How About Making a Graffiti in Mumbai’s Walls?

We were waiting outside Imbiss for our turn at the lunch table this particular Sunday, when I noticed a foreigner walk up to the narrow lane opposite us with this big bag, take out cans of paint, brushes, wipes and then test the walls, perhaps for smoothness. Why yes, I had seen street art in the long stretch of the Tulsi Pipe Road near Dadar. And more, recently, in Mahim too. Aha, I pointed to Ridi, my 6-year old. This man is going to paint the walls. Let’s go watch him.

4-5 children too had walked up to him by now, curious to see what ‘designs’ he had for the walls! We watched him mix his paints, clean his brushes, scrape out the posters from the wall and start painting. And we struck up a conversation with him. He was a banker in Germany. Stephen. Was back-packing in India, loved the veg-thalis of the Gujju restaurants, wouldn’t want to step into Imbiss for some German-style meat – I eat them at home all the time, he said. Today was his last day in India, and tomorrow, he was off to Thailand. And on his last day in India, in the hot and sweltering Mumbai, instead of taking an AC cab to sight-see the city, here he was, painting it!!!!

Wow!! What a perfect little thing he taught us. Its summer holidays in almost every school in Mumbai. How about taking your child to one of Bandra’s old locatities and have them paint the walls? Teaches them to take pride in their city, build a sense of belonging in them, and most importantly, keep it well.

I promised Ridi, we will do this too!!

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 Note these points before you set out to do a graffiti in Mumbai:

  •  The neighbourhood you choose should allow graffitis. Best is to take the prior permission of the residents.
  • As I mentioned, I have seen street art in Tulsi Pipe Road near Dadar. More recently, I saw it in Mahim too. Bandra’s old localities around the Veroda Road have many houses lined with graffiti.
  • Since it’s very hot and humid these days, try to go early mornings. Carry enough water, energy drinks and snacks.
Mumbai, Places/Markets , , ,

Brunch @ITC Maratha’s Peshwa Pavilion This Easters

What is an ideal Sunday? One, where your kid goes for a 2-3 hour long workshop leaving you to while away your time. Bliss. And it was just that last Sunday when our 6-year old participated in the exclusive ITC  Easter Egg Painting Workshop. Jayant and ZI sat down leisurely in the couches sipping juice as Ridi decorated Easter Eggs.

We had planned to go for a leisurely brunch anyway, and since we were already at the ITC Maratha, why go someplace else? They had an Easters Brunch spread out too at their coffee shop. Jayant, being fastidious about food, went in to check out the menu though. No taking chances with food, his motto!

Jayant has been an ITC fan for long now – he loved Dum Pukth and Bukhara in Delhi. And ITC Central in Mumbai. Little wonder then that Peshwa Pavallion too would floor him. Over to him then —

Says, its buffet is definitely better than most of its peers and manages to throw in a couple of surprises. It also lives up to the reputation ITC has garnered over the years as one of the best culinary destinations amongst 5* hotels in India.

How Was The Spead @ITC Maratha’s Peshwa Pavilion This Easters? The starters counter was loaded with cold cuts, salads, breads with dips, soups and name it. Chicken Terrine, Ham, Pork Chops, Roasted Lamb was accompanied by Prawns, Salmon and the surprise item – Oysters. This is one item that I have not seen in the coffee shops of most hotels hotels and needless to say, was a huge hit with most people. Perfectly served on a bed of ice with lemon and cheery tomatoes, it was fresh and excellent. For people who prefer the more spicier Indian variety, there were 2 kebabs – one Chicken and the other Lamb which was served on the table.

The main course had 2 sections, one for Gravies and items like Roasted Duck (another surprise). Excellent. There were 2 Chicken dishes, one Mutton gravy and a couple of oriental options including Basa. We did not venture towards the vegetarian section at all! The live pasta counter kept the kids happy. The 2nd section was dedicated to Biryani that ITC is famous for, and it did not disappoint. The Mutton Dum Biryani was fantastic – perfectly spiced with juicy and succulent pieces of lamb in it. There were Chicken & Vegetarian options was well.

The Deserts options stayed true to the Easter spirit – Easter Eggs, colourful Macaroons, Mousse, Fruits, Gulab Jamuns, Kheer, Chocolate Cake, Apple Struddle with Vanilla Ice-Cream. Boy! Were we spoilt for choice!!

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Final Word on The Spead @ITC Maratha’s Peshwa Pavilion This Easters: Suffice to say, we had to skip dinner after the leisurely 2-hour lunch. Truly in Easters spirit!!!

Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries ,

#EasterIndulgence @ITC Maratha in Mumbai

Our daughter got an unexpected invitation from ITC Maratha last Saturday – to participate in an exclusive Easter Egg Painting Workshop with celebrated Pastry Chef Eric Muriel at ITC Maratha, Mumbai. Since we had anyway planned to take it easy on Sunday and head out someplace out for brunch, the invitation seemed to be god sent!! :-)

Easter Eggs Painting Worshop & More: Although we were told that the workshop would start from 11 am and end by 12 noon, the team carried on until 1.30pm, much to the delight of the children. Started off with the deft Chef Eric Muriel showing them how to make Easter Eggs with chocolate. The children squealed – for a change, here were eggs they wanted to eat!!! And then the fun began – to colour the eggs!! Armed with long aprons and the cute chef-caps, they sat down to colour 2-3 white chocolate eggs with a palate of food colours.

They would have carried on with the colours had the they been not directed to some yum refreshments – mini pizzas, steamed corns, caramelised popcorns, mini cakes and marsh-mellows, and juices! The organising team had thought of everything!

And more – the team announced that there would be a small egg-hunting round in the gardens at 1.30 and requested us to stay back. In the meantime, the children could paint some more – this time with the paints and stationery they were used to. And there was more. An enterprising team-member got a bundle of colourful yarns to braid the hair of the little girls. Needless to say, the little girls made a beeline for it!!!

Congratulations ITC Maratha, for planning this lovely Easter morning for the children! My little one loved it!

PS: Did I forget to mention the Juggler and the Rabbit?

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Also Read – Brunch at ITC Maratha’s Peshwa Pavilion

Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries ,

How About A Morning Run @Aarey Colony in Mumbai?

We did just that and are still basking in the happiness of the discovery. Ours is a running group of about 20 active members. We run in a group at least twice a week, with Saturday being earmarked for longer distances. Last evening, we decided to run in Aarey Colony. And set off this morning with water bottles, energy drinks and nuts in a couple of cars (we were 12 of us, you see). A 15-minute drive got us into the lap of nature, amidst unthinkable greenery in a concrete city like Mumbai.

We ran to see the rising sun, the moon progressing towards the western horizon, to the chirping of birds, to the melodious Koyel, to the buzzing of insects in the bare trees, to the storks in the marshes, to the flower strewn paths, to the wild flowers in the bushes, to the city silhouettes in the distant horizon, to the peaceful tolling of bells in a Mandir nearby, to the everyday life of shepherds near the cattle sheds..

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Enticed? Enough to vow to drive down to the Colony for your next morning run? Well, that was the intention!! Here are some information that you’d find handy if you really make up your mind to run in Aarey Colony:

  • Where is Aarey Colony in Mumbai? In Goregaon East. If going from Powai, take a right turn from the L&T Junction and keep driving straight. Those from other parts of Mumbai, take the Western Express Highway and drive up to Goregaon. Ask anybody or your GPRS, and you will know which turn to take for Aarey.
  • Where in Aarey Colony can you run? We advise you to avoid the main Aarey Road, although you will find a handful of joggers here as well. Suggest you drive up to the New Zealand Hostel (ask the locals). That’s where you can park your car and run peacefully in the vicinity – allows a good 10 km stretch on both sides. Being away from the main road, it doesn’t have too much traffic, and there are many other joggers too. Cuts the fear of security.
  • Is the Aarey stretch good for running? The terrain is certainly good in case you want to train for marathons for it has slopes here and there. The roads aren’t very well-maintained though. Need to keep an eye so that you don’t sprain your ankel or trip and fall. But note, it isn’t all that bad.
  • Is it safe for women? Yes, if you are in a group. DO NOT run alone in the dark.
  • What is the ideal time to run @Aarey Colony? With the sun rising early these days, try to start running by 5.30 am. Humidity levels are high, and despite the shade of the trees, you may find it difficult to run beyond 2 hours.
  • Carry enough water and energy drinks. In case you are planning a long haul, carry some fruits too. Let me mention though that you will find hawkers selling tender coconuts. Plus there are many dairies in the vicinity that sell bottled Lassi and Basundi. Awesome for a post-run drink! J
  • Are there toilets/emergency services at Aarey Colony? No. That’s why, stay close to one another in the group so that anything unexpected can be addressed at once.

Unbelievable green stretch. Not sure I’d want to run anywhere else any more :-)

Mumbai, Places/Markets ,

What You Need To Know When You Go For A Darshan of Sai Baba @Shirdi

Well, that really is the million dollar question! When you go on a pilgrimage, you are at peace with yourself – talking inwardly to God and trying to shake away the surroundings around you. Not at Shirdi though. Appalling as it may sound, when you reach Shirdi, you will find most people to be hurrying around, trying to beat the system to get a quick glance of the revered Baba and leave.

