• Navi Mumbai gets a Vilayati Twist

    Newest entrant to the ever growing food scene of Navi Mumbai. Vilayati offers you a fresh new take on your ordinary Indian dishes. The interiors are a complete mixture of different ideas. Chandeliers for that classy look, neon signs for the cool vibe, book shelves for some weird reason etc. Our server suggested us their best dishes and we were all set with our order. 

    Go Long Be Strong
    Goti Soda

    We started off with some drinks. They have a huge range of Goti Soda cocktails and we got the Orange Margarita one. A sense of nostalgia passes through your mind as you pop that Goti soda bottle. Taste wise though it was pretty much your regular orange soda with a spike of vodka. Other drink we ordered was the Go Long Be Strong and yes, it stays true to its name! Lots of different spirits added to this one so be careful, it’s not for the lightweights. 

    For appetizers, we got ourselves the Kurkuri Cheese Cigars, Pili Mirch Tikka and Teriyaki Chicken Bao.

    Served in cutting chai glasses, the Kurkuri Cheese Cigars were just so crunchy! The Teriyaki Bao was an absolute winner of our hearts. Very few restaurants in Mumbai serve good Baos and this one certainly marked it’s spot on our list. Tangy and a hint of sweetness to the perfectly cooked chicken makes this dish a must have! The Pili Mirch Tikka, however could have been better. 

    The crazy amount of different appetizers on the menu made us feel like skiping the mains and just try more appetizers instead. So, we ordered the Chicken Tandoori Lollypop and Hummus with Thecha. We still thank ourselves for trying more appetizers or else we would have missed out on this gem of a dish called the Chicken Tandoori Lollypop. Firstly, the presentation was ON POINT. Served in a huge flask shaped lid which when opened reveals a ton of smoke and the delicious ghee glazed lollypops. The coal gives it a smoky flavor which gives it that oomph factor. The chicken marinated to perfection has a hint of spice to it. This definitely is our most recommended dish which you just shouldn’t miss out on. Next up was the Hummus with Thecha. The hummus was nice and creamy but the Thecha didn’t have the spiciness which one expects from it. 

    We ended our meal with the Ras Malai Tres Leches and the Paan Tiramisu. Both of them get a big thumbs up from us for presentation and taste. The ras malai cake was not overly sweet and just so soft. The Paan Tiramisu was more like a Mousse than a Tiramisu. If you ignore the name and focus on the taste, you’ll love it. 

    Overall, we believe Vilayati is a lovely place to chill and have fun. A lot of places focus too much on presentation of their food and ignore the taste and quality, but that’s not how Vilayati does it. Presentation is top notch and the quality is even better! 

  • A Culinary Journey to The Middle East at Bayroute.

    With three outlets in the city, Bayroute has definitely marked it’s spot on every foodies map for exquisite Middle Eastern food. We recently visited their Juhu outlet and our excitement to check out this place was at it’s peak. Pure elegance is what comes to mind as soon as you enter their outdoor seating area. You don’t have to worry about the heat at all in the outdoor area since there are air conditioners beside all the tables and a shed on top. The inside is beautifully lit with flickering hot air balloon shaped lamps representing the Hot air balloon festival at Cappadocia, Turkey. A perfect date spot or a perfect family dinner spot, Bayroute just fits in perfectly for whatever the occasion and whoever your company. 

    We got to ordering and we were bewildered looking at the menu. It was not just the huge amount of dishes on the menu but the menu itself being printed right to left. The Arabic language (Hebrew) which is written and read from right to left is what inspires this menu. This just shows the amount of work that has been put into each and every detail of this restaurant to make it have that Middle Eastern touch. 

    We started off with a Lotus Biscoff milkshake and the Dessert Storm cocktail. The milkshake was thick, rich and not overly sweetened. The desert storm on the other hand was an experience within itself. The drink is served in a smoke filled case which is then opened revealing a gust of smoke and the Desert Storm drink. Full points for the mind blowing presentation and full points for the spiked up drink. 

    Bayroute Hummus and Mohamarra with Pita

    Coming to the food, Middle Eastern appetizers are divided into Cold Mezze and Hot Mezze. Bayroute Hummus, Beharitla Hummus and Mahamarra were our choices for the Cold Mezze. These were served along with a genenous portion of warm and incredibly soft pita bread which is baked in house twice a day. The Bayroute Hummus was just so creamy and we can vouch for this being the best one in the city! Mahamarra which is a walnut based dip was delicious and we couldn’t stop ourselves from literally cleaning the whole plate. The Beharitla hummus however gets a thumbs down from us and we suggest you skip it. 

