Friday, September 14, 2012

Food Review: Grain and Bagel, Malad, Mumbai

I am emotionally attached to some food items. No, wait. I am emotionally attached to every single food item that I have had that was so good that it remained etched in my memory. Needless to say there are also instances that accompany such food memories, for example a joke that was shared at that time or the memory of being really hungry and running to the store while completely ignoring other important things like phone calls from people or even the urge to pee. I will pretend I did not just say that.

I have already blogged about the craving for Boston Cream Doughnuts and that is how the Bostom Cream Cupcakes happened. The only other thing I miss so much are Bagels, and although I have baked them at home, I admit that it is a long and tedious process and that actually makes me not wanna have them. Until I reviewed Grain and Bagel.

Grain and Bagel is located very close to the Infiniti 2 Mall in Malad, at the base of one of those huge skyscraper-y buildings. I consider myself lucky to have gotten a chance to review this place over a span of 2 days, once by myself and the other with a group of food bloggers. It is interesting in the least to see how ones perspective changes in both these settings when it comes to food tasting, hence proving that there is not just good food that goes into the makings of a good restaurant, but also great service, ambiance, time of the day and company. Okay enough of beating around the bush, lets get to the point : Food!

These people won me over right when I entered their place with the big ass black board with the entire menu written on it!

The mocktails that I tried included a Watermelon Mojito, Directors Special which is a mixture of Strawberry + Litchi + Ginger with a dash of Tabasco and Sprite. Lovely flavors but a tad too sweet for my liking! And if they get the sugar syrup ratios right, this is a steal for 80 bucks.

But the clear winner in the Mocktail Department was their Kokum and Roasted Cumin Daiquiri, which I had twice in 2 days. It totally hits the spot.

I also tried their Fresh Juices including the Kiwi and the Apple+Cranberry, and both were absolutely fantastic. Two thumbs up for that!

Soups were disappointing. The Tomato and Basil Soup was bland and under-seasoned whereas the Cream of Chicken Soup was grossly over-seasoned!

Grain and Bagel offers the option for people to choose their favorite style of Bagel Bun and customize it with various sauces, bases and toppings. The setting is quite unique, you walk in, you order, you pick up your own cutlery and get your bagel made, pay at the counter, and then find a seat and enjoy!

 Alternatively if you order from their à la carte menu, you pay up and get one of these cute numbered wooden cubes which you place on your table and the order will come to you.

Now a Bagel may be customized with a million toppings under the sun but for me a Bagel is all about some simple cream cheese on a toasted bun. And while I did taste their customized bagel, I preferred the Multi Grain Bagel with Philadelphia Cheese.

I also loved their Signature Bagel, stuffed with Scrambled Eggs and Grilled Chicken pieces. Succulent and fluffy, but the Slaw at the side was absolutely unnecessary in my honest opinion.

Coming to other breakfast items, we tried the Pesto Scrambled Eggs with Spinach and Ripe Tomatoes, and melted Feta on top. All their breakfast preparations consisting of Eggs are served with Toasted Bread and Hashbrowns on the side! Loved this Omelet! Fluffy with the perfect flavor balance.

Badal, one of the owners recommended that I try the Iranian Omelet which happens to be his favorite thing to eat on the menu. What he did not know is that I am very low on my spice tolerance levels since this omelet has a lot of chili in it! But what the heck, I absolutely loved it and more so coz it came in with a glass of Chocolate Milk! Felt like I was back in school.

But the clear winner of all and may be the best thing I had in the breakfast menu were their fluffy-to-goodness-melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. I am still trying to sum up how to express it in words other than "perfect" but I can surely say that this is the kind of food that will remain etched in my memory for the longest time.

We tried their special Mornay Maggi, which is basically Maggi cooked in a creamy sauce. I liked it, but did not love it, since I almost always make Maggi at home this way and also because I have had better. If you ask me what was missing, I'd say texture in the form of veggies.

