Tag Archives: burp and belch

Spooning: the art of it

Spooning, is an art. The right spooning adds to the experience; be it cookery or coitus. And I find it amusing, how most eateries take the art of spooning so lightly. Should the spoon be served IN the food or WITH it? Or should it just be kept in holder? Let’s deal with the dichotomies with delicacy.

Hot Spooning: do you like the spoon dunked in hot soup?

Hot Spooning: recent recurring experiences in my favourite Chinese restaurant left me quite hot in the head. The server thought it prudent to dunk the soup spoon in the hot soup. The china soup spoons (ladles, rather) are not dipped in the soup as the spoon becomes as hot as the broth. Many customers burn their lips trying to put the spoon in their mouths. Or they sit blowing soup bubbles across the table. Or they just eat soup with a wrestler’s grimace. This explanation didn’t really help as the server looked like I read out his school report card aloud. I must add here that I am not a fan those huge soup spoons. They look more like mini boats that don’t go inside mouths without making the eater look like giraffe posing for a selfie.

No Spooning: some traditional restaurants ditch the spoon

No Spooning: this brings me to another gastro experience of mine, in the city of Chennai, a few years back. I noticed a popular eatery with a peculiar serving style for the ‘dosa’ (India pancake made with fermented batter). The bowl of ‘sambar’ (a sort of spice lentil soup with vegetables) was stashed in the middle of the dosa and served without a spoon. I observed my fellow co-eaters who picked out the bowl of sambar and poured it in the ‘pit’ of the dosa. That then was consumed by hand. Since I had a meeting to go to and didn’t want turmeric stained nails, I asked the server for a spoon. He looked at me like I was an alien. I gesticulated for a spoon. He looked at me with disdain, like I was not honouring some local custom. I wasn’t apparently? He did get me a spoon, but made sure I waited long enough for it.

Play Safe Spooning: Keep all in one place

Play Safe Spooning: the new-age casual dining spaces and cafes play it cool and very safe. Each table has a stock of all things needed – from mustard and ketchup to a stash of forks, knives and spoons. Use what you want, how you want. This does eliminate a lot of spooning issues.

Game of Spoons. Pic courtesy: Etiquette Scholar

Game of Spoons: It is commonplace to label an eatery a fine dine restaurant because a couple of knives, forks and spoons are placed close to the plate. It is, however, far from the truth. Some, I have seen, do not have the courtesy to remove a used spoon after a course! And then there are some that give you a spoon to eat your noodles!

To close, it is my fervent plea to first know the type of restaurant you are, the food that you serve and the spoons that are dished with it. Spooning, as one will appreciate, is an art.

NOSH It Up At Movenpick JLT

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
Nosh Eat this!

My last few days have been very seafood-laden. Not that it is a complaint; just an observation. And then when the Movenpick JLT branded their Thursday evenings as the Fisherman’s Market at their restaurant Nosh, it did call for a visit.

At the outset, I need to put down the fact that I have not experienced such warm hospitality in most of the well-heeled and shiny reputed restaurants in hotels. And that is exactly what has made my visit to Nosh so memorable.

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
Oysters

Right from the First Impressions Officer to the restaurant manager, the servers or the lively Canadian chef who went about shucking oysters, all staff were upbeat, welcoming and took detailed care of their guests. So refreshing to see that.

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
One section of the Sea of Salads

While I sipped my white vino to sooth away the fatigue of a hard work week, I plotted what I would store in my stomach. Started with different types of refreshing seafood salad, my favourite being the niçoise.

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
Food Prawn!

After flirting with prawns and tuna, mussels and clams, decided to profess my liking for oysters that were shucked by the jovial Canadian Executive Chef. Dont miss the fish and chips or the crispy calamari rings.

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
Sea Troopers

Main course had different varieties worth straying right from seafood pasta and risotto to breaded fish. The live kitchen had the appointed chef cooking your choice from red snappers to crabs. This time I gave the sushi counter a miss since I was enjoying my flings with the Mediterranean styles of cooking.

Desserts had the usual suspects including the fondant fountain. What I liked most was the toffee pudding.

Fisherman's Market at Nosh
Smiling Chef at the live station

While Nosh may not have the best layout for something as elaborate as the Fisherman’s Market theme, but they make the most of it with its food arrangements and the heart-warming service-with-a-smile.

Thank you Cybelle, Executive Sous Chef Patrick Lanteigne, the smiling hostess Nova Embred, the industrious Abhishek Bose and the rest of the Nosh team for making it such a delightful evening.

