Review: The American Joint in BKC

Gwenda Glocalista is not a fan of the tablet menu that pops up at many restaurants these days.
Gwenda Glocalista is not a fan of the tablet menu that pops up at many restaurants these days.

After a long day at work, I wasn’t keen on cooking dinner at home. But eating out again? I was craving healthy yet delicious food… And that’s when I remembered my recent Instagram win: 50% off the bill at the newly opened The American Joint, a restaurant that serves Indo-Western organic cuisine.

Located on the first floor of The Capital, this place is right in the heart of BKC and only a quick rickshaw ride away from our office. As we walked into the office building after office hours, it was surprisingly empty and we were the only guests at T.A.J. (it seems so be stylish to use acronyms for restaurant names these days… Remember my recent restaurant review of PDT?).

The staff welcomed us friendly and helped us get used to the new age digital menu. I must say I don’t appreciate this technological progress. After long hours at the computer in office, I am looking forward to unwind at a restaurant and don’t want to stare at a screen to choose my meal.

Quesadilla Starters - great to be shared with friends or your loved one
Quesadilla Starters – great to be shared with friends or your loved one

Anyways, the menu is not very extensive and we quickly chose our food. Oh, and by the way, this is a vegetarian place (I should have told my husband before…) 😉

To start filling our hungry bellies, we ordered some Veggidilla which were super tasty and cheesy. They make a great appetizer to be shared as it comes in 4 pieces.

Being a non-vegetarian by choice, the Mr. of Gwenda Glocalista still went for a burger and tried the Falafalized Burger which unfortunately was very dry despite the delicious hummus. The french fries that accompanied the burger were super crisp and I scrounged quite a few as there were very tasty.

Falafalized Burger - not as impressive as the other dishes we ordered.
Falafalized Burger – not as impressive as the other dishes we ordered.

I decided to give the Southwestern Cobb a try which looked to delicious to be true on the pictures in the menu… And I was very impressed. Fresh, filling, healthy and delicious. The salad was the best from everything we ordered and even my husband totally loved it.

Gwenda Glocalista's Recommendation: The Southwestern Cobb Salad
Gwenda Glocalista’s Recommendation: The Southwestern Cobb Salad

Overall, the food was great (the Falafalized Burger needs improvement though), the service was very prompt and attentive (thank you for constantly re-filling my water glass. I know I drink a lot…), and overall this place seems to be great value for money. I am sure the office crowd enjoys this healthy and organic addition in the building –and as our waitress told us, they are quite packed during lunch time.

The American Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Please Don’t Tell in Lower Parel

They call it Please Don’t Tell but once you were there you must tell everybody about this amazing place. Branded as the only speak easy bar in Mumbai, PDT how the cool kids on the block call it, wowed us with fantastic food, delicious drinks and awesome ambiance.

But do you know exactly what a “speak easy bar” is? Well, I didn’t until Google told me this:

“A speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. Such establishments came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–1933, longer in some states).”

The mysterious entrance...
The mysterious entrance…

Perfectly located in the gentrified Lower Parel, the restaurant and bar is located in the former cotton mill compound of Kamala Mills. The industrial feel of the interior let’s you immerse into a different world. That is, if you figured out how to enter the place. (I won’t give away the secret but all I can say is there is a red telephone booth awaiting you…)

Enough small talk, let’s get to business. And that is –surprisingly as it is for a drinking hole– the amazing food they serve.

We started off with mini lamb filled pitas that were accompanied by probably the best tzatziki I ever had in Bombay and an onion date relish (Crave the Date) and a delicious, light and still filling quinoa salad with pomegranate, spinach, caramelized apricot and mascarpone (Good Girl Special). Both these starters are new on the menu and I totally recommend them. Try to eat the lamb filled pitas like pani puri… And the salad even wowed my husband. I can’t believe it’s so delicious to eat healthy. I wonder if Marissa Bronfman inspired this dish?!

Good Girl & Crave The Date
Good Girl & Crave The Date

The yummy food was accompanied by cocktails and mocktails and more cocktails. After all, we are in a speak easy bar. Both not big into drinks, I ordered a Teacher’s Pet (virgin mojito with mango and mint) and my husband wanted to go for a beer. The waiter was friendly enough to recommend the Puzzle Guzzle cocktail (vodka, homemade ginger syrup, mint sprigs, lime, grapefruit juice, soda and a hint of cinnamon). Yes, it is as good as it sounds. And that’s why I ordered this delicious cocktail as well after I tried it from my husband. (The mocktail was good as well though…).

