Warning: This is a photo essay.
One of the many things I had attempted to do during my two month break from work was to connect with as many friends as possible. Amongst my blogger friends I managed to meet only Simran. Petite Simran was amongst the first bloggers I met in person. I connect well with her as we have a lot in common. We are both Aquarians, love reading and blog purely for joy! She is fun to be with and loves good food as a true Punju should – she says! Here is what we did on a true ‘Bloggers’ day out’! Simran blogs at Bombay Foodie. She not only likes to eat good food but also bakes lovely breads and cookies. Another love we share!
I paid Simran a visit one fine Saturday morning and found myself treated to a tasty and wholesome breakfast of rye buns accompanied by a choice of dips – my second round of breakfast that day! I chose a light version of hummos to go with the tasty buns, fresh from the oven, specially made vegan for me. Thanks, Simran! All I can give you people is a peek of the rye bun. For the recipe please look up here.
I discovered something else we had in common – her fridge is too small for the food she stacks and her crockery collection is getting too big for the storage unit she has! She cannot resist buying napkins or bowls and glasses when she enters a shop. In other words, I think I just found my soul sister!
After brunch Simran took me around to show her favourite ‘foodie places’ . “French Connections” is her fave joint for cakes, cookies and all things baked. This small bakery stocks whole wheat breads, rusks and cookies too. Unfortunately I was too full to try anything and the pastries were all made with milk products. Simran recommends the place very highly for their quality and for the reasonable pricing. French Connections is just a few minutes away from Hypercity Malad.
We took a tour of places she shops at for her herbs, spices and usual (and uncommon) ingredients. I guessed it had to be Hypercity mall. Hypercity malls stock organic, local as well as exotic ingredients. In August, this year, they were the first to introduce fresh blueberries (I used them up in muffins and breads that got over before I could take a decent click). As usual I ended up buying a few more things that were not needed but which appealed to my arty self. I also realized that Hypercity Thane, though as huge as the Malad outlet, does not stock half the variety of goods they stock at Malad. I am strongly thinking of a leading a ‘morcha’ protesting against the step motherly treatment being meted out to Thaneites!
Simran’s other favourite shopping destination for food items in Godrej Nature’s Basket at Lokhandwala and Bandra. We checked out the former and I again was saddened to see that while artichokes and rhubarbs proudly hung out as neighbours in the Lokhandwala branch, even simple things like allspice powder do not make an appearance at the Thane outlet! I ended up with a bagful of purchases there as well.
By then it was lunch time. Simran spoke of Mocha Mojo, a restaurant in Bandra that is said to have many vegan dishes and salads on its menu. Since it was a pleasant afternoon we decided on the alfresco seating. Seeing my camera on the table the chef informed us that the restaurant does not permit photography. I wonder why? He said I could take pictures of us but not the food! How weird! Are they so insecure about the food they serve? The menu had a diverse section for vegans and the health conscious…..
….but the truth is that they had only two vegan dishes that day – a salad and a drink. Any one can assemble that! Does not require great skill, does it? Not a place I would step in again. If a restaurant cannot cook up easy stuff like a raw lasagne or a simple carrot sphagetti, it definitely should not have a section called ‘raw revolution’! Perhaps it needs evolution of ideas!
Having roamed around a couple of well stocked food places and walked all over the mall, we both had worked up a ravenous appetite. Disappointing! I expect restaurants to have more imagination and skill than that when it comes to dishing out vegan delicacies! All for the best however. I really enjoyed my lunch at Simran’s most favourite joint – Moshe’s at Hill Road, Bandra (Above Nature’s Basket). There was something that touched me – the introduction to the menu and the restaurant.
She had a tropical fruit smoothie and recommended the roasted fruit smoothie for me. My smoothie took long since the fruits were roasted fresh but it was well worth the wait. It lauded peaches and grapes. I cannot really remember what other fruits could have been there but it is a seasonal recipe and carries whatever fruits are freshly available during that season. Do try it at home.
We had a grilled potato starter called ‘patata bravas’ – basically, grilled potatoes smothered liberally with a tomato sauce – a lot like the Italian sauce I make on fortnightly basis at home. The best starter. One just cannot go wrong with potatoes, right?! The sauce was great and the flavours well balanced. Highly recommended.
We had rice with Balinese Curry for lunch and I sincerely wished I was a big eater when the meal was over. The rice carried the flavour of lemongrass and was perfectly cooked! The Balinese curry makes my mouth water from the memory of the flavours and taste. Coconut milk hooks me and the curry was generous with it.
Excellent food, great service and the people working there actually seem to be enjoying their work. I like that! I found it odd that the kitchen staff did not know that tofu was vegan. It was omitted from the balinese curry we ate. Not a big deal because I am not tofu lover anyway. I picked up a packet of lavash crackers which my son declared as the best cracker he has ever had.
What I liked less was the lighting and the congested seating. I also did not like the narrow, winding staircase. But I forgive everything because the food was great. We also met the young restaurateur, Moshe Shek. I could not resist walking up and complementing him on the food. Here is a picture I took of him.
I did not get a clear picture because of the low lighting which is the reason why the picture of the food is not good either. I forgot to crank up the ISO as always.
Would I visit again? Every time I visit Bandra! Yes, despite the narrow, scary staircase and the dull lighting. All for the love of food. I would appreciate it better of course, if Moshe’s cares to cater more vegan dishes. Most dishes are vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Vegans are a neglected lot!
We found a nearby book sale and spent quite some time before moving to Dadar. The IHM, Mumbai was having a ‘Japanese Food Festival’ that night so we decided to try dinner there.
We enjoyed watching the demos of the tea ceremony and the re-creation of a typical Japanese garden with sakura trees.
The most interesting stall was the ikebana stall where we tried our hands at balancing the Shin (Heaven), Soe (Man) and Hikae (Earth).
The food was dull in comparison. Not much to talk about. That bad. The batter friend potato tempura was tasty but that is because one cannot go wrong when ‘potato’ and ‘fried’ come together!
The miso soup was actually yuck! Thankfully I had a good friend and a great day so we did not have a dull moment despite the drab eats!
Simran being more prompt than me, has already talked about this here!