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Saturday, March 25, 2017

Restaurant Review –Bohemian Beer, Bistro and Tea Room

Bohemian Beer, (although there is no beer, mind you, no alcohol actually) is a perfect hangout for people who love food, continental or global cuisine, that pairs perfectly with tea. It is modern age bistro and tea room that serves global selection of handpicked, single origin exotic tea.

First thing that attracts you to this newly launched restaurant at Khar is the ambience.

The restaurant is divided into four sections. The outdoor place behind the long bamboo partition has perfect seating for Sheesha and snacks and that leads to a smaller party room where a smaller group can be accommodated enjoying the Sheesha experience.

The indoors have artistic dining tables, beautiful lampshades, with state of art and curios decorating the walls. Two  steps up is the open kitchen and ten steps down leads to a cozy room with low furniture, bean bags, board games and book shelf. (a room where kids can play/read while the family enjoys the dinner upstairs). There are many plug points near the low furniture where one can chill out alone too, with food, tea, laptop and spend many hours without disturbance.

The drama started in the tea kettle as soon as we were seated. Jasmine tea arrived with a beautiful display of scented flowers, a bulb consisting of a bundle of dried tea leaves and flowers, that began to expand and unfurl in process leaving a sweetly floral infusion.

With mood set to enjoy the dinner, the first course of salads arrived.

Sweet and spicy watermelon slice topped with creamy mascarpone and feta cheese. There was a delightful thai flavors of vodka and watermelon juice infused with fennel and crunchy pine nuts

A special tea leaf salad that had Burmese fermented tea leaves salad with fried garlic peanuts, roasted chana dhal, sesame seeds, cherry tomatoes and lettuce.

This was followed by appetisers, one veg and other non-veg.

Spicy cheesy Kaboos had sautéed vegetables with cheese stuffed between two flatbreads and lightly grilled and this was served with a spicy Peri Peri sauce and rocket leaves. The peri peri sauce was excellent.

I ordered Chermoula Prawns- marination of coriander, parsley green chillies, garlic, and lemon and cooked to the perfection. This was served along with homemade sauce which was garlic hinted and side salad.

While we enjoyed the meals, my eyes roved over all around the room. The interiors are tastefully done with every detail in its place. Every table is painted with intricately designed doodles. The tables separated by wooden designer mesh partition giving the privacy of dining experience to every diner. Beautiful decorative lamp shades all over the walls and ceiling, gives you the feeling as if you have entered an arabic zone.

It was nice talking to Rahul Desai, Nevil Kotak and Nitesh Raheja, the three partners, who are the co-owners of this beautiful restaurant. Being experienced chefs, their talent reflects into the food. Rahul Desai offered me a second cup of tea. He brought few bottles of tea leaves to choose from. I took in the deep breath to inhale their fragrance. I settled for deep red Hibiscus tea, although I had loved the vanilla flavored tea too, but then I cannot have all.

There is great variety of tea to choose from that range from normal black and green tea of different flavors, to Oolong tea like fugian, milk, gingseng or white like darjeeling, silver needle, assam hand-rolled or infusion like chamorine, peppermint, hibiscus, vanilla. There are other variety like rose, milk, blueberry. They also have traditional Indian teas like adrak-pudina chai, masala chai, cardomom chai. Adrak-pudina-lemon grass chai.

So we continue with the main course. Didn’t want to have Pizza or Rissotto, or sandwiches or burgers, wanted to order something light. I ordered grilled chicken with three peppercorn velonte served on the bed of mash potatoes and mixed grilled vegetables. I loved it

My friend ordered Cottage cheese, steak served with a side ratatatouille provencale and garnished with basil pasto and pine nuts. She didn’t like it much, she felt it was too cheesy and too heavy for her taste.

However, it was a good experience of dining at this restaurant. We promised to visit again with friends and sit for longer hours to enjoy more variety of dishes. The restaurant is fairly priced with about Rs700 per head, which is good enough if the management allows you to sit as long as you wish while sipping tea over board games and inhaling different flavored hookah like a chimney. Choice is yours......

I was there on an invite this time, but I would love to visit again
Shop 1, Mahesh Apartment, TPS III Road 5, Off SV Road, Khar, Mumbai

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Amaranth Leaves

The other day, my vegetable seller knocked on my door to deliver the vegetables. He had a big bunch of red leaves in his hand. It was an order from my neighbour. He said that he had specially bought for her since not many people ask for these leaves.

