Monday, 28 November 2016

Pala Fala, Worli Mumbai

THE LAGAN NU BHANU BOX
Get A Parsi Feast Delivered to Your Door from Pala Fala in Mumbai located in Atria mall on the 4th floor, Pala Fala delivers from Worli to Andheri and all the way to Colaba. I’ve not been to Atria mall in a long time now, don’t even know if the food court exists but this one is located where the old food court was. While there’s no dearth to Parsi restaurants in Mumbai, Pala Fala was started to “bridge the gap between old fashioned Irani cafes that lack modern day restaurant facilities such as home deliveries, buffet, online ordering etc and modern age sophisticated Parsi restaurants that lack authenticity.We were sent to taste THE LAGAN NU BHANU BOX. My reviews are very objective of the restaurants that I review.

This was the second time I was tasting Parsi food. It's very different to food that we make at home. I being a Punjabi married to a Sindhi our preparations and marination are totally different. Once before I was invited to my wife's school friends wedding in Colaba who's a Parsi and really enjoyed a few dishes that were served there however with Pala Fala there were a few hits and miss. So what all did we receive in the box? 

CHICKEN CHEESE CROQUETTES - Minced chicken mixed with potatoes/cheese and mild herbs, made into rolls, then covered with bread crumb fried with egg. This was a delicious appetizer only wish there was some chutney that was sent with it. Luckily we had some homemade green chutney that went really well with it. 

MUTTON CUTLETS- Minced lamb mixed with potatoes and indian spices, made into patties then deep fried using egg wash. A little on the spicier side that went well again with the homemade green chutney.

PATRA NI MACHHI- Rawas fish marinated in green chutney then steamed in banana leaves. It gets cold by the time it reaches home. The green chutney had a coconut base and we found the salt and spices less. In fact, this was on the sweeter side. I don’t like my green chutney paste sweet so this was not to my taste.

SALI CHICKEN- Parsi Chicken Curry made in a tomato gravy garnished with potato strips. This dish was too sweet for my liking, felt like this dish was made in tomato ketchup. The meat was a little undercooked which was a big disappointment. Overall a no no!

CHICKEN DHANSAK DAL & BROWN RICE- Traditional Parsi dal made with lentils, spices and chicken cooked together. Found this dhansak a little bland but I guess that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It went well with the aromatic brown rice that came in the box. 

CHAPATI-  3 to be precise. Thin & soft just the way it's made in every house. 

LAGAN NU CUSTURD- No Parsi meal is complete without this. Soft, perfectly sweetened, soft a creamy. 

Overall, the food is sweet, bland and low on spices if that’s how you like it order it and let me know in the comments section about your experiences. Till then Take Care and have a Majja ni Life!



Pala Fala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa – A Scenic Getaway & Life Enhancing Organic Cooking Workshop by SHARAN

It all started with a deep connection to nature and with the discovery by two brothers — William de Souza and Denzil de Souza - of the Shillim Valley, a unique bowl-shaped eco-hotspot nestled in the Sahyadri mountain range. I keep saying that our country INDIA itself is so beautiful that we need to keep exploring different parts of it. SHILLIM IS PARADICE ON EARTH! If you’re a nature lover this place is definitely for you. Located about 30kms from Lonavala and 3 hours from Mumbai this place is offers different Wellness programs, a sanctuary for the mind, body & soul. A Wellness destination from where, after spending a few days, one would return to everyday life, transformed, rejuvenated and re-inspired.


DR.NANDITA SHAH AND HER TEAM

DR. NANDITA SHAH FOUNDER OF SHARAN INDIA
SHARAN India; an organization with the goal of spreading awareness about holistic health and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle. There were many highlights of the cooking workshop primarily focusing on going “VEGAN” I had so many questions in my mind because I didn’t know anything about vegan food. A friend of mine who I was dining with a few days back has turned vegan. What is Vegan? Any person who does not eat or use any animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, or cheese: Vegans get all the protein they need from nuts, seeds, and cereals. Dr. Nandita and her team also explained us the benefits by giving examples that how being vegan has benefited their families but turning Vegan for me is a big question as I’ve always been a milk person. There were many dishes that were taught in their cooking class. I’m going to share a few photos and recipes that I loved. Recipe courtesy SHARAN India.



