show explores all that the river has to offer, including the people, history, mythology, anthropology, adventure, music and of course the cuisine animated by its revered waters.

Living Foodz people

Unveiling of the book

Unveiling of Ganga- The soul of India

This was followed by an unveiling of the book- Ganga from which she read an excerpt. The core team behind the show along with Dia then sat down to answer all the questions from the media. She spoke about the different kinds of food she got to eat, the adventurous activities and spiritual experiences. There were some controversial questions like what she feels about the polluted Ganga, etc. and she handled them all with so much dignity, not hurting any religious sentiments, rather encouraging the youth and NGOs who are spending so much time and efforts to clean up the Ganga. She also told us how there were 11 cameras following her everywhere but this experience was nothing like acting in a film. This is the real her we will get to see on the show and she feels fortunate to explore India is such a wonderful way. I knew I wouldn’t get the opportunity again so as nervous as I was, I asked Dia a question and before that told her that I think she’s beautiful and if I were to compare her to Ganga I would use the word ‘Pure’. Before people would start getting annoyed ‘cause I was taking up time, I quickly asked her, ‘What were her favourite villages/ towns that she visited?’ At first she said it was the entire journey that was enriching but then mentioned ‘Harsil’ from where she got the most amazing view of the Himalayas and ‘Santhal’ which was so green with so many flowers and such nice people.

The Living Foodz team with Dia Mirza

Mine was the last question followed by a photo session by the media and then some of us were in line to get a picture with her. When she saw me coming, she blew me a flying kiss as a thank you probably ‘cause of what I said? Then when I went up on stage, I told her that I’ve been a big fan of hers since Rehna Hai Terre Dil Mein and I’d really like a picture with her. She was more than happy to pose for a selfie with me. Yayyy! Day was made.

Selfies with Dia Mirza, the beauty.

The event was followed by High Tea consisting of tea/coffee, Aam panna, Chhaas, Pani Puri, tikkis and tikkas, Jalebis and Rabdi, Panna Cotta and Gulab Jamun Crème Brulee on the menu. I was too happy to bother about the food for the first time probably. Yayy yayy yayy!

I can’t wait to watch Ganga- The Soul of India from 1st May. It looks like a show you mustn’t miss.


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Mar 2 2016

O:Cha, Lower Parel- Review


Oh Cha aHello! I think it’s been a while since I’ve written a full length review. Well, that’s because of so much happening at my end- house getting done, weddings, travelling with family and friends, blocked nose and bad throat, events, etc. etc. Clearly, I’ve also gotten lazy to sit and write so much but I think it’s time to bounce back now.

I was invited to try Oh:Cha and finally went there last week. I left it to the restaurant manager Monisha to send us Veg and Non Veg items according to our preferences in smaller portions. That gave us the opportunity to try 20 items from the menu. Boy were we lucky!

Drinks– We were both rushing from one meeting to another so obviously we couldn’t consume any cocktails. However, we did try some mocktails. I had the Orange & Kaffir Lime Caipiroska which had a nice citrusy zing to it. Karan had the Apple & Cucumber Fizz which would have tasted better had there been real apple juice instead of it being canned. We also tried the Mango Chilli Rocker which was basically mango milkshake with a hint of chilli. The Fresh Lime Soda was nice but quite syrup-y.

Oh cha bFood– For starters in Veg, I tried the Vegetable Chive Dumpling which was light and tasty. Karan tried the Chicken roll and said although it was soft and tender, he did not like the prominent chicken smell that came from it. On the other hand, he absolutely loved the texture and flavours of the Prawns cake with Lemon Grass starter. The Fried Turnip cake in black pepper sauce was one of my favourites. Who knew Turnip tasted that good! It was on the spicier side though. Next, the Stir Fried Sriracha Tofu was super soft and super spicy too. The Gai Hor Bai Toey or Pandan wrapped Chicken with Sriracha lemon chilli garlic sauce was a perfect 5 on 5 according to Karan. He loved the smokey chicken taste. The Gado Gado salad (Assorted veggies in Indonesian style peanut dressing) was a nice flavourful salad and I almost finished the entire thing by myself. Karan loved the Som Tam (Thai spicy raw papaya salad) and ended up eating quite a bit of it. After having so many starters and salads, it was time for main course. The Veg Phad thai noodles were great, more so because of the tamarind sauce and sprouts. We also called for Burnt garlic fried rice as I prefer rice to noodles and I have to say it was perfectly cooked! To go along with the noodles and rice, we had Tofu and Stir fried veggies in Sweet & Sour sauce which I thought was absolutely delicious! Karan had Stir fried prawns in Oyster mushroom sauce which was a bit too salty and it overpowered the taste of the dish.

