What do the words Upvaas Special Sizzler conjure up in your mind? Images of weird tasting food? Can’t blame you. It is an unusual concept, which warrants a certain amount of scepticism. But but but, the newest sizzler place in the city, Sizzle Desi, is here to correct your mental imagery. Let’s go chronologically though.
Recently, on Sankashti, we checked out Sizzle Desi, which offers soups, sandwiches, wraps and rolls, burgers and pasta, apart from continental and desi sizzlers, of course. We began our dinner with an appetizer – the Jalapeno & Corn Cheese Balls. It was the right mix of spice, crunch and delicious cheesiness. The mayo dip that came with it was heavenly – I had called for an extra dip to eat spoonfuls of just that.
Since we were in the mood to experiment, we called for the Chimichuri Spiked Mushroom Wrap, having no idea what chimichuri is. Later, owner and Chef of the place, Mr Parag Joglekar explained that chimichuri is a green sauce, a mix of parsley, garlic, oregano and white vinegar, among others. Being a sucker for mushrooms, I loved the wrap. The green sauce tasted similar to pesto. It came with a side of wedges, which was coated with a bit of what I think was amchur powder, to give it a nice zing. The wrap is quite filling, BTW. There aren’t too many options for beverages, but the Watermelon Iced Tea was super amazing.
Next up, we sampled the Upvaas Special Sizzler, which is an off-the-menu dish. It was, however, tough to decide what to order because there is nothing regular about any dish at Sizzle Desi. We had to choose between Grilled Cottage Cheese in Harissa Sauce, Mushroom Manchurian, Corn & Cheese Pattie with Baked Beans and Sambal Glazed Cottage Cheese. Life can be tough.
Now, I am not big on Maharashtrian cuisine. Varan-Bhaat, Zhunkha-Bhakhar and the like just don’t excite me. So I was taken aback by just how much I liked the Upvaas Special Sizzler — which was essentially Sabudana Vada, Sabudana Khichdi, Batatachi Bhaji, Varaicha Bhat, with a side of Kakdi Kachumber and Shengdanachi Aamti. If you’d offered me something called Shengdanachi Aamti in any other situation, I would have thanked you and then made an excuse to not have it. And boy, was it good! I’m the kind of fussy eater who wouldn’t ordinarily touch Sabudana Vada at home. If my mother had seen the way I devoured the dish, I suspect she would never have spoken to me again. But the sizzler was so darn good. My friend Devashish AKA Bombay Sufi (click here for his amazing Hindi poetry) also isn’t a fan of Maharashtrian food but he shared the same sentiments when it came to the Upvaas Special Sizzler.
For dessert, we could have gone for the sizzling chocolate brownie, but hey, every other place serves that. We instead went for a supremely unique sizzler desert – a scoop on vanilla ice-cream, Gulab Jamun and Gajar ka Halwa on a bed of Puran Poli. Topped with chocolate sauce, of course. Once again, it sounds odd. But trust me, and trust Mr Joglekar’s culinary experience of 22 years, it was AWESOME. And I don’t even like Puran Poli. But somehow, the desert on the whole just worked for me. The Gulam Jamun was delicious, the Gajar Halwa didn’t look like it had a lot of food colouring. You have to try the combination to know what I’m raving about.
We thought this was the end of our dinner but we were in for a pleasant surprise. We were offered Paan-flavoured shots. Yes, Paan-flavoured shots. And they were brilliant. No mukhwaas or saunf can compare to ending a meal like this.
The service was attentive and polite. The décor, admittedly, is nothing to write home about. It’s a rather simple affair. The efforts seem to have gone entirely into the food – so we aren’t complaining. While not an ideal date place, it’s definitely a good option for dinner with family or friends. Originally intended to be a purely sizzler and beer place, Mr Joglekar had to re-imagine the whole restaurant because residents in the area weren’t okay with having a restaurant serving liquor.
Everybody loves a good sizzler. Head to Sizzle Desi for more than just that.
Sizzle Desi: 1, Trishul Apartment, Eastern Express Highway, Service Road, Beside Celebration Hall, Panchpakhadi, Thane (West)
Meal for two: Rs. 1,300 (approx, as per Zomato)
Call: 022 30151555
Not-so-fine print: Big thanks to ‘Rotaractor forever’, Yashad Kirtane, for extending the review invitation to me. Which means yes, we were guests of the restaurant for this meal.
British Brewing Company (BBC) had been on my to-visit list ever since it opened. So when Navi Mumbai Foodies asked me if I’d like to review it for my blog, I readily agreed. Sosha and I spent three relaxed hours last Sunday afternoon. Here’s the verdict-
BBC has a relaxed, causal vibe to it. We settled in and scanned the menu, which has been upgraded lately. What stands out in their alcohol section are the freshly brewed beers. I tried the Doppelganger, which was pretty smooth, the SummerSault, which was full-bodied, and the White Zen, which was on the lighter side. A huge plus point is that they offer samplers of the beer if you ask for it. So do try the brews before calling for one.