My new favorite cocktail in town: Puzzle Guzzle
My new favorite cocktail in town: Puzzle Guzzle
Gwenda Glocalista
Gwenda Glocalista
The Mr. of Gwenda Glocalista
The Mr. of Gwenda Glocalista

Our main courses were the lamb burger (Sheeping Around) which was okay but not as breath-taking and outstanding as the other dishes. But the Butter Chicken Roll totally made up for it. I loved that it was cut like a sushi roll –perfect to dip it into the chutney and eat with your hand. The roll was actually a recommendation of our friendly waiter. Though I wasn’t particularly excited about it, I went with this choice and boy did this roll wowed me. (Btw: the roll comes from The Roll Company next door. Same owner, same kitchen. And they also do home/office deliveries. I’m just sayin’…)

After so much of delicious food, we were too full to order a dessert. But given that the dessert section in the menu is called “Happy Endings”, we definitely come back for it.

And now don’t forget: PLEASE (DON’T) TELL and share it with everyone on your social media.

Please Don't Tell Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Please note that Gwenda Glocalista was invited to review this restaurant. Though we did not pay our own bill, we have our own opinion and free food doesn’t buy our free mind.

Review: HARSH Chocolates

Oh my God… can you believe it? A Chocolate Review? Of course, I agreed when Anuja and Ankita from Harsh Chocolates asked me if I would like to review their newly launched hot chocolate on a stick.

Beautifully packed Harsh Chocolates
Beautifully packed Harsh Chocolates

So this past weekend, I received a sweet surprise from the owners of Harsh Chocolates… Perfect for a lazy Sunday, the beautiful packed chocolate hamper arrived and along with the hot Chocolate sticks, I enjoyed some other goodies such as their signature Almond Rocks.

Thank you Team Harsh Chocolates for these delicious goodies.
Thank you Team Harsh Chocolates for these delicious goodies.

Coming from a cold country, I usually enjoy hot chocolates in winters and it was quite a different experience to prepare the hot chocolate while the AC was on at my home.. 😉 Hot chocolate on a stick is a concept, I first experienced during a holiday in Amsterdam and really enjoyed it.

The Perfect Lazy Sunday: Hot Chocolate and a Book.
The Perfect Lazy Sunday: Hot Chocolate and a Book.

I must admit I was not completely wowed by the hot chocolate but they definitely made my Sunday sweeter. I enjoyed the hot cup of chocolate while reading one of my favorite books… The Almond Rocks (roasted almonds covered in chocolate) however found a new best friend. I could eat them all day every day. Super delicious, crunchy, nutty, not too sweet yet very chocolaty… Yum!

I would recommend their gift boxes for friends, family or even as corporate gifts. You can check out their complete menu on Zomato.

Harsh Chocolates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

P.S. Did you know that Harsh translates to JOY in English?

Touristy Stuff in Mumbai: The Gateway of India in Mumbai

The Gateway of India is one of the most iconic monuments in India and is most famous landmark of Mumbai.

The Iconic Gateway of India
The Iconic Gateway of India

It was built as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay in 1911 but was completed only in 1924. It is located at the tip of Apollo Bunder (Colaba) and overlooks the old Mumbai harbor and the Arabian sea. In former times a symbol of colonialism, the Gateway of India has got Indianized and definitely a must visit of the city.

Selfie time at Gateway of India
Selfie time at Gateway of India

It is very popular by locals and tourists and often gets very crowded. Ignore the many photographers and vendors who are trying to sell you all the touristy stuff and simply enjoy the site. I love coming here every time and never get enough of it. Sometimes, I simply sit and watch people. Sometimes, I click photographs. And always, I am impressed.

