MIXOLOGY, MYSTERY, AND MARTINIS AT MISS T
Miss T is seductive, intoxicating and downright mesmerising. Housed in a beautiful bungalow on a quiet street in Colaba, the restaurant boasts an innovative Asian menu and creative cocktails that showcase fresh ingredients and premium spirits. The ambience is chic, and the vibe is sexy, perfect for #datenight with bae.
Miss T, 4, Mandlik Road, Apollo Bandar, Colaba, Mumbai 400 001. Phone: 022 2280 1144/022 2280 115
The setting is perfect. We’re in the ‘secret room’, tucked away on the first floor of Miss T. The glimmer from the tea lights bounces off the clear liquid in my mini goblet and multiplies many times over as it reflects on the mirrored walls. The room smells of spiced gin and orange. The conversation swirls around alcohol, entrepreneurs, and puppies.
The drink is the “greatest in the world”, a Gibson Martini prepared by the two acclaimed mixologists sitting across the table. I nurse my cocktail, well aware I look less Brosnan and more Bullock from The Net. I’m wondering if I need to drain my glass quickly before I can get to the pickled onion when Dimi and Meagan* tell me that that is, in fact, the correct way to drink a martini; while it’s still cold.
I don’t need to be told twice.
I bid adieu to the master mixologists and get ready to explore other facets of the mysterious Miss T. Gliding down the stairs, feeling more Brosnan than before, I let the sequinned storks guide me to the ground floor.
Once below, I gravitate towards the lit T-shaped community bar, where Feruzan and Jeremy* hold fort on either side. I join the captivated cluster and watch Jeremy prepare my second drink of the night, a herbaceous gin tipple with a refreshing touch of cucumber, kaffir, and lime. As he talks about the balance of flavours, I notice that the fragrant mixture that fills the glass is just the right quantity. Jeremy uses a tweezer to place a sprig of green aniseed and an edible garnish with a tiger print on the thin layer of foam. This astute attention to detail is the common thread that binds different aspects of Miss T.
The chic interiors evoke a sense of intimacy and set the mood for a sophisticated evening. The spectacular skylight, which streams in diffused light through the leaves during the day, opens out to glowing Chinese lanterns at night. The cosy booths near the entrance can be used as a waiting area but seem ideal for coy conversations and flirtatious knee-touching. The soft lighting, metallic accents, and flickering tea lights at every table create an atmosphere that’s equal parts playful and provocative.
The kitchen runs like clockwork under the watchful eyes of Chef Nikhil, with each plate being executed to perfection. Locally sourced ingredients are used to create Asian dishes with an innovative twist. The crunch of the vegetables in the Vietnamese rice rolls can be heard over the hum of candid conversations. The black sesame ice cream slices through the citrusy flavour of the yuzu tart. I couldn’t possibly eat any more, but my eyes still rove lasciviously over culinary assortments as I walk past a row of occupied booths and tables on my way back to the buzzing bar.
I know it’s the beginning of the end of the night. But it’s also the beginning of a potential long-lasting love affair, one that grows more intense over time and many handcrafted cocktails.
I like Miss T. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.
*Dimi Lezinska is the Beverage Manager at KOKO. Meagan Ashley is a renowned New York-based mixologist. Feruzan B is an acclaimed mixologist and the brand ambassador for Stranger & Sons. All three were present at Miss T for a special event. Jeremy Buck, the Beverage Director at Miss T, leads the team behind the bar and is responsible for creating the unique cocktail menu.
Feature photograph courtesy Miss T
SAVOUR SUBLIME ASIAN FLAVOURS AT SEEFAH
For erstwhile fans of The Blue who began to notice that something was missing from the food (and from the folk in the kitchen area) and were beginning to mildly panic, 2019 brings excellent news. After the successful launch of Soi69, Chefs Karan and Seefah’s little jewel in Breach Candy, the couple have, without any fanfare, opened a new eponymous space on Hill Road. It’s called Seefah and it is wonderful!
Seefah, 3rd Floor, Khan House, Next Time Square, Hill Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 089288 95952/089288 88710
Important things first.
The menu at Seefah features almost* every single one of your absolute favourite things at The Blue. As a recap, the focus is very much on Thai and Japanese cuisine with crowd pleasers and palate teasers.
