Considered India’s gourmet guru, celebrated food writer and cook Karen Anand, wanders the world pen and plate in hand – from Italian truffles to Indian dosa, she can tell you how to prepare it, where to find it and give you the life story of the people behind it!

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I have been going to the big city (Mumbai) quite a lot in the last few months and it really has become ‘the’ city for interesting food.  Bombayites now seem keen to experiment with some cutting edge concepts. In the end, it is of course always those who serve superlative food that stand the test of time. 

My favourites really depend on my mood. With the rains teaming down, these are my picks for comfort food during the rains.  So what have I tried that has impressed me in these past couple of months? 

Everyone is talking about Slink and Bardot, so I went one rainy evening.  It was mid-week and the place, despite the dodgy street leading to it, was packed with Bombay’s jet set/glitterati, whatever you want to call them.  The decor is simply stunning and the vibe very charged.  The food however, was quite disappointing.  There wasn’t a single memorable dish on the menu except the chicken nuggets and the pork belly.  Lovely place for a glass of wine with a girlfriend. 

The new Toast and Tonic at BKC lacks the charm and warmth of the Bangalore original but the food is spot on.  The chilli tuna poke bowl, udon chorizo and clams and the pork belly were all outstanding.  Manu Chandra calls it “east village style” which it certainly is with a clever, clever menu which really draws inspiration from just about everywhere in the world and yet concentrates on local ingredients to achieve a home grown identity.

Gustoso: I like the ambience of this ‘round the corner’ style Italian bistro.  The enormous pizza oven producing wood fired meter long pizzas is certainly an attractive sight as you walk in. The pizzas are however a little ‘bready’ and thick for my taste. You would have to be really hungry to finish one. Good place for a group of friends but not for the discerning diner. 

Table: There’s nothing new about the consistently great food at Table, behind the Taj. Everyone copied Alex Sanchez’ zucchini pasta but there’s so much more to try. Their shaved snow peas with lemon, mint and parmesan and the pink grapefruit and avocado salad are light and fresh and always delicious.  The home-made pastas are just the ticket on a wet SOBO afternoon.

Yauatcha: What is not to love about a plate of perfectly steamed hot, melt in the mouth dimsum?  Walking into Yauatcha is like walking into any restaurant in Manhattan or London. The service is impeccable and so is the dim sum.  I particularly like their non-starch wrappers made with spinach and bak choy and they make the best crispy prawn cheung fun ever.  Also don’t miss the desserts – really excellent Parisian style patisserie.

Of course my regulars still hang in there …the salt pepper garlic crab at Trishna (also not to miss their Hyderabad pepper fish tikka and their koliwada prawns) and more for the mood than the food…the cheesy garlic baby naans at the Breach Candy Club overlooking the Arabian Sea and with a glass of gin and tonic, is an experience worth repeating…many times



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