Bonjour, Baroda!

The food scene in Baroda has been developing gradually and a lot of cafes and restaurants have been popping up. As the audience for cuisines such as Thai, Arabian and African has increased, so have the places offering the same. Although the authenticity of the food that some of these places serve is questionable, most of them have stayed true to their respective cultural roots and consequently have brought the world on a platter. This revolution that seemed to be taking place in the culinary scene in Baroda, however had remained limited,mainly because there was no explicit improvement in the area of desserts. The number of places that provide authentic and varied desserts can be counted on the fingers of just one hand! But with the opening of a French patisserie named L’amour last week, it seems that the Baroda’s dessert scene is no longer stagnant.

L’amour is located in the bylanes of Ellora Park, inside the lane next to Mr. Toasties. It is a small, pretty-looking establishment, which is quite welcoming. The ambiance is completely in congruence with the cuisine that the patisserie caters to,which is French desserts. A good ambiance plays a great role in attracting customers initially so I’ll give L’amour extra points for that.Another thing I was impressed by was the variety of desserts that they have. Shikha Chhikniwala, who runs this place, has come up with quite a lot of desserts and has given them all innovative names. You might happen to find a Barbie dessert or a Hazel and Gretel which will immediately take you back to your childhood days. I walked into L’amour on its very first day and it managed to attract me to itself once again.

Here’s my take on the desserts I tried

1)Salted caramel pastry:

Salted caramel is my latest obsession and I like my desserts to be full of it. I ordered the pastry on my first visit. The pastry is topped with a generous amount of cream which is absolutely delicious. I found the proportion of salted caramel to be quite less but the cream saved the dessert.

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2) Chocolate cupcakes:

So these guys were giving away complimentary cupcakes to all the visitors on the first day. These cupcakes were so delicious! In Baroda, we have a lot of places that serve Insta-worthy cupcakes but very few places serve cupcakes that one’s  stomach can really appreciate. The cupcakes were creamy but not as dominated by the cream as the salted caramel pastry was, so people who aren’t fond of cream will also enjoy this dessert.

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3) Hazel and Gretel:

I’ll give L’amour extra points for the innovative name itself. This dessert, as the name says, is dominated by hazelnut. It has different layers of hazelnut within it and it is perfect for those who hate extremely sweet desserts. It is also low on cream yet manages to woo one with the layers of hazelnut dacquoise.

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4) Salted caramel macaroons:

I had the aforementioned salted caramel pastry on my first visit and since I wasn’t satisfied with it, I wrote a review stating how it could’ve been better has there been more of the said ingredient. The next time I went there, Shikha had prepared salted caramel macaroons with plenty of salted caramel. This was my favourite dessert at L’amour. I couldn’t get enough of it. L’amour is one of the 2 places in Baroda that offer salted caramel macaroons and it absolutely nailed them.

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I wouldn’t say that all the items at L’amour were perfect, but it is one of the best places in Baroda at the moment. It has surely leveled up the dessert scene in Baroda. They make customized cakes as well as entremets that they serve on the counter. They also make new desserts daily; so don’t be surprised if you’re greeted by a fluffy cheesecake or a pumpkin spiced macaroon as you walk in. L’amour is a place where you can sample a macaroon or a cupcake or go wild with your choices and try a passion-fruit dessert(try it only if you like fruits in your desserts!) and have a relaxed time. From the looks of it, it seems like L’amour, with its fancy desserts and quaint interiors, is here to stay. Go there and try some of the best desserts Baroda has ever witnessed. Bonjour, Baroda!

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#ट्रेनडिंगNow

There is no dearth of good places in Bombay where one can entertain one’s taste buds. There’s a new street stall, restaurant, pub or cafe at almost every corner. It would be great if we could try all of them but time and money are major restraints.Nonetheless,like Bunny from Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, we all wish like skipping the dal-chawal and having hakka noodles sometimes. And those select meals should be about more than just food, they should be about the experience and the memories that come along with it. So with that happy thought, I present to you my favourite restaurants for this month. Every place is #KhanabadoshVerified and you can be assured of an indelible memory

1)Farzi Cafe:

Many people refer to Farzi as ‘the affordable version’ of Masala Library,(owned by the same family) but there’s a lot more to it. Farzi here means an illusion; the makers have tried to modify Indian dishes and present them in such a way that it seems almost magical. The dishes are quite innovative and not very pricey. Another good thing is that it doesn’t look like a formal restaurant. Set in Kamala Mills, it is a place where one can enjoy great food with a relatively chilled out vibe. A special mention goes to their attention to detail and their presentation, be it the Mishti Doi shots or the candy floss paan.

Recommended-gucchi parmesan papad risotto, Baileys lollipop, Parle-G cheesecake

 

2) Smokehouse Deli:

This is one place I’d been wanting to go to since a long time. This all-day European restaurant attracted me towards itself one Sunday morning and it definitely did not disappoint. It has a vast menu and one can choose from a variety of options. It offers great breakfast choices as well. It has a vintage look to it and there were black-and-white pictures on all the tables, which was very intriguing. The soft music added to the feel-good atmosphere that the interiors provided. The food is slightly expensive, but quite tasty and the portions are reasonably good. I would definitely recommend this place, especially to fussy eaters who need many options to select from.