BASIC GREEN SMOOTHIE 
Green smoothies are are a great energizing wat to start your mornings. They incorporate the goodness of greens with the sweetness of fruit. 

To make a great green smoothie mix about ½ or less green leaves & about 2/3 fruit (except melons) & a bit of water. Flavourings can be added as needed (ginger, mint, lemon zest). Smoothies should not be strained. Do not add melons, vegetables (except green leaves), nuts or seeds. It’s the best to alternate between the different kind of greens – spinach, mint, coriander, celery greens, spring onions, pak choy, beetroots, basil, betel etc. Bananas, mangoes, papayas, chikoo, grapes, passionfruit’s & other pulpy fruits make a good smoothie. Here’s the basic recipe. 

Ingredients

2 frozen ripe bananas (you can also use fresh ones instead) 
A large handful of greens 
¼ cup of water 

Method

Place the green leaves in the blender with enough water to blend. 
Blend till the smooth green soup. 
Add the bananas and the other fruits. 
Add a couple of cubes of ice if needed. 
Enjoy this refreshing Smoothie!

Eggless Egg Salad 

Ingredients
1 cup crumbled firm tofu
¼ medium sized onion, chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped capsicum – red or green
2 tbsp finely chopped celery
5-6 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish optional

Method 
Mix all the ingredients well. Garnish with parsely and serve. 
Serves 3-4
Oil Free Pakoras
Want to be healthy and still eat Pakoras? Well now you can have your pakora and eat it too!

Ingredients
1 cup mixed chopped vegetables (you can use cabbage, onions, carrots or any vegetables of your choice)
½ cup besan
spices of your choice – ginger, garlic, chillies, red chili powder, whole dhania
¼ tsp turmeric
salt to taste
minced fresh coriander
water as needed to make the blend thick and sticky – just slightly thicker than normally used for pakoras

Method
Mix all the ingredients and make small 1 inch balls and put in a steamer. Steam till done (if you put a fork in, it will come off clean or the pakora does not stick to the steamer and can be easily moved)
Take them out of the steamer and pop them in the oven at 200C for a short time till outer crust is brown.
Serves 3-4

Stuffed Mushrooms

Ingredients
Button mushrooms with their stems removed
Cashew cheese (recipe given below)
Optional flavoring for the cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes/olives/jalapenos/chillies/herbs

Method
Mix the flavorings to the cheese. Stuff the mushrooms with this. Bake till lightly browned on top. Serve hot.


Raw Cashew Cheese
This cheese is easy to make and makes a wonderful spread.

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 6 to 8 hours)
⅓ tsp unprocessed salt

Method
Pour out the water from the cashews and place them in a blender.

Make this into a smooth paste adding a little water. Now leave this to ferment in a glass container for 8–24 hours depending on the room temperature until it begins to smell sour.

Add salt. Mix well and serve. Refrigerate to store.

This can keep for 10 days or more. Ideal for making cheesy sauces, dips and spreads, or even just directly on bread.

It can even be used on baked dishes and will brown slightly when baked.

Note- The fermentation time differs based on the room temperature and the climate of the place where you are. Please keep an eye on the cheese after 8hrs. It should be placed in the refrigerator after it begins to smell sour.
Serves 4–6


Peanut & Brown Rice milk combo Yogurt 

Ingredients 
1 cup peanuts (soaked for 4 hours) 
½ cup brown rice flour 

Method 
Blend peanuts with water into milk. Heat the milk and add brown rice flour. After a boil, remove it from the gas. When warm, add the starter (curd /5 to 6 chilli tops), and leave in a warm place to firm. 
Can be easily kept in the fridge for 10 days. Serve cold!