You also have a fantastic view of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the Gateway. Just turn your back to the arch and look to your left. Another landmark of Mumbai…

View of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the boat towards Elephanta Island
View of Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace Hotel from the boat towards Elephanta Island

Boats to Elephanta Island will departure from the Gateway as well. Tickets can be bought either directly at the jetty or at the ticket kiosks before entering the Gateway area (before the security check on the right side). Due to the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, security alert in this area is high and you need to walk through the security check before entering the square in front of the Gateway of India. Entrance is free.

Remy Martin, Cointreau and Bouchard Wine Dinner at Maritime by San Lorenzo

Our friends from All Things Nice have a fantastic event coming up this Friday 22 April at Maritime by San Lorenzo at the Taj Lands End Hotel in Bandra. Meet Ms. Antoinette Drumm & Mr. Thibault Robert from Remy Martin over cocktails followed by a five course sit down dinner crafted by Chef Alessandro Bechini paired with wine from the iconic Bouchard Aîné & Fils and fine Cognac.

For details, check out the FB event page or get directly in touch with the team from All Things Nice (contact details in the invitation below).

 

How to save water

It’s getting warmer in Mumbai and in a few months Monsoon will be here. For people like us (the normal middle class), it’s not a big problem. We start using our AC’s to cool down our homes and jump into the pool. But for many people in Mumbai and all over India, the ongoing heat is a big problem. My maid told me the other day that they have only 2-3 hours of running water in their houses these days as the municipality rations the water consumption. The lack of water resources affects the poor the most. Many farmers have problems to water their fields, etc. In some villages, people have to take the train to collect water from far away places. Because of all this, I decided to share with you all the below whatsapp message that I received the other day:


?Ideas to reduce water consumption in our homes and do our bit for the water crisis?

1. Check for leaks ⚠️ and fix them promptly – especially toilet flushes (if there is a major leak, shut of the main valve until the leak can be fixed). Even a small leak can waste lots of water.

2. ? Report water wastage and leaks in your area to your ward officer. Many building’s overhead tanks overflow and people don’t pay attention. Millions of liters of water are wasted this way every day all over the city. ??All buildings should install float valves so that the pumps are shut off automatically when the tanks are full.

3. Reduce the pressure of water flow at all main inlets so that the house saves water as a whole, with a special focus on the kitchen.

4. ? Explain to domestic staff that if they waste water while working in your house, if affects them in their homes too (the big picture!). People living in slums suffer the most from water cuts and the “tanker mafia”.

5. To break the habit of staff leaving taps open as they work elsewhere, a habit of replenishing water from a container instead of a tap can be adopted.

6. ? Move to a limited bucket bath or a timed ⌛️shower bath as a practice.

7. ? Shut off taps when water is not needed throughout the task such as washing dishes, brushing teeth, shampooing, soaping, shaving, etc.

8. ? Use a small flush for small jobs ? You can control this on many types of toilets.

9. ???Water in which vegetables/fruits, rice, dal etc are rinsed can be collected and used for watering plants. Plants don’t mind dirty water as long as it doesn’t have soap or other chemicals – the residues from washing rice/dal etc provide nutrition to the plants.??

10. ? Car cleaning can be restricted to a wipe down with half a bucket of water per car with a less than daily frequency. And the remaining water can be poured into the plants in the compound.

11. Unused bathrooms in homes need not be washed daily whereas balconies can be swept and mopped rather than washed.

12. Water can be collected from appliances such as  air conditioners, dehumidifiers and dryers and used for cleaning purposes. AC drain pipes can be positioned so that the water drains into your plants – like a drip irrigation system?

13. ?When clothes are handwashed, the last rinse can be used for cleaning purposes.

14. ?The kitchen sink drain can be plugged or you can use a dish pan during the last rinse of vessels and that water can be used to rinse dirty dishes before soaping.

15.  If you use an RO water purifier, collect the reject water in a bucket and use it for cleaning or watering plants.

16. Only run full loads in your dishwasher or washing machine, and choose efficient appliances. If using a dishwasher, just a quick pre-rinse in a basin of water or a wipe is needed when loading dishes.

Restaurant Review: Chez Moi in Bandra Reclamation

In March, I had first my German cousin and then my parents visiting us in Mumbai -which meant like 3 weeks continuously eating out. We went to a lot of my old favorite places and tried out many new one’s as well. Chez Moi was one of the many restaurants that was bookmarked on my Zomato profile like forever. So, one evening when we were in Bandra, we decided to try it out.

