-By Rashmi Uday Singh
Tantarrrraaaa... If this column had a sound track attached to it, then this is what you'd hear. Tantarrrraaaa... (the sound of more trumpets) announcing the arrival of the world's legendary superstars of food and wine into Mumbai. Both command an unparalleled global homage and reverence that borders on worship. Three Michelin starred chef Alain Passard's small, haute cuisine restaurant in Paris, a temple to gastronomy, is as prized for its vegetarian offerings as its seafood. He grows his own vegetables and converts them into sublime creations. And transforming grapes into the world's greatest wines over many centuries is the iconic Chateau Margaux in the Bordeaux region of France. Its wine maker, the dapper Paul Pontallier's delicate and elegant wines are legendary. Also with us is his son Thibault who carries the Margaux flag in Asia.
When I have such highoctane global achiever guests what do I do? Take them to dinner to an unpretentious, inexpensive, brand new local eatery of course. A pure vegetarian one (in keeping with Alain Passard's and my passion.) It's a twin-levelled, large, starkly white restaurant with a wavy white ceiling, tables, benches, plastic plates and glasses et al. All eyes are on the young heiress of Chateau Margaux, Alexandra Mentzelopoulos. Gorgeous in a traditional saree, she embodies elegance and finesse (much like these great wines.) Pioneer of the fine wine business, wine evangelist Sanjay Menon (trademark moustache) sparkles the evening. His wife Sonali fortifies his wine agendas and he set up the first accredited wine school with Shagun Mehra.
We order almost everything from the menu (no alcohol here). The parathas are stuffed with everything from jalepenos to chocolate and pasta. Surprisingly tasty (though bizarre sounding) are the Vada Pav Paratha, (potato-and-pea paratha drizzled with spicy garlic vada pav powder) and the Pizza Paratha (robustly plump with tomato puree, vegetables and cheese). If these make you cringe, then purists please opt for the aloo/muttar/gobhi versions. Plenty of other dishes (flavoursome lasooni palak, buttery black dal) but not the most authentic rajma. The Chocolate Paratha is oversweet but a hit with some. The thick pan-fried parathas do tend to be a bit greasy, but each is a complete meal (served with a side of dal), and at Rs 95 to Rs 135 each is great value. The young Parin, Antariksh and Bhavnaâ€™s open through the day restaurant is always packed. It has already hit the sweet spot of the city. Justifiably.
A GLOBAL HERO
He is also the hero of my forthcoming, ultimate vegetarian guide to Paris (A Vegetarian In Paris. a Times of India publication). I've not only had my best vegetarian meals in Alain Passard's 'Arpege' (Paris) but also shot my TV show here. The charming owner-chef, musician, sculptor dazzles. His classics of onion gratinee with the sweet tart notes of pear, turnip tart tartin, pumpkin sparkled with saffron are stuff that dreams are made of. And so despite its pitiless expense (420 euro per head at dinner), Arpege is worth a visit at least once. It engineers discrete moments of pure elation that few restaurants can match.
Review posted within last 6 month
had Chocolate Paratha for the first and last time here....i find it quite interesting...though found it sweet but taste was nice for a change....it was filling and i guess popular among the locals too....wana try other parathas as well....
Review posted more than 6 month ago
I went Paratha Mantra some days back. The food served here is quite good. I had jalepenos parathas and Pizza Paratha. I find parathas were nice and the service was good as well. I like the ambiance as it was quite chilled and cool place. I am eager to have Chocolate Paratha at Paratha Mantra. Looking forward to visit soon.
Favorite Dishes / Drinks: jalepenos parathas
Review posted more than 6 month ago
Superb food, absolute worth the long hours of wait. The Garamond Garam buttered phulka, the baby corn masala, the chole, the khichiya masala with chilled chaas is my perfect idea of a Sunday lunch and the chocolate paratha is the perfect end to it. Their
Favorite Dishes / Drinks: Baby corn masala, paneer makhani, phulka, chole
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