The Bandra Guide To Creating The Perfect Christmas Feast

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THE BANDRA GUIDE TO CREATING THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS FEAST

WORDS BY GENESIA ALVES

The digging outside is spiteful, and the traffic is just so frightful… and even if there’s nowhere to go…. here’s an anti-dote to Christmas FOMO…

It’s never too early to start planning your Christmas feast! Set up a gorgeous, generous Christmas table with roasts, hams, Christmas sweets, cakes, and wine with this guide to all the season’s jollies.

American Express Bakery

Deck the halls with the American Express’s special Christmas catering menu. There’s the rich plum cake made with a traditional recipe, the Dundee cake, and fruit-mince pies. Their traditional Christmas plum pudding –  a best seller for years – features fruit peel that has sat in a decadent mix of rum, cognac, and warm spices for two whole months. There’s traditional sweets like marzipan, coconut toffee, and guava cheese as well as Portuguese sweet bread (not the offal), apple pie, and stollen with marzipan.

You can also order a roast chicken stuffed with walnuts, peas, and chicken sausage, prawn patties, and steak and kidney pies.

Orders should be placed before December 20.

American Express Bakery, Plot No 87, Villa Sushma, Hill Road, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 26422857

Mark’s Cold Storage

Head down to Mark’s Cold Storage for this season’s offerings of a whole smoked ham leg or a honey roasted ham. There are also whole turkeys and whole ducks for roasting if you have an oven that’s big enough and a little culinary ambition. (Hint: It’s not hard. Just enlist the support of one other foodie friend, get a good recipe from a reliable, no-fuss chef like Nigel Slater or Jamie Oliver, and go for it!)

Mark’s is also stocking the whole Christmas sweet shebang – Irene D’Souza’s famous guava cheese and kulkuls. And there’ll be marzipan and milk cream as well. Ask Leon at the counter for some recommendations. He’s lovely.

Mark’s Cold Storage, 2, Shahina Building, Pali Mala Road, Pali Hill, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2640 8626

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Rejoyce

Known for her spectacular wedding cakes that are atypically as delicious as they are pretty, Rejoyce makes a Very Famous Christmas Cake that comes so rich with rum the cake has to be double wrapped in cling film. The best thing about this truly delicious, very boozy cake – sold in 1.5kg loaves – is that you don’t have to order it in advance… so you don’t have to decide right away. However, keep in mind that the rum-fruit cake does fly off the shelves closer to Christmas day, so you may want to get yours and keep it in a tin. It will keep whether you eat it all at once or save it for cheat weekends in the future, a slice of Christmas spirit, quite literally.

Rejoyce, Shop No. 5, Luminous CHS, 50, Chapel Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 6513 7444

Laurabelle’s East Indian Christmas Sweets

The bad news is we’re too late – you have to order Laurabelle’s sweets in the first week of November, and you have to elbow in past her very closely-knit list of clients who have been buying sweets from her for years.

The good news is, you can send her a text and ask her if she may, just may, have some sweets left over and if you can buy them.

On the menu are milk cream, marzipan, chocolate walnut fudge, cashew toffee, date rolls, nankaties, guava cheese, kulkuls, coconut sweet, and coconut cake. The Bandra families swear by her sweets, so save this number and set a reminder for November 2018.

Laurabelle’s East Indian Christmas Sweets: 9820562605

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Jude Wines

We called Pamela at Jude Wines for some recommendations. Sweet port wine is a Yuletide favourite in Bandra, but the Sula Port Gold is less sweet than other local brands, so it may work for you. If you’re looking for a light lunch tipple, there’s the Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blancs from the big-name wineries. And there are a bunch of great reds at great prices, including the Fratelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Sula Dindori, or Samara Red. If you want to impress your guests or a host, she recommends a bottle of Jacob’s Creek or a Chilean Pinot Noir.

There’re also liqueurs like Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Cointreau (which is great to drizzle on fruit cake if you bought a non-alcoholic one). No fruit brandies, though.

If you’re looking to make mulled wine, then ask for a sweet port or a cheap red. If you’re going to make a big bowl of Sangria, the same rules apply.

Jude Wines, Shop No. 4, 10A, Lourdes Haven, Pali Junction, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 6504 9940

Desi Deli

If you’re looking for something much more casual but as delicious, Bandra’s junta favourite, Desi Deli, has rustled up a cracker of a Christmas menu. Lolita Sarkar’s Special Xmas Burgers come in vegetarian, chicken, and buffalo versions. The non-vegetarian ones feature traditional Christmas stuffing, turkey ham, and a special plum and cranberry sauce piqued with orange. It comes served with deep fried camembert drizzled with truffle oil. We’re sure it makes the naughty and nice list. The vegetarian patty is made with green peas and feta, features Christmas stuffing, and pickled red cabbage along with everything else.

They’ve also brought back their no-holds-barred 54 per cent Hot Chocolate, and that comes with flamed marshmallows (and a cracker coated mug rim if you’re eating at the deli).

The Christmas menu is available from December 8 to January 10, and you’ll have to pre-book because they’re only making a limited supply of these treats.

Desi Deli, 86, Chapel Road, Reclamation, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 2640 8333

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A Saluti

Milanda’s fine-dine catering is the stuff of whispered legends, and her store, A Saluti, a hub of the discerning genteel, old Bandra royalty, crunchy food snobs, and eager-to-explore gourmands as well.

You may want to venture in and have a mosey around the cheese and hams and other imported treats she stocks. But Milanda starts making her traditional Christmas cakes six months in advance – boozy, fruity, deeply flavoured delights, although there’s also a non-alcohol version.

She has a Christmas catering menu as well that includes stuffed roast chickens that come with baby potatoes and gravy and a set of small Christmas puddings made entirely with imported delicacies. You’ll have to book in advance, so call and chat with the store.

A Saluti, Shop No. 1, Shahina Apartment, Pali Hill, Bandra (w), Mumbai 400 050. Phone: 022 4006 5448

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Feature photograph copyright Brent Hofacker

Photos for representation only