Foo, the new Asian tapas restaurant at Lower Parel, offers more than 100 small plates and some truly unusual dishes
On the first floor at High Street Phoenix at Lower Parel next to Hamleys is a newly opened Asian Tapas restaurant that draws on a rich legacy of restaurants in Mumbai. Called simply ‘Foo’, which means ‘fortune’ or ‘good luck’ according to Head Chef Eric Khoo Thiam Huat (“call me Eric Sifu”, he says), the 4,500 square foot, 130-seater space, offers more than 100 small plates showcasing Chinese, Japanese and mixed Asian cuisine.
The all-day, swift-dining space is the brainchild of ace restaurateurs the Tham Brothers Ryan and Keenan, along with Kishore DF. The Tham brothers are the people behind restaurants such as KOKO, The Good Wife and Trilogy, while we know Kishore Frederick’s creations as Pot Pourri, Lemon Grass Café and The Tanjore Tiffin Room. The Tham legacy in the city dates back even further, to 65 years ago when Mon Yiu Tham moved to Mumbai (then Bombay) from Calcutta and opened Mandarin and Kamling. His son, Henry Tham, successfully carved his own signature niche with Olive Delhi and Bangalore, and the third generation, Henry’s two sons, Ryan and Keenan Tham, formed Trilogy and Pebble Street Hospitality after learning the trade first-hand from their father and completing their higher studies at Griffith University in Australia.
While this is a bustling, dynamic restaurant in a prime warehouse location that Ryan waited four years to acquire, it is spacious enough to be your Zen Moment in the midst of a frenetic shopping spree. You may be surrounded by people but the tables are far apart, and there is an air of calmness that emanates not only from the high ceilings and slanted glass rooftops, but from the way the space has been designed.
Architect Sumessh Menon and his team have put together a chic ambience that is distinctively Asian, but with a contemporary touch. Rich and rustic backlit arches are set against burgundy walls, and an entire wall is done up as a saké jar display at the entrance. Further ahead the restaurant has an intimate dining area, with an eye-catching cherry blossom tree, evoking Japan. The Abacus lights that hang above the bar are crafted from crushed banana paper.
What’s on offer
With this extensive menu, where does one begin? Start with one—or more!—of the over 30 types of saké or the eight varieties of Negroni inspired cocktails from a bar menu curated by Dimitri Lezinska. The SEN (180ml, Rs 1400) is a light and subtle sake and it goes well with fish. With grilled and roasted meats, opt for Nikko (180 ml, Rs 1400), reminiscent of pear, cedar, walnuts and earth. With deep-fried dishes such as tempura, ask for Hokkan Kacho Fugetsu (Rs 2,700, 300 ml). Of course, there’s a wide variety of other alcoholic drinks as well, including beers beginning at Rs 250.
Chef Sifu’s menu is also a delight and vegetarians too are spoiled for choice. From sushi rolls to dimsum baskets, tempuras, grills, stir fries, sticky salads and classic Japanese-Peruvian Nikkei Dishes… there is a lot to choose from. Nikkei cuisine dates back to 1889 when 7,000 Japanese workers arrived in Peru on two-year work contracts, and stayed on. Nikkei cuisine mixes Peruvian ingredients with Japanese techniques. Chef Sifu uses Peruvian pepper; “when people order Pink Pepper Prawns (Rs 450), they only eat the prawns,” he says. “They don’t realise the pink peppercorns are not spicy at all”. He urges this writer to try one, and though we are not fans of spicy food, it turns out he is right—the peppercorn is delicious, zesty enough to bring your taste-buds alive, but not burn them.
Another ingredient he is very proud of is butterfly pea flower, widely used in Southeast Asia as a natural food colouring. Ryan Tham drops one into a glass of water; it turns blue instantly but the taste remains unaffected. The Foo Yam Bean Uramaki uses this ingredient to great effect; the vibrant dish is composed of blue rice, tempura yam bean, spicy batter pearls, avocado and anticucho sauce; the coriander oil is a delicious touch. The charcoal har gow was another standout—deep black, with a decorative touch of gold, and a filling of perfectly seasoned prawn.
If you have room for a main course after all those starters, choose from the Big Plates that include everything from familiar hakka noodles (Rs 250) to Foo Butter Japanese Fried Blue Rice (Rs 320). End it all with Black Marble Sesame Cheesecake (Rs 350); “you must try it”, insists Chef Sifu, “you won’t believe how well sesame seeds go with cheesecake!”
Ryan says there are plans for corporate lunches, bento boxes and high tea. Timings are 12 noon – 1 a.m., and we hear it gets quite buzzy at night!