Moving on to the Mains, I had their Caramelized Onion Polenta with Basil Pesto. I do not remember anything that tasted even remotely like Caramelized Onion on there but the Polenta was very nicely cooked and the Basil Pesto sauce was to die for!

You can hardly go wrong with Roast Chicken. And GnB's Sage Roasted Chicken in Chacutiere Sauce with Bell Peppers was no different. Chicken cooked to perfection and the sauce was amazing. I did not care much about the Bell Peppers but the Mashed Potatoes were Brilliant!

The Spaghetti Bolognese was so good looking on the plate but unfortunately the meat seemed a little too chewy to me. This could have been way better.

The Mornay Risotto with Asparagus tips was the best Risotto I have tasted in Mumbai yet. I wish there was more Asparagus in there though. The Chef has totally hit a home run with this dish!

By now I was full to the extent of not being able to walk, but I had to try the desserts!

I hate Buttercream. And especially the local, grainy buttercream. I even tweeted just yesterday that a buttercream is not a buttercream if it is not creamy and/or buttery. Most places in Mumbai serve a grainy buttercream, including some of the best bakeries in town and honestly that for me is a big turn off. Some of them have so much Sugar that I end up spitting the icing out.

And then there is this Gourmet Cupcake of GnB which is warm, superbly moist, perfectly cooked and with an amazingly light, luscious, abundant amount of buttercream that even people like me end up finishing every ounce of!

The Belgian White and Dark Chocolate Mousse was creamy, but I did not find it that exciting.

The Dark Chocolate Tiramisu was served in a Triangular tapering glass which means a mix up in the ratio of cream to crumb and that is where they miss the mark. I would have loved having some more chocolate in there. Also, it is not a Tiramisu for me if it does not taste like coffee.

The Coffee Truffle Ganache was another winner. I would describe it as "om-nom-nom"-y if that was a word!

The Mandarin Pot de Creme was superb! Chocolate cooked with Mandarins and then frozen! This had a slight bitter after taste that was very desirable.

They have a space in their outside seating area where guests can leave feedback!

After ALL THIS EATING, I had to spend the next 2 hours chatting around the place since I was unable to walk. Will I go back to GnB? I definitely will, and I will also recommend everyone to try it! Considering this place is only about a month old, they have got their act together and minor tweak ups would make it unstoppable! All the very best guys!


  1. askmaverickSeptember 14, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Amazing place and loved the way you wrote about the food ... like they are real life characters ... I will have to try it whenever I am in Mumbai next.

    1. Caramel WingsSeptember 14, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      I am so glad you liked it, Maneck :) Yes, do try the place out whenever you visit next and maybe ask me to join you too! :P

  • candyvioletaSeptember 14, 2012 at 7:58 PM

    Hello doll!
    I just randomly visited your blog through another blog and I love it,
    firstly I found a complete new place to try as I live nearby this locality...dying to taste their food.
    and secondly I have actually seen you in the last Indiblogger meet, well are you coming to the Speedfest one?


    Do drop by!

    1. Caramel WingsSeptember 14, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      Hi Gargi!

      Welcome to my little world :) You totally have to check this place out. Unfortunately I would not be able to make it to the next meet since I am leaving town on Monday. But the next one I will definitely be there!

  • simple bakingSeptember 14, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    Once again, very informative and thorough write-up. Thats the best thing,I guess, I like abt your blog. You describe each and every detail vividly and its almost as if m tasting the food :D.

    So sorry to missed out on your workshop that day :(. But the situation at my home was very hellish with four out of six down with fever and cold. But now everything is sort of under control. Guess I'll have to wait for another one of your "fundu" workshop :D.
    Have a wonderful weekend dear!

    1. Caramel WingsSeptember 14, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      Thanks so much Anuja! I did not know that it was you who was the Anuja from the workshop! How is little Sai doing now? Hope all are doing better :) Next workshop will happen soon!

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