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Friday, November 02, 2018

Mix it up!

It’s cake mixing time for those who plan to bake their own this Christmas season

If you are one of those brave souls who intends baking your Christmas cake from scratch, now is the time to begin. Executive Chef Avinash Kumar of Novotel Imagica at Khopoli says it takes at least 40 days for the dry fruits to soak in the alcohol.  There are families, he adds, who let the mixture soak for a year, which means they would be getting together their dry fruit and alcohol mix now for cakes they intend to bake in 2019. There is no chance of the mix going bad, he explains, thanks to all the spices and alcohol that goes into it—and the longer you keep it, the better it tastes.

“Practically every household in Goa would be doing their cake mixing around this time,” he says, and he should know, because he’s worked in hotels there as well.

On Sunday, October 28, Novotel Imagica officially began its Christmas festivities, with a cake mixing ceremony to beat them all; they invited all their hotel guests, kitted them out with disposable aprons and gloves, including a few bemused toddlers, and let them loose with the goodies.

Imagine around 15 kilos of colourful dry fruit for a mix that would translate into about 80 cakes—two kg each of cashews, almonds and raisins;  black currants, candied tutti-frutti, candied ginger, candied orange peel; apricot, dates; spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves—and 18 bottles of various kinds of liquor being poured in and mixed enthusiastically by dozens of enthusiastic people. “Don’t drink the alcohol!” the chef called out, but who needed to do that when you could get drunk just standing there and drinking in the aroma!

The hotel provided scoops for those who didn’t want to put their gloved hands in directly, but this writer went straight into the mix and then tried a sliver of the dry fruit that had got stuck on the glove; you could certainly get tipsy on that! Alas, as the chef then explained, all the alcohol disappears during the process of baking, so eventually (and even if you’ve poured more alcohol into the mix over the next 40 days or more), there will be no alcoholic effects to speak of...

The cake mixing tradition, as Chef Avinash explains, goes back to the 17th century, and while it heralds the Christmas festivities, it also marks the arrival of the harvest season. For hotels, he observes, “It’s a great way to interact with customers, and both children and adults get excited!”

As Christmas gets closer, the excitement is sure to build up, so you might want to consider a trip to Khopoli this festive season; barely two hours away from Mumbai it makes a scenic weekend getaway amidst the Sahyadri Hills. Plus, you can have a superb time with the kids at the adjacent theme parks of Imagica, Aquamagica, and Snowmagica. Don’t miss the parade that takes place in the park in the evening, and in the lobby of the hotel and the restaurant just after breakfast!

Something for everyone

Mockingbird Café Bar’s new menu caters to all tastebuds, says Damini Kane

Finding a quiet corner around Churchgate station is no easy feat. The roads that lead up to it, while fairly leafy, bustle with activity, and you find yourself weaving through crowds and navigating broken footpaths to arrive at Mockingbird Café bar, resting peacefully in cool, inviting shade. The establishment’s name is reminiscent of that much-beloved classic by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, which is, of course, appropriate, since the concept behind it was to wed the romance of literature with the indulgence of good food.

The new menu is diverse, with a range of choices to satisfy fans of any cuisine. We started with appetisers, vegetarian, such as the Hummus Platter, and Stuffed Peppers (Bhavnagri chillies stuffed with mushrooms, cheese, jalapenos and sweet chilli sauce), for Rs 325 each, and the non-vegetarian Goan Chorizo Chilli served with pao (Rs 450), which we enjoyed very much. 

It was a very hot afternoon in October, so it was easy to appreciate the choice of cool drinks on offer. Lovers of cocktails will enjoy the Blueberry and Basil Martini (Rs 430), and the Pornstar Martini (Rs 475), along with the Fruity Long Island Ice Tea (Rs 600) and the Sage and Melon Caipiroska (Rs 430). I would be remiss to not mention that scrolling your eyes through their drinks menu is in itself delightful, especially if you love books as I do. Their drinks are puns on classics: Absinthe Shrugged (Rs 750), Bridget Jones Daiquiri (Rs 430), and Moby Drink (Rs 460) being some of my favourites.

For those who prefer something non-alcoholic, their mocktails include the pretty pink and deliciously sweet Ping Pong (Rs 210), made from pomegranate, lime juice, mint, and raspberries, and the Kiwi Melon (Rs 225), a combination of kiwi, melon, and apple juice.

For lunch, we ordered Chimichurri Pulled Chicken Bao (Rs 490), Burmese Coconut and Noodles Curry (Rs 415) which you can have with chicken or prawns, and the Charcoal Cooked Harrissa Marinated Prawn on a bed of couscous and chickpea stew (Rs 625). We couldn’t decide on a favourite.

For dessert, we enjoyed the Vanilla Panna Cotta (Rs 315), which was the perfect way to end a wonderful meal. Mockingbird Café and bar also offers vegan-friendly options, or you can try owner Deepak Purohit’s favourites, the Chicken/Prawn ramen with Boiled Eggs Rs 525/575), and the Lamb Masala Curry with Flat Bread (Rs 625).

“We tried to have fun with the new menu, and played around with a lot of ingredients,” says Purohit, and it certainly shows. Whether you prefer an Indian spread or pasta, burgers, sandwiches, or Asian cuisine, Mockingbird Café Bar has it all.