I will not do a blog on “How to get a quick darshan of Sai Baba @Shirdi’. My principles and respect for the Baba don’t allow me to do that. Instead, I will tell you about the few things you ought to know when you go for a darshan of Sai Baba at Shirdi, so that you are not overwhelmed.

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What You Need To Know When You Go For A Darshan of Sai Baba @Shirdi

  • Aarti Timings @Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi: 4 Aartis happen during the course of the day at the Sai Baba temple. The timings are – 4.30 am, 12 am, 7 pm and 10 pm
  • When is the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi closed?  The temple stays open every day of the week, but is closed from 10 pm to 4am every day.
  • When is the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi most crowded? Thursdays. That’s the day of the Baba.
  • Where is the entrance to the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi? Entrance for the Darshan @Shirdi temple is only from Gate No-2. Sai Baba darshan queue starts from the entrance gate (No-2), crosses one hall in the ground floor, two halls in the first floor, following which there is a flight of stairs that lead to the adjoining building that houses Sai Baba’s temple.
  • Is there a separate queue to the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi? Remember, it is the same queue for men and women for the Darshan @Shirdi temple.
  • What items are not allowed at the Sai Baba Temple in Shirdi? Water, mobile phones, camera or any other electronic gadget are not allowed inside the temple premises of Shirdi. There is both electronic surveillance and electronic checking.
  • Where can I keep my shoes/mobiles? You may deposit your shoes and electronic items at the counter on the opposite side of the Shirdi temple. They charge INR 2 for shoes and INR 3 for electronic items.
  • Where can I buy flowers for the Lord? You will get them at the shops on the street leading to the temple. They are open almost all through the day and night. The temple authorities, however, do not allow you to offer the flowers to the Baba. You need to drop them at one of the many buckets kept near the main seat of the Baba.
  • Can you pay your way to a darshan of the Sai Baba? From information gathered, yes. You can pay your way to a ‘super fast’ darshan for about INR 1500 per person. Outrageous practise according to me. We did not even think of it!!! Why come on a pilgrimage if you want to so rush???

Also Read – 5 Basic Precautions Before Driving To Shirdi in Maharashtra

India, Maharashtra, Travel , , ,

Pizza Hut selling Biryani in Powai?

Really? Pizza Hut will now be selling Biryani? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw these posters at the Pizza Hut, Powai outlet yesterday. When i asked, the guy explained that biryani will be ‘sandwiched’ between two tandoori rotis, thus making it the ‘Birizza’!!!

My thoughts ran from, “This proves that with so many more ‘authentic’ Italian joints coming up in the neighbourhood (such as Café Mangi, Mia Cucinia, Sphagetti Kitchen etc) not many people come to Pizza Hut for pizzas anymore, to, Are they so desperate to Indianize?”And so they are all out to woo the Indian patron with this crazy ‘biryani in a pizza’ strategy? Who is their target audience for God’s sake? Wouldn’t you go to a Biryani joint if you wanted to eat Biryani, and NOT a Pizza joint? Won’t this offer severely dilute Pizza Hut’s brand?

The food-lover and the marketer in me is bewildered!! Frankly, I would be curious to know the footfalls on account of this mind-boggling idea!

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Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries ,

Restaurant Review: Le Mangii in Juhu, Mumbai

We are regulars at Café Mangii Khar and Versova and frankly a little tired of their menu which has been same for some time now. So when we decided to try out another option (after trying out most of the other options in the city), we ‘thought’ Le Mangii will be … well … different. Had no clues that this is the same restaurant chain, same menu … just “a premium Café Mangii” as boasted by the manager there.  Claiming to be premium, but having the same menu just with higher price – am not sure how that works for regulars.A very nicely done up place though.

LeMangiiLogo

The main reason for disappointment was reservations. Last year, around end Aug, we had a music rehearsal at Versova and had decided to drive down to Juhu for dinner. Hence, had a booking for 10 pm at Le Mangi. When we reached, we were made to wait at the bar area for 45 Minutes. The manager didn’t even bother to check till 10:45 pm if we had a booking though we clearly told the same to the staff there upon entry. He was actually surprised to see our name there when reminded AGAIN. We were constantly told a table will be made available in 5 mins and when we actually stood up to leave the place sick & tired, we were given one. Completely unprofessional and terrible service – especially when we had a 5 yr old sleepy kid with us. No apologies, NOTHING!

Where is Le Mangi (Juhu) located?  Cross Prithvi Theater, drive ahead and turn left towards Novotel. Keep driving straight ahead and Le Mangi is at the end of the AB Nair Road.

