My love for the city has always been abundantly clear. In terms of food culture, the city always has something exciting to offer. There are such distinctive tastes, cuisines and innovative restaurant concepts waiting to be explored that there’s hardly a day where one can go to bed hungry or unsatisfied.
The Taste of Mumbai festival was something I was looking forward to. Having heard all about it from a friend in London and again in Dubai, I was sure this was going to knock my socks off. After copious research on the website and coordinating time with the taste theater demonstrations, I finally decided to go on Day 1 (yesterday)!
I bought: the 1,000 rupees ticket from a Nature’s Basket. The ticket included 500 rupees worth of ‘taste currency’ which meant I could encash it at any of the food stalls at the venue.
I went: upon reaching there, we were directed to a counter with our tickets and after some confusion over when the ticket was bought, we were each given an American Express gift card with 500 rupees worth of taste currency. They were counters inside to check your balance or refill, if necessary. We were guided to the main venue and left to explore. There were plenty of participating restaurants, apart from which there were vendors too. Since no cash transactions were allowed, we held on to our cards waiting to see a dish enticing enough.
I ate: Truffle pizza at Graffitti, Wasabi Prawn Tempura at Kofuku, Garlic rice at Koh, Hand pulled noodles in Peanut Broth and Sichuan Chicken from China House, Strawberry chocolate from Fantasie, Cheese sampling from Auroville, Wine Coolers from Rio wines
Verdict: The festival was a beautiful concept, agreeably. However, there were a few hi-jinks For example, you couldn’t refill your gift cards with any other value except 1,000. So, if you needed to buy something for 250 and ran out of balance, you needed to shell out 1,000 anyway. This seemed a little bit of an oversight on the organisers part. Also, not all the machines were credible. Plenty of people complained that their cards were swiped twice, stripping it off its entire balance and there was no way to verify that. The cards were also nullified if kept with a cellphone. The portions were tiny, especially if you were spending 500 per dish, the portions were minuscule and it somehow wasn’t justified.
The stars: Easily the truffle pizza from Graffitti. It was a filo pastry base with goats cheese and truffled mushrooms. I wish I could have eaten my weight in them. Fantasie chocolates were easily some of the best I’ve had here and the wine coolers were worth lugging back. I also discovered a cool kitchen gadgets website to spend hours fawning over! See here. I also managed to catch a little bit of Nadia Lim’s demo and saw food celebs like author of Finely Chopped and owner of one of my favorite restaurants and Impresario Hospitality, Riyaaz Amlani.
Stay or go: I’d say go. If nothing else, purchase the 600 rupees ticket, walk around, sample some cheese and chocolate, definitely eat the truffle pizza and go for a meal elsewhere, afterwards.