#BurpAndBelch meter: 3 out of 5 burps

#5WordRestaurantReview: Wanna Eat With Their Staff!

nosh Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Maharaja Bhog: eat like a king!

Indian hospitality is fabled. So much so that restaurants, the world over, offer the royal Indian hospitality. If you are looking to spoil yourself or indulge your family and friends in some ‘food royalty’, then take them to Maharaja Bhog, nestled in Ansar Mall, Karama, Dubai.

Wife and I sat by the spice walls in the restaurant, waiting to be fed till we’d give up. Hospitality is tradition here. Maharaja Bhog started its culinary journey in 2011 and has outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore, Houston (US) and Dubai. Buttermilk arrived at the table. And we started off with that.

The delicious royal thali at Maharaja Bhog
The delicious royal thali at Maharaja Bhog

In olden days, a meal in a royal household was a grand affair. Varied metal tableware spoke of opulence. The main plate is a big plate, with a rather huge diameter and in it fits in various bowls in a stellar line up. Each bowl has a different dish that is ladled into it. Each dish is made with ingredients that are chosen for royal consumption with a sign of nuts, saffron or clarified butter. The rest of the space on the plate is for rice and different breads. Aristocratic families in various parts of India, still like to eat in this traditional manner. Certainly not meant for the middle class, lunch-on-the-go, sorts. Dining, royalty style, is certainly meant for the Indian “la dolce vita”. Meanwhile, an array of snacks arrived on the plate. Those appetizers are served with different chutneys that heighten taste buds and whet up your appetite.

I didn't know beetroots could do that!
I didn’t know beetroots could do that!

Maharaja Bhog makes me feel, just that. The name of the restaurant means exactly what I explained laboriously – feast for a king. The beauty of dining at MB is that mathematically speaking, you will never be eating the same food twice. Unless you work there and eat there. 30 days 30 menus is what they go by. Each dish is beautifully made, keeping in mind the 4 pillars of taste. All dishes are vegetarian and come from the 2 western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. I was so surprised to see red coloured ‘puri’s. I learnt that those were made from beetroot. I was so happy with the lovely experimentation that I didn’t refuse any servings of those deep red shallow fried bread.

Remember to say hello to the mild-mannered restaurant manager Susheel-ji. Watch carefully as the army of servers do not talk to each other or scream across the floor. Instead, they have a sign language by which they communicate what is required on each table. It is a strange pantomime act and it gets food on your plate each time. Next time, I will learn it, for sure. I wasn’t very sure when I got bitter gourd served. I remember my mother molly-coddling me to eat some. I tried a little of it and immediately attacked it for more. The bitterness of the gourd was carefully neutralised by the sweetness from the onions. I think mom would have been happy to see me eat this.

This was my 3rd visit to the outlet and it has never let me down. Consistency of taste is what it takes for anybody to make a name in the F&B industry. Maharaja Bhog’s corporate chef Gulabji is the reason for this. He is responsible for training and operation in all branches. With a robust mechanism like this, little surprise that Maharaja Bhog is also gearing up to have more restaurants. Many more cities across the globe will be welcome to Indian hospitality and taste.

Table reservations recommended. There gets a long waiting-line on weekends.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 4.5 burps

#5WordFoodReview : Recommend Skip Breakfast For Lunch

 

<a href=”https://www.zomato.com/dubai/maharaja-bhog-al-karama&#8221; title=”View Menu, Reviews, Photos & Information about Maharaja Bhog, Al Karama and other Restaurants in Dubai” target=”_blank” ><img alt=”Maharaja Bhog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info – Zomato” src=”https://www.zomato.com/logo/206488/biglink&#8221; style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px;padding:0;” /></a>

SUFRA Sunny Saturdays

Sufra Sunny Saturdays
Sufra Sunny Saturdays

It takes courage to do things low-key in Dubai. The minimalist and quiet restaurant Sufra at the newly opened Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights on Oud Metha Road is the newest entrant on the Dubai weekend brunch scene.

Sufra at Hyatt Regency DCH
Sufra at Hyatt Regency DCH

Sufra is a warm, destination restaurant offering Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine along with a few Indian culinary offerings as well. Sufra means table cloth in Arabic and hence the focus on the region’s cuisine.

This September, Sufra launched a late brunch that allows guests to relax, and eat heartily. And it is called Sufra Sunny Saturday!

