Archive for the 'Food & Drink' Category

01
Mar
17

Vegan Food Review: Chaap Ki Chaap – Mock Meat Hits Mumbai Streets

chaap-ki-chhaapVEGANS IN MUMBAI are licking their fingers every night because of healthy meat that vegetarians and non-vegetarians don’t yet know about – Chaap Ki Chaap has its first stall in Four/Seven Bungalows, Andheri – and the food is tasty as fuck. We, the enlightened ones, have already visited the tiny outlet about a dozen times and can’t wait to go back there thrice tonight. It’s mock meat that looks, smells, tastes and feels exactly like fish, chicken, mutton and prawns, and it’s all vegan as fuck. There are many vegan kababs (that’s how ‘kebabs’ is spelled) and quite a few vegetarian kebabs (you can spell ‘kababs’ any way you like) which can be veganized, and they’re so good that all the vegans frequent Chaap Ki Chaap not only to gorge on them, but also to stuff their faces with meaty gravies with a roomali roti right after, and order a takeaway for the unenlightened non-vegans at home. We’re not going to tell you what to call for, because you need to try everything and have your ugly ass kicked by the look of the dishes, the smells, the tastes and the textures. My review of Chaap Ki Chhaap? Let me put it this way – it’s blowing nonvegans away.

RATING: 4/5

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 Address: 1, Ratan Nagar Ln, Gharkul Society, Ratan Nagar, Four Bungalows, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400047

Phone: 082914 93369
Hours: Open today 5 pm – 12 am
21
Feb
17

Vegan Food in Mumbai: Kathiyawadi Jalsa in Andheri East

kathiyawadijalsa

THE BEST MEALS I HAD IN 2016 were at an unnoticeable restaurant in Andheri East, outside Varma Nagar, on Andheri Kurla Road, across the road from Teli Galli, and you’ll be surprised to learn how a place owned by a South Indian and run by boys from Madhya Pradesh can have you going back several days in a row for authentic Kathiyawadi food. I remember seeing a small blackboard outside the establishment and thinking it was cute that an eatery could hope to entice people with the day’s special vegetable dishes scrawled with chalk in Gujarati. It succeeded in luring me in for sure, and it has taken me a year of eating at Kathiyawadi Jalsa to write this review.

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IT’S AS BIG AS A SMALL ROOM, this delightful, uninviting Mumbai restaurant, and so undetectable that not even a lot of ‘foodies’ who reside in Varma Nagar have knowledge of Kathiyawadi Jalsa‘s existence. But that’s good for me – I love all things exclusive and obscure – and I’d rather great things stay that way. Most people, unable to look beyond what they see, walk right into Pallavi (the garish and unremarkable multi-cuisine of the area; every area has at least one such garbage dump), and the commoners eat food made the way they think: without thought.

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YOU MUST ASK UPON ENTERING Kathiyawadi Jalsa (even if you can read Gujarati) what the day’s special sabzis are, for those are the vegetable dishes ready in case you’re starving. The thalis are to be avoided, for they bring with them not only the dairy-based sweet, curd and buttermilk but also the watery dal. And not ordering the thali will get you much bigger portions of the veggies, so ask for Lasaniya Bataka (garlicky potato curry, their staple), and one of the other specials if they sound interesting or order stuff à la carte and have the healthier breads on the menu as well.

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MOST OF THE VEGETABLE DISHES are sure to excite anyone who hasn’t tried Kathiyawadi food before; it’s wonderfully spicy stuff and goes terrifically with the thepla and any type of rotla. I don’t want to recommend anything here – this is one of the Indian cuisines you must try everything of and find your likes and dislikes – but will I will suggest that you taste the three khichdis when you’re done with the veggies and breads after several visits to Kathiyawadi Jalsa.

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KATHIYAWADI JALSA IS THE RESTAURANT you want to go to for tasty, filling and affordable meals when you’re near Andheri Station. For some reason the eating house also goes by the name of “Hotel Gurukripa” but it shouldn’t be hard to find if you follow my directions. Please remember to tell them two, three, four times that you don’t want any dairy products in your food, because they’re almost always running around and tend to forget instructions. I’ve sent back rotis and theplas and rotlas several times because they were slathered with ghee (clarified butter). Yeah, I’m like that.

