29 July 2013

A bit more Indian food

Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city that offers every variety of food that one can imagine - from American fast food chains to fancy Chinese restaurants. With Jolie, we ate from a variety of foods. We ordered in Dominos Pizza one evening and went to a fancy Chinese restaurant another evening. But whenever possible, Tammy and I still tried to eat Indian food.

We went to Leopold Cafe in Colaba. Leopold Cafe is internationally known due to the fact that it features in the book: Shantaram. The food on the menu is a mixture of asian and continental. We shared a steam vegetable wonton and a chocolate lava cake. Tammy and Jolie also shared fried chicken wonton. The chocolate lava cake was heavenly, but I found the wontons to be a bit greasy. I liked Leopold more for the fact that I was in the scene of a book I was reading than I did for the food.

Our first day at Sangam, we joined them for lunch. Sangam always serves traditional Indian food at lunchtime. Today we had some foods that are commonly found as street foods: Pav Bhaji, Bhel, Rice, Salad and Semolina. Dessert was very western, we had Cornetto ice creams. The food was good, but it was not as hot and spicy as other Indian food we'd eaten. It was explained to us that they reduced the amount of spice used because westerners often had trouble with the true amount of spices.

In Pune we ate at a vegetarian restaurant, Agathi. We were joined by Caitlin and her Mom, Marie, Girl Scouts we'd met at Sangam. We decided to order a variety of foods to share. We ordered a Coconut Uttappa, Mango Mastai and a Punjabi Thali. Marie and Caitlin ordered Itily. We had no idea what an Uttappa was when we ordered it, but basically we found out it was a lot like a large pancake. The Mastai was a bit like a milkshake. The Thali was late, very late. We tried to order it initially, only to be told that one could not order it until 7pm - it was 6:15pm. So we ordered the other items as sides and decided we'd wait until 7 to order the Thali. At 7pm, we confirmed that it was indeed time, and we ordered the Thali. At 7:30 we began to wonder about our Thali. We questioned another waiter (ours was hiding - missing - gone?) and found out that it the order was never given to the kitchen. Our Thali was ordered and we enjoyed it. Despite the issues with ordering the food, the food was delicious, spicy and plentiful. It fortified us for the adventure we had getting back to Sangam (read the post about Pune to find out about this adventure)

Part of our program at Sangam included eating with an Indian family. We were met by a Girl Guide, Ashaware, and she walked us to her family home. Tammy and I were treated like royalty. We were given the opportunity to look at family photos of weddings and celebrations and then we were fed. It was interesting, as they simply watched us eat, telling us they would eat later. The food was delicious but quite starchy. As I did not want to be rude, I did not write down what everything was, but our meal included potatos, dal, rice and fried puri. There was also a sweet coconut milky sauce for dessert (one dipped the Puri into it). They kept trying to feed us more and more, but eventually we both had to admit we were stuffed. It was a fun experience to eat food cooked by a real Indian family in India.

Back in Mumbai we had our final typical Indian meal at a restaurant called Shahi Dawat in Colaba. Our waiter, and owner of the restaurant, was extremely helpful and based on his recommendation we ordered Tadka Pindi Chole, a vegetarian Kebap platter and Roomali Roti. The Kebap platter came with: veg seetch, tandoori aloo, Shahi paneer, pahadi paneer, dahi Kebap and cheese kurkur. We also had a salted Lassi to drink and were given complimentary peppery chipati. The food was incredible. The flavors were those of north India and unlike a lot of what we had already eaten. We enjoyed the comfort of the restaurant as the rain poured outside.

Our final meal in India was at a local pub in Colaba with Jolie. They were having an international burger and beer fest. We all drank the Indian Kingfisher beer. I had an Indian inspired vegetarian burger that was basically grilled paneer with spices and chutney. Tammy's burger was Spain- Inspired and Jolie's was Mexican-inspired. We all enjoyed our respective burgers.

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