Easily the most authentic chinese meal we have enjoyed in Bombay, and a place with great ambience.

This restaurant is one with no lack of real-estate. Still, if I were you, I would book in advance and insist on a table outside. The outside seating has dimly lit pavilions over each table. There is a meandering pool filled with goldfish and small bridges to walk over. Its like a zen garden!

The inside area where we sat had its perks too. We got to see the whole kitchen and the chefs at work. My passable mandarin made me realise that the folks in charge were from China indeed. We saw them roll dumplings, make noodles and various other fancy dishes.

But let me get to the food. It was amazing. We started with a veg. dumpling soup which comes in a clay pot and is made for 2 people. Mushrooms with several different textures along with the aforementioned dumplings in a delicate clear soup. We followed this up with two main course items worth talking about.

The pan fried green beans are a rare delicacy and this is the best preparation we have had in India. Along with this, we tried the clay pot beancurd. Spicy and supported by shiitake mushrooms, bok choy and other veggies the dish is again a “best in class”.

We also had some fine freshly made rice noodles and steamed rice. The authenticity of the meal (and the flavours) were beyond compare.

I polished it down with a lychee caiprioska and we also had some nice jasmine tea. All excellent.

The waiters prevented us from over-ordering and the service was prompt without rushing us. The ambience was just perfect.

The only downside is probably the pricing. But, we do believe that when the food is not local, you often get what you pay for. We believe that the pricing is high, but we forget it in the flavours of the meal & the ambience.

The reward is a 5-bone rating for this authentic chinese oasis in the indian chinese desert out there.

My recco – Go for dinner, get a table outside and get ready to experience “real chinese” (Hunan, Cantonese style mainly) food.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Craving for an “all you can eat” thaali with excellent Gujju fare? Rajdhani – is a great place for you.

With over 10 outlets in Bombay alone and plenty more in India, Rajdhani is the home to the authentic gujju thaali.

Expect huge wait times as large groups of friends and family hover around the doorman waiting their turn at the goodness inside. A tip – show up the early and beat the crowds to it.

Once inside, your gang will be seated in a large dining room and immediately the waiters attack! They hit you with the masala chaas (buttermilk) before you have even warmed the cushions of your chair. The head waiter verifies if there are any folks with Jain diet requirements, and then instructs the waiters. From then on, there is a steady flow of food.

When we went, they started with the most flavouful khaman. We also got patra (a rare Gujju delicacy) and aaloo tikkis. Green chilly chutney and a tamarind (imli) sauce work as great accompaniments.

This is followed up by Gujju Kadi, a spicy dal and several different veggies. All taste awesome. The best part is that it is served with a fluffy light fulka. Actually as many fulkas as you can consume. I lost count at ten.

That isnt the only roti – on our day we got a Bajra roti. This was all followed up by a fantastic dal khichdi.

We finished up with sheera and a burfi for dessert. Totally & utterly stuffed!

The service is excellent. They gently try and persuade you to have a bit more ghee or try the special veggie. They seem to remember which dish you enjoyed most and serve a second heap just as you finish. That is a skill worthy of one ful bone.

The pricing is very moderate and the juicy paan awaiting you at the cashier is a great way to end the meal. 

The best part – this is an all veggie joint!

My recco – Show up for lunch, come with a nice-sized group (5-7 people) and bring your appetite. Plan a nice walk afterwards – you will need it.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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The ITC Sheraton group is known for the Bukhara and Dum Pukht. With such a pedigree of Indian food, would we dare to enter their Chinese joint?

You bet we would.

The Shanghai Club is easily the least marketed, least known 5-star chinese restaurant in Bombay. No one knows it exists and you get zero bragging rights by saying you dined there.

Its literally your last stop at the ITC Grand Central in Lower Parel. You walk all the way through the indian restaurant, meander past their glass-walled kitchens with buttery kababs and fluffy naans until the decor suddenly turns oriental. You cross the India-China border and there you are!

