वranda [Pali Hill, Bandra]

When we think of the word veranda, our mind inadvertently takes us to that part of our homes (generally our grandparents’ homes) where we had the best memories. It’s where we sat all evening and watched the rain work its wonder and make everything magically beautiful, where we had the most heart-to-heart conversations and where we played as kids. This verandais one of the cosiest places in our memories.

Our intention was not to get you all nostalgic, the food at वranda will do it for us. Our intention was to just tell you, how beautiful and cosy veranda is. ‘Coz वranda is, it is beautiful, it is cosy, it is charming and it is definitely worthy of every praise you have heard about it.

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वranda is a creation to bring to us desi flavours with a videsi twist. वranda is tastefully decorated with pastel colours and bright floral prints, plants and flowers, beautiful lights and more. Art is deeply ingrained in every nook and corner of the restaurant. There’s chic upholstery, antique vases, bold doors, paintings that depict the many forms of India and Indian culture and more. वranda is a lovechild of an art gallery and restaurant if you ask us! It’s the perfect place for a cosy family brunch as well as a romantic dinner date.

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The menu is limited to serving Indian dishes with a modern twist. So if you are dreaming dahi bada, be ready to experience new flavours in this very simple dish. Heard of sun-dried tomatoes on your pizza right? How about sun-dried tomatoes in your kulchas? They have created delicious aberrations while maintaining the integrity of the core dishes, and that is what we loved about the food at वranda.

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There is another thing we were absolutely fascinated with – the menu is presented on a tab, with videos of dishes being prepared and plated. It got us exploring through the menu which then turned to rummaging. The videos are shot beautifully, and they just make you all the more hungry!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what we gorged on at वranda –

Raja Dahi Verma – A filmy name for a fancy version of our beloved Dahi Bhalla chaat. Dahi bhallas or badas soaked in curd and sweet-tangy tamarind chutney.  It is served on a bed of green mint chutney and topped with potato salli. Baked yoghurt squares are delicious and soft and the pomegranate jam reduction has a sharp and sweet taste. The overall dish is on the sweeter side but we loved the medley of flavours.

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Raja Dahi Verma

Cottage Cheese Trilogy – Very soft malai paneer chunks, done in three delicious styles – fresh basil, spicy tikka/zafrani one and a saffron based marination. Each one has intense flavours and is delicious.

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Cottage Cheese Trilogy

Veg Seekh Kebabs – The seekh kebabs are soft and literally melt-in-the-mouth. The seekh kebabs have a very strong flavour of cardamom, almost to the point of shadowing other flavours. These are served on a bed of fresh chopped vegetables with a sweet-spicy mint chutney.

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Veg Seekh Kebabs

Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak – Gatte Ki Sabzi and their delicious kulchas! They nailed the gravy and flavour of the sabzi. Mindblowing aroma and lip-smacking taste. Just the right amount of spices and it took us back to Nanima’s kitchen. The gatte (flour balls), however, were a little too firm, which is bound to happen given the short time allowed for preparation. These were served with sun-dried tomato kulchas and basil kulchas. A mini meal in itself. And did we mention that we are a fan of the tomato kulchas? You will be too, do try them.

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Rajasthani Gatta Nu Saak

Mix Berry Lemonade – A combination of strawberries, raspberries and lemon. It packs a punch with the tanginess. Loved it.

Chocolate Basil Lemonade – Yes, that was our reaction too. Chocolate and basil? In a mocktail? Are you sure? But be sure that you give this one a shot. It an amazing combination. First, there is the fresh flavour of basil and lemon and then slowly you get the chocolatey taste. Lemon and chocolate could be this good a duo, is difficult to fathom.

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Mix Berry Lemonade and Chocolate Basil Lemonade

Gulkand Chocobar – A dreamy preparation with lots of soft and airy chocolate mousse, bits of gulkand and thick, dense chocolate. It is the right amount of sweet with the gulkand adding a mind-blowing edge to it. Sugar coated fennel seeds add a fresh crunch to every bit. Just loved how smooth and light the mousse was. This is a must have at वranda.

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Gulkand Chocobar

Overall Experience – Delicious food, a delightful ambience and good service makes वranda a place you must visit. It may not be easy on the pocket but is definitely worth the money spent.

Food 🙂

Ambience 🙂 🙂

Service 🙂

वranda – Google Maps

Veranda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Goa Portuguesa [Andheri]

Goa Portuguesa…

Ermmm… a restaurant that is famous for Goan & Maharashtrian food… what is it doing on the blog of a vegetarian you ask?

Good question. I was kinda apprehensive myself as I braved Mumbai’s moody monsoon to reach this place. Not a bad decision trying to be Superman I must say, ‘coz we came out smiling! Apparently, Gaon food actually has a pretty decent spread of vegetarian dishes. Surprising I know.

