Vietnamese Food Festival

How we Indians love Asian cuisines, be it Chinese, Japanese or Thai. We try, we experiment, we even tweak it to our own liking. At the end of it, we simply love it. Whenever I get to try any new Asian cuisine or rather just any cuisine, okay just try new food, I am just too excited. So when Sofitel Mumbai, Bandra Kurla Complex ( BKC ) announces Vietnamese Food Festival, you ought to be excited. And receiving an invite for it, makes it doubly exciting.

I have never tasted Vietnamese food. So I decided to do my own little research of it online before I went ( and by research I mean reading Vietnamese Food on Wikipedia ).  From what I read, Vietnamese food is healthy, some items are seasonal and they believe in balance of all the flavors, be it spicy, sweet, salty or bitter. And after a nice info talk with Chef Indrajit of Sofitel, we got to know that the food is prepared with great passion and simplicity. Chef Dao Van Son has worked with great chefs all over the world. He is currently working as the Executive Sous Chef at Sofitel Saigon Plaza, Hoh Chi Minh City, Vietnam. His creations are with basic ingredients, traditional spices and more to the roots.

After reaching at the venue, we meet Chef Indrajit and had a very detailed conversation about the festival, after gaving us a tour of it and we got to work.

Lychee Martini

Lychee Martini

Our drink for the night was the Lychee Martini, it was non – alcoholic (good for me). It tasted really nice and different and perfect for the hot summers.

Then we started with the salads –

Salads

Salads

Beef and Green Papaya Salad

Beef and Green Papaya Salad

Each salad had a distinct taste. The Green Papaya and Beef salad, is not the usual spiced up salad we eat at other places. It is less spicy and relays more on the actual flavor of the papaya and not enhanced with sauces or spices.

Kakung & Peanut Salad

Kakung & Peanut Salad

The Kakung and Peanut Salad was better than the three salads. Again not something packed with flavors. But the peanuts and Kakung makes things slight interesting.

Duck & Tamarind Salad

Duck & Tamarind Salad

The Duck and Tamarind Salad was okay from the three.

Now comes the winner of the night –

Soup Counter

Soup Counter

 

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

Vietnamese Noodles and Chicken

Vietnamese Noodles and Chicken

Winner - Chicken Soup

Winner – Chicken Soup

The most delicious chicken soup.

It has the perfect chicken broth, topped with mixed herbs, boiled chicken and Vietnamese noodles. It was pure pleasure. I hope, I could have the recipe of this soup, like seriously, this is the world’s best comfort soup. If I would be ill and drink this soup, I would be up and about and in a good mood in no time. ( And this is coming from a non soup person).

Now the main course  –

The main course had Fried Rice and Noodles, Baby corn and Cauliflower in Vietnamese Gravy, Sauteed Seafood with Onion and Leek, Steamed Fish with Soya Sauce, Broccoli and Pakchoy toast in Garlic, Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce.

Stir Fried Vegetable Glass Noodles

Stir Fried Vegetable Glass Noodles

Broccoli & Pakchoy toast with Garlic

Broccoli & Pakchoy toast with Garlic

 

Sauteed Seafood with Onion and Leek

Sauteed Seafood with Onion and Leek

Steamed Fish with Soya Sauce

Steamed Fish with Soya Sauce

Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce

Braised Beef with Tomato Sauce

Now all these sound great and looked great. For the flavors in them, I cant say much. To be truthful it was way too bland for me. The sauces mentioned in the respective dishes were very very minimum. You could just taste the main ingredient of the dish and not much of the flavoring.

Desserts –

Deep Fried Pineapple

Deep Fried Pineapple

Green Bean Soup

Green Bean Soup

 

Not really much on the dessert side. There was Green Bean Soup, Fried Pineapple and Mango and Coconut Soup. Nothing great is really happening at the dessert section. So even if you avoid it, its okay.

Vietnamese food I feel is the best food, if you only want to eat healthy food. Less oil, extremely less sauce, mostly steamed food. It is making the main ingredient of the dish the hero without adding much other things to it. I will say that Vietnamese food is not fancy food. It is a healthy food with a very earthy feel to it. Though it is a bit too simple for our spiced up Indian palate. People who love to experiment and try different cuisines, can go and try it. But people who are used to spicy Asian food would find it disappointing. You wont have any ” burst of flavors in the mouth ” moment, but will see the simplicity, essence and the passion for Vietnamese food by the Chef Dao Van Son and his team.

The festival is on till the 3rd June at Pondicherry Cafe, Sofitel, Bandra Kurla Complex ( BKC ), Mumbai.

 

 

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Juggling Pizza

So what comes to mind when I say Acrobatic Pizza Chef. Not much eh? Same here, but when I saw the banner of the world renowned Chef Pasqualino Barbasso at Marriott, Juhu. I was confused and curious at the same time. Hence I decided I had to see what was all this about. But thankfully before I made any plans, I received an invite for the media table for food bloggers with the Chef himself, and I was excited. So I reached at Mezzo Mezzo, the Italian restaurant at JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai. Mezzo Mezzo is very close to my heart. It was almost my first and earliest fine dining experience alone with my nephew. It was his birthday and I had taken him there. Though we have some very fond and embarrassing memories there, but that is for another post.