Oh cha cOh Cha dDesserts– By now, we were pretty full but not stuffed, mind you. There’s always room for desserts, isn’t there? Ha! So we chose to try 4 different desserts! Yes you read right! First we tried the Chilli Chocolate tart with cremed Coconut icecream & chocolate soil. Now, this was basically a chocolate tart with a hint of chilli, coconut icecream with real shredded coconut, topped with Bournvita which they called chocolate soil. So I’d eat this dessert again but totally be ok without the Coconut Icecream. Also, maybe cake/brownie crumbs would be better than the Bournvita. Next was the Lemongrass Crème Brulee which was nice but could have been less sweet, a bit cool and with a bit more lemongrass flavour. The Gooey Chocolate Cake was lipsmacking! Wish they melted it and got it though so it would be a bit more gooey. The final dessert was the Passionfuit pudding with cashew and dates which was the least favourite of them all. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Oh cha eAmbience– Located at the Mathuradas Mills compound, Lower Parel, O:h Cha is easy to find. From the time you enter, you will see a lot of grey, high ceiling, a big eagle, huge cane lamps, a big bar and a very fine dine sorta feel. The music they were playing that day was awesome! Amazing covers of hits by Michael Jackson by some lady singer. (I would like to know the artist.) The place is pretty big and can easily be used for parties and events.

Service– We were served by 3-4 different servers and when we asked any of them about any dish, they all knew what it was so that’s good. They were all very warm and welcoming.

Prices-Considering the quality of ingredients used in making the dishes, the restaurant has priced everything decently but slightly on the expensive side. The starters range from Rs. 350- Rs. 650. The soups and salads are priced at Rs.300-350. Main course dishes range from Rs. 450 for Veg, to Rs. 550 for Chicken based and Rs. 650 for sea food. The rice and noodles range from Rs. 400 to Rs. 750. Desserts are all for Rs. 300. So in all you would end up spending about Rs.1000-1300 per head without alcohol easily.

Verdict– If you love Chinese and Thai food, you must try O:h Cha but I suggest you skip the desserts here.

Rating– 3.5/5

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Sep 15 2013

Saffron Bay, Chowpatty- Review


Saffron Bay I remember going to Saffron Bay in the first week of its opening less than a year back. Unfortunately I didn’t think it necessary to carry cash and they didn’t accept cards so we had to walk out without eating and decided to go to Cream Centre instead. Less than a year later, they still have a problem with their credit card system. Ummm… well, getting to my review.

Food– If you look at their menu it comprises of mainly Mughlai food but they also have continental food for the ones who would like some variety in food. For starters we tried the Malai Corn Tikki, a very different kind. The outer layer is covered in fried almonds and inside you’ll find a mixture of corn, paneer and cheese, chocolate sauce as accompaniment. Interesting yet strange combo. The tikki looked great on the outside and even tasted decent without or without chocolate sauce but was very bland. For main course we tried the Paneer Butter Masala which was tasty but the overpowering ginger taste could have been avoided. With that we had the Garlic butter naan which was nice and crisp with the right amount of garlic but slightly bland and Roomali Roti which was just right. We called for a Fresh lime soda and asked them to split it one by two. They went a step ahead and gave us almost two full glasses instead and it tasted great. For dessert we had the ‘dessert of the day’ which happened to be the Swiss Chocolate pastry. Now taste-wise it wasn’t out of the world but the quantity was perfect for two people. Overall the food was very well presented and the quantity wasn’t disappointing at all.

Saffron Bay2 copyAmbience– Now here’s a venue that’s at a prime South Mumbai location- Chowpatty. Saffron Bay is bang opposite the Girgaon Chowpatty beach. Several restaurants and Banquet halls have come and gone to replace the very famous ‘Revival’ that was known a long time ago. The restaurant is beautifully designed, keeping it contemporary with an Indian touch. I love the ceiling lights and overall colours in the restaurant. I just wish they played better music. When we just came in, they had some early 2000s Hindi music playing. A while later they had English pop music from the end of 90s playing. Neither of the two goes with the theme of the place but I excuse them because there was no one at the restaurant apart from us and the poor souls put that music for themselves and probably didn’t think to change it. Anyway, it’s a great place for a nice quiet dinner as there are several booths that make your experience more personal.

Service– Since we were just two of us, we had all the attention. Our food arrived after about 15-20 minutes of placing the order which is normal. Good staff and good service overall.

Prices– When you look at the prices you would estimate a spending of atleast Rs. 750-800 but once you order the food you will realise that the prices aren’t just for the heck of a fine dining experience. The Malai Corn Tikki starter was for Rs. 250, Paneer Butter Masala was for Rs. 350, Garlic Butter Naan and Roomali Roti for Rs. 50 and Rs. 45 each, Fresh Lime Soda for Rs. 100, Dessert of the day for Rs. 180. With taxes our bill came to Rs. 1136. Not bad at all.

Verdict– A nice experience overall apart from a few things that need to be worked on.

Rating– 3/5

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Jul 2 2013

The Baker’s Dozen, Prabhadevi- Review


TBD BreadsI’ve reviewed restaurants, cafes, dessert shops and pubs but this is the first time I got to review a bread shop. On a random evening a friend and I walked into ‘The Baker’s Dozen’ at Prabhadevi with the intention of grabbing a nice chocolate pastry. We were in for a surprise when we discovered it was a lovely little bread shop. Now since we didn’t want to buy any bread, we were obviously embarrassed and so walked out. But little did I know that I was to try the breads very soon!

Breads– After trying TBD I realised what I was missing out on. I feel privileged to have tried almost all their breads and will fill you in on what’s hot and what’s not!  There are some breads that go great with a dip, some you can eat for breakfast and some as sandwiches in snacks. TBD gave me the opportunity to experiment and discover what goes well with what and how good bread can make such a huge difference to a sandwich!

Now there are some that might be a little chewy or hard to eat but such is the nature of the breads says the chef. Also, after a bit of reading up, I found out that most German breads are dense and chewy. What is the same however is that all the breads are fresh, healthy, of good quality and well priced.

Four Grain (Rs.120) – This is probably the healthiest bread I’ve ever had! It has 4 different types of seeds- Pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower. Rich in fibre and high in nutrition. When I saw it first I cringed but after tasting I didn’t think twice before picking up another slice. It would taste superb toasted with butter! This is a type of German bread and hence is a bit chewy.

TBD CiabattaPain Au Levain with Apricots & Cherries (Rs. 120) – Don’t expect to find bits of the actual fruit. They are present in a tutti-frutti form which I didn’t enjoy that much. Also, being a type of German bread it was quite chewy and hard.  Try it with butter or jam.

Puccia (Rs. 30) – A pack of two small Italian dinner rolls filled with olives. Nice! Have with butter as a soup accompaniment.

Ragi Crackers (Rs. 50) – An Indian healthy snack which you can eat without feeling guilty. Unless of course, you choose a cheesepread as a dip like I did. Superb to munch while watching a movie.

Ciabatta (Rs. 30) – Now this is an Italian ‘Panini bread’ which I was really looking forward to trying so I decided to make a panini for dinner using the Ciabatta bread. I have to say that it might have tasted great but the crust was very hard and it took forever to finish eating my grilled panini. I would have preferred it soft.

Croutons (Rs. 30) – Filled with olives, these munchies are great to have with salad or soup. They’ll also go well with cheese fondue.

TBD FoccaciaPain Au Levain with Blueberries & Cranberries (Rs. 200) – This bread is similar to the apricots and cherries one and after having that I decided to try something fun with it. I made a dessert! I crushed about 3-4 slices of the bread and mixed with Amul’s Vanilla ice cream and topped with Chocolate sauce. It tasted great! Try and see!

Foccacia (Rs. 60) – This was my favourite bread of them all! Super soft, filled with olives and delicious! I decided to make a little Foccacia pizza using the simplest recipe! Cut slices of the bread, spread some pizza sauce over it, top it with whatever toppings you want and add a good amount of cheese. Put it in the oven for about 5 minutes and voila! You will have your very own scrumptious Foccacia pizza! This bread is so good, had I known earlier, I would have liked to make my panini with this bread!

Pain De Complet- Plain (Rs. 50)/ Multigrain (Rs. 80) – These are your regular sandwich breads, only softer and tastier. My family and I had some really good sandwiches made from these breads! If I had an option, I would get these instead of the usual Britannia/ Modern/Wibs bread, etc. Multigrain is obviously a healthier and better option.

TBD DessertBrioche (Rs. 100) – Egg is a very important ingredient in this bread and hence it is super soft and has a prominent egg taste. It is also sweet. Have it with Nutella, butter or jam and you will love it.

So yeah I’ve tried almost all their breads and thought some were really good and some were ok. I wish they also kept the basic- Garlic Breads, Croissants, Burger buns, Pizza breads, Pav Bhaji Buns, etc. But then of course, they’ve just started off and have a long way to go. I look forward to trying their other breads like Challah, Pain au Cereal and Pain au Levain with walnuts & raisins.

Location & Delivery– Their main kitchen is in Wadala and their little outlet is at Prabhadevi. If you’re around those areas, you can either pay them a visit to pick up breads or ask them to deliver at home. Their numbers are 86553 31313 and 022 6743 1313. In case you’re slightly hungry while shopping for your breads, they have a small seating arrangement at Prabhadevi where you can happily hog.

TBDPackaging– When you’re at their outlet, you will see their slicer machine which can slice your bread into perfect slices and its fun to watch it happening. But once that’s done, your breads are given in paper bags which are eco friendly and look great, yes but not practical, especially in the rainy season. Also, their Ragi Crackers which are pre-packed in paper bags may have the tiniest hole letting in the right amount of air to soften the crackers. That’s what happened to me and I had to eat soft Ragi Crackers no matter how tasty. So using plastic might definitely help.

Storage Advice: In case you’ve bought Ragi Crackers or Croutons to munch on, store them in an air tight container as soon as you get them home.

Verdict– The Baker’s Dozen is a great concept and they have some really healthy breads that are freshly prepared everyday. I recommend Foccacia, Ragi Crackers, Four Grain, Pain de Complet Multigrain and the Croutons!

Rating– 3/5

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Mar 10 2013

21 & Over- Movie Review


Boring, predictable teen flick, wanna-be Hangover, wanna-be Harold & Kumar and a total waste of time and money.

Rating- 2/5

21 & over poster

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