Goa Portuguesa is a chain of restaurants famous for its authentic Goan & Maharashtrian food along and some famous dishes modified to suit local tastes. The setting is quaint, dimly lit with coloured glass windows and wooden flooring that give you a homely feel. The service is great and the servers and manager are really attentive.

 

We began the meal with Caldo Verde , a Portuguese speciality soup made with potato puree and spinach. A combination we despise in our tiffin box, turned into a mouth – watering preparation, the Caldo Verde is a delight to the taste buds. The spinach, potato, and milk are so perfectly fused together that it is difficult to tell them apart. Imagine yourself freezing after travelling in the rains and then in the same picture add a delectable hot soup. Pretty picture I say!!

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Caldo Verde

We then dug into some Khamang Kakdi, a  popular Maharashtrian salad made with cucumber, coconut and peanut powder. The flavour of each of the ingredient was brought out well in this simple preparation.

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Khamang Kakdi

 

The appetizers included Mix Veg & Cashew Croquette , Kaju Kothimbir Vadi and a deceivingly spicy Paneer & Mushroom Pepper Fry.  

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Mix Veg & Cashew Croquette

 

 

The Mix Veg & Cashew Croquette is  a vegetable and cashew roll served with a delicious mint chutney. It is not spicy and is ideal if you want your appetizer to be a little filling.

 

 

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Kaju Kothimbir Vadi

 

 

 

The Kaju Kothimbir Vadi was a little disappointing. Not at all like the authentic Kothimbir Vadi, the taste of besan (gram flour) overshadowed every other flavour.

 

 

 

 

 

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Paneer & Mushroom Pepper Fry

The Pepper & Mushroom Pepper Fry  was the highlight of our appetizers. Pieces of mushroom and cottage cheese tossed in a spicy pepper sauce. The dish has some Chettinad spices used in the preparation, a region very famous for its hot spicy cuisine. No wonder!

 

 

With this spicy note, it was time for some main course. To soothe the taste buds came the Tender Coconut Cashew Nut Sukke , a Goan speciality dish made with juliennes (long thin strips) of coconut , cashew nut, onions, and tomatoes. A little on the sweeter side, but a treat to those who enjoy the original flavour of tender coconut in their meal. We had these with hot, crispy Appams, a south Indian speciality. To be frank, the taste is much better when had without Appams or Pao or Chapati, just the Sukke.

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Tender Coconut Cashew Nut Sukke

Next, we had the Xacutti and Kozhambu.  The Xacutti is a speciality Goan dish made with mushroom, cottage cheese and other vegetables and a mildly spicy coconut based gravy. The coconut content is high but the spices play an overshadowing role.

The Kozhambu is a curry based dish made with vegetables tossed in a tamarind and coconut gravy. The aftertaste is strongly and that of Garam or Khada masala. Don’t get me wrong, instead of putting one off, it actually leaves you wanting more. And it tastes so good with Appams as well as Pao.

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Xacutti and Veg. Kozhambu served with Pao

 

We also had the Masale Bhat , which is basically vegetable biryani but cooked in traditional Maharashtrian Goda masala, rendering it with a distinct aroma and a pleasantly spicy taste.

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Masale Bhat

It now was finally time to try sweet delicacies. We began with the Kharvas, another Maharashtrian delicacy made with milk. The Kharvas here was devoid of its traditional flavour and not much to write home about. We also tried the Goan delicacy Bibinca (Bebinca),  a multilayered cake made with coconut milk  and egg yolk. A little on the sweeter side, and not what I was looking for.

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Kharvas
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Bibinca

Then came the pièce de résistance, Dodol. Third time is a charm indeed! A moist jaggery based cake, that tastes deliciously of raw (palm sugar) with an aftertaste that left us guessing and reminding of something delicious we had in the past. I am still trying to figure out what that was, ‘coz the Dodol was just mind blowing! A must try!

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Dodol

The final dessert was the traditional Maharashtrian Puran Poli, just the right amount of sweet and served with a whole ton of ghee, as is always! What an end!

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Puran Poli

 

Overall Experience: The food is good, with a decent spread for vegetarians. What surprised me was that I was liking coconut in my food.  Not a fan of coconut otherwise, apart from a few select dishes, the preparations were made such that coconut and cashew nut though a very integral part, did not overshadow every other ingredient present.

Food:)

Service:)

Ambience:)

The Battle: I battled the rains to get here, and then I battled my full tummy to convince it to make a little more space for just another bite of the crispy appams and the delicious Dodol!

Goa Portuguesa – Google Maps

Goa Portuguesa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato