Hungry Duck at Pali – Can a Restaurant Flourish Without Marketing?

Last week post my round of avocado scouting in Pali market, I saw a tiny restaurant nestled away inside Pali village. The Hungry Duck at Pali situated in a tiny lane after Janta bar, can easily be missed especially if you’re not proficient with Bandra by-lanes. The next day I dragged Bee down there for dinner, after a quick Zomato search brought out some wonderful reviews. Selling points included the words – roast tongue, Messi burger, and grilled chicken. 

The space is tiny. An open kitchen counter ensures you can smell the meat aromas wafting through the kitchen – no complaints there. The menu is exhaustive and covers meat of every kind – buff, pork, chicken, and the namesake duck – in dishes of every kind – roast, grilled, chops, sandwiches, and burgers the size of your face.

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NRI, BKC – Indian or Not Really Indian?

I love restaurants that tell me a story with their food. Restaurants that transport you to a different place or time, with food that enriches and enlightens. Which is what happened when I dined at Not Really Indian – shortened to NRI – the newest addition to the ever increasing list of restaurants opening in BKC.

I learnt about the lineage of dishes such as South African Bunny Chow, and a Caribbean Goat Curry. I tasted dishes such as the Mamak Lamb Chops, for an authentic taste of which I’d have to travel to Malaysia.

This is the entire concept of twice Michelin starred chef Atul Kocchar’s new flagship restaurant – Indian food that has traveled out of the country. This is the food that migrating Indians took abroad with them, and started hybridizing with ingredients and cooking techniques of their new home. Thus, the food is Indian but Not Really Indian!

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One Two Chia Chia Chia

(My apologies for that hopeless pun in the title.)

We saw a lot of food trends in 2015. One of which included a tiny, black seed taking supermarket shelves, cafe menus, and our lives by storm. Salvia hispanica or chia seeds have been included in the Mayan and Aztec diet since the beginning of time. But only recently this ‘superfood’ has gained impetus in our lives.

I first encountered the trend at an all-organic cafe in Bandra, where I found ‘chia seed pudding’ on the menu. That very same day thanks to my local grocer, and recipes off the internet, I decided to experiment with chia seeds. This was roughly six months ago, and since then I cannot stop advocating the benefits of chia seeds to all!

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Hyderabad Holiday Highlights

(I love the use of alliteration in titles. It excites me to no extent.)

My Christmas weekend was fun, albeit different this year. I spent it eating heap loads of biryani, exploring the uncharted territory of Andhra cuisine, standing in lines trying to get into tourist destinations, ogling at the opulent lifestyle of the Nizams, and enjoying the chaotic madness the city of Hyderabad has to offer. Most importantly I spent Christmas weekend spending quality time with my folks. And that’s all that really matters. Here are the highlights from my quick trip to the Nizam’s city – 

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The Blog And I Made Some Resolutions…..

Resolutions are meant to be broken, they say. Ohh, but not these. This year The Blog and I sat down over a glass of mulled wine and some leftover Christmas cake, and retrospected over the year gone by. 

2015 was fabulous in so many ways – met idols from the food industry, worked on some interesting projects, got recognized for all the hard work at IFBA 2015, and even got to shoot for this season of Masterchef India! We decided that 2016 has got to be equally awesome, if not more. The Blog decided it needs to continue writing consistently and churn out interesting posts regularly for you readers. I decided to make some personal changes that will indirectly reflect on The Blog as well. Here are our resolutions, ones that we intend to keep!

Content Is Key:

I am only going to write on topics that I would enjoy reading myself – doesn’t necessarily have to be about food. This year, I hope to churn out posts that are exciting, different, and hold your interest right till you scroll down. I personally enjoyed writing posts like the Open letter to bloggers and My Favourite Foodies more than anything else this year.

Healthy Food Choices:

If there is a resolution I am most afraid of sticking to, it is this! In the past six months I have put on a substantial amount of weight and am now resembling a baby elephant. (It’s a good thing Bee finds baby elephants cute.) I am not going to stop eating out, because then what will I write about, and what will you’ll read? I’ll only try and make healthier choices from the menu, and exercise strict portion control. And talking about exercise….

Cook Regularly. Cook Consistently:

I am such a moody cook. Erratic timings and hectic work schedules do not permit me to enter into the kitchen as much as I used to. This year I vow to cook one new dish a week. Also I need to stop sticking to desserts and try cooking newer cuisines. I am currently on a cook book collecting spree, and if you have any recommendations that I must read kindly comment below. After all if you want to write about food, you need to know how to cook it!

Stick to Writing:

Call me old fashioned, but I think writing on a blog is the true form of blogging. I simply cannot fathom how posting pictures on Snapchat/ Instagram is called ‘blogging’. Micro blogging, maybe. I did get distracted last year on a few occasions thinking whether I should balance writing with other things. This year I shall continue to stick to what I am good at – writing/ venting/ pondering on this blog. 

Give Mumbai’s Iconic / Heritage Restaurants Their Due:

When the news of Parsi Dairy Farm shutting down made the headlines, the world and Isobbed over the sad news. (Thankfully, those were just rumours.) But that made me realize one thing – I need to eat at these iconic restaurants to preserve them and ensure they remain open for posterity. Or atleast till my children are old enough to enjoy their first Mawa ni boi. Let us all also pledge to opt for dining at regional Indian restaurants as much as the fancy Italian/ Chinese ones. Trust me the food is yummier, and it may turn out to be cheaper as well!

Have you made any resolutions as well? Ones that you intend to keep, or break. Let me know in the comments below. 

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