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Gems of Mumbai!

Mumbai, Fort, Colaba, Dwarka, Restaurant, Food, Mumbai, Bombay, India, Travel

Gajanana, the gem of Dwarka Restaurant

Meet Gajanana of Dwarka Restaurant at Nagindas Master Road (Fort). Every time I’ve been here I’ve found him to be one of the most enterprising and welcoming people at that busy, hectic, always packed restaurant during lunch time. His job probably is to just offer nothing but a smile, excellent customer service, talk to the customer, not sell them on anything but pure joy!

A couple of things I noticed a few times. Unlike many other restaurants where people are just going on and about taking orders, delivering them, giving the bill and letting the customers walk away, he has a very personalized interaction with a lot of customers who come in everyday.

“Come, come, I have reserved a seat for you.” He says that with a smile to almost anyone and everyone who come in during lunch.

A true conversationalist that he is, yesterday I noticed him talking to two customers across the table:

Gajanana: “Have the Lassi! It’s the best out here.”
Customers: “Is it, really?”
Gajanana: “I’m telling you the truth, I don’t lie. The times for me to lie are gone.”

Holding his forearm ahead and pointing to his elbow and then to his palms, he measures them and says

“This much of my life is over! Now only this much is left. So I won’t lie.” And then smiles cheekily…  The customers smile back and I do too, without him noticing that.

He hails from Murudeshwar, Karnataka and probably is also the owner of the place, pretty much like the old uncle at Britannia Restaurant! He truly spreads a lot of joy and happiness especially in a city where we need some smiles rather than the frowning, grumpy faces. Such people are gems of this city. With the busy, hectic, rat race driven rut that people live in, Mumbai needs more freshness like him!

Zira – Food Redefined

Zira… The name itself has an exquisite taste to itself. I could have only imagined how the food tasted at this restaurant. Yep, Zira is a newly launched restaurant in Navi Mumbai’s Sanpada. So a week ago I got a call from a friend of mine. She invited me to a session of food tasting at this newly launched restaurant. Why me? Well, of course my obvious love for food and my newly acquired taste across the country after travelling to different lands. Maybe she thought of me as the new age food connoisseur… Well, whatever the reason, I was glad she invited me cause who wouldn’t love to gorge on some awesome food and especially if it’s for free :P Well anyways, she happens to be a close friend of the owner and she set up for a small tasting session for a bunch of guys some of them regular at various restaurants across Mumbai and a couple of them die hard food lovers…

Zira Restaurant
Zira Restaurant

I thought to myself, heck, why not… Let’s go and check this place out. So there I was waiting for the tasting session to begin. While we waited for the starters to be served, we were chatting with each other and exchanged our interests and found out how we had a common bond that tied us together… ‘Food.’ While we sat inside the small restaurant, we felt at home especially with the ambience suiting the peaceful location of Sector 11, Sanpada. The décor blends right in with the restaurants whole brown and white logo where Zira is tastefully put up as you enter the restaurant.  This one is not your huge top class over the top restaurant where you can come and celebrate your most intimate moments but it certainly has a menu that will make you wonder it’s unique feature and what was about to come… At the end of the day, ‘What tastes well, does well, if you ask me..’

Then began our tasting session. First up was a couple of starters… Both chicken dishes.

So here we have a Murgh Aalishan which had a real flair and sumptuousness to itself. Very succulent and tasty… Could have beena  bit better though with a bit of some sauce or chutney. That was missing, however the chicken tasted really great.

Murgh Aalishan
Murgh Aalishan

Then the Chef Kevin, followed it up with Murgh Kaali Mirch. This dish was really good with a bit of crisp to its tenderness made you taste the flavor real of the kaali mirch even better.

Murgh Kaali Mirch

Murgh Kaali Mirch

Well, for vegetarian lovers, don’t be disappointed… One of the best dish of the evening was in the main course. I truly loved the Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi which was served with some really tasty Butter Naan. The best part about this Mirchi Kadi was how finely you could taste the mirchi or green chilly spiced up with a really nice blend of the kadi which left the taste in your mouth and I truly treasured it…

Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi

Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi

Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi with Nan

Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi with Nan

Since I didn’t taste this dish as I generally avoid mutton, I can’t say much about the Rogan Josh…. But from the looks of it certainly looks tasty…

Mutton Rogan Josh
Mutton Rogan Josh

After tasting some really nice North Indian / Mughlai food the chef also decided to give us a taste of it’s Chinese Cuisine with some Veg Fried Rice and Chicken 65, which was sort of okay but I guess can’t really say much about Chinese as it’s more or less the same everywhere… The chef quoted saying, Chinese is ‘public demand’ and hence they can’t ignore that aspect of it even the restaurant mainly serves North Indian Food.

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

It was certainly a great tasting of sorts… While I enjoyed the starters, the chutney / sauces could have made  it even better I must say my pick of the evening must definitely be Rajasthani Mirchi Kadi. All in all this new start up has been well researched and for the area that it’s set up in it looks like it’s on it’s way.  i’m certainly going to go there  to dine, this time of course ordering some really nice food on my own while I thank my friend Merline, for inviting me for this food tasting session. She knows the owner and head chef Kevin and I’m sure I’d get a discount next time I’m there :P Well anyways, the restaurant has decided to keep a 10% discount for the entire month. They said they also do home delivery for entire Sanpada and Juinagar area.

About the Chef: Chef Kevin is a hospitality major from Taj, Aurangabad and has had prior experience in Taj Land’s End. This budding entrepreneur looks like he’s certainly ready to make his mark, at least in Navi Mumbai to begin with.  He runs this place with his brother Deepak.

From L-R - Deepak and Chef Kevin

From L-R - Deepak and Chef Kevin

Address: Zira, Sector 11, Sanpada

© Copyright 2011 Srinivas Kulkarni. All rights reserved

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Restaurant Review – Firangi Paani

  • 9:00 PM on a Wednesday night, my colleagues planned to go to ‘Firangi Paani.’
  • We left behind our midweek blues and were all set for revelry of sorts. Firangi Paani is a lounge bar at the top floor of Kstar Mall. It is near Diamond Garden in Chembur, opposite to ‘The Barista.’ On ‘Wednesday – Ladies Night,’ Firangi Paani offers complimentary drinks before 9:45 PM to girls, and a ‘buy one get one free,’ for stags. We stepped in and the place is a buzz with, ‘Cindy Lauper, Bon Jovi and Queen. The leather upholstered seats, and tall bar-stools added to the retro feel. The bar is decorated with wine glasses hanging upside down. The bartenders juggle in rhythm as they poured our favorite cocktails. The walls brizzle with intense graffiti, British Shields, and Swords a sculpture of a Jazz artist on the Sax, and of the great comedians, ‘Laurel and Hardy.’ On the big screen TV. screen a cricket match played silently.
  • “Vodka with orange juice. I want to try orange instead of Sprite,” said Neha
  • “Me too,” said Sandy
  • Raj, Darshana and I ordered beer while we listened to music.
  • “On a Saturday Night you will find the hottest guys and gals of Chembur out to party!” said  Jeetu, who was in his elements while dancing to the retro numbers.
  • “The Paneer Chilly is delicious,” Sandy, the foodie munched on the starter.
  • We had ordered more starters: Chicken Frankie and Veg Rolls. For main course we ordered Veg and Chicken Schezwan Rice. The food is splendor and it does sink in to your taste buds.
  • It cost us Rs 1000 per head with the drinks.
  • This place is a haven for retro music and pub atomosphere lovers. Theyhave live bands play here sometimes. That does not happen elsewhere. Firangi Paani is an ideal spot for those who want to hang out with friends over the weekend.
  • Firangi Paani – 3rd Level, Kstar Mall, Opposite Diamond Garden, Chembur (E)
  • Tel: 02225208704/05/06/09
  • *Currently under renovation.
  • © Copyright 2010 Srini. All rights reserved

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