Saturday, December 27, 2014

Of Dreams Coming True - DBS India's Chilli Paneer.

Oftentimes, I am posed with the question from the people I meet - "Why aren't you into blogging/baking full time? You're good at it. You should totally make the switch". I always smile back at them, secretly thinking to myself that I wish it were as easy as just saying it. Or thinking it. I wish it were easy to just get up and say 'I Quit'. I wish it were easy to make a new beginning without letting fear stare me in my face. That being said, Flying is my one true love, where I feel I belong. But a really cute story made me believe in dreams, and if it weren't for flying, I would have actually taken the leap of faith and taken peoples' suggestion. I'm talking about DBS Bank India's cute-sy short movie, Chilli Paneer. The movie link had over a million hits, so I just had to check out what it was all about. 

Chilli Paneer is the story of a Food Blogger from Singapore named Ken, who visits India on a family business trip. He bumps into Asha, who as it turns out is an ardent follower of his blog. They bond over food and in no time their love for food turns into feelings towards each other. A crazy idea, a dream to open their own restaurant, and soon enough they are gathering funds with the help of DBS Bank to open up their first restaurant together. It almost makes you feel like you're living the dream along with Asha and Ken, from picking the colour of the walls, to picking the right curtains, hiring the most appropriate Chef, dealing with light fixtures and other malfunctions, and eventually naming the restaurant. Then there's the whole angle of the typical Indian parents who aren't very happy with their daughter's choice of man and would rather have her settle with a well qualified desi guy who probably lives in his own predictable bubble. The grand opening shows some prominent food blogging faces in Mumbai, all attending the serene soiree and enjoying themselves to the fullest. A sigh of relief combined with a victorious smile, Ken and Asha raise a toast to each other where Asha finds a diamond ring in her champagne. The first part ends with Asha looking deep into Ken's eyes, and Ken looking back at her, reassuringly. 

The second part of DBS Chilli Paneer is far more interactive that the first one. Ken and Asha decide to open a second restaurant, away from their city, all the way in Goa. The short movie showcases Asha in various scenarios through Ken's perspective. Of course, all along, both of them are in touch with their DBS Bank representative through their iPads, discussing financial possibilities, loans, making the best decisions as they travel the city. The interactive options let you make a choice, whether you'd end up doing something completely random, like open up a restaurant on a boat, or buy a huge place from an egoistic restaurant owner, or just decide to lay low, for whatever happens, happens for the best. Based upon your choices, at the end of the movie you get to know something about your personality. As for me, I would totally end up opening the second restaurant on the boat. 

I don't know if there is going to be a part 3 to the movie, but I seriously hope there is, because it makes me believe in things. Maybe this time from Asha's perspective, showing Ken react to different situations, cooking some good food or even writing a cook book. I can take it for granted that the DBS Bank representative is going to be there with them, all along. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Anniversary Yauatcha!

December is the month that makes me the happiest, what with the Christmas cheer, the mornings with a nip in the air, playing Secret Santa, baking goodies, planning how to party on the new years eve while secretly analyzing my own growth over the entire year. I am looking forward to all those Christmas Special movie nights, watching Home Alone movie marathons, and all the other RomComs, from Serendipity to Sleepless in Seattle... I already have a smile on my face as I am typing this. This December began on a rather fantastic note, as I received an invitation from one of my favourite places to dine in, Yauatcha. Yauatcha is not the place that needs any feedback, but is nice enough to still ask people and actually give the suggestions an honest thought. The scrumptious food is only an added advantage. I have never really eaten an average tasting dish here, everything is cooked to utmost perfection.

From the 1st December 2014 to the 15th December 2014, Yauatcha is celebrating their 3rd anniversary, and celebrations include all-you-can-eat Dimsums and Wine between 3 PM and 7 PM. Along with that, they have also revamped their entire menu and I was lucky enough to give it a try!

The Yin Yang Dumplings were filled with three kinds of Mushrooms and were delicately cased together so they would melt in your mouth as soon as you put them in your mouth. We also tried Prawn and Seaweed Dumplings which were nothing short of exceptional.

The Charcoal Lamb Buns were light and steaming but one bite into them and I felt that depth of the tender lamb, which was so delicious that it made everyone at the table shut their eyes for a moment and savour the pure burst of flavour. This one is definitely going to be regularly ordered!

The Crispy Sugarcane Chicken and Prawn Roll was the most wow dish served to us, presented with a lot of personality in the form of biting into a sugarcane stick while chewing into the roll, just so that underneath the crisp exterior and the tender middle, there is a sweet and juicy hit, something you would never imagine to work on paper, but hey, my palate loved it!

