Monday, 23 July 2018

Big Belly Canteen – Perfect For My Belly! πŸ˜‰

Yesterday, I was itching to have Indian food hence decided to order Rara Chicken (INR 320) from Big Belly Canteen (BBC). I'd heard very good reviews about it. I have to agree with each and every positive review ever written about BBC's Rara Chicken. 

The gravy was delish, and the chicken was juicy and tender. The Butter Garlic Naan (INR 35) that I'd ordered, as accompaniment, was also very nicely done.

A couple of months back Jitin bhai had called to say he was opening a new delivery kitchen at Viman Nagar; Big Belly Canteen (BBC). He mentioned he wanted to send over a few dishes for me to try as he wanted feedback for the same. I tried the food and gave him honest verbal feedback, as requested.

As I'm penning about last night's dinner, I've decided to pen about the dinner Jitin bhai sent me a couple of months back. So, read on... 

At the time he'd sent me Khandeshi Chicken which was spicy as it had special ground Khandeshi masala added. The light bitter aftertaste of Javantri (Mace) came through delicately and beautifully. 

He also sent Veg Butter Chicken, Dal Gheewala, Jeera Rice and Lachcha Paratha.

While I loved the robustly spicy Khandeshi Chicken, the Veg Butter Chicken did nothing for me with regard to the overly sweet gravy. The Soya Chaamp in the gravy were nice but the sweet gravy was a letdown. Having said that let me add with honesty, mum cannot handle spicy food hence this was the dish of the day for her. (Such a perfect example of 'taste is subjective'). 

The Dal Gheewala was fabulous, and they weren't at all stingy with the ghee. It was yum! The Jeera Rice was also superb!

Next, I need to try their Chindian food. I'm told they do a mean Chilli Chicken. πŸ˜‰

Please note: Big Belly Canteen is not a restaurant; it’s a ‘Delivery Kitchen’ based at Ramwadi, Viman Nagar. They are (soon) opening a second branch at Baner.

To order, you may call them on +91 8669994001 or you may order via Zomato, Swiggy or Dial-A-Meal.

Big Belly Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Some more photographs...

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Rustom Battliwala: Sojju Khavanu – Peevanu; Majja Ni Life!

I’m a Bawi, which is why when it comes to Parsi cuisine, I’m a purist; no two ways about that. I’m the non-violent type but, mess with my Dhanshak and Saali Boti and rest assured, ‘mein tumhari boti-boti kar dungi’. (Well actually, I’m very angelic – oh come on, please believe me!)

When I received an invite from Rustom Battliwala, my recce revealed the restaurant was headed by a Sindhi chef; Chef Deepu. Quite unheard of! I wondered which gastronomic hurricane I was heading into. Chef Deepu walked in (if I might add, with immense swag – the nice kind) and introduced himself. Within a minute (or two) of talking with him it dawned on me that he knew Parsi cuisine and the culture really well. I knew then, the afternoon was going to be a cool, pleasant breeze; no hurricane hovered on the horizon. 😊

We clicked photographs of the venue and took in the feel of the place. A stained-glass wall, glass ‘barnis’ (big glass bottles) filled with biscuits and toffees, a typical Parsi-Irani type ‘galla’ (cash counter), antique chandeliers and checkered pink and white tablecloths. For an added Parsi-Irani feel, the tablecloth was held down firm with a glass top and the menu was ‘typically’ placed below the glass top. The dΓ©cor is very authentic with regard to how Parsi-Irani restaurants have always been. Let me at the very beginning add that, while they have quite a large Parsi menu, they also have regular Indian fare on their menu. We were lucky enough to try both cuisines; Parsi and Indian.

We began with a couple of mocktails. While I chose Goldspot, a refreshing citrusy drink, my friend opted for a Raspberry-Ginger mocktail. 

The Raspberry-Ginger mocktail, however, lacked in ginger flavour. An extra touch of ginger would’ve been nice. The Goldspot sure wowed us, though!

The first dish sent was the Malai Shikhampuri. The carnivore in me was so not expecting the first dish to be vegetarian but I admit, we couldn’t have started off on a better note. The kebabs were made of minced vegetables and stuffed with nuts and cream cheese, sprinkled with a bit of chaat masala. These were absolutely delish! I’d opt for them time and again in the blink of an eye. 

Next, were the Murghi Na Farcha and Patra Ni Machhi. 

For Farchas, most restaurants boil the chicken, marinate it and then fry it. End result: an overcooked piece of protein. Meh! These Farchas were done just right. The chicken was tender and luscious, and the coating was classically ‘Parsi’. 

While the Patra Ni Machhi was good, it could have been better. It needs a few tweaks. They need to get the consistency of the chutney right; it should be a thick chutney so as to coat the fish without getting runny and watery during steaming. They also need to spice up the chutney and then give it a bit of a sweet-tangy zing. The spiciness should play the main role while the sweet & tangy flavours can play cameo roles. πŸ˜‰

When asked what we’d like for the mains, I told Chef Deepu he could send over whatever he liked but there was one thing I definitely wanted to taste and that was Dhanshak; Mutton Dhanshak! He gave me an impish grin, knowing exactly why this request was coming his way. ‘Mutton Dhanshak, it is!’, he said.