How is the food at Le Mangi, Juhu? Leaving that aside, the manager tried making us comfortable, ensuring that the table was available ONCE we were in. The place is very nice and a good crowd … food, as usual. We ordered our Gnocchi with Pesto sauce (much better than their Versova or Khar outlet), Fusilli Mama Rossa and Spaghetti Bolognese … the last item being a little undercooked but tasty. A Sangria and beer to go with it and we were just satisfied. Nothing special, nothing premium about the experience though.

Final Verdict from WOOF: Don’t think we will be there again. Wish they behaved a little professionally when managing reservations. The Bar is nice though … recommend to couples looking for a quite experience.

Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries ,

Photo Essay: Mumbai To Nashik Drive

In Mumbai, we keep eulogising about the rains and swear by its effect on the countryside. So many of my posts have rains/monsoons in center-stage — eg, Bhandardara, Matheran. And so, two weeks back when we were on our way to Shirdi via Nashik Expressway, I, honestly speaking, thought nothing about the impending 6 hours drive. Until I noticed the stark colours outside. The brown of the earth again the blue of the sky. And loved it so much!!

Here is what I saw. And realised that nature stays beautiful at all times.

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(Photos taken from a speeding bus with a Nokia Lumia 920 phone)

India, Maharashtra

Restaurant Review: Bhojohori Manna in Andheri, Mumbai

Shubho Nobo Borsho, Friends. Happy New Year.

Bengalis across the world are celebrating ‘Poila Boishak’ or ‘New Year’ today. The first day of Baisakh marks the beginning of the Bengali calendar.

I make sure I don’t cook lunch on this day. Here in Mumbai, we have been lining up at Oh Calcutta in Tardeo or Bijoli Grill in Powai for the ‘Nobo Borsho’ lunch. But today, being Tuesday and the accompanying work pressures, we shan’t be able to make it to the scrumptious spreads. And what is the point for thinking about it for dinner? We are small eaters and can’t see a big spread go by without being able to dig into it.

And so, decided to do the review of Bhojohori Manna where we had lunched 2 Sundays back.

Where is Bhojohori Manna? We are talking about the one in Jogeshwari West, opposite On Heera Panna Mall.

How is the ambience @Bhojohori Manna in Andheri? Very basic. At least they now serve in the ceramic plates instead of those white-going-yellow plastic plates! But guess, the ‘no frills’ ambience keeps them alive in Mumbai’s killing rental regime. The biggest plus point for Bhojohori Manna is their big courtyard. Yes, you read it right. They are a courtyard restaurant in Andheri, and grow veggies in the courtyard!! And we were just talking about Mumbai rentals, weren’t we? J I love to check out the chillies, papayas, lemons, every time I am there…

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How is the food @Bhojohori Manna in Andheri? Manna from the heavens! We went for Fish Fry, Luchi-Alur Dom, Kosha Mangsho-Pulao and loved them all except the Alur Dom. I have a special weakness for Kosha Mangsho and Pulao and Bhojohori Manna cooks both to perfection. Can completely floor a Bengali…

Whenever at Bhojohori Manna, do not forget to order their ‘Noren Gurer Ice Cream’. Unless you eat it, you wouldn’t know what you’d have been missing in life.

 

Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries ,

Restaurant Review: Imbiss in Bandra, Mumbai

Meat Lovers in Mumbai, Here is paradise! Imbiss in Bandra!

For someone who craves for meat and more meat, there are very few options that offer excellent and reasonably priced beef and pork dishes in Mumbai. Until we discovered Imbiss this weekend.

What to order at Imbiss? The menu has Germany written all over it and we ordered Baby Back Spare Ribs (portion for two) which seemed to be on every table. Along with that a serving of Weiner Schnitzel (Vela fillet crumb fried). It was no surprise why the former was a specialty here — the pork was amazing – tender, succulent and just perfectly flavored with a smoky barbeque sauce. The serving is good and a total value for money.

The Schnitzel was good but a little stiff with too little meat and too much crumb. A little hard and not very succulent. Wish they had given some kind of dip to go with it. The restaurant doesn’t have liquor license and you have a choice of usual carbonated drinks on offer.

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Where is Imbiss and How is its ambience? Imbiss not an easy place to find. It is tucked away a little inside Hill Road in a road called Varoda Road.

A very small joint, Imbiss has about 4 tables in the ground floor, 2 at the mezzanine and a couple of small tables kept outside. We reached there Sunday afternoon and had to wait for more than 30 mins to get a table inside as it was ‘burning’ outside.

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Final word on Imbiss: The restaurant tag line says – ‘meat’ing point and it can’t describe it better. My daughter loved the stuff and commented that she wants to go back every 2 weeks!! Pretty strong opinion for a 6 year old! I, of course, seconded it!! It will be Danish Pork Chops or Smoked Pork next time.

Vegetarians please avoid this place as there is absolutely nothing for you here!

Mumbai, Restaurants/Eateries , ,