    For the Hot Mezze we ordered the Mezze Fries, Harissa Chicken Kebab, Lebanese Nachos and the Kataifi Rubyan. All of these served on our table were a treat to our eyes and we just couldn’t figure out where to start! The Mezze Fries was simply ingenious! Veggies like beetroot, carrot and jalapeños are fried and served along with Tahini (paste made from sesame seeds) and Tzatziki dips (yogurt and garlic based sauce). The Kataifi Rubyan was another masterpiece served here. Fresh tiger prawns marinated in basil pesto, wrapped with angel hair pasta and fried to perfection. This is an absolute must try! 

    The Harissa Chicken Kebabs are an absolute juicy and tender delight to all the carnivores out there. Try it if you can handle a bit of spice though. Next, we tried the Labanese Nachos, which were basically fried pita with a ton of shaved chicken shawarma pieces and topped with some lip smacking Tzatziki sauce. Dish after dish, Bayroute just didn’t stop impressing us with their astounding food. 

    Bayroute Manakeesh
    Kebab Koobideh

    Next up, was the mains and we ordered the Kebab Koobideh and the Bayroute Manakeesh. A middle eastern twist to your regular Pizza is what Manakeesh is all about. Huge flatbread divided into four parts, each with a unique and different flavor. It’s like you have to eat your way to the dessert. Starting with Harrisa, then Za’atar, then Sebze and ending with Nutella hazelnut. While the Manakeesh was a huge hit among us, the Kebab Koobideh also impressed us. An Iranian dish perfected by the chef comes with two huge juicy ground chicken kebabs and Irani yellow rice. 

    Lotus Drama
    Baklava

    After all that gastronomic delight it was finally time for desserts. The Lotus Drama and Baklava were our choice from the vast dessert options. The Lotus Drama was a Lotus Biscoff based cheesecake with a hearty portion of Vanilla ice cream and topped with Lotus Biscoff and caramel drizzle. If you like your dessert to be a bomb of sweetness then this has to be your choice! 

    The presentation of the baklava will leave you speechless! Absolutely gorgeous frozen rose petals crushed over the honey glazed phyllo pastry stuffed with various nuts. The baklava was nothing less than heavenly and we just can’t wait to go back to eat it! 

    All in all, Bayroute was not just a dining experience, it was really a journey to the Middle East. 

  • Mabruk

    Mabruk, which is an Arabic word literally translates to “blessed” and we second that Sahara Star is truly blessed to have this fine dining mediterranean heaven under their roof. Dining here is like an experience that one would remember all their life. As soon as you enter your attention is straight up grabbed by the majestic grandeur of the lagoon area. The arabic tunes playing in the back and the gorgeous sheesha pots placed around sets the middle eastern atmosphere perfectly. The flowing water from the lagoon gives a really soothing and calm vibe to the place which literally makes you feel like not leaving at all. 

    A big shoutout to the most welcoming and polite staff ever. Our servers Mr. Lalit and Mr. Niraj were well versed with the menu and suggest you the best dishes as per your taste. 

    We started off with Koshaf and Lemon Maa Ward which are two really cool and refreshing mocktails with a base of Mango and Rose Water respectively. Just the right drink to beat the Mumbai heat. 

    Just like the Arabs we were served with a Cold Mezze Platter and a Hot Mezze Platter. The Cold Mezze features various dips and the one’s which stood out were the Mou’Hamara (Walnut, Tomato and Chilli relish) and Hummus (Chickpea purée with Garlic, Lemon and Tahina). Dip the warm and soft Pita bread or Zatar into these dips and rejoice. The Hot Mezze on the other hand featured various appetizers and our favorites were the Shish Touk (Chicken Skewers) and the Safi’Ha B’Jibneh (Holloumi and Zatar stuffed mini open pie). A pro tip would be to dip the Shish Touk into the side Harissa sauce if you like that extra kick of spice in your food. 

     

     

    Cold Mezze Platter

    The man behind this ingenious restaurant, Chef Jihad personally comes up to your table to make sure you’re enjoying your meal and gives you a few tips on eating Mediterranean cuisine just like the Arabs. 

    For mains we got the Tagine Khodar and the Manakeesh Zatar. Menakeesh was an absolute winner of a dish. Basically a middle eastern pizza with a base of Zatar bread. The thyme, seasame and olive oil topped on the bread makes it just so flavorful. 

     

    Manakeesh Zatar with Chicken

    Ending our meal with the Classic Baklava was like a cherry on icing for our experience here at Mabruk. Crispy phyllo pastry filled with dry fruits and beautifully glazed with honey.

     

    Baklava