The ambience is very nice. Great lighting, good room between tables, lovely limitless tea. The cutlery gleams and the crockery has some quaint chinese design elements.

Your journey here has to start with the appetizers and for me, they stole the show. The dim sum is dead-on. Only one veggie option, but the steamed veggie dumplings are as good as anything you get in Singapore. Another nice starter are the crispy, chilly pepper vegetables. Just the right mix of spice and flavour.

We tried the Gong-bao veggies and the Ma Po Tofu. The tofu is silken and the sauce delicate though not as spicy as the original. The Gong-bao is a poor cousin of the real deal – Kung Pao is meant to be a fiery mixture of dried red chillies and peanuts. This fell short! The rices have decent options, though they lacked a pot rice option. We had the ginger peppers rice and it was nice.

The pricing is high, but not as high as you would expect.

TIP: By investing in an annual ITC Sheraton Plus Card you get great discounts on your meals (upto 50% off for a couple meal). If you like their food, worth coughing up the 6 grand.

Overall, a decent experience, but you could get better chinese elsewhere.

My recco – Worth a visit, if you are a regular to ITC for one of the expos. But, if you visit rarely try the indian place first.

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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So we come to it finally. A 5-bone eatery. This place has it all – the food, the ambience, the beautiful people, live music, art – what else could one ask for?

The food at OOB is spectacular. You could possibly get better sizzlers or Fondue or pasta, but it would not taste as good. 🙂

With tons of options to choose from, its tough to pick. But thats why they pay me the piddly bucks. To start with, sample the wine and drinks menu. The Sangria is a standout as is the caipirinha. The beer and hard booze list is decent and the range of mocktails is robust. While they offer a decent collection of international wines, the domestic selection is probably their weakest point. No Sula wines on the list mean you dont get the Dindori Shiraz or Chenin Blanc.

The starters are delectable. I would recommend either the pesto crostini platter or the stuffed mushrooms. If you cant decide, order both! The list of salads is very good as well.

The main course is all about the bakes and sizzlers for me. There are some excellent pastas, but try one of the bakes instead – maybe the Veg Exotica. Nice cheese, without overwhelming the palate. In the sizzlers, the veg sizzler with barbeque sauce is my pick.

But the great thing about OOB is the ambience. A huge canvas canopy covers the large outdoor seating area. Kept cool by giant fans in the summer, there is a variety of seating from comfy chairs to floor seating. Take your pick. Live music is there most nights and there is even a small art gallery for you to browse through. This is one place which rocks at night and is the ultimate “chill pill” over lunch. So much so that it manages to attract everyone – bankers, housewifes, students, artists, media folk and even actors. Need i say more?

Well, I will. OOB is perfect for almost any occasion – working lunch, special parties etc. But the best idea would be to head here with your partner or some close friends. Get some food, drink and enjoy a meal the way you wish every meal could be.

My recco – A 5-boner means GO NOW!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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One of our first Indian restaurants named after the chef, Moshe’s is a great place to get some authentic mediterranean food.

Hidden behind an entrance of bamboos, which totally obscure the sign, and give it this quirky ambience which is so unique, this restaurant has fans all over Bombay. The wooden floors creak when you walk over them, even though they gleam with the dark polish which has been applied. The chairs have this modern look to them and the whole place looks wonderfully relaxed.

Ok, ok – but what about the food? Well, its awesome. Pastas which all seem freshly made in unique sauces, and freshly baked bread, as far as the eye can see. I recommend the Pesto pasta, which has just the right amount of roasted pine nuts in it, and resists the temptation to get too cheesy. Bruschetta and several types of Focaccia bread can be had with your pasta or salad. Another great dish which is soooo authentic is the fondue – and so many options here.

(TIP: Moshe’s is one of the few places in Bombay where you can buy Fondue cheese to use in the fondue-maker you have at home)

Dishes from Morocco including Tajine rotate in and out of the supplementary menu, which is written in chalk on a blackboard. For those who love desserts – sorry but I ain’t one of you – the range of choice seems limitless.