So we come to the Acrobatic Chef. Well let me begin by telling you that an Acrobatic Pizza Chef in Italy is a Pizza Chef who does great tricks with the pizza dough, and by tricks I mean juggling, swirling, throwing, catching and much more. It is like a full on magic performance but the main point – the dough doesn’t break ! And that’s the beauty of it. God knows I can’t even roll the dough without breaking it, how the hell does he do these tricks. And Chef Barbasso has won world championships in it, not once but twice. That’s not his only talent and as I said “Chef Barbasso” he also makes great pizzas. And I was lucky to taste and see his great work. Now I will straight away rush to the food.

 

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For starters we were served with warm breads, various cheeses, olives, Brushettas and more. I really like the spicy Ricotta balls (I think that was the name, I am very bad at remembering names).

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While nibbling on the starters, Chef Barbasso and Chef Davide came and chilled with us on our table. After some fun interaction with the chef, we got ready for the performance.

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The perfomance was spectacular. The ease with how Chef uses the dough is just plain fantastic. It is worth a watch. The perfomance is around 10 minutes but worth every minute. It is something new, fun and never seen before. After the performance the Chef went to bake some pizzas for us.

Arrotolata

Arrotolata

This is the vegetarian pizza on the menu. Though not a traditional looking pizza, it does taste like one. The pizza is made of Artichokes puree, Artichokes, Mozzarella, Bresaola, Rocket and Parmesan flakes. It is nice if you like Artichokes.

Best Pizza Every - Shrimp & Caviar

Best Pizza Every – Shrimp & Caviar

Now this I feel is the winner of the night. It was delicious. It is called the Lilly, made with a perfect thin crust, Mozzeralla, Shrimps, Artichokes and Caviar. The taste and feel of this pizza is something new, creative and delightful. If you are going to visit Mezzo Mezzo between 9-17 May just close your eyes and order this.

Asparagi e Salmon

Asparagi e Salmon

This one is also good. It as an Apsagaras puree with Smoked Salmon, Mozzarella and Herb Riccotta. I really liked the Herb Ricotta.

So on the whole, it was a damn good night, with some great food and people. I would really recommend everyone to go and check out Chef Barbasso’s performance and eat the yummy food. The best part, he performs it twice in the evening, once at the Lotus Cafe and second at Mezzo Mezzo around 9.30 pm and 10.30 pm. So go ahead on a perfect evening with delicious pizzas and fun performance. It is on till 17th May, so don’t miss it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunkin Donuts

“Finally ” is the right word to use for the launch of Dunkin Donuts in Bandra, Mumbai. I won’t be writing an introduction for Dunkin Donuts because who doesn’t know Dunkin. We all have gone abroad and oohed and aahed over their donuts. Hoping and wishing ” Bombay main kab khulega.” So brace yourself Dunkin Donuts have arrived.

I was invited a day before the official launch date, for a culinary workshop through Sameer Malkani of FBAI ( Food Bloggers Association India). I was excited as any other person there. I couldn’t wait to try the doughnuts.

Situated at the heart of Bandra at Linking Road with easier parking options Dunkin has found a perfect place. The store is big and spacious with indoor and outdoor seating. The decor is bright and pleasant, though nothing like a doughnut place ( I don’t know if there is any special decor for doughnut joints but you get the idea) but more like a restaurant or cafe thing.

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Coming to the food, Dunkin Donuts is not selling just doughnuts, but it is selling everything from coffee, ice teas, burgers, wraps, sandwiches and much more. Though I would have loved just a coffee and doughnut place but then it is not my decision to make.

 

Classic Glazed Doughnut

Classic Glazed Doughnut

I am going to talk more about the doughnuts and much less about the food. I feel the doughnuts is the high light of this place and not the food. The first doughnut I tried was the Classic Glazed Doughnut or Donut. Will it be too obvious if I say I loved it. What I really liked was that the doughnuts are huge at least compared to the size that are available here. This one was soft, yum and filling.

Donuts !!

Donuts !!

There are ample of flavors to choose from Classic, Cinnamon, Cookie, Blueberry, Coffee, Alive by Chocolate and Death by Chocolate and many many more.

Cinnamon Sugar, Death by Chocolate, Coffee

Cinnamon Sugar, Death by Chocolate, Coffee

Yes we had a lot of doughnuts. I wanted to love the Coffee one because I love coffee, but at the end I kind of just liked it. I actually really liked the Death by Chocolate. Cinnamon also being one of my favorite ingredient, though bit messy tastes good. But the winner for me is Classic and Death by Chocolate.

Second best thing that I loved at Dunkin Donuts, and which will keep making visit again especially in this very wonderful summer is the ice teas specially the spiked one.

Spiked Ice Tea

Spiked Ice Tea

The Ice Teas are actually brewed and not just powder mixed in the cold water at Dunkin Donuts. The best results because of this is that the sugary taste which we find in most of the ice teas is missing, which makes it super delicious. The Spiked Ice Tea is my favorite because it has the perfect hint of all the spices. It super refreshing and a must in this heat !!

Cappuccino

Cappuccino

Stirr'accino

Stirr’accino

 

The Cappuccino is okay. The have a special coffee called Stirr’accino, which I didn’t taste. It is a mixture of two coffees as they say, though it really looked tempting, hopefully next time.

Tough Guy Burger

Tough Guy Burger

 

Wicked Wrap

Wicked Wrap

The Tough Guy Burger and Wicked Wrap are the specials of Dunkin Donuts. I am not a fan of the food they are serving. And they are catering more towards the burgers and wraps than the doughnuts when it should be vice versa, again not my call. But for me, if I would be visiting Dunkin Donuts, it will be because of the doughnuts and the not the burger or wrap. So guys Dunkin Donuts has finally arrived and go eat some delicious doughnuts.