A chib of the old block
I'm beginning to feel like a Tandoori Tikka in garam and dry Delhi. That notwithstanding, I am feasting at some amazing new restaurants. But first, here's my refreshing dinner experience just before flying out of monsooned Mumbai.
BUSABA (Lower Parel)rnHe was young, tall and handsome. I was an Appellate Commissioner of Income Tax. He was a New York investment banker turned chef and passionate about the home catering he had just started. So, I booked him for Bambi Sahai, my IRS buddy's dinner. He turned up himself with his home made Kaukswe (his Burmese granma's recipe,) and was an instant hit. Twenty years later Nikhil Chib still serves Kaukswe and more. Now, in his popular Pan Asian restaurants Busaba at Colaba and the brand new one in Lower Parel.
I dined here with three of my favourite foodies. Combining super-sexily gorgeous looks with a girlish charm, model and TV host Parizad Kolah Marshall had just flown from Singapore (having hosted a megaawards ceremony there) From comedy to sports to weddings, conventions, shows with Salman Khan... this style icon has done it all. And cheering her on is Navroze, her dapper industrialist, sports-buff husband who runs a successful family business of engineering companies. With us was also the most-eligible bachelor, well- travelled, charming and handsome global gourmet Safdar Bandukwala, a guy with a warm, caring heart and very refined tastes.
Food: The best of Asian flavours from Burma, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam are here. The unerringly steamed Thai Fish enlivened with Lime, chilli and garlic tops. As does the robustly spiced Korean Beef Bulgogi. The plump and unusual Corn Cream Waterchestnut Balls, delight as does the tangy Aubergine Carpaccio and the authentic Thai Curry. Tibetan momos remain as moist, tasty and good as ever. And the accompanying sauces add zest and zing. It's the Kaukswe, which could do with a little more punch to it. Ditto for the lackluster Nasi Goreng. The Somtam Maki Roll is different but not the greatest. Ditto for the soft duck springroll. My most favourite Vietnamese soup Pho also needs more punch to it, though Safdar loves his vegetarian version. Plenty for veggies. End with the superlative, oozing Callebaut Chocolate Fondant and the Banoffee Pie gooey with toffee and fleshy banana.rnPrice points: Great pricing. Most dishes priced between Rs 300 to Rs 375. Our favourite Thai steamed fish was for Rs 375.
Decor: The loft like space across from Blue Frog is much bigger than Colaba, has soaring ceilings and exposed ducts, steel grey walls and red highlights. We all feel it could do with brighter lights.
Service: It could be more well-informed and finetuned.
Verdict: Affordable and approachable, Busaba has an exuberance and earnestness that has given it, it's well-deserved popularity. Definitely a Chib of the old block.
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