The veggie options are decent though not limitless, and the food is a bit pricey.

The nice thing? There is no pretence to the place. Moshe walks around the place most evenings. He is as much a Bombayite as the next bloke, and will give you tips on the best hidden menu dish to order. This is definitely one restuarant where you have plenty of options not listed in the printed menu card or on the blackboard. Ask and you will be happy you did!

My recco – Make it a long slow meal with friends. Order a couple of fondue, crack some jokes, sip some wine, and trade travel tips with the folks at the next table. Dont leave the cafe without a goodie bag full of bread and cheese, and a paunch worth bragging about!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Going to places like Henry Tham’s shows you just how integrated Bombay is with the global party scene. A truly world-class ambience awaits you here.

Located a stone’s throw from the Gateway of India, Henry Tham’s is named after the owner/restaurateur who has given Bombay several excellent restaurants. It is definitely his piece de resistance.

This place serves authentic Cantonese style chinese cuisine as well as some great Japanese and South East Asian delicacies.

The Miso Soup here is very authentic and the delicate flavours of this vegetarian classic shine through nicely. Another nice starter are the sauteed mushrooms.

This is one restaurant where you feel at ease in the hands of your waiter. Let him/her guide you and you will get the best out of this experience. They have a wide range from the veggies in sambal sauce to the crispy vegetables cantonese style.

This is a restaurant where you don’t mind if they make you wait for the table. You see the ground floor is a top-class bar and the cocktails/mocktails are also a must-have. Live music is there most evenings and this ranges from rock to jazz.

The bar, lounge and dining areas all have the feel of a nice plush lounge. The lighting with tall glass floor lamps, strategic use of asian curios and contemporary decor makes for a unique look. If you are lucky, they will seat you at the tables with the high backs. Enough to make you feel like a king/queen, these plush thrones help set the mood for an evening to remember.

The one caveat – remember that kings & queens have money and you must expect to pay well for this experience. As with all upscale lounges, you will leave with your wallet a wee bit lighter.

My recco – Go with someone special + make reservations, but go early. Spend a while chilling at the lounge or bar and then head up to the dining area. Make it a long, slow evening!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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Named after the famed 5-spice powder which is a key component of Chinese cooking, 5 Spice is practically an institution in Bandra, and Bombay as a whole.

This place toes an interesting line between conventional “Indian Chinese” cuisine and a more authentic hong kong-style. In the balance I would put it in the Indian Chinese boat, but with just a hint of the real deal.

The menu is loaded with veggie options. If  you were to start with a soup, I would recommend the Veg Wonton Soup which is done particularly well. Without introducing artificial spice, this mildly flavoured clearish soup allows the more subtle flavours to hold court. In appetizers, there are a few I could recommend. The corn cream melts like butter in your mouth and the accompanying mint sauce is stuff of legend now. Another good option is the veg fried wontons, which have enough stuffing to keep you engaged. My personal favourite remains the veg steamed wontons.

In the main course, you cannot go wrong with the burnt chilly fried rice. No place does it better! If you prefer a more subtle rice dish, go for the Veg Moon Fan. In noodles, I would probably say the Veg singapore noodles are the most flexible.

The main course dishes have many options, but the Tofu with Black Bean chilly sauce is a must-have. Another good dish is the Tsing Ho potatoes – a definite “Indian Chinese” dish, but a new one! If you want a mix of veggies, go for the Hot Wok.

The ambience is modern asian with nice even lighting. There could be more space between tables, but nobody’s perfect.

They recently upped prices and this prevents them from being a 5-bone eatery. But, I cant be too harsh. This is one place where you forgive them the price tag.

My recco – you must visit this place to experience the current home of Indian Chinese food in India. Dont save space for the desserts – pig out on starters and way more!

Check out the Hound Report Card for the final analysis:

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