The next thing on the menu to catch my eye was the beer cocktails. I went for the Lagerita (tequila, triple sec and KF draught), which was super light on the palate, and quite delicious. Sosha tried a Fire and Ice cocktail, which was pretty good. I also had a Sangria (white wine), which was perfect. Sosha had a Kokum Cooler cocktail (with vodka), which was unusual and refreshing. And then of course they had the usual Rum, Whiskey, Vodka, etc.. Won’t get into details there.
Coming to the food, there’s plenty on offer. Soups, salads, starters, tandoors, skewers, wraps, burgers, pasta, noodles and finally, the wood oven pizzas, which is BBC’s strongest point. And justifiably so. The Wild Mushroom Pizza (with added olive toppings) was heavenly. The base was super soft, the mushrooms succulent.
The Garlic Bread here was pretty different – instead of soft bread, these were crisp triangle shaped slices. The garlic bread came with three dips – tahini (sort of bland), olives (green and black olives in olive oil; absolutely amazing) and jalapenos (super spicy), which made it all the more interesting.
The Mushroom soup was a delight to the senses. You could smell mushrooms the minute the server got the bowl to the table. We also tried two salads. While the Greek Salad was definitely fresh, but could do well with a lot more feta cheese in it. Next, the Summer Salad (exotic veggies in ranch dressing, Mexican style). While there was nothing exotic about the veggies (lettuce, corn, cucumber, french beans, cherry tomatoes), it was rather delicious.
Upon recommendation by the chef, we went for the Veg Lagasne, and we’re glad we did so. The dish was served with a godawesome tamarind sauce and bread with pesto on it. The tamarind totally made the minced vegetable between the pasta sheets taste drastically different and better. The plating made it a visual treat. A winner. And the pizza, of course, oh my goodness. Too amazing. 😀 They also have a section dedicated to all things British. Like Fish & Chips and Shepherd’s Pie.
And though of course we were stuffed towards the end of the meal, we tried dessert too. Sosha went crazy over the Chocolate Hazelnut Mocha cake and I, over the Caramel Custard. Deliciously soft and light, it melted in my mouth. Apart from all of this, they list the day’s specials on a blackboard menu hanging on the wall, which features items off the menu. Pretty cool, I say.
The music at BBC of was a mix of genres. So there was Dido playing after Duran Duran! Thankfully, the audio levels are quite low, so you can actually have a conversation over your meal. The service staff is pretty polite and prompt. They have a bar counter, a seating pod in shape of a large wooden barrel, and regular seating. The crowd was decent – young professionals, families. Also, BBC has an open kitchen – which is rather comforting, because you hear all these horror stories about restaurant kitchen and you tend to wonder how hygienic they really are. In place of a traditional menu card, they have sleek tablets you can place orders from. Though many restaurants in the city (and country) have adopted technology in various forms, I believe few in the vicinity have tablet menus. So that’s a plus.
All in all, the British Brewing Company gets a double thumbs up from me.
Details: Ground Floor, Viviana Mall, Eastern Express Highway, Thane
Call: 022 61701549
Meal for two: Rs. 1,600 (approx)
Fine print: We were guests of the restaurant for this meal.
Sliders are basically mini burgers- but cuter because of their tiny size. They aren’t exactly common in India and so when Ketan Kadam launched an eatery around the concept in Bandra, Mumbai, I was immediately intrigued. Along with my photographer and foodie friend, Sanket, whom you know from my previous post, I went to Sliders after work one day. I’m vegetarian, Sanket is not. So the review below is jointly written by us.
We began our meal with the Nutella Coffee (Rs 110) and Strawberry Rush (Rs 110). “The Nutella Coffee was light on flavor and was nicely presented, though personally I would have loved a water based drink to accompany the mini burgers,” Sanket feels. The Strawberry Rush was light and easy on the stomach-exactly how beverages ought to be. It doesn’t fill you up and so, there’s enough room for actual food. The flavour and sweetness level was perfect.
The vegetarian sliders all cost Rs 60 each, while all the non-vegetarian ones cost Rs 65 each, with the exception of Double Decker (Rs 80). Among the first thing Sanket ordered was the Fish and Chips slider. “I like everything fish, and this one was a crisp fish combined with sauces that accentuate the taste. The Bademiya slider was a spicy piece of kebab between the breads; it was decent. The Double Decker is the tallest slider in the menu. It comprises chicken salami, cheese and a flattened egg amongst the varied sauces. It does take some effort to be devoured and also fills you quite a bit.” He adds, “I had to skip the much recommended Philly Steak slider, but friends gave rave reviews about this particular slider.”
Coming to the vegetarian sliders, the Jalapeno Popper packed in the just the right punch of hotness. The cheese nicely balanced the spice. It turned out to be my most favourite among all the sliders. Next up was Wild Mushrooms. Although it lacked the distinct mushroom flavour that one would obviously expect, it was pretty delicious. The Mac and Cheese was strictly okay but full points for the innovative thought. I suppose a lot many would order this slider out of sheer curiosity so perhaps it would do them well to improve the flavour. I also sampled the Falafel slider (again, superb idea), and it didn’t disappoint. Fans of Middle Eastern cuisine will definitely savour it. So the only vegetarian slider I didn’t try was the Paneer Chilly… because 1) There were more unusual options to choose from, and 2) There is only so much I can eat-even if it’s for the sake of my blog.