The British Brewing Company gastropub is all set to treat patrons with a Sizzler Festival which is perfect in the monsoon drizzle. Larry Paul, corporate chef at Brit Brew Co., has crafted a tempting array of scrumptious sizzlers.
They come in mouth-watering veg and non-veg forms such as Vegetarian Kung Pao, Cajun and Oriental Style Cottage Cheese Sizzlers,Cajun and Oriental Style Chicken Sizzlers, and Grilled Prawns Sizzler in Lemon Butter Sauce, among others.Whether it’s a quick working lunch, a laid back dinner or a relaxed weekend meal with family and friends, don’t miss out on the exotic sizzlers at British Brewing Company.
What Sizzler Festival
When On-going until September 15
Where All British Brewing Company outlets in Mumbai
Contact 022 39698190
Sri Lankan Food fest
The Leela Hotel has organised a ten-day Sri Lankan Food Festival showcasing traditional delicacies from the island nation. Author of a whopping 23 cookbooks, Master Chef Publis Silva of The Mount Lavinia Hotel and award-winning chef Sunanda Kumar of the Cinnamon Lodge Habarana have curated a feast celebrating a wide array of dishes from beautiful Sri Lanka. Embark on a gastronomic adventure with hearty soups,exotic salads, and a variety of hoppers, sambols and curries, both veg. and non-veg.
Where Citrus, The Leela Mumbai
When August 30– September 8, 12 noon to 3 pm and 7 pm - 11.30pm
Contact 022 6691 1359/60
Yuuka, the award-winning modern Japanese cuisine restaurant at The St. Regis is presenting a sumptuous celebration of Okonomiyaki, a popular dish from historic Hiroshima. Pan-fried in batter and cabbage, Okonomiyaki is customised with a wide array of ingredients as per one’s palette. Accordingly, Yuuka chefs have curated a feast using buckwheat noodles, silken tofu, Peruvian asparagus, and salsai for vegetarian diners. Carnivores and seafood lovers will relish ebi, scallop and cuttle fish, deep-fried panko crumbled chicken, and shredded pork wrapped in crispy bacon. All in all, Yuuka promises a yummy dining experience.
Where Yuuka, Level 37,St Regis, Lower Parel
When September 1 - 10, 12 noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to 12 am
Contact 08291926985/ 08291926986
Hotel Kohinoor is offering a delightful Bohri Thaal experience at its ongoing Bohri Food Festival of mouthwatering dishes like Sodanu (sweet rice), Kalamro, Pineapple Halwa, Pina Pome Grenadine, Bir, Sarki, Gol Paani, Dabba Ghosht, Smoked Mutton Kheema and Smoked Daal Samosas, Chana and Guvar Bateta, Mutton Shahi Kebab, Khiri, Bheja ni Cutlet, Cream Tikka, Green Doongar Chicken, and Dal Chawal Palidu, among other dishes.
Where Solitaire Restaurant,Hotel Kohinoor Continental, J B Nagar, Andheri (E)
When Till September 2, 12 pm - 3:30 pm and 8 pm - 11:30 pm
Price per person, non-alcoholic exclusive of taxes: Lunch Rs 1000 Dinner Rs 1200 Kids Rs 750
Teacher's Day Special
Teacher’s Day is on September 5 and it’s time to honour the special people who played such a big role in your childhood. Use this special occasion to celebrate your gurus/ mentors/teachers by taking them out to a fun-filled lunch with delicious food.
Teaching is often a thankless task; take the opportunity to thank your teachers and be grateful for their presence in your life. Enjoy a few good jokes and lots of laughs at the Butterfly High, Bandra-Kurla Complex.
When September 5
Where Butterfly High, BKC
MARATHON HAPPY HOURS
Rhythm Restaurant promises you the longest happy hours ever with a 1 + 1 offer on IMFL and a special offer on imported beverages, where you pay full price for the first drink and get 25% off on the second. Rhythm will also host DJ Nights from 7 pm till closing time every Friday and Saturday. Get ready to dance your hearts out to the hottest tracks. Savour some scrumptious food too!
When September 7 onwards 11 am to 9.30 pm
Where Rhythm Restaurant, Beatle Hotel, Powai
The Boulevard at The Orchid Mumbai is presenting a ‘Monsoon Sangria Brunch’ on 1 September, 2018. The combination of fresh fruits, immersed in fruit juices and bubbly champagne/wine is ideal for a relaxed weekend while dining on delectable Indian, Continental and Asian cuisine.There’s also live music to add to the enjoyment.
Where Boulevard - The Orchid Hotel, Adjacent to Domestic Airport, Vile Parle (East)
When September 1, 12:00 noon to 4:00pm
Price Rs 1,999 (All Inclusive)
Contact 022-26164000/ 08433967882