Recommended-assorted crostini(especially if in a group) any pasta(you can choose your own sauce,toppings and your own pasta, they have PLENTY of options), hazelnut mousse flan

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3) Gustoso:

Many people were disheartened when Pizza Metro Pizza shut down but the opening of Gustoso at the same spot lifted everyone’s spirits. This restaurant is slightly fancier than Pizza Metro and it is quite pricey but it guarantees authentic Italian food. The ambiance is cozy and welcoming. The service is top-notch and the staff is well-informed. It is a fine-dine restaurant, where you can enjoy a 3 course meal at ease.

Recommended-watermelon and feta salad, gnocchi(one of the best I’ve had in Bombay). arancini, panna cotta  and the tiramisu. The soups are pretty mediocre and can be skipped.

So next time you feel like taking your family out for dinner or catching up with friends over a meal or simply eating out, visit one of these places, kick back and have a great time. Even if you’ve never tried fusion food before or if the word Arancini scares you, give it a shot. Be a Khanabadosh for some time, I’m sure you’ll love it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 A library full of masala!

        “We serve memories, not just food”

The above line by Jiggs Kalra, popularly known as the Czar of Indian cuisine captures the essence of his 5-decade long career. He serves as Mentor for four of the restaurants under Massive Restaurants Pvt. Ltd., a company spearheaded by his son Zorawar Kalra.  Throughout his career, he has endeavoured to bring to the fore various cooking styles in India.

Jiggs’ passion for food, research and writing has clearly made him a legend in the industry. Zorawar’s business acumen has further advanced the father-son duo into the club of India’s top restaurateurs. With their eyes firmly set on taking their empire international, the Kalras are gunning to make Indian cuisine the world’s favourite.

Masala Library is one of their most famous restaurants. Known for its innovative dishes that employ molecular gastronomy, which is the application of scientific principles to the understanding and development of food preparation, Masala Library has retained a spot amongst the best fine-dine restaurants, not only in Bombay but in the whole of India. I’d been wanting to go there since long and when I finally went there with my sister, it exceeded my expectations,which were already quite high. Masala Library provides Indian dishes with a twist, with innovative presentation and authentic yet appealing flavours.

Here’s my review of Masala Library, dish by dish:

1)Pan tossed masala shrooms:

My sister and I love mushrooms  so this was an instant choice. This dish did not disappoint. It contains mushrooms tossed in Indian flavours and served, steaming hot. This dish was extremely tasty and it stood out among all the mushroom dishes I’ve tried because it had a very unique Indian touch to it, in terms of spice.This spicy mushroom dish is one that every Indian would love to try.

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2) Vadapav, inside out:

They couldn’t establish a restaurant in Bombay and not have Vadapav, could they? Vadavpav inside out is a dish that appeals to the taste buds of every Maharashtrian, but like the other dishes here, this is also served with a twist. Instead of the pav, we see the vada served with two different types of chutney and garnished with sev. This dish was quite heavy as compared to the other starters but I couldn’t complain as it was a very refreshing take on Bombay’s staple food item.

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3) Dal Chawal Arancini:

Arancini means risotto balls; it is an Italian dish. So I was quite surprised to find Arancini in an Indian menu. But Jiggs Kalra has managed to Indianize this  European dish as well. Instead of a risotto stuffing, this dish has a dal chawal stuffing. It is a very different way of eating dal-chawal, one that I truly enjoyed. The cherry on the top was the Indian version of salsa at the bottom, a garlic chutney which was absolutely delicious.

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4) Burnt Curry Leaf Martini:

I would be lying if I say that I didn’t think twice before ordering this dish. The idea of having a drink with the bitter currypata is not very pleasing, but this is one drink I’d surely recommend. The curry leaf somehow fused perfectly with the sour flavours of the drink, giving a lovely taste.

5) Jalebi Caviar:

Jalebi is one dessert that people of all ages enjoy. I’m not a big fan of jalebi, but we decided to try this dessert because it was recommended to us by someone. I’m glad we ordered it because it was absolutely fantastic. The dish contained jalebi, saffron foam and ras malai. We were told to take one scoop from all these three and try them together. The taste was heavenly. One of the main reasons why I don’t eat a lot of jalebi was that it was too sweet, but this dish solved that problem.

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6) Chenna Payesh cheesecake:

Chenna Payesh is a Bengali dessert made of cottage cheese and milk. It can be further described as ‘paneer ki kheer’. I’d like to draw attention to the fact that Jiggs Kalra managed to pick up a relatively less popular Bengali dish, add his touch to it and present it in the form of a cheesecake, which is primarily a Western dessert. This dish contains chenna payesh on top of nankhatai, which forms the base for the dessert. It is served with tiny rasgullas. This was an utterly delightful dish and it managed to successfully tantalize my taste buds.

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In addition to this, we were served a piece of flavoured bread and a thandai in the form of an amuse bouche(a palate cleanser) at the beginning; and  paan-flavoured candy floss at the end, all of which were quite delicious.

Masala Library doesn’t provide just food, it provides an experience. Every dish on the menu is crafted by Jiggs Kalra. Although quite heavy on the pocket, it is worth every single penny. Visit Masala Library to experience all your favourite Indian dishes in an UnIndian way and to witness the brilliance with which Jiggs Kalra has crafted a menu that will appeal to the masses and the classes alike. Visit it to embrace a version of our food that will soon conquer every other cuisine of the world.