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RATING: 3.5/5

Kathiyawadi Jalsa – A/22, Gopal Bhuvan, Andheri-Kurla Road, opposite Teli Galli, Andheri East 400069

Phone: 02226842958, 02226842959

Vegan Food in Mumbai: Pizza Roundup 2016

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

Vegan Food Review: The Calcutta Club

Mouthwatering Accidentally Vegan Dishes at Mee Marathi

Vegan Food Review: Adarsh Meals and Tiffin Service

HIT LIST: Indian Musicians You Didn’t Know Were Vegan

19
Dec
16

Bedekar Tasty Foods: The Worst Food I Ate in a Restaurant in 2016

Excited to see an eatery of the brand that is synonymous with pickles, I decided to breakfast at Bedekar’s on a Sunday. It’s a good thing I asked how the food is prepared or I might have never learned that it is far from fresh! The poha (which I had gone there for) and their upma (also something I wanted to try) and everything else is packaged and frozen, including the greasy stuff that they defreeze and deep fry in hell knows which oil. Even the khichdi is kept frozen for months and is in no way nutritional or even tasty. Perhaps the Bedekars believe that the crap they’re selling as healthy foods can be preserved like their famous pickles. Not wanting it to be a complete waste of my time, I took a selfie at Bedekar Tasty Foods before walking out, never to return again. RATING: 0/5

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Vegan Pizzas in Mumbai

Vegan Food Review: The Calcutta Club

Vegan Recipe: Tameta Nu Shaak

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

Vegan Food Review: Mee Marathi

18
Dec
16

Vegan Food in Mumbai: Pizza Roundup 2016

As if it isn’t shameful enough that Mumbai has zero exclusively vegan restaurants, its fancy eateries are embarrassing the city with mostly insipid fare that has been disappointing all the vegans. I’m a busy man who works six days a week, has cats to look after, bands that make music, and idiots to argue with on Facebook, so when I visit restaurants (that don’t even serve alcohol) three suburbs away for meals that aren’t cheap, it better be worth my time.

veganpizza

I ate my first vegan pizza at The Village Shop a year and a half after going vegan, and their Vegan Warmer (450/-) wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t make me want to eat it again. I had the best pizzas as a non-vegan at Alfredo’s, and The Village Shop‘s pizza didn’t do much for me.

However, I would go back for their Shiitake Falafel (a really good mushroom burger, 425/-) and The Nutwich (walnut pesto sandwich, 395/-).

veganpizzabirdsongThe Birdsong Cafe uses cashew cheese too, but is extremely stingy with it. Their Bird Song Marguerite (tomatoes and vegan cheese, 385/-) would have been really something had it been loaded with the cheese. Even those who’ve had the Farmer’s Pizza (it has a lot more toppings) have observed that The Birdsong Cafe is terribly miserly with the stuff that everybody wants more of on their pizzas. But the biggest disappointment was their Almond Pesto Pasta, a dish so bland that I had to leave it midway. When you’re paying five hundred rupees for a pasta, the restaurant should have some vegan cream or vegan butter or vegan whatever the fucking dish needs, yeah? I won’t be going back to The Birdsong Cafe even though their vegan cold coffee is the bomb.

rayspizzeriamenuWhen it comes to being lethargic, Ray’s Pizzeria and Cafe takes the fucking shit-cake. It is fucking understood by anyone who has ever eaten a slice of pizza that a pizza without cheese is like bhelpuri without chutney, but Ray’s Pizzeria has the fucking nerve to say things like “It is said that cheese is one of the 12,733,028 pizza toppings, so try our cheese-less pizzas.” And all their vegan pizzas are cheese-less, because these lazy pieces of shit want your money and want to seem cool by having “vegan options” on the menu but don’t want to make an effort to give you vegan cheese. Would Ray’s Pizzeria and Cafe have the shit in their ass to convince non-vegans that they don’t need cheese to enjoy a pizza? Because it’s easier and cheaper to steal milk from cows and buffaloes that have been tied to a spot, forcefully impregnated, injected with hormones, separated from their children, and will eventually become another topping on their fucked-up pizzas, right?

So now here’s what any restaurant that wants to offer the vegans a pizza should do:

  1. Make it cheesy. Have more than one vegan cheese on the menu. Buy local vegan cheese. Import vegan cheese. Make your own vegan cheese. Vegans don’t care how you do it – if you’re making them pay through their asses, you should be able to pull something out of your hat.
  2.  Veggie toppings are great, but have mock-meat toppings as well – most of us went vegan not because we stopped enjoying the taste or texture of meat but because we didn’t want to continue funding the meat and dairy industries. This will also make vegans drag their meat-loving friends to try your cruelty-free food and switch to healthier eating habits.
  3. Read the two points above carefully. Vegans want their pizzas and food in general to be exciting enough to make everybody else to know that they’re missing out on a lot of good food and a much better way to live. So make sure there’s enough cheese and proper toppings because the taste is not going to come from your ass.