Apart from the food that is available at the stations, the brunch menu features eggs cooked your way along with the traditional eggs benedict, steak and hash. If you are an egg-lover, this is the menu that will warm your heart with the golden yolks and supple albumen.

Eggs Benedict - every egg is cooked to eggs-act standars
Eggs Benedict – every egg is cooked to eggs-act standards

I got talking to the chef who told me their egg story. Each egg is cooked for 1 hour 45 minutes in a controlled temperature that ensures that each and every egg is cooked to perfection, with the right yolk consistency, in case you like to gravy your dish with yolks. And so, when I delicately forked into the eggs benedict that was served in a saucepan, it was oozy yet supple. And it took me to egg-heaven!

Sliders - order chicken or beef
Sliders – order chicken or beef

Talk to the staff. They know the food on the menu and are good with their suggestions. Like the peachy, coconutty mocktail that was so good that I asked for seconds. You will also see chefs, walking over, table to table, to serve shawarmas and sliders. this slider was a tender beef patty with handsome dollop of caramelised onions. This is stuff that Saturdays are made of!

Grab the Crab Cake
Grab the Crab Cake

Special mention of this small but memorable crab cake. It was divine. You can taste the crab meat and also savour the flavouring. Do not be shy and ask for another one if you felt the first ‘disappeared’ too quickly!

Mushroom Toast with Poached Egg
Mushroom Toast with Poached Egg

Since I hadn’t had my fill of eggs, I ordered the mushroom toast, served with an egg on top. Poached to perfection. Especially when the yolk seeps over the caramelised mushrooms, you know, life is good.
20150912_141223Call up Sufra, reserve a table and eat a hearty brunch. Be it perennial favourites like Waldorf salad or Baba Ganouj, or trying out their brunch menu, you will be delighted with the quality and taste of food on your table.

Sufra Sunny Saturdays priced at:

  • AED 205 including alcoholic beverages
  • AED 140 including soft beverages
  • AED 70 for children aged 6-12 years

For reservations, call +971 4 553 1272

#BurpAndBelch meter: 4.5

#5WordFoodReview: Focus Is On Food. Period.

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#BurpAndBelch is nominated for Best Asian Blogger for #MasalaAwards2015. To vote, log onto: masala.com/awards

Ramadan Treats at Spontiphoria

a warm, friendly concept store at Wasl Square, Jumeirah
a warm, friendly concept store at Wasl Square, Jumeirah

Imagine naming your shop after your email ID! The first thought races that the ID better be usable. And then came about Spontiphoria, opposite the erstwhile Safa Park at Wasl Square, Jumeirah, where I was invited to preview their pre-Ramadan menu.

Munch on the thought of the day
Munch on the thought of the day

While I was wrestling with the name and what perhaps it meant, I walked inside this unique concept store that is both a bakery and a boutique. I found the store very Parisian. Chalk board messages, quaint curios everywhere interspersed with very artistic looking food items.

Their bakery believes in making it all the exact same way as one would do at home.  And you can tell from the rich and fresh flavours of the rose and lychee cake slice. Their display had a salivating line-up of cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, tray-bakes, and other desserts. I was walking around with my piping hot cup of coffee and enjoying some traditional Ramadan treats.

I met the vivacious and attentive hostess and owner of Spontiphoria, Sidiqa Sohail who named her store after her MSN user that she had since she was 13. The name is concoction of spontaneous and euphoria, both equal descriptives of her. We got talking and I asked her whether baking is something she studied in detail; to which she answered in the negative. She studied ‘conflict prevention and peace building’ at the University of Durham, UK!

The only conflict you could have is on deciding which cake to attack and what dress to take home.

 

Bengali New Year at La Porte Des Indes

My mother is a Michelin-star chef; in my head. All these years, she made me and my father, food that was quintessentially Bengali and that tasted just as good, for years together. My friends from school and uni, colleagues, girlfriends, cousins, wider family have sworn by her kitchen. About 90% Bengalis would want to copy that first statement of mine and paste it up as their ode to their mum’s cooking. Now you’d know that it would be difficult to please a Bengali with Bengali food.

The Bengali New Year Menu at La Porte Des Indes was a short, one-week affair with head chef Vishal Rane preparing a set Bengali meal, on till 18 April. While the old ad-agency visualizer in me felt that the Bengali menu (with a typo) looked like a cyclo-styled insert in a newspaper, I told myself to wait for the food. And it did not disappoint me.

L to R: Fish Fry, Prawn Croquet, Brinjal Fry and Banana Flower Croquet.
L to R: Fish Fry, Prawn Croquet, Brinjal Fry and Banana Flower Croquet.

The story begins with a plate of mixed fritters, something any Bong would consume even on a weak stomach! I tucked into the fish fry Calcutta style; said a warm hello to the Chingri Chop or prawn croquet; paid my respect to the fried egg-plant or Begun Bhaja and was civil to the Mochar Chop (banana flower croquet). Also on the table was a chicken stir fry with green chillies that I found to be an illegal immigrant on the table.

The main course appeared on the table in a jiffy. And then it was a concert on the plate! Flowery basmati rice with a hint of clarified butter (Ghee Bhaat) and Bengali gram dal with coconut (Chholar Dal) were definitely the couple of the evening. The lentil was cooked to perfection, with the right amount of sweetness and coconut slivers added to the taste. Certainly took me back to the streets of Bagbazar where my cousins and I would gobble down many a ‘kachauri’ or deep-fried fluffed Indian flatbread with ‘chholar dal’. The other memorable dishes were the home-style ‘Aloo Kopi’r Dalna’ and the rich ‘Kosha Mangsho’ or Indian mutton curry with velvety thick gravy. There was a chicken variety of the same for those that are not fond of mutton or lamb. They went best with the fluffy as Snowbell ‘Luchi’ or refined flour deep-fried flatbread. I shameless asked for 2 ‘Luchis’ more as I usually do at home. The other Bengali favourite was the ‘Chingri Machcher Malai Curry’ or prawns prepared in a coconut curry. I found the curry to be a tad high on salt that did not balance out the dish.

While we gave the main course some time to settle down a bit, I managed to catch up with the chef who was posted in Kolkata for a brief bit. He elaborated on plans of doing an exhaustive Bengali menu for this year’s Durga Puja. Now that said, most would be putting down La Porte Des Indes as the ‘must-visit’ during pujas.

Dessert plate: Rabri, Kheer Chamcham and Rossogolla
Dessert plate: Rabri, Kheer Chamcham and Rossogolla

Dessert consisted of rabri, kheer chamcham and rasogolla. It would be a travesty to translate and foster a sense of taste through words; so I shall let it be. It would have been worthwhile, however, to have tasted the menu or wait for the next Bong outing this year around October.

3 Likes:

  • The Calcutta style fish fry!
  • The Chholar Dal – hits the sweet spot
  • The Kheer Chamcham – makes you want to ask for more.

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LA PORTE DES INDES DUBAI LOCATION:
The Address Dubai Mall
GPS Location: 25.199777,55.27732
T:+971 4 438 8610
E: contactus@laportedesindes.ae

Of Burps and Belches

A lot has been philosophised on burping and belching. Some have postulated on why it is better than their nether cousin. In fact, I noticed a cultural connection about this natural phenomenon in the movie Ben Hur when Ben-Hur had to burp to show courtesy to his host.

In the far East, in China and Japan, it is considered table manners to burp to show how excellent the food was. Not sure if this is what is done in fine dine restaurants there.

Such is the case in a few European and sub-Saharan countries, as well. Burping is a sign of satisfaction. You had your food, and you loved it as well.

In India, burping is as natural as monsoons. You may burp before or after your meal and nobody would really care. Unless your burp sounds like the creaking of an un-oiled iron gate, you are welcome to belch all you want.

There was another aspect to burping when I first held my little one and had to pat him to get him to burp. As a first-time father, I didn’t know what a ‘baby burp’ sounded like, so I did take help from the nurse at hand. Gosh, and the sound that came from my little one tickled me no end. I would wait for him to finish feeding so I could help him burp!

While burping is considered to be courtesy in many places, it is also taken to be a sign of uncivilised, uncouth mannerism. To burp and not to excuse yourself is perhaps a greater sin! In a very strange way, it is considered unfitting of a woman to show her sign of satisfaction!

Whatever (and however) you enjoy your burp, truth is that a burp is a reminder of your last meal. Make it count! 🙂

#Burp&Belch

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to vote: events.masala.com/awards
to vote: events.masala.com/awards

TheCalmDev’s food blog #BurpAndBelch has been nominated as the Best South Asian Blog for the Masala! Awards 2015 under the Popular Choice category. To vote, log on to events.masala.com/awards and click the Popular Choice Awards tab.