The papaya salad, fried chicken, sushi, and sashimi (the tobikko – the roe’s tiny, briny, orange orbs with their firm pop) are all still sublime. That seasonal mango salad, with or without the crisp squid, has taken permanent residence on the menu. That green Thai curry is as aromatic and complex, and the steamed fish in its piquant, citrusy, sinus-blasting glory is even more perfect that before.
And now comes the better news.
The restaurant, on the third floor above the McDonald’s (and the inexplicably popular Kaitlyn’s Beer Garden) is large and can accommodate 50 covers as opposed to The Blue’s mere, table-hustling 20.
There is a little terrace that the place overlooks suffusing the interiors with light at lunch time and with a rare (for Bombay) sense of space at dinner. The interiors are beautiful and unpretentious; blue walls with a few cherry blossom sprigs painted here and there, furniture and décor in cane, wood and velvet, tables for four set up around the large dining room, and an island of high-bar chairs and an elevated table in the centre for larger groups or many individuals.
Chef Seefah says the kitchen is much, much bigger than the one at The Blue, and it features gas cooking rather than induction, which she says will only improve the deep flavours of what they serve. (I personally cannot imagine how it could be better, but I take her word for it.)
Those familiar with The Blue will also be delighted by the familiar faces at Seefah, because almost all her staff came to work with her at the new venture.
Children are allowed in the evenings as well, because the chef says she would like to watch her customers enjoy their food with their entire families.
In the few days since she opened, Chef Seefah herself has been walking to say hello from table to table and smiling at those who are thrilled to have finally found her again after she ‘disappeared’. “I wanted to do it quietly and properly,” she says, “and make sure everything was perfect before we started telling people.” Her generosity and sweetness seem to suffuse the space with a warmth that is as authentic and addictive as her flavours.
And people are talking.
Just via word of mouth, all the tables are full on a Friday night, four days since they opened their doors. This is fine for fans of Seefah. We know good things come to those who wait.
*Seefah the restaurant has replaced the pork dishes with other meats in acquiescence to the landlord’s religious dietary rules.
(It’s a New Bandra thing.)
Photographs courtesy Seefah
POP BY CRAWFORD MARKET FOR A-MAIZE-ING POPCORN
Sour cream and onion, Manchurian, peri peri, and more – the humble butter popcorn gets an exciting makeover at Mr. Vinay Thari Jayswal’s stall in Crawford Market.
Vicky’s Popcorn, Near Dharamjyot Electricals, 79, Kerawala Mansion, Mangaldas Road, Lohar Chawl, Kalbadevi, Mumbai 400 002
READ SIMRAN AHUJA’S STORY
I was in the middle of my usual 5 p.m. hunger pangs when my colleague offered me her popcorn. “Try it,” she said, “it’s sour cream and onion flavoured.” Two minutes later, my nose was dusted with the seasoning as she tried to pry the packet away from me.
The source of this magical snack was Mr. Vinay Thari Jayswal’s 40-year-old stall in Crawford Market (located at the beginning of the lane next to Bata). Of course, I visit for myself. The first thing that catches my eye is the signboard on his cart – Vicky’s Popcorn and Yeh cheez badi hain mast mast (10 points for the Bollywood cheesiness). Displayed below that is the array of flavours on offer: caramel, cheese, sour cream and onion, chilli cheese, chilli tomato, Manchurian, Szechuan, and chatpata.
Since cheese and caramel popcorn are longer a novelty, I go with three others: sour cream and onion, Manchurian, and peri peri. He promptly scoops plain popcorn into a transparent plastic bag, sprinkles in a generous serving of the flavoured seasoning, and shakes it all together into utterly, butterly deliciousness. Oh, and each of the variants costs only 30 rupees. When I ask Mr. Jayswal which is his favourite flavour, he smiles. No answer. They’re all unique, he tells me.
Well, that settles it. If he can’t pick, why should you?
Feature photograph copyright Brent Hofacker – stock.adobe.com
DOLCEMI DELIVERS AUTHENTIC ITALIAN CONFECTIONERY
Dolcemi, a dessert kitchen in Bandra, is the brainchild of an Italian jewellery designer and Indian entrepreneur. Confections such as tiramisu, biscotti, semifroddo, gelato, mousse, and more can be picked up from their base or delivered to your doorstep via delivery apps. Orders have to be placed before 2 p.m. on the previous day.
Phone: +91 90290 17000 (from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday)
Everybody knows that dolce means sweet in Italian and that Anita Ekberg was really living the good life when she waded into that Roman fountain in her legendary black dress. But dolce is also an Italian musical term – an indication to play an instrument in a tender, adoring manner; to play a chord sweetly, with a light touch. That is what Dolcemi’s tiramisu does – it caresses your palate gently, the subtle sweetness melting on your tongue. The coffee liqueur diffuses into your throat, leaving behind a warm glow instead of the familiar burning sensation. You have to close your eyes and mouth to hold on to the feeling of being in sunny Sicily before it evaporates.
The pastina de mandorla elicits a similar reaction, accompanied by a deep, content sigh possible only in the absence of guilt. The small almond biscuits – crispy on the outside with a condensed centre – are dairy-free and gluten-free. For those who crave all year for marzipan sweets, Dolcemi’s soft dough pastry is Christmas come early.
Chocolate lovers have a long list of unusual suspects to choose from, but one item stands out. The chocolate salami may sound suspicious to vegetarians, but what looks like black pudding is a log of semi-frozen dark chocolate dotted with tiny pieces of biscotti. The specks, although substantial, aren’t quite enough to grasp the incredible nature of the Italian classic.
Luckily, Dolcemi offers 100gm biscotti packets and four tempting options, including the newly introduced walnut and gianduja.
Just scanning the luscious menu is enough to cause acute cravings and intense confusion at the same time. What’s certain, however, is that to live the good life in Mumbai, you need a certain amount of foresight and Dolcemi on your speed dial. Order early, then sit back to dream about an Italian summer. All dolce things are worth waiting for.
Feature photograph courtesy Dolcemi
DRINK UP: A BEER LOVER’S GUIDE TO ANDHERI
WORDS BY KASTURI GADGE
The rise of the microbreweries has been good news for connoisseurs of craft beer in the city. Taprooms have mushroomed across town over the last couple of years, but it’s safe to say the trend is especially tight in Andheri. Here’s a list of locals you can hop on over to, say ‘Prost’ to a fresh brew, and skip wearing the lederhosen.
Woodside Inn opened its second outpost in Andheri way before the beer revolution hit the town, and its beer and burgers bring all the folks to the yard (They’re so good they have an annual beer and burger festival). A reliably good playlist, great crowd, and extensive beer list make this a great choice whether its Oktoberfest or not. On tap, they serve beers by Gateway Brewing Co, Great State Al,e and some local and international names. If you’re adventurous, keep an eye out for their beer infusion nights where they bring out the Randall for some extra fun with the brews.
Woodside Inn, Shop No. 11 & 12, Link Plaza Commercial Complex, Bhau Tatoba Toraskar Marg, Mhada Colony, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 102. Phone: 022 2632 8963. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 200
Brewbot Eatery & Pub Brewery
We don’t know if bots actually brew the beer, but if they are, they’re doing a great job. The pub imports all the ingredients from beer capitals like Germany, Belgium, and Australasia, and the beer on offer includes pints of German Kolsch, a French-style Apple Cider, a crowd-pleasing Hefeweizen, and a full-bodied British-style stout. Put that down on a table in a fun space that has natural light by day and plays with Edison lights at night and who wouldn’t say ‘ja’ to that?
Brewbot Eatery & Pub Brewery, G-01 & 101, Off New Link Rd, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 93260 72768. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175
Their tagline is ‘Rhythm and Brews’, and The Finch has been on every music lovers radar since they opened. Live music performances by performers – fresh, familiar, and sometimes famous – have always drawn the crowds in, but the latest draw is a microbrewery that’s been on the cards right from the start. Their craft beer menu includes a Belgian Wit, an Indian Pale Ale, a Nitro Stout, a Cider, and a Hefeweizen.