The dishes that made their way to our table as mains were; Mutton Dhanshak (served with traditional Caramelized Brown Rice - I missed the addition of mutton mince kebabs), Chicken Bafat Curry, Mutton Kheema Pau and Maska Dal. Our roti accompaniments with the mains were, Butter Garlic Naan and Tandoori Roti.

The Chicken Bafat Curry was tasty but a tad spicier than expected. The chicken wasn’t overcooked and that was a big plus. 

The Maska Dal served was not the traditional Maa ki Dal; it was Chef Deepu’s take on the original. It was buttery and very well made.

Each Parsi home has their own recipe for Dhanshak hence, while this Dhanshak was not similar to the one I make at home, it definitely was Dhanshak! The flavours were intact! The robust dal, the succulent mutton with the caramelized brown rice was the perfect thing to have that rainy afternoon. 

Chef Deepu continued to wow us with his version of Bombaiya style Mutton Kheema Pau. The kheema was ground just right; not too fine or too coarse. The spice level and the consistency of the gravy was perfect. Served with buttered ladi pau (bread) this dish was stellar!

We ended the meal on a sweet note; Lagan nu Custard. What was brought to the table was Lagan nu Custard and yet it wasn’t. I say this because the custard was steamed instead of being baked. Ideally, Lagan nu Custard is always baked! I did miss the ‘baked texture’. Would I reorder this? I would, in a jiffy, coz it was yummy, but I’d order it as a custard, not as a Lagan nu Custard.

Chef Deepu’s joie de vivre and enthusiasm for the work he puts out is so heartwarming. Behind all that ‘swag’ is a humble soul who knows and understands food and yet is open to constructive feedback. ‘Food talks’ are always the best talks and we sat discussing ‘food’ for nearly 30 minutes after the meal. It was indeed a pleasure knowing and talking to Chef Deepu. I wish him the very best for this Bawa venture and extend a heartfelt thank-you for the invite.

Address: Shop No 9, Balewadi High Street, Panchshil Business Park, Baner, Pune
Buzz: +91 8637773888

Rustom Battliwala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 Some more photographs...

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Stanley’s Food Box – A Scrumptious Affair!

A couple of weeks back a gentleman (Stanley) who I’d been in contact with on Facebook (for over a year - but we’d never met) messaged to ask if I was going to be in Camp area the following day. I told him I actually would be, as I had errands to run, with mum. He requested we meet up there as he wanted to give me some Pork Sorpotel and Goan Prawn Curry. 

I’ve known about Stanley and his cooking skills for quite a while via the food forums I ‘stalk’.  *evil grin* I’ve been itching to order from him for ever so long.  

Stanley is a home-chef and I have known of his ‘home-kitchen’ ever since I read Uday Potdar’s review of Stan’s Food-box. As he is based at Hinjewadi for all the months that I’d been craving to order from him, mere dil ke armaan aasuo mein beh chale the. πŸ˜‰ That is, precisely, why there was no way I was going to turn down his kind offer. We met at Coffee House the following day. In tow, was his pretty and petite wife, Mekhala. We sat talking about food for nearly an hour. Yes, that invariably happens when I meet people who are passionate about food.

Cut straight to the scene where I return home...
The aroma of the sorpotel hit me as soon as I opened the food container. Making Pork Sorpotel is a labour of love because it is time consuming. The pork meat, pork fat and liver have to be chopped into tiny cubes/pieces; it can’t be any other way. Oh, do not cringe at the mention of pork fat and liver; it adds so much depth to the flavour of the sorpotel. *drool* The spicy-tangy flavor also has to be spot on for it to be stellar and this was just that! I’d brought home some crusty Brun bread to pair with the Sorpotel. I loved the robust flavours!

I cooked some Jeera Rice at home and we ate the Goan Prawn Curry with that. There are many places in Pune that make a good Goan Curry but take it from someone who has tried Goan Curry at various places in the city, nothing comes close to the curry made by Stanley. It brought back memories of the Goan Prawn Curry that my Rita bai (God bless her soul) made many moons ago. That familiar flavour hit my taste buds after years. I could have cried with joy.

I shamelessly pleaded with Stanley to get a delivery system in place for greedy souls like me who live 30 kilometers away. He promised he’d do his best to get that going. Until then, I guess he will be working hard in his kitchen and dishing out awesomeness to those lucky enough to stay close by. Sigh, some people have all the luck!


Stanley told me he merely brought me the Sorpotel and the Prawn Curry as he knew I’d been patiently waiting to try his food for months. He, in fact, specifically told me no write up was needed or was necessary but there is no way I could not pen this. Good food should be eaten and spoken about and good chefs should be given their due recognition.

Friends, Indians, countrymen.. If your heart craves Goan food, look no further! You can thank me later! πŸ˜‰

Shine on, Stanley, shine on!
P.S: Please get that delivery system going. I need more of that Pork Sorpotel, Prawn Curry and I'd also love to try the Pork Chilli Fry that I read on your menu. 😊

By the way, you may buzz Stanley on these numbers: +91 9773134126 / +91 9821520693