Next in line was Thai Fries (Rs 90). French fries are topped with a drizzle of Thai sauce, a fair amount of peanut butter and garnished with coconut. “I am no fan of Thai sauce. But that being said that’s not the case with everyone… Manali was eating it as if it were gold plated caviar (if at all they come up with some veg version). I just kept staring at her as she was at it… So going by the looks on her face, if you like all of the above ingredients mixed and presented in a basket, dig in,” Sanket cheekily says. And even though Sanket had reserved some tummy space for the Brownie Slider (Rs 70), he managed to eat some of their signature BBQ wings (Rs 130), “which were tender and flavorful, thanks to the sauce it was cooked in.”
Coming to deserts, Sliders offers a Brownie slider-a small chocolate brownie with (excessively) sweet chocolate sauce wedged between toasted mini buns. Sanket was skeptical about it at first but soon was wishing he had room for more! I, on the other hand, didn’t like it too much.
The day we visited, the Ice Cream Profiteroles were not available. A shame, really, because I was pretty intrigued by the concept. But there’s always a next time and Sliders is one place I’d definitely visit again. Apart from all of this, Sliders also serves up burgers and hot dogs. The place is also perfect for a quick bite after shopping on Linking Road 😉 Sanket says, “To sum it up, I’d say, if you have a varied taste and would like some fun-sized burgers , you should definitely drop by Slider’s. A special mention of the food graffiti on the wall, it’s been quite some time since I’ve seen something like it.”
Sliders scores on all fronts. Food- great. Pricing- affordable. Service- polite. Ambience- no frills.
All the pictures are shot by Sanket. More of his work can be found on his Facebook page.
Fine print: Please note that we were guests of the restaurant for the day. Big ups to Amrita and Anisha for inviting us.
Sliders: New Karnal Building, Near Bandra Book Centre, Waterfield Road, Bandra West, Mumbai. Call: 022-66710844. Rs 450 for two people (approx).
Some previous reviews:
First ever guest post on Nothing Intellectual. Old friend Sanket Chavan, who is a freelance photographer, and a better writer than he thinks, does the honours. Here goes:
Chili’s gives you the feel of a regular watering hole filled with chatter from neighboring tables. The place emphasises on the south western American cuisine, influenced by Tex-Mex. I was invited for Chili’s Grill and Bar’s food festival; they had a special menu for it. Rezy, the restaurant manager was of a great help throughout the evening, explaining what goes into the dishes and managing our expectations, especially when people think that Chili’s must have something to do with all the dishes being spicy. They are not.
Rezy recommended starting out with a Beer-ita. As expected, it came in a tall beer glass, dark, yellow and frothy. It tastes like the usual draught (sans the bitterness) and leaves an aftertaste of margarita. It was accompanied with Bold Calamari with Cilantro ranch (Rs 395). The pairing would’ve been ideal if it were to be just beer. However, the Calamari was crunchy and satisfying enough.
Then, we were recommended the Triple dipper (Rs 495). Given the fact that I was sharing my table with a vegetarian, we ordered Southwestern Rolls, Texas Cheese poppers, Paneer bites and Boneless chicken wings. Other than the wings all of them were vegetarian preparations. However, the best of them was the Paneer bites, you felt the initial crunch as you bit into the softer insides, it just disappears in your mouth. The Cheese poppers can barely be qualified as solid, these just melt as soon as it slides in your mouth. Chicken wings were a bit spicy with a sweet aftertaste, Southwestern Rolls were devoured before I even had the opportunity, must be that good.
As I primarily eat fish at any given opportunity, I was waiting for the Orange Habanero Salmon (Rs 725) ever since I read the menu. Finally it arrived, paired with the freshest Brocolli and cucumber, the orange coloured fillet sat there emanating a smoky aroma. After taking a deep breath I sliced a part of the fillet, pink flakes of the salmon gave way for my knife. As soon as it was in my mouth I could feel the balanced flavors. The Habenaro and fish combination goes really well.
We had also ordered a Paneer and Cheese Fajita (Rs 395). For someone who has never tasted the Quesadilla, I would want to recommend this to them vegetarians. Molten cheese, paneer, mushrooms, sour cream, four different toppings… it’s like a carnival of all things nice and soft on a platter.
The meal concluded with the Molten Chocolate lava Cake (Rs 325). Sitting on top of a bunt chocolate cake is a dollop of chocolate coated vanilla ice-cream. As soon as you break open the chocolate coating along with the cake to get a spoonful of the Lava cake, you can see the ice-cream and the chocolate ooze out. Drool worthy site, quite literally.
All photographs by Sanket Chavan. Check out more of his work here. Also, Sanket would like to thank his dear friend Amrita Hom Ray for inviting him and Karishma Shah for being such good company.
Chili’s: 13, Ventura Building, Hiranandani Business Park, Central Avenue Road, Powai, Mumbai.
Phone: 022 67419002, 022 67419003