Hit List: Indian Musicians You Didn’t Now Were Vegan

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

Vegan Food Review: The Calcutta Club

Vegan Recipe: Tameta Nu Shaak

21
Aug
16

Vegan Recipe: Tameta Nu Shaak (Tangy Tomato Curry)

I HAVE BEEN cooking for over a year now and am on the verge of quitting it completely because it is highly stressful for me and also a fucking waste of my time. I am to be served and fed, not to lose my jet-black hair over how much salt to add. “Add salt to taste” tells me nothing, so I’ve almost always added either too little (that was easily fixed) or too much.

What I’m sharing is a recipe of the most comforting food I’ve eaten: tameta nu shaak. My mother and grandmothers used to make this at least once a week and I’d always shown my appreciation by wolfing it down with several chapatis (rotlis in Gujarati, 13 is my record) slathered with ghee, followed by a bowl of rice with dollops of ghee on it. I would then drink several glasses of cold salted buttermilk.

Ghee is not vegan; I can’t even stand the smell of it anymore and it comes from tortured, enslaved, exploited cows and buffaloes, so don’t eat it. Ghee is also extremely unhealthy as is dairy in general, and just look around at all the “pure vegetarians” sick, fat and crippled by disease caused by their own eating habits. Buttermilk is not vegan either and is a byproduct of animal exploitation, but I still love buttermilk, so I make dairy-free buttermilk (I’ll post the recipe someday) when I’m really in the mood for it.

So here’s how to make this tangy tomato curry:

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a kadhai, add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds and ½ teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them crackle. Then add ¼ teaspoon hing (asafoetida) and stir for 30 seconds because you have nothing better to do, and then throw in ½ kg of diced tomatoes, add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder and ½ teaspoon cumin powder. Now add a few small chunks of jaggery, exactly 1 teaspoon of salt (not “to taste”, motherfucker – exactly one teaspoon) and let this whole business simmer for a while. When the tomatoes are soft and the aroma is in the air, you’ll know this shit is ready, but stir it about for a bit if you want to feel important.

There’s no need to top it with sev because there’s no need to make things crunchy and you’re no Tarla Dalal, so shut the fuck up and keep stirring.

Now serve it hot with chapatis or rice to four people or give them the finger and eat it all yourself. Fuck them. You’re vegan and you deserve a tall glass of cold salted vegan masala chhaas with this vegan/vegetarian/Jain/halal/kosher soul food.

tametanushaak

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

Vegan Food Review: The Calcutta Club

Mouthwatering Accidentally Vegan Dishes at Mee Marathi

 

19
Aug
15

Vegan Food Review: The Calcutta Club

NEVER HAVING EATEN BENGALI FOOD anywhere except The Calcutta Club, one has nothing to compare this quaint little restaurant in Oshiwara with, but what one can tell you is that Bengali cuisine is now one of the few one can seek comfort in without having to think. There aren’t many restaurants in Andheri that offer a soothing dining (or lunching) experience, and you know when you walk into the small place that you immediately want to be seated; the framed black-and-white pictures of old Calcutta are there to make Bengalis homesick, but they also charm you, the non-Bengali person, and as you wonder what it must be like to have been there, lived there, known that world, your eyes fall on Satyajit Ray smoking a pipe while playing a piano and on a poster of one of his movies starring Uttam Kumar and on a still from an Utpal Dutt film and suddenly it is no longer just about the food.

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BUT IT IS THE FOOD for which you go back to The Calcutta Club, either to try a spicy gravy with the laccha paratha because you decided last time that next time you’d steer clear of mustard-based curries, or to eat the shukto (the delightful mixed vegetable curry) with a luchi (puri in Hindi and Gujarati) or four, or to wash down the vegetarian starters with countless glasses of aam poro shorbot (aam panna in Hindi, baflo in Gujarati) or to avoid the overrated alu posto (cooked with poppy seeds, they say, but it’s puri bhaji and that’s all it is). Yeah, most of the vegetarian dishes are vegan, and the loochees (poorees) are fried in oil and Bengalis use a lot of mustard, so you can have a cruelty-free heart attack at the age of 40. Everything about The Calcutta Club feels authentic, and one is amazed to sense it without knowing anything about the food or the culture beyond that much space, and the restaurant is adored by Bengalis who are amused at how much you appreciate it and by other non-Bengalis who never seem to mind going back to “that nice Bengali place.”