Mangalorean Food Festival

Enjoy authentic traditional household Mangalorean food like Sukka Mutton, Kori Rutti, Basale Pundi, Kori Puli Munchi with Neer Dosa, Prawns Gussi with Neer dosa, and other delicacies at Amma’s Mangalorean Food Festival. Desserts include Kashi Halwa, Godi Payyasa and Holige. This food festival, which began on October 29, continues till November 25, at the Lower Parel and Malad branches of the South High Kitchen & Bar.

Where South High Kitchen & Bar, Ground Floor, Trade Tower, B- Wing, Kamala Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg,Lower Parel (West)

South High Kitchen & Bar, next to Bata Showroom, near Inorbit Mall, New Link Road, Malad (West)

When till November 25

Timing Lunch -11.30 am to 4 pm

            Dinner -7 pm to 12 pm


Millet Festival

Punjab Grill, BKC, celebrates the Miracle Grains of India, millets, in a special food festival. Dishes will include Quinoa Bean Chaat, Jowar aur Tamatar Chilla, Multigrain Sev Puri with Avocado Chutney, and Lauki and Multigrain Tikki, among others.

Where G-5, The Capital, G Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex

When Until November 30, 12pm- 12am


Rare Parsi Delicacies

A chance to enjoy rare Parsi wedding fare, Lagan Nu Bhonu, at Bombay Vintage, by Chef Perzen Patel of the Bawi Bride Kitchen. Enjoy a feast that includes appetisers such as Kolah Nu Aachar Na Pattice, a tender potato patty stuffed with the Kolah’s traditional carrot and dry-fruit pickle, and the must-try Agram Tagram Machina Kevab, an old-school cheesy kebab from squid, rawas, and prawns.

The main course includes Mamaji’s Curry and Rice, served with eggs or prawns, and Muta Bapaji’s Lagan Nu Istoo, a sweet and sour root vegetable medley of potatoes, carrots, and yam, topped with chopped dates, among others. Strongly recommended is also the Dhandaar and Lagan No Patio with paneer and pomfret. Try the Lagan Nu Custard Ice-cream, which can only be found at Bombay Vintage. It is a new take on a Parsi wedding classic, made in collaboration with Bawi Bride and Taj Ice-creams.

Cocktails such as Futakree, Eskee Miskee, and Bawa No Boocho can also be expected.

Where Bombay Vintage, Opposite Regal Cinema, Colaba

When Until November 30,  12 noon to 1 am

Contact 22880017 or 22880019


Seafood Delights

Nawab Saheb restaurant is hosting Tandoori Seafood Delights from November 1 to 10. The Nawabi Seafood Set Menu will offer up fish delicacies like Kasundi Lobster, Pomfret Gilnar, Till Macchi Tikka, Makhmali Jhinga, and Mahi Dum Qaliyan. This will be exclusively available at Nawab Saheb at Renaissance Powai.

Where Nawab Saheb, Renaissance Mumbai

When 7.00-11.30 pm, November 1 - 10

Price Rs 3800 +taxes

Contact 75060 77166 or 6692 7550


Mexican Fiesta

Xico at Kamala Hills is celebrating Día De Los Muertos (Day of the Death), between  November 2 and 4 with music, dance, food, drinks, and sugar skulls.  Try dishes curated by Jason Hudanish, the Corporate Chef at Xico—Ceviche, Papa Relleno Taco, Chile Enogada and the Al Pastor Taco. Enjoy drinks such as the Aztect Death Whistle or a Little Crazy Angel. A house DJ will be there, including many activities such as face painters, and cut-outs of skeletons and skulls. El Día De Los Muertos is the day Mexicans celebrate their lost loved one’s memories (offrenda) by allowing their departed family's souls to join them and pay respects over food, gifts and flowers. It’s done over lively music, dancing and, oh yeah, Tequila!

Where Xico, 9a, Trade View Building, Kamala Mills Compound, Gate No. 4, Lower Parel

When November 2 - 7pm onwards; November 3 - 12 noon to 6pm (Brunch) and 7pm to 12 midnight (dinner); November 4 - 12noon to 6pm (Brunch)

Contact 24978910, 24978911


India inspired brews

The Gateway Taproom, yet again, introduces special brews with authentic Indian ingredients for the festive season. The brews are available from November 3 to 10.

The special Diwali ‘Festive Ale’ is made using the golden hues of saffron, complemented by the subtle aroma and flavour of cardamom.

Another innovative brew is made with the Bhut Jholakia, one of the world's hottest chillies. The Side Car, apple cider, has been infused with their home-made extract of Bhut Jholakia. The sweetness and slight tartness of Lal Ambri apples from Kashmir balance the chilli and add a dimension that is not for the faint of heart!

Where The Gateway Taproom, Godrej BKC Building, Unit No. 3, G Block, Bandra Kurla Complex

When Upto November 10, 12 pm onwards

Contact 8104590734


Sunday brunch

Hammer & Song at World Trade Centre presents a Burger and BBQ Brunch on November 4. The menu includes Mexican Chilli Bean Burger, Cottage Cheese Shish Taouk, Vegan Burger, Crispy Peri peri Chicken Burger, and others. Enjoy desserts such as Baked Yogurt with blueberry, chocolate, or pineapple, and Belgian Waffles with Nutella, dark chocolate sauce, and maple syrup.

Where Hammer & Song, Shop No. 10, The Arcade, World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade

When Nov. 4, 12.00pm - 4.00 pm

Contact 022-40647733

Price Brunch Rs 2500 + taxes

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