Wok a slow Express

The newest kid on the block ,WOK EXPRESS’s  latest outlet at Chinoy Mansion, is just  a hop skip and a jump away from home. Our dinner guest from Chennai pointed out the restaurant as we were returning from a terribly disappointing dinner at China Garden Saturday night and said that WOK EXPRESS was a great concept one where you could order your customised Chinese online and which promised to home deliver. Now Home Delivery is a great hook for Mumbaikars who value time more than their money, so this afternoon I thought I’d give it a try.

I went online and registered myself and placed the order, a procedure that was simple enough. As soon as I placed the order, I looked at the time to see how they defined “immediate “which is what I wanted the delivery to be.

To my horror, an hour later I was still waiting for it. I finally called and was surprised that instead of sorting out the problem ASAP,  there was a needless exchange of calls back  and forth, just trying to verify whether or not I had placed the order. A more sensible person would have cancelled but not me : I hotfooted it  down to the outlet myself as it was getting on to an hour and a half since I received the order confirmation from WOK EXPRESS’s on line service.

So it turns out that there was a major glitch in the system so the outlet had not received the order. But when I went to the outlet the order was processed within minutes. I must say the management was sufficiently apologetic and possibly new ventures are prone to teething troubles so after a peace offering   of a complimentary strawberry bubble tea (Rs 70)  by the manager Shankar Koli , I placed my order yet again.

I now pronounce my verdict

1 medium box of chicken flat wheat  noodles with spring onion mushroom and pak choi with Kung pao sauce – Quantity was decent but the sauce was decidedly black. I always thought that Kung Pao was much lighter. Slightly more vinegar than I liked but there was a decent quantity of chicken and mushrooms.

The Teriyaki Chicken Shushi –

There were only 5 pieces in the box, no sauce though the wasabi and pickled ginger was generous enough. Once again I found the shushi too vinegary and sour .

The Strawberry Bubble Tea – I’m not a fan of Bubble Tea but my young grandson loved it!

Affordability ? Pretty good value for money

Yay or Nay ?

I am a bit confused with this one – My experience of the delivery service was HORRIBLE but once there, it was pretty ok. I was not too impressed with the noodles but may be my choice of sauce and condiments was all wrong. I will have to try the dim sum and other noodles to decide whether I want to keep ordering from WOK EXPRESS.

Rule Britannia – The iconic Irani Cafe

Britania irani cafe, Mumbai
Britania irani cafe, Mumbai (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Old time Mumbaikars who used to go to work in Ballard Estate will remember with great fondness Britannia Cafe, the now iconic Irani restaurant famous for its Berry Pullao. So famous is this restaurant that today my family that is coming all the way from Pune has requested me to order from Cafe Britannia. So naturally I had to oblige .

Britannia Cafe is situated in the still leafy entrance to one of the broad lanes off Ballard Estate. It is dusty and almost dilapidated because, as last heard, the owners are threatening to shut it down. And if the shabby appearance is not a deterrent enough, the high rates are equally inhibiting but all that notwithstanding, diehard Parsi food lovers will still make the annual trek to this restaurant and you will always find lines chairs of people waiting to get a seat in – to savour the ambiance of a bye gone era, to experience the authentic taste of Parsi food and get a sip of the almost instinct pink raspberry drink that the owner serves only to Parsis ( I’m kidding but that’s what grandpa threatened the last time I visited the place) .

So after going through Just Dial, I found out the telephone number and placed my order with Diana (one of the family) who efficiently took my order for Chicken Berry Pulao and mutton salli boti our family favourites. The Berry pullao is actually a chicken rice dish made distinctive by the tiny red berries got specially from Iran. The Salli Boti is a sweetish gravy made with apricots, onion and tomato, spiced with ginger, garlic, and special spices in which is cooked either mutton or chicken and now according to Diana,  king sized prawn! This gorgeous thick gravy is garnished with fine potato crisps that give the dish an interesting crunch.

 

Britannia & Company Restaurant

 

The light of the light house

Yesterday my cousin and his wife took us out to Abu Dhabi to see the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque built of marble and decorated with exquisite stone inlay, floral carpets and gilded dome tips. On the way back to Dubai we had lunch at the Fanr, a restaurant serving Mediterranean food  in the  15400 sq foot arts and cultural centre ,  on Saadiyat Island. Opposite the yet to be opened Cranleigh School, a bemused looking Mona Lisa with a beard gazed at us as we entered the complex which is not yet complete.

The restaurant has a lovely open feel to it with its high ceilinged central space and adjoining Al fresco dining area which looked tempting with its canopied tables in a tree shaded compound. We sat inside as we didn’t want to risk the hot, searing sun but the outside was pleasant too as we found out later. There was an unlimited barbecue lunch outside which was a great option for weekend diners with the great options available.

However we weren’t interested in gorging ourselves sick so we ordered a la carte inside, preferring to keep the stomachs light to match the conversation. The two vegetarians amongst us ordered a penne arabiatta and a pizza margarita which has very little to go wrong with and pretty much lived up to expectations.

I had a spicy shrimp linguine with a request for mild spice while the other two had chargrilled  veal escalopes. My shrimp were decently sized and the sauce was creamy. The veal was overdone and chewy but the overall verdict was one of satisfaction.

