A visit to The Clearing House (TCH) – a swanky dining space in Ballard Estate – had eluded me all this while, until recently. I finally decided to make good use of that one precious Sunday and trekked all the way to ‘town’ for TCH’s special weekend brunch. TCH does brunch a bit differently – for starters their brunch menu is ala carte and brought right to your table. Which in my opinion is a welcome change from the boring ol’ buffets where the food turns cold and insipid after lying out for so long. Their brunch menu is available on both Saturday and Sunday – because why should the joy of brunch be restricted to just one day in the week?
I was neck deep in commitments during the entire month of April – both on the personal and professional front. But that does not mean I didn’t eat my way across the city as I normally do. The end of another month brings with it yet another round up of my food favourites. Here is a list of favourite restaurants, dishes, and home chefs that I tried and that made the cut to be featured on my April Food Favourites list.
1. When you can’t decide between ice cream or paan – K. Rustom’s Paan Ice Cream
You have got to be living under some sort of rock or living inside a hipster bubble if you’ve never had the old school ice cream sandwiches from K. Rustom in Churchgate. Creamy ice cream in the most delectable flavours come sandwiched between two wafer biscuits to create an enjoyable experience. It’s such great fun biting into these ice cream sandwiches without any spoons or plates. It’s a race to finish off your ice cream before the summer heat melts it onto your Zara top. (In my case, the summer heat usually wins. It’s fun nevertheless.)
In one corner, behind a gleaming glass counter I can see an artist in a chef’s hat rolling out sushi with precision and intense concentration that the art deserves. Right behind me, I can hear the sizzle and boom from the Teppanyaki counter – another Chef whipping up a dish with the theatrical flair that this Japanese form of cooking demands. The primary, open kitchen has an army of diligent chefs, painstakingly stir frying veggies, boiling noodles, or seasoning meat – all under the watchful eye of Commander and Head Chef Liang. There was so much to take in, so much to gaze around at, and so many cuisines to explore at the Pan Asian, at ITC Maratha.
The ITC Maratha, has carved a niche in the Indian cuisine department, famous for the ITC kaali dal at the highly acclaimed Peshawri and Dum Pukht. Among the seven dining establishments that this sprawling five star property boasts of, the Pan Asian remains highly underrated and deserves a spot in the sun. The restaurant is ‘Pan Asian’ in the truest sense, with cuisines from China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Malaysia on offer.
In 2015, we were introduced to the humble yet delicious Bao – a soft, pillowy bun that housed the most delicious meats and sauces within. The bao was featured on every ‘Food Trend of 2015’ article, and by 2016 has made it’s way onto the menu of most mid-level Asian restaurants in the city. But the restaurant that pioneered the trend, and remains my favourite place to bite into a bao is The Fatty Bao!
To celebrate Baos in all their glory, The Fatty Bao brings us the Bao Wow festival, where till the 14th of February you can feast on thirteen new varieties of baos, apart from those on the regular menu. That’s right, thirteen!
There are new restaurants launching left, right, and center in this city, but very rarely have I been as excited for the arrival of a new place as much as I have been for Terttulia. Terttulia is one of Pune’s iconic restaurants known for their relaxed, brunch-y vibe, sangrias and delicious pizzas. I remember visiting the Pune outlet a while ago and I fell in love with the place. I was thrilled to hear that they were all set to launch in the city shortly and I was hoping they would live upto the sky-high standard they have already established for themselves.
We were lucky to have been invited to a special preview of the place, before it opens to public on Sunday, July 13th. Situated prominently at Shivaji Park, I think the location is definitely going to work in its favour because there aren’t many fine dine options in that area. Also it’s midway between South Mumbai and the suburbs, so either group doesn’t have to travel too far.
Ambiance: I was in love with the place the minute I stepped through that door. Dining out is not just about the food and having the perfect decor contributes immensely to the experience. I think Terttulia nails that aspect completely. The restaurant has a chic vibe, with armchairs, ornate chandeliers, and curios sourced from vintage shops. My favorite was the Casio keyboard mounted on the lower half of a sewing machine.