Sofitel in Mumbai has truly carved out a multi-dimensional/multi-cultural identity for itself in the hospitality industry. Apart from bringing in International Chefs from their various renowned properties, they have also encouraged Indian and local talent by way of various Food Festivals. So whether it is Thai, Vietnamese, French, Gujarati Palanpuri or Moghlai cuisine, they have continuously tried to bring diversity in their offerings.
One such festival I attended was the Malvani Food festival for which they brought in the housewives duo – Mrs. Prathishta Armarkar and Mrs. Prajapati. This was a brilliant idea as who could argue with the fact that home cooking is the best? These ladies not only brought in the authenticity of their home cuisine but also the various masalas that go into these dishes, thus bringing a true morsel of Maharashtra to our tables.
In my chat with them, I learnt that Malvani food has its origins in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka predominantly using coconut, various dry spices, kokum, tamarind and raw mango. While non-vegetarian and especially fish forms a major part of the cuisine, there are some lovely vegetarian dishes as well.
We started with Zunka Bhakhar, a daily breakfast staple for millions of people running to their jobs in Mumbai. The Zunka was spicy, titillating our taste buds and so full of flavour that my partner, a staunch non vegetarian, actually kept his mutton aside and first gorged on this. The Mutton Sukkhe was easily the best dish in the entire menu. The spicy, coconut, roasted poppyseed flavour of the Malvani masala made it an absolutely “can’t stop eating dish”. The Surmai Fry, however, was a tad disappointing as it was dry and not flavoured enough.
In the mains, the Chicken Sagoti was pretty ordinary but the Lal Math (Red spinach) took me by surprise with its richness of flavours. Interestingly, in all my meals at Sofitel, their vegetarian saag preparations have always been fascinating; may it be the Gandana ka Saag at Jyran or the Saragrami shaak in Tuskers. The Valachi Bhaji was delicious. It had a complex spicy, sweet-sour and slightly bitter taste and made an excellent accompaniment to the rice chapatis. The prawns in the prawn rice were fresh and soft. I tried it with the Modakachi curry and with Dal. The curry was loaded with coconut and tamarind and was a delightful foil to the spiciness of the rice.
We finished off the meal with Besan Almond Laddoos. I swear that I have been dreaming of them ever since I ate them and have been hounding my Malvani help to make them for me.
Meal for Two without Alcohol: Rs. 4000 Approximately plus taxes| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Timing: Dinner : 7 – 12 | Wheelchair access : Yes
Address: Sofitel Hotel, C 57, BandraKurla Complex, Bandra East, Mumbai
Telephone : 022 61175000 / 022 61175001
Disclaimer : This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review; however readers may exercise their own discretion.