The Finch, Shah Industrial Estate, Opposite to Huntsman Building, Saki Vihar Road, Andheri (e), Mumbai 400 072. Phone: 080559 92993. A pint of beer: Starting Rs. 355
Independence Brewing Company (IBC)
On a more serious note, the beers on offer at IBC are seriously good. One of the country’s first craft beer companies, the Pune brewery came to Mumbai at the behest of city fans who sampled their beers and wanted more. It was initially available only in a couple of neighbourhood bars, and this is their first stand-alone taproom. Expert advice: one trip won’t be enough, as they have an elaborate selection that’s worth exploring. Start off with an easy going Belgian Wit, move on to a Pilsner, get a little heady with the Four Grain Saison, and call it a night with the creamy nitro stout Ixcacao.
Independence Brewing Company, 41, Citi Mall B, 001 & 101, Link Rd, Veera Desai Industrial Estate, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 022 2639 9065. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175
This equestrian-themed pub promises to add a little glam to the life of office goers in Andheri East with its luxe interiors and free popcorn. They don’t horse around with the beer menu either. An elaborate list of craft beers from the city are available here in 330ml to a 3-litre serving option, and they’re opening an in-house beer garden very soon too.
The Stables, The Peninsula Redpine, Near Airport Road Metro Station, Andheri (e), Marol Mumbai 400 069. Phone: 9820647072 Drinks for two: Starting Rs. 300
Doolally, Pune’s first microbrewery, had become the Mumbaikar’s weekend pilgrimage, so news of them opening outposts in Mumbai was greeted with great cheer. On their opening night, the taps ran dry. Today, there’s a Doolally in pretty much every neighbourhood. The brightly lit décor, comfort food, and good selection of board games cater to a troop of happy regulars. We recommend sampling their Weitber, Pale Ale, or Oatmeal stout to begin.
Doolally, C18-21 Dalia Industrial Estate Near, Fun Republic Road, Off New Link Road, Veera Desai Industrial Estate, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 053. Phone: 074001 71674. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 300
When Sammy Sosa opened in 2008, a big draw was their beer menu that featured 45 international beers. This Mexican restaurant remains popular with families, and it’s bright, cheery, and a great place to clink glasses across generations. Their beer list will have something for everyone. There’s a tequila-flavoured Mexican beer Amigo, an intense one called Shepherds Neame, and the Leffe Fruitesse that is a hit with non-beer drinkers.
Sammy Sosa, Meera Tower, Shop No 18, Link Rd, Oshiwara, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 058. Phone: 098336 66555 A pint of beer: starting Rs. 175
Barrel & Co
Barrel & Co is only a year or so old and a little different from the rest. Launched by a bevy of Bollywood stars, it’s known for its happening parties and an aura of glitz. If you want a change from your usual, this is the place. Their in-house brewery offers a medium bodied Bavarian brew. They also have a selection of beer cocktails where mixologists use house beers and get adventurous with their recipes.
Barrel & Co, 2, Link Rd, Industrial Area, Andheri (w), Mumbai 400 047. Phone: 098838 34567. A pint of beer: starting Rs. 250
Feature photograph copyright puhhha – stock.adobe.com. All other photographs courtesy the restaurants.
SURF AND TURF IN BORIVALI (W): A NON-VEGETARIAN’S GUIDE TO RESTAURANTS IN IC COLONY
WORDS BY MAULIKA K. HEGDE
As a suburb, Borivali is generally regarded as a lollapalooza for all things vegetarian, including Mumbai’s best vada pav offering. Most eateries in Borivali are vegetarian friendly with immense potato-entialities and generous portions of paneer chunks. There is no skimping on grated cheese or melted cheese accompaniments.
However, for this ’90s kid whose family was accustomed to a healthy dose of kori rotti, restaurants which offered meat and seafood were held in high regard. Here’s a breakdown of Borivali’s establishments offering lip-smacking, maasahari chow.
For Sea Food
Over the years, several eateries have opened up in Borivali to cater to pescatarians. But two establishments stand out (mainly on account of the nostalgia factor and alcohol availability): Majestic NX and Silver Coin.