Brownie

Ingredients
1 cup walnuts (or a mix of walnuts and cashews)
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup dates (soaked for an hour and pitted)
1 tsp vanilla powder
A pinch of salt
A pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)

Method 
Just blend the walnuts (or a mix of walnuts and cashews), cocoa powder, dates, vanilla powder, and a pinch of salt. Add a pinch of cinnamon if you like.
Refrigerate for about 4 hours.



This table was set for lunch after we finished the cooking workshop. It was out in the open and had a magnificent view. We chatted with Dr. Nandita Shah and her team over lunch. Tried vegan food for the 1st time and it didn’t disappoint me. In fact, the food was heavy and was feeling very sleepy after a heavy meal but unfortunately could not sleep as we were invited just for a day and had to explore the property as well. We were taken around in a Tata Nano instead of buggies.


Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa at a Glance
  • 350 Acres of magnificent landscapes
  •  Shillim Spa
  • 99 Villa's with Valley, Forest and Mountain views
  • 6 different restaurants with a extensive range of culinary fare
  • Meeting & Events
  • Library
  • Meditation Cave
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Mountain Pool Bar Bistro
  • Infinity Pool
  • Organic Farm
  • Activity Area's
  • Shillim Cooking Center
  • Walkway 
  • Yoga Rooms
SHILLIM SPA'S RECEPTION 
SPA SERVICES
  • Accupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Naturopathy
  • Ozone Therapy
  • Ayurveda
  • Reiki
  • Music & Dance Therapy
  • Tai Chi
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Watsu
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Pilates Body Conditioning 
MEDITATION CAVE 
THE TEA HOUSE

POOLSIDE
THE WALKING TRACK
ORGANIC FARM
MOUNTAIN POOL BAR BISTRO
INFINITY POOL

VILLA INTERIORS

VIEW FROM THE VILLA BALCONY







PHOTO CREDIT: PRERNA SINHA (MAA OF ALL BLOGS)

"On Earth there is no Heaven, but there are pieces of it"
Hilton Shillim is one of those pieces that one must explore! We highly recommend the property however the hospitality was a major let down. The PR agency was highly unprofessional and they had a lot teething problems. The tariff is steep on your pockets. Nature lovers, spa lovers and people who want "ME" time will love the wellness programs that they offer. I would love to chat with you in the comments section. Do let me know about your experiences when you visit Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa. Till then Take Care, Keep Travelling & Keep Exploring!







Sunday, 20 November 2016

Reise All Day Bar & Kitchen, Mumbai

Never knew Chakala, Andheri would be so cool. A travel inspired bar that covers Cocktails & dishes from all over the globe. Located in the basement of the Oriental Aster Hotel - Reise All Day Bar & Kitchen can easily host about 60-70 people. A cozy place yet not cramped up. You’ll also find elements of the theme, i.e. travel, subtly incorporated into the décor in the form of photographs of scenes from around the globe, a trunk full of trinkets and, our favorite, intricate doodles of iconic monuments such as the Great Wall of China and St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, set on each tabletop. The bar, too, is adorned with passport stamps from different countries.




We were invited to review Reise All Day Bar & Kitchen. My reviews are very objective of the places that I review. While classic cocktails and shots take up a bulk of the bar menu, they also offer 8 signature cocktails inspired by different countries. We started with a cocktail my favorite being Dome Long Island Ice Tea an elegant drink which I was expecting a long glass. It’s made out of white spirits & contreau topped with coke. The only difference with this Dome LIT & the classic one is that this is topped with Coke & Cranberry juice. A little different from the classic one.

The food menu is divided according to continents – Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East and America – with a focus on small plates to pair with your drinks. We left the decision on the management and asked them to serve their famous delicacies to us.