Gwenda Glocalista at Chez Moi in Bandra
Gwenda Glocalista at Chez Moi in Bandra

Like a typical French bistro, this restaurant is hidden in a side road in Bandra Reclamation (ONGC colony). With a few tables outside and a couple more inside, you feel as if you took a short trip to Paris as soon as you enter the restaurant. Dimmed light, white tables and wine bottles on the wall give it the romantic flair of a Mediterranean bistro.

This time, we went with my parents and cousin to enjoy the delicious and authentic French cuisine. However, Chez Moi is also a great place for a romantic date night out or to catch up with close friends over good food.

We had a lovely time at Chez Moi and enjoyed delicious authentic French cuisine with great conversations and good wine.

Delicious starters - Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese
Delicious starters – Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese

Starters:

  • Bruschetta
  • Zucchini wrapped cottage cheese
  • Tapenade Platter (Bruschetta, Artichoke, Fig & Olive)

Mains:

  • Pasta Bolognaise
  • Green Herbal Fish
  • Coq Au Vin (Classical French dish)
  • Root Ginger & Cilantro Steamed Baked Vietnamese Basa
  • Roast Lamb Rack in Rosemary Sauce

Dessert:

  • Chocolate Mousse

This was the only disappointment: For a real French dining experience, we would have loved to enjoy the Crème Brulee or the Tiramisu. Unfortunately, the only dessert available was the chocolate mousse.

Instagram worthy photos all dinner long...
Instagram worthy photos all dinner long…

I was surprised to learn that the owner is a Punjabi gentleman –as they are usually known for loud and colorful celebrations. But then, he explained that he studied in Paris and everything made sense. Thank you, Vinod, for bringing the French cuisine and the Parisian savoir-vivre lifestyle to Mumbai.

Table looks as if we are sitting in a busy local restaurant in one of the side streets in Paris
Table looks as if we are sitting in a busy local restaurant in one of the side streets in Paris

This place is perfect for:

  • Delicious, authentic French cuisine
  • Romantic dinner with your loved one
  • Conversations with friends

Chez Moi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Celebrate Baisakhi -the Punjabi Harvest Festival- at Paaji’s Express

India is a very diverse country with a variety of cultures, customs and cuisines in different states. Baisakhi is the Punjabi Harvest Festival and also marks the New Year according to solar aspect of the Punjabi calendar. The festival is celebrated as a thanksgiving day by farmers, with the traditional Punjabi dance called Bhangra and of course with good food.

For the food part, you should visit Paaji’s Express in Bandra East or Lower Parel who celebrates the Baisakhi Festival with special food offers…

Paaji's Express celebrates Baisakhi 2016
Paaji’s Express celebrates Baisakhi 2016

Learn Hindi in Mumbai

Pallavi Singh from Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India
Pallavi Singh from Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India

I recently met Mumbai’s most famous Hindi teacher –at least if you ask the Bombay expat community… 🙂 Pallavi Singh from hindilessons.co.in teaches Hindi to foreigners who usually come to the city for 6 months to 3 years work assignments. She works with a variety of consulates, including the American Consulate in Mumbai, international schools such as Deutsche Schule Bombay (DSB) and conducts individual private classes.

‘Language is nothing but a by-product of culture, traditions, niceties and exchanges of the society. I think one can either become an observer or an absorber and it’s so much more enriching to be the latter.’ Pallavi who started teaching Hindi when she was 19, traveled extensively nationally & internationally and knows India not only from the perspective of a local but understands how foreigners experience the country.

The first three sentences you should learn in Hindi according to Pallavi?

Seedha Lo (go straight)
Teekha kam (less spicy)
Han Theek Hai. (yes, okay)

Pallavi teaches Hindi to an expat student.
Pallavi teaches Hindi to an expat student.

Pallavi’s Hindi classes are very interactive and extremely well organized. Her modules are an intellectual result of 500+ hours of teaching, development and introspection. Price: 1200INR/class. You can check out more details here.

EVENT ALERT

If you are interested to learn Hindi in Mumbai, get in touch with Pallavi Singh:
hindilessons.co.in
Pallavi@hindilessons.co.in
+919769021595

You can also spread some Facebook love and LIKE her page.