Located close to the junction between IC Colony and LIC Colony, Majestic NX is a casual dining restaurant with an outdoor seating area. Apart from their specialities in tandoor, Majestic delivers a sumptuous feast via the Seafood Platter, Jumbo Pomfret, and Fish Fry (Seer fish or Pomfret). With a fresh catch and flavours heavily influenced by Udupi-Mangalorean cuisine, the fare is rich and delectable. To help you make the crucial decision of what to eat, the floor manager (who usually takes the order) gives you a lowdown on what flavours and styles will mesh well with your selection: green masala, red masala, gassi, curry style etc.
Majestic NX, Rakesh Apartments, LIC Colony Road, Vallabh Nagar, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 022 2890 8667
A 25-year-old establishment, Silver Coin still maintains the vestiges of the ’90s fine dining restaurants: a doorman and a motorised elephant for kids to sit on. It also has a website that allows you to make reservations and take a quick gander at its food, and it prides itself on its take on Mangalorean specialities. Multiple variations of sea food are available, predominantly in Oriental and Indian styles. From classics such as Meen Pulli munchi to the exquisite Lasooni Machi, trusted Fish Tikka, and Surmai Tawa Fry, Silver Coin has its patrons covered.
Silver Coin, RSK Apartment, Ground floor, Cross Road No 4, IC Colony, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 022 2895 1410
For Chicken and Mutton
When biryani is bae-ryani and money is dear, head to Lazeez for your mutton/chicken biryani fix. Smack in the middle of IC Colony, this hole-in-the-wall also has kebabs and tandoor items to offer. Lazeez boasts of succulent pieces of chicken/mutton (doused in a top-secret marinade) enmeshed in a mildly flavoured basmati rice with slow cooked chunks of potato, preferably eaten with their in-house raita. If your plan is a stay-in Saturday with friends, Lazeez can also help you out with a party order.
Lazeez, Shop No-5, Tone Compound, Near IC Church, IC Colony, Borivali West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400103; T: 022 2890 6116
If you’re not too taken up with biryani, walk towards Holy Cross Road for your shawarma fill at Al Falah Shawarma. Apart from the usual Lebanese shawarmas, it also serves Mughlai and Mexican style shawarmas, open shawarmas, and salad shawarmas. While traditionalists might choose to chomp on the classic chicken/mutton shawarma, the masala-craving gourmand can sample the spicy chicken shawarma with a glass of 7Up or Coke.
Al Falah Shawarma, Eugenie Building Apt, Holy Cross Road, IC Colony, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 075068 72070
The Fusion Kitchen is a new kid on the block that shows a lot of promise. Couched in the niche of ‘fusion’ food, it matches step with its millennial clientele. The Chicken Paprika is a highly-recommended hot mess of chicken dunked in a cheesy paprika sauce with bell pepper rice and sautéed veggies for accompaniments. The portions are generous and the flavours are spot-on. The Poulet Farci Aux Champignons (beaten chicken breast with a filling and mushroom sauce) is also an excellent bet.
The Fusion Kitchen, Shop No. 1, Opp Veda Building, Off Link Road, Holy Cross Rd, IC Colony, Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 022 3383 6003
If you’re easily egg-cited, head to Café Blue Bliss for their Chorizo Omelette and Scrambled Masala Cheese. The former has generous amounts of the spicy sausage, onion, and bell peppers; the latter is not as spicy as the omelette, but it is tempered well. Bacon and sausages are also available as add-ons. To wash down your meal, the menu offers a vast array of coolers and chilled coffee. For those who are willing to sit down for a hearty meal, this café also offers Mangalore style Pork Bafat, Pork ribs, Sorpotel for mains and Gadbad for dessert.
Café Blue Bliss, Shop No.2 & 4, Ektha Angan CHS, Holy Cross Road, IC Colony, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 077383 20678
If you fancy an anda bhurji or a Chilly Garlic French Toast, Café Jecevel is the place to be. The Local Scrambled (bhurji) is unpretentious with its substantial serving, and the Chilly Garlic French Toast is flavoursome. The Omelette is a big draw too. The big plus about this café is the value for money – large servings that come with unlimited ketchup and mayonnaise at no additional charge.
Café Jecevel, Shop No 1, Sabita Apartments, IC Colony, Borivali (w), Mumbai 400 103. Phone: 075068 19123