In the appetizers we were served: Jalapeño Cheese Poppers: One of my favorite appetizer goes really well with the Dome LIT, the size and texture was bigger and better than what I have usually tasted before. Once you pop and pull out hot cheese oozes out.YUM!
Cheesy meat eclairs which was minced lamb, deep fried with cheese filling very similar to the Jalapeño Cheese Poppers once break this into two cheese oozes out Loved this appetizer and the dips i.e Masala Mayo & Chilly Mayo served with it (European)

For the Vegetarian’s a must explore is the Kundan Tara - Soft & mushy mushrooms were stuffed with a cottage cheese, cheddar cheese mixture then marinated with spices and finally char grilled in a tandoor. The charring gave it a unique smoky flavor. It was served on a small Naan, with some fryums and salad on the side along with 4 types of dips; green chutney, chili mayo, honey mustard mayo and a spicy mayo. Recommended!

I L-O-V-E watermelon cocktails… They are just perfect for any season: refreshing, sweet and light & this Watermelon Caipiroska was blended to perfection.

We made a quick pit-stop in Africa with the African Chicken Balls, with poached chicken stuffed with spicy-sweet cinnamon that complements the tart cherry tomatoes.This was served with parsley and tamarind dip.

Nachos Oriental Style Chicken mince - An all-time favorite dish. Nachos topped with minced chicken, salsa sauce, cheesy sauce, chopped bell peppers, and tomato.

THEPLA TAQUIITOS - A Mexican twist to a Gujju specialty, “Thepla”. This dish resembled the Burrito more than the Taco. A Thepla was stuffed with a mashed red beans patty, mayonnaise and little tomato salsa. It was served with tomato salsa and mayonnaise on the side in addition to fryums & salad.

GRILLED PRAWNS PERI PERI - Succulent prawn gobs pierced with toothpick skewers, cooked on a bed of peri peri sauce with grilled onion and celery, & green olives. Served with a parsley dip and a tamarind dip, and with two slices of garlic bread on the sides. The olives and the prawns were a great combination, and the overall fare was nicely fiery and tangy, and unique in itself. Sea food lovers you’ll love this one.

Celebration Planters Punch – Loved the perfect blend Rum, Lemon Juice, Strawberry flavor, Pineapple juice, Orange juice, & Guava juice. This cocktail is also called the Smooth Party Punch.


Smoked Chicken Dimsum – Small Chicken dimsums like a flower served with the smokey broth tasted wonderful. The texture and flavors were spot-on! Recommended.

Chicken Schnitzel with Puttanesca Sauce – Breaded Chicken escalopes finished on the grill served with this yummy tomato sauce with inclusions of capers and olives. Loved this crispy chicken and the sauce on it. Highly Recommended!

Herb Roasted Chicken served with Garlic Mash & Sautéed Vegetables – This one being my favorite in the mains didn’t disappoint me. I wish the mash potatoes were a little creamier and rich as I was expecting them to be. The chicken was marinated well in advance thus gave a lip-smacking flavor, it was also grilled to perfection. The veggies were delicious too & this was served with au jus.

After all the Appetizers & Mains there was no room for Dessert but the management recommended Chef’s special Caramel Split Banana which is served with Ice cream with Caramel sauce which we loved, the caramel sauce was absolutely sinful. There’s also a Chocolate Dome which is served with it which is hard on the outside and filled with mousse inside. The dome was too hard to break and the mousse were a waste of calories. I’m a big chocolate mousse fan and this mousse was a no no!

Verdict: A culinary experience that’s easy on your pockets. A fantastic place for travelers to meet and plan their next holiday. A special mention to those wonderful photographs’ that they have collected. I love travel photography and if this interest you a must visit! I would love to chat with you in the comments section do let me know about your experiences once you visit Reise All Day Bar & Kitchen. Till then Take care and Bon Voyage!


Reise All Day Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato