Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saappaturaami -3

What's a 100th post on the blog without a tamizh touch, I say? Here we go... Saappaturaami 3 is all about namma ooru saappadu.

Having heard raving reviews about the Soueeth Indian food here from friends and colleagues, I expected a rocking tam-brahm saappadu at Banana Leaf, Four Bungalows, Andheri west. I was hugely disappointed.

While we waited for more than hour for our seats at Banana leaf on a crowded, hot Sunday afternoon, we decided to order something to drink. The Mango panna that I had ordered for turned out to be thick and creamy - something like a milkshake..eeyyuck!

The interiors of the Banana leaf were quite tastefully done with sketches from (what looked like) The Malgudi Days. The menu card was more like a book with hajjaar items. As part of the menu, were the thaali, kaalan, olan, kullan, sullan etc, puliccha (!) saadam, elumichai saadam, idli, appam, dosai, pongal etc. I was maha famished after having skipped my Sunday brunch for this saapadu. So the obvious choice was the unlimited South Indian thaali.

The thaali comprised of a small utthapam, vadai, sambhar, rasam, koottu, some jaggery-mixed-mallu-fyed dish, appalam, rice, pickle, thayir pacchadi, aappam/parrota / neer dosa /chapati, dessert. The neer dosa was ok but the rasam / sambhar were very sad. The kootu /kaalan/olan types did taste fine but what spoilt the look of the thaali was the bleddy paneer gravy dish. Since when did we Soueeth indians adopt this chewy, punju-fyed paneer as our cuisine? Yes.This is what I hate. In the name of appeasing all and sundry (yes yes the Gujjus and the Punjus) these people serve us fusion food which is neither here nor there. Along with the thaali was Aamras (Mango pulp) which was my favourite. hmm, the worsht of all - rice was not cooked fully! arrgh... most of these Shetty restaurants in Mumbai serve half-cooked rice and it was sad to see a restaurant like Banana leaf which claimed to serve genuine South Indian food, serve half-cooked rice. The only solace - the pricing. Unlimited thaali priced at Rs.200/= which is very very reasonable for a restaurant like this.

Saappaturaami rating : 3 out of 5 (bad service, waiters with stinking armpits, paneer dish in a south indian thaali, half cooked rice....the list is endless)

Friday, April 25, 2008


I used to get my lunch delivered from home to office through the ever reliable dabbawallah. One fine day, I got tired of the same roti, sabzi and tried to experiment... For a week I survived on Subway sandwiches (couldn't take it after a day), office pantry khichdi (bearable.. only for two days), pantry sandwich (aiyyoo!), all the Shri Krishnas, Shettys and Jai Hinds of the world (I was broke after three days- thanks to my doctor visits thereafter!). Then came Krishnani aunty who delivers home made lunch. 3 rotis, dal, sabzi and rice... office-delivered. But the oily sabzis in micro-mini portions became unbearable after two days. For a few at work, who placed orders for her 'diet dabbas' from aunty got idlis for lunch!! ha ha ha...along with gulab jamun for dessert! So it was bye bye to Krishnani aunty.

Sometime back, I had read about this dabba-waali from Andheri called Sunali who supplies healthy lunch to all the saas-es, bahus, Tulsis and Parvatis of the (K)ekta kapoor's serial world, at the film studios. In yet an attempt to be part of the elite socialite (I am a tamizh 'foodie', remember?), I decided to try out Shunali's Vital foods.
Vital foods is not exactly a diet dabba.. it is more a health dabba. Don't get it? Neither do I. The dabba consists of four rotis / rice, dal, sabzi, salad / snack, juice/ chaas - in neatly sealed disposable containers. And this, can customized to your requirements / dietary restrictions. My specifications include no paneer (hate it)/ rice (puts me to sleep)/ add more curd or chaas whenever possible. Some of my friends get brown rice instead of white, some get two portions of salad instead of juice etc. On any given day, at office, no two Vital food dabbas look alike. You don't get the same boring type of rotis everyday. Some days, its ragi roti, some days its rotis made out of rice flour etc. The best part is that any combination of dal/sabzi/ roti/ salad gets repeated only once a month. So everyday its a new combo. There's more... Once every 10 days, we get pastas / garlic bread kinda stuff. You get a spoon, straw, table (paper) mat, tissue and mouth freshner along with the dabba.

Most people around me, at work, share one single dabba. For me one dabba just about lasts till 6pm. I need my quota of a sandwich post 7 o clock.

hmm, coming to the most important part... the moneys! Sunali charges Rs.2175.64/= (including VAT) for 26 dabbas which works upto Rs.83/= per dabba. The amount is collected before she starts your quota. You SMS Sunali the previous evening when you don't want the dabba the following day, if you are planning to bunk office. Considering that the dabba lasts from mid-morning (juice/ chaas) to evening (snack), its strictly vegetarian and its very well packed, I am quite ok with the pricing. If you are working in Mumbai and are tired of home / hotel food, do try Sunali's Vital foods. Lunch dabba... amma seiydadu polave!

Vital foods - # 2, Shah Baug, 11th Road, (Kapoor Cottage), near V.N. Desai hospital, TPS III, Santacruz (east), Mumbai - 55. Ph: 32944000 / 26126909

Saappaturaami rating : 4 out of 5 (plastic containers!!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kai zaala...