I have never before cooked these leaves but I wanted to taste it. I asked him to get a bunch for me. I learnt that these leaves are called Amaranth leaves and are called Lal Maat in Marathi. They come in red and green colors and smaller the leaves, the tastier they are. Before I could cook it, I googled to understand the nutritional value of these leaves. This is what I discovered.

The leaves don’t fall behind in terms of nutritional value. According to Ayurveda, the juice extracted from amaranth leaves help in treating diarrhoea and haemorrhage conditions. It is packed with carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and regular consumption helps in easing digestion, excessive menstruation and weight management. Since it is high in iron content and dietary fibre, it is good for anaemic patients, and reduces cholesterol and risks of cardiovascular diseases. The presence of an essential amino acids called lysine along with other elements are said to help fight against free radicals that result in aging or the formation of malignant cells.
The leaves are also deemed to be an effective measure against hair loss and premature greying. They act as a natural astringent and work wonders for skin problems like eczema and acne. It also contributes significantly to dental care and works as an effective mouthwash for treating mouth and gum related conditions.

I cooked amaranth leaves with potatoes using only garlic, chilies, salt and turmeric.

So simple to cook and so very tasty. I loved it.

I went to my neighbors home to ask her the recipe.


1 bunch Amaranth leaves
1tbsp jaggery
few Kokum leaves
50grams coconut
2 green chilies
5 cloves garlic
1tsp turmeric
2tsp coriander leaves
1tsp mustard seeds
6-7 curry leaves
salt to taste


Boil the Amaranth leaves with jaggery , salt and kokum.
Make the paste of masala by mixing coconut , green chilies, garlic, turmeric and coriander powder.
Stir fry the paste, add the boiled leaves and the stock.
Let it slow cook till creamy.
Temper with mustard seed and curry leaves
temper with deep fried crushed garlic.

Two days later she invited me for lunch and served me this

Monday, February 27, 2017

Product Review: iDFresh

There are many South Indian super stores in Mumbai where freshly ground Idly and Dosa batter is sold in plastic bag with a string tied around it, but the problem is that it should be used within two days or the batter might get sour.

Last week iDFresh send me their read-to-cook packets of idly Dosa Batter, chappatis and Malbar Parotas.

I normally don’t like to eat packed food but iDFresh company claims that it uses no preservatives, that it is 100% natural and authentic tasting Indian meal.

The chapatis are “Life savers”. One afternoon my maid forgot to roll rotis for me and I was too lazy, this was the day I decided to try these chapatis.

Good thing about these chapatis is that it can be roasted directly from fridge on to the hot plate, it fluffs like a balloon and tastes good with pure ghee. The only difference is that it becomes hard and stiff if kept for too long.

I took the frozen packets of Malabar and Wheat paratas to my sister’s house to share with her family

The parotas are fluffy and tasty. I would recommend these if you have too many guests at home, when you don’t have helper, when making a bulk is a tedious task. Just heat and serve is the best option.

The idly and Dosa batter was lying in my fridge for more than a week, till I convinced my friends to join me for a dosa party.The packets once opened should be used immediately, but I couldn’t possibly eat all that alone…needed a company to help me finish all.

Since we were a big group, my friend made home-made batter too, while I took the packet of iDfresh batter to her house.

This was a good opportunity to compare the packets with the home-made ones. My friend made delicious coconut chutney and sambar to pair it with idly and dosa.

Home made idlis were softer and also it was easier to get thin crispy dosa from home-made batter. With the packet batter, it tends to get lumpy and sticks to the hot plate. (if you are not expert in spreading the batter on the hot plate) Nevertheless, the iDfresh are equally good and the best thing is that it can be stored in the fridge till you are ready to eat. The taste is good, since there are no preservatives used, it can pass off as an instant meal.

“We are very clear about our brand philosophy and we will continue to add products to our portfolio which is fresh, natural, preservative-free, authentic, Indian home-style food.The future of ready-to-cook/ ready-to-eat industry in India is expected to grow exponentially with changing lifestyles, higher disposable income and increase in working population who are time crunched. Says Musthafa, the CEO of iD Fresh Food, who started this company with just Rs25000  and now is the proud owner of 100 crore company.

You can read his story here

I would recommend these packets for working people who have no time to cook and still want to try the home style recipes. Go on, save these iDFresh packets in your fridge for those lazy days.
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