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Critic's Review

Updated about 15hrs ago

  • Food
  • 60% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 70% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 80% Complete (success)

Dramatis Personae Urvashi Thacker: This lively and affable character has not only mastered the art and science of Bonsai but also of cooking. She divides time between Jamnabhai Narsee School (which her family owns) and conducting national and international workshops on Bonsai, and now her book on the subject is set to break all records.nnSameena Khan: The vision in white has not only designed the striking red necklace she is wearing but also heads husband Azeem's accessory line. Hailing from a royal Nawabi family, Sameena epitomises refined taste in food too. She's been friends with Urvashi for over two decades (when she bought her first bonsai from her).

Azeem Khan:Third generation of maestros of fashion and embroidery, this dapper designer is a foodie extraordinaire. The couple's work continues to dazzle Mumbai, Europe, Singapore and Dubai. Rus... The narrator: ...a shadowy figure seen lurking around, eating, talking, taking notes and photographing. Sometimes all four at the same time.Farokh Khambatta: The brilliant owner-chef (of Joss and Amadeus fame) stays backstage but continues to feed the cast with comfort food.

Scene One The Setting: The two month-old Cafe at NCPA, Nariman Point, is lush green with trees and plants. Serene ambiance below the skies. Umbrellas, open kitchen too. It's packed. On two nights Rus, the narrator is seen eating dinner (with hotshot London lawyer Sunil Sheth) under the stars.

Chorus: It's the tandoori kebabs that come out tops, be it the melt in the mouth Kakori, the robustly spiced Pahadi Chicken or the well made Fish Tikka. Sadly the special menu of Parsi fare (dhansak, chicken salli) is not as good and the dimsum have thick skins. The bockwurst sausage dog with onion relish delights. As do the desserts.

Scene Two Setting: Cafe At NCPA. It's a cool, sunny afternoon. Sparkling women like Esther Daswani and Jamini Alhuwalia are seen eating here. It's housefull.nnUrvashi Thacker: I love sitting amidst so many plants, if only they would improve the landscaping. Waiters bustle with sandwiches, burgers, dimsum, kababs, smoothies. Sameena and Azeem Khan:It's this glorious baked Brie topped with nuts that is working the magic for us.

Chorus: The silken smooth and flavoursome coconutty curry of the Khowsuey served with all the crunch of the trimmings is the star of the show. The Parsi fare continues to disappoint but the sandwiches and the mini meals are generously large and flavoursome (sesame crusted fish and jacket potatoes recommended). As also the Chocolate mudpie and Philadelphia cheesecake. Plenty for veggies. Finale: Brilliant location, rare to find alfresco cafe in Mumbai. Open through the day. No alcohol. Valet parking. Don't go looking for gourmet fare, its comfort food at even more comforting prices (Rs 500 per head). Is it any wonder that it's housefull?

Updated about 15hrs ago

  • Food
  • 80% Complete (success)
  • Service
  • 80% Complete (success)
  • Decor
  • 60% Complete (success)

Iam on a high. After tripping out on the creativity of two Mumbai youngsters' 'Yogurtbay', I'm here in Madrid, where the ultimate salute to culinary creativity is taking place. It's that time of the year when the brilliant blue Spanish skies and sunshine are kissing the bracing winter days, and global culinary superstars are jetting in to Madrid. It's the ultimate reference point for gastronomy. This high-powered congress of chefs, the Madridfusion is a mirror and a crystal ball rolled into one. Tracking trends, looking into the future, demonstrations, discussions, sci-fi cuisine, changing not only the way the world eats but also thinks of food... it's part spectacle and part congress.nnAt the swish welcome dinner, I catch up with the acknowledged and revered father of Modern Spanish cuisine, Juan Marie Arzak, his brilliant daughter Elena and the pioneering two Michelin starred chef Sergi Arola. The dynamic Capel siblings, Ana, Jose Carlos, and Esmeralada of Madridfusion bring together the who's who of the culinary world — leading Spanish, American, Korean, British, Japanese, French chefs. Even Nathan Myhrvold, author of Modernist cuisine's here. As is our young Indian chef Dhruv Oberoi of Olive, the recipient of a scholarship to soak in the Spanish genius, which brings me to two other young guys in Mumbai...

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