It's a great feeling when you listen to some of your favourite songs after a very long time, say a decade or so. The feeling cannot be expressed in words. Whenever I visit Chennai and am hooked on to the radio, a lot of ARR's songs from the 90s bring out that joy.

Very rarely, do I have my favourites in Hindi songs - the exceptions being ARR, Shankar Mahadevan and Hariharan.

I listened to this particular [Marathi-English ]number yesterday after years, when it played on our station and felt like dancing and singing aloud. Here's the video. Enjoy! Never mind the abaswaram in a few places. It's a fun song!
[akka - do you remember you mentioned that the 'Don' in this video resembles my ex-boss? ha ha ha!he really does!]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Meet the new 'Roshans' of the adfilm industry

I just loved the track... loved the painting-effect on the visuals.. Loved everything about the IPL 'Dharmyuddh' promo. Aiyyayo! Just when I was about to start my research for my Asatthal Advertisement series on the IPL 'Karmayuddh' ad, here comes a dampener. This ad is a blatant lift from a five year old baseball commercial and what's worse - Prasoon Pandey, the director of the commercial denying that it is an eeyadicchan copy.

Paavegala.. Now am waiting for an American Ram Sampath to 'bless' (sue) Prasoon and Piyush Pandey - the new Roshans of the adfilm world!

Watch the original here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


It is getting tougher by the day to find a friend (with a good appetite) who could give me company to eat out on week days. Most of my friends are the typical Mumbai ladkis-dieting variety, who have three.. sorry, a maximum of two idlis for lunch and say "I am full ya...."! So, with my limited company of two or three food.. sorry good friends, I try and explore new eat-outs every week.

Here's a new series dedicated to all the food lovers of the world especially to my friends - Ha and Ra from Mumbai and Van, Tees, San, Ush, Ras, Anu ,Sha, Aru, Raj, Sach, Kat - the Chennai 'foodie' queens and kings whose company I really miss. And yes, to my dear better-aaf who has never restricted me from tasting the fat-filled wide range of food items viz. Mishti Doi of Sweet Bengal, Vadapao from Mithibhai college, Tamizh saapadu from Mani's, Pesto pasta (home made), Natural's Mango icecream, Sizzling brownie from Cafe coffee day, Noodles from Noodle bar, Garlic Bread from Papa Jones, Apple-cinnamon cake from Bread talk, Rajasthani Thaali from Sarvodaya and much more...

btw,for those wondering, what or who on earth is Saappaturaami ? It is the tamil-ised version of the hep- socialite-Pg 3 ing term 'Foodie'

The Gujrati Club

For all those hungry souls dying of hunger at the Great Indian-Santacruz airport traffic jam, don't head to the horribly expensive Orchid hotel for food. Instead, take a left at Milan Subway, head towards Santacruz (west) station road and take the second gully on the left. You'll find an old bungalow which could easily be mistaken for a shooting bungalow but for its bright light and an old signboard that says 'Gujrati club'

Open from 11am-3pm and from 7-10pm on Weekdays and only for lunch on Sundays, this place serves only Gujju thalis. For lunch, they serve four sabzis, dal/ kadi, roti, rice, bonda / bajji type of thing. For dinner, it is two sabzis, dal / kadi, roti, rice, bonda/ bajji type of thing. The taste is simply superb. Please don't mind the sweetish tasting Dal. Gujjus are like that wonly! When I visited, they didn't serve dessert but I saw two maamas having amarkhand.hmm, may be dessert was reserved only for Gujjus. Quite possible, I say!

The best part is that, it is an unlimited thaali where you can eat eat and eat. The service is superb reminds you of the kind of service in a saravana bhavan or any such hotel in Madras. But the prices though are definitely not the Saravana bhavan type [one cup pongal=30 odd rupees!!]. At the Gujrati club, one thaali is priced at Rs.60/= which is very very reasonably by Mumbai standards.

Saappaturaami rating: 4 out of 5 (dessert enga?)

PS: I complete 11 years in Aamchi Mumbai today! Still remember the first day in Mumbai way back in 1997 at the Santacruz airport asking for "Yeh Peddar road mein jaane..." [I want to go to Peddar road]. My hindi hasn't improved one bit. Ask my colleagues / friends here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

MaambazhamAAM MaambazhamAAM

The weekend was filled with Mambazhams - It started with vanilla icecream topped with Haaphus pieces. Monday was the mega mambazham day with a mango milkshake and mango kulfi at Elco's. A, the rockstar at office decided to treat S and I and so we travelled all the way to Elco's for some pav bhaji, bhelpuri, parathas and an overdose of mambazhams... Yummmmmy!

Thank you A! You are the next super star, I say!Haapus a.ka Alphonse is priced at approx. Rs.42 per piece - yes per piece! This year's mambazha output is 5% less than the usual. Even otherwise, the average price is somewhere close to Rs.24-25/- which is etta-k-kani for AAM junta like me.

Kanigalilee aval Maangani...Kannadasan's ; Mambazhamaam mambazham, malgova mambazham - remember the school poem? and ofcourse the latesht Maambazhamam Mambazham *Ouuuuvvv* from Pokkiri. Can you think of more mambazha songs ?

PS: Somehow the engleees word mango does not do justice to the juicy 'Maambazham', right?