The Crispy Prawn and Edamame Rolls were innovative and tasted like nothing I had ever tasted before. The dish is served with a sauce alongside, and you can choose to have the sauce poured over the rolls or eat them as is. I tried them both with and without the sauce and I prefer the sauced up moist and yet crunchy goodness!

The Stir Fried Pumpkin Prawns were pure genius. The Prawns are coated in a batter made out of puréed Pumpkin and fried till tender, and the Pumpkin batter makes them taste so good!

We next tried the Lamb in Kam Hyeong sauce. I have never had Lamb so tender in India. The curry was heavily spiced but was not overwhelmingly loaded with unnecessary spices at the same time. 

Yauatcha is one of the places where I feel that the Vegetarian selection does as much justice to the customers as the Non Vegetarian ones, if not more. The 4 style vegetables proved that yet again. We had them with the Chicken and Egg White Rice, in a bowl, with chopsticks, relishing every little morsel. 

I got to try the much talked about Raspberry Delice for dessert. I have to say this, it was not worth the hype. I agree that it is a pretty looking plate but it was too sweet for my liking. That being said, while it was not up to the Yauatcha standard, it still beat the many desserts I have eaten at random places. It was still yummy!

I also tried the Jasmine Tea Cake and I have only one word to describe it... WOW. The light and airy mousse cake came with a side of ice cream and the whole plate was like a marriage made in heaven. If I had to pick one dish to recommend from Yauatcha it would definitely be the Jasmine Tea Cake, and also the Pumpkin Prawns. 

I also tried the Macarons from the dessert display at the ground floor but I was not too excited about them, I guess my Macaron love probably lies in Delhi... Or maybe Paris!

Here's wishing Yauatcha a Happy Anniversary once again and thanking them for having us over! It is always a pleasure visiting you guys!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Review: The pursuit of 'Happi'ness. Me So Happi, Khar, Mumbai.

I am back, after another hiatus, to apologize about my absence. This time is a little different, 'coz I come bearing good news, especially for the forever hungry people in Mumbai. As I am trying to desperately find balance between my love for food, and leading a healthy and fit lifestyle, I have recently had the opportunity to try some real fun places in our city and as a "foodie" I feel very excited about the change in the food scene, with people open to trying stuff from around the world, stepping out of their dal-chawal-aloo-tikki-chaat-masala zones and opening up to subtler flavours, while taking their palates through a culinary roller coaster.

I could go on about what's hot and what's not, but its for you to decide. What I can tell you is that when I go to a restaurant, review or otherwise, I look for good food (obviously), great service, smiling faces, loud chatter, and a great ambiance. Basically, I look for a good vibe. A vibe that makes me happy- which is what Me So Happi did, it made me happy.

Me So Happi is an all day diner located right next to the Guess showroom on the Linking Road, Khar. You will easily spot the happy writing on their sign board. Walk in and you will be transported to an upbeat ambiance, with large windows, plenty of natural light, and little nothings that meant something to us as kids such as a jar full of Kismi Bar chocolates. I, for one, am not a huge fan of the high chair seating but surprisingly the chairs were very comfortable. What looked like a quaint little place was actually enormous inside, with an outdoor seating area and décor with lots of personality. If you are lucky enough you will spot the owner, Aarathi Arambhan, and the Chef Anirudh taking rounds and interacting with customers and getting feedback all along. Here is what we tried:

Smoothies: We tried the California Smoothie and the Mr.P Nutt Oats Smoothie. It was a surprise to us that this place actually served up smoothies and we were so glad we ordered these! The P Nutt Oats Smoothie is a must try.

Salads: We tried the Caesar Salad which was spot on, the Chicken and Egg Salad was nice too, but I am more of a Caesar Salad girl :)

The Quinoa and Beet salad was excellent and a refreshing change from the normal leafy stuff!

Appetizers: We also tried the Prawns on Fire, which were actually perfectly balanced and fried to crispy awesomeness. I would not say the same about the Baked Potato Skins. Safe to avoid them.

Meat lovers, do yourselves a favour and try the Big Bad Meanie Lamb Burger. I have attached the picture and it needs to explanation. It was juicy and yummy!

Another succulent meaty dish is the Meat On Top, with an amazing gravy topping a bed of mashed potatoes. You will love it, I am sure!

We thought of trying the Cheesecake for dessert but it was out of stock (yes it is that good) so we tried the Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, which was topped with none other than Magic Pop! This one is an absolute must try!

The Pecan Nut Pie was nice as well, just thought it was a tad eggy for my liking. Will stick to the Mousse Cake or the Cheesecake!

In the end, Me So Happi made We So Happi! :)

P.S. They have recently started a Sunday Breakfast menu that opens at 7 AM and goes on till 11 AM. Cannot wait to try it!
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