My cousin who finds good continental food hard to come by in this region was visibly impressed with the overall ambience, service and food so the next time you are in the neighbourhood, do give this a shot!

the high ceilinged hall
the chargrilled escalopes and linguine
shrimp in spicy sauce
penne arabiata
the light
the sumptuous barbeque lunch
a mural
the minaret of happiness

The Oldest Gujarati eatery in Mumbai – Thakar Bhojanalaya

With Winter coming to a close, we decided to catch almost the last Undhyo of the season and what better place than at the oldest Gujarati eatery in Mumbai? Situated in the heart of the old commercial precinct of Kalbadevi, Shree Thakar Bhojanalay has served many a merchant the authentic Gujarati food he can get in his home. So when Doctor G suggested we have lunch over there this afternoon, we readily agreed.

Located at the end of a higgeldy piggeldy lane that is impossible to walk in on any working day, we decided to take a taxi because even if the business area is deserted during a Sunday, Thakar’s reputation has people coming from far and near making parking impossible ( as you can see from the crowded street on a Sunday morning). So if you want to have a relaxed meal without worrying about whether someone is going to crash into your car or tow it away, either hoof it there if you are any where in the neighbourhood or take a taxi.

So after we climbed up the clean staircase ( must warn you of the faint smell of Eau de Bombay) we came up to the blackboard displaying the special sweet and farsan for the day below the tariff card . We were still early but most days this narrow passage is filled with patrons waiting their turn for an empty table.

The Thali

Gujerati eateries have a set menu served in the traditional thali. This is fantastic because you don’t have to worry your head about what to order and what not. With chapatis, puris, rotis, rice , daal and kadhi being constant, there are seasonal options in terms of vegetables and the little tidbits or farsan that are a must with every meal. A standard Gujerati thali also has some sprouted beans and today we were served my favourite red chana. The daal of the day made of arhar or pigeon peas as well as the kadhi was available in two variants : sweet and salty ( my personal preference) . The salad was a simple tomato cucumber mix which you could spice up with the different  while the chutneys ( red chili, green chili ,chilli garlic and raw papaya and sweet)  that were generously served. There was a spicy lemon pickle and a green chilli pickle which I gave a miss but I just couldn’t resist the absolutely yummy spread of vegetables :  green okra, a potato and pea gravy, a fresh mango turmeric and paneer in curried yoghurt gravy and the perfectly spiced undhya was balanced with fresh sandesh, moong daal halwa and the refreshingly chilled, velvety basundi jazzed up with fresh custard apple bits.

The specialty of Gujerati food is that they adopt and adapt several cuisines to their own  so we weren’t surprised when yummy corn and moong daal bhajias were served as farsan  with paneer and spinach rolls and dhokla. We were given a variety of breads – phulkas with or without ghee, bajra rotis, maka rotis, thick atta  biscuit like rotis and fried and roasted papads .

We were served in a typical thali with two flat rimmed catoris for the sweets and plain rimmed catoris for the vegetable curries. Unflavoured buttermilk and catoris of freshly set yoghurt were provided on the side. And after repeated servings of everything, came the scrumptious moong daal khichadi, soft and warm and perfect. If you have room for more, there was some bati pullao

The thali would be best described as a sit down buffet where the diner is given options to have all or any of the food that is available.

 Verdict

Sundays are particularly crowded so you would do well to make a reservation because once a table is occupied, it takes quite a while for the customers to leave…….. And remember , once you are seated the waiters start serving immediately so if you are in a group , wait for everyone to come before you sit down at the table.

Thakar’s  is clean, with efficient air-conditioning and a spotlessly clean wash room  and  without any pretensions of being anything than an everyday food place. The food is tasty, the service quick and attentive and definitely worth the trek.

Thank you Dr. G for the lovely Sunday treat.

 

Tel : 022 22069916, 022 22011232

31, Dadisheth Agyari Lane, Off Kalbadevi Road, Marine Lines, Mumbai

Desperately seeking Non-Vegetarian fast food at Breach Candy

IMG_0417
The yummy Chicken Craver

IMG_0420I was walking down Breach Candy the other day when I suddenly noticed a small pavement eatery that has been around for a long time. Right after the Indian Oil Petrol pump and alongside the Tata Garden, this small food stall has a major brand like Baskin Robbins – in fact the only one in this part of town. I was intrigued that such a big name was in such a humble location so I went inside and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t empty nor was it filled with giggling college kids. It had a fair mix of people who shopped, people who walked and of course the youngsters who need a decent place to hang out in.

This former stall of Farm Fair which once had products from MAFCO is now home to Baskin Robbins, Cookie Man , Coffee Break and HOWRA which I found serves yummy stuff. It was clean, the service quick and the Chicken Craver that I asked for tasty and well priced – for Rs. 50+ I could tuck into a good, wholesome snack. This was a variation of the Chicken Hot Dog with fried chicken chunks instead of a sausage. The chicken was crunchy on the outside and soft inside, the lettuce fresh and the mayo just right.

Non-vegetarian food is particularly hard to come by at Breach Candy since most of the eateries cater to the largely vegetarian clientele that shops and resides in the area. One option is the shack at Scandal Point, but that looks far too dodgy and inconvenient with the steps that one has to climb.

So, this little stall seems to be a good option and  the next time you’re at Breach Candy and looking for a quick snack, head towards St. Stephen’s Church and step into this tiny eatery for a good snacky experience!

IMG_0416 B1224192FA7846DB73154981408C667B