RATING: 3.5/5

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

WARNING: The whisky you’re drinking at Kabeela Bar & Kitchen may not be the one you ordered

Vegan Food Review: Mee Marathi | Vegan Food Review: Aakash Meals and Tiffin Service

21
Jun
15

Vegan Food Review: Every Non-Vegan Restaurant

beerIT  ISN’T UNTIL YOU GO VEGAN that you realize how dependent on nonhuman animals we humans are. How much we take from them – everything; how we exploit them – in every way; and how we don’t even think about how many lives are taken because we can’t (or don’t want to) look beyond meat, eggs and dairy – as if those are the ‘food’ items that we really want to taste and “can’t live without”.

It so happens that the first not-so-cheap restaurant you visit after going vegan is one you’ve been to quite a few times before, but as an unawakened non-vegan who wasn’t concerned at all what went into your food, as long as it was tasty, not too unhealthy; you considered yourself not a herbivore, not an omnivore, not a carnivore, but a vore – an eater. An eater of all… an eater of everything.

shit burgerAnd now you’re looking at the menu, and you’re halfway through the pitcher of beer but you still haven’t been able to decide on what you’d like to eat. There’s absolutely nothing for you. So you order a vegetarian burger and you ask them to veganize it: cheese nahi chahiye, paneer nahi chahiye, butter nahi chahiye… The burger that comes is a shit patty between two buns. You can’t have it with the mayonnaise because it isn’t fucking vegan. The pitcher of beer is now over.

shit bruschettaLet’s have the bruschetta, you say. Veganized. “Cheese nahi chahiye.” It arrives stillborn. It’s a fucking flop, and you’re disappointed but not surprised. See, there’s nothing to do in a situation like this, so you call for another pitcher and wonder if you should have whisky as the main course. But you’re with friends – vegetarians – who are forgoing cheese and other dairy items because you’re with them. How sweet of them.

Let’s call for pasta, someone says. shit pastaThey veganize it for you. “Inn ko cheese nahi pasand,” or “Inn ko dairy se allergy hai,” they tell the waiter, who isn’t surprised anymore. But the pudfucker returns grinning with parmesan on the fucking pasta as if he’s done you a huge fucking favour.

This happens every time. There’s a Mexican restaurant, and there’s one that serves finger-licking good north Indian food, and there’s a place famous for its Gujarati thali. The restaurant changes, the food changes, but the story remains the same.

BEFORE YOU GO VEGAN you’re filled with anxiety: how will you not have ghee on the roti and in your rice, how will you live without butter in a lot of things, what about dahi, buttermilk, paneer, lassi, and honey (which you never really cared much about) – all those things that always seemed harmless. The worry is mainly about the diet, because you’ll give those leather shoes away, you won’t buy leather belts again, you’ll throw the wallet away, who wears silk anyway… but how are you not going to eat a fucking pizza? What about your morning chai? Ice cream? Fuck.

placeAnd we haven’t even started talking about not eating animals, but “meat, fish and poultry” were forbidden for some of us, and that’s what makes it even worse. You thought you were an ethical vegetarian, but it hits you like a ton of bricks that there’s nothing ethical about vegetarianism; you cease to be an ‘ethical’ vegetarian when you become aware of what happens to the animals we don’t love as pets, the ones we don’t think of as ‘cute.’ This is when you see the light and awaken.

That’s when your anxiety and sense of loss turn into disgust and hatred for mankind. That’s when you stop thinking of veganism as giving up things you’ve always loved and couldn’t imagine living without, and start seeing it as boycotting animal products completely. That’s when you make a promise to yourself that you will never again pay another human to cause pain and suffering to any being that wants nothing to do with you. That’s when you go from being the person posing with the leg of an animal to one who tells others “What the fuck are you doing?” That’s when you know that Jainism isn’t a cruelty-free lifestyle, and that being a vegetarian isn’t enough. Egg whites are used to give your naan and others breads their firmness; your potato fries have natural beef flavouring. Breads aren’t Jain, fries aren’t vegetarian.

But if the nicest, kindest and most amazing of us refuse to end this cycle and continue to participate in unnecessary violence against animals for the sake of our own pleasure or convenience, you certainly can’t expect an establishment that exists solely to make profit to know how to cook food that doesn’t involve the exploitation of animals or was made without making someone who never knew what it’s like to be happy and free cry and suffer and die helplessly.

RATING: 0/5




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