This blog is about Vietnamese food at a place called Pondicherry Cafe, in Bandra. Geographical disorientation, much? Vietnam has always been on my bucket list of places I want to visit. So when the Sofitel Hotel in Bandra Kurla Complex, hosted a Vietnamese food festival, and invited me to come sample some of the fare, I was elated. I could now cross off Vietnamese food from my bucket list. Vietnam nahi, khana toh sahi. Vietnamese food is known for using fresh, raw produce with tons of local seafood. The food is simple in preparation and taste.
The Vietnamese Food Festival was held at Pondicherry Cafe, Sofitel Hotel, BKC till the 3rd of June. The menu was specially curated and prepared by Chef Dao Van Son, Executive Sous Chef at Hotel Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Ho Chi Minh. We were lucky to not only get to taste his food, but also meet him and talk to him about Vietnamese food and his passion for cooking.
Pondicherry Cafe is done up with the most beautiful drapes, gigantic armchairs, and warm colors. In the middle of the regular buffet spread, we got a sneak peak at a traditional, Vietnamese food stall.
Food and travel go hand in hand. Most of us (me included) plan our vacations around local cuisines or food joints we want to try while we are on a holiday. I think good food completes the experience of a good holiday. Mumbai Food Lovers were recently invited to attend a travel workshop titled ‘Come, Plan, Go!’ at Zen Café in Raghuvanshi Mills, Lower Parel.
My incentive to attend this workshop was twofold. Firstly I had heard wonderful stuff about Ansoo Gupta, who would be conducting the workshop. Her experience and knowledge in the field of travel is unparalleled. And secondly, I wanted to taste the special Mango menu that Zen Café has created especially for the summer.
The workshop was useful for newbies like me, who haven’t gone around traveling much. My idea of a holiday is a luxury vacation where I don’t push myself mentally or physically. I think listening to Ansoo changed that perspective in me. She spoke about how easy it is to travel on a budget with low fare budget airlines, youth hostels, and good planning done beforehand. I learnt about forums such as ‘Couchsurfers’ (www.couchsurfing.org) and Air BNB (www.airbnb.com) which make finding staying options in ones budget far more feasible. I left the workshop well informed and motivated to get started for planning my next holiday.
Ours has always been a foodie family. For me family celebrations and good food have been inseparable. Food and family are synonymous for us. I have distinct childhood memories of shelling peas and watching television with mom. Or cutting out interesting recipes for mom from newspapers and magazines. I would then write down these recipes for her in a brown notebook, which we still have preserved.
When my mother and I were invited for a Mothers Day special event hosted by Real Good Yummiez to spend a Sunday morning cooking and eating together, we both jumped. It was an event to honour ‘Maa ke Haath ka Khaana’, where mother-child duos would cook together and whip up signature creations. I was excited because one of my favourite celebrity chefs, Vicky Ratnani would be judging us.
We were at Palate Culinary Studio (www.palateculinarystudio.com) that Sunday morning to try our hand at cooking some yummy dishes. We were given a fixed number of ingredients, sort of like the Mystery Box in Masterchef, and we had to come up with something. Capsicum, curd, raw mango, and Real Good Yummiez products: Hariyali Bites and Chicken Sausages. Check out their products here
We were five teams competing for some droolworthy prizes from Real Good Yummiez. We decided to cook a Sausage Paatiyo. A paatiyo is a traditional Parsi dish which is made with shrimp, and tomatoes. It goes well with traditional Dal rice. The shrimp were replaced with sausages. We also made a yogurt and raw mango dip, which we paired with the Hariyali kababs. Check out the pictures below to see what a fun time we had.
‘There is no better feeling in this world than a warm pizza box on your lap’
Pizza is comfort food. Pizza is happiness. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like eating a pizza. It’s the most versatile dish. The pizza base acts like a canvas allowing the chef to create whatever he wants on the top. I’ve eaten pizza with the most random toppings: crab meat, chocolate, marshmallows, caviar, nachos and even something called a dhokla pizza. Each one just as unique. Each one just as delicious.
I strongly maintain that there is a dearth of new restaurants opening at High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. Most of the restaurants have been there since many years now, and most of us have frequented them umpteen times. So the news of a new Pizza place launching there got me super excited.
Francesco’s Pizza is not new to Mumbai’s culinary scene. They have a take away counter at Kemps Corner since a while now. I thought it was a wise move to launch a dine-in at Phoenix, and with an expanded menu that includes not just pizzas. We were a group of food bloggers who broke bread that evening, with a common interest and common topic of conversation that entire night: Food!