A round-up of a year when the F&B industry fought tooth and nail with “the new normal” through deliveries, cloud kitchens, and opening up with social distancing. From all the amazing food I got to try in 2020, here’s what I liked best

Bastian, Worli

Bandra-based Bastian opened its doors in Worli, and boy, it’s an upgraded version of the already amazing Bastian in Bandra. A grand restaurant with a 28-foot tall bar, Bastian makes a statement with its distinguished menu, some of it not meant for delivery at all. Their robata, loosely translated as fireside cooking, are quick barbecued skewers, and they do these Japanese chicken meatballs in just the right amount of teriyaki sauce, barbecued to perfection. My favourite robata was the lobster tail with miso garlic butter, a lobster done so well that my non-seafood eating friend finished her share to the tee.

I remember having a Sri Lankan curry from a cloud kitchen recently that left me miserable, because it was basically just tomato purée and a hint of coconut. But then, I had the Sri Lankan prawn curry with jasmine rice here, and from the curry powder to the size of the prawns, it worked on so many levels.

2020 has made many of us Lotus Biscoff converts (more on that later), and the pull-me-up Lotus Biscoff cake here is rich, moist, and maintains its crust still. Any cake that can maintain its last layer despite being moist, is a winner.

Order via Zomato, open for dine in.

Yazu-Pan Asian Supper Club, Mumbai

Best meals of 2020

My first memory of Yazu was early this year, just a couple of months back in Mumbai, and my heart was set on this rice mixed in green Thai curry paste, topped with a fried egg. Then, lockdown happened. Yazu has been one of those places that has constantly reinvented itself throughout the lockdown, first coming up with a virtual dining experience till restaurants weren’t allowed to open, and then constantly changing their menu so that those ordering in aren’t subjected to the same dishes.

I’d normally never subject myself to aubergine in a restaurant, but their charcoal aubergine open bao has made me a convert. Crispy, thin fries of aubergine with caramelised onions, and spicy cheese sauce, with jalapeños in an open bao that’s flavoured with activated charcoal. They do this bao in pork too. Yazu also started retailing their chili oil and Sichuan sauce, both of which I’ve mentioned in my earlier column, delightfully tossing my noodles and rice in them at home. Now, with restaurants open again, it’s one place that I find myself returning to.

Order via Zomato, open for dine in.

Ghosht Stories

Best meals of 2020

Cloud kitchens ruled the year, and made eating fancy food at home a reality. Ghosht Stories, by chef Mrigank Singh, is one such cloud kitchen that aims at making sure you’re indulging in the best quality mutton dishes and recipes, in the comfort of your home. Even though they pride themselves on their mutton dishes, which are nice, it’s their vegetarian and chicken fare that I loved. They have a bagaare baingan, the masala of which was spicy and tasty. Their game changer, though, has to be their Lucknawi Murg Korma — well-cooked chicken in a deep orange-ish korma, with just the right amount of spices that doesn’t make it spicy, but retains a bit of the sweetness of the dry fruit paste used. Mughlai enough to feel full and heavy at home. Also, for mutton, try their yakhni pulao, and the ghosht aloo ka saalan.

Order in only. Find them on Instagram @ghoshtstories

1441 Pizzeria


Best meals of 2020

Not a pizza person, yet, but 1441 has also been one of those that have been innovating throughout the year. I tried their DIY pizza kits earlier in July, the simplest there is, and it was a total delight to make. Authentic wood-fired pizzas are their USP, and they recently came out with some thick crust options that have bowled me over. The chef’s recommended list had some interesting options, out of which I tried the five-cheese pizza, which had some intense Italian sauce along with mozarella, smoked mozarella, cheddar cheese, processed cheese, and cheese spread. Yes, all cheese. Madness, delicious. Since I don’t experiment so much with pizza (I don’t even like olives, cue gasp again), the other option I tried was a smoked chicken, which had all my comfort basics — mushrooms, roasted chicken, garlic, and of course, cheese. Works perfectly for the long weekend hang at home.

Order via Zomato, open for dine in.

Bun & Only

Best meals of 2020

Gourmet burgers are really picking up everywhere in India right now, and we couldn’t be more thankful. Bun & Only started during the lockdown, and does craft, gourmet burgers. Started by Sameer Uttamsingh and Shantanu Mohite, the menu has great options in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and they make their own ketchup. The teriyaki chicken is my favourite — juicy chicken in teriyaki sauce, topped with vegetables, and a golden-perfect bun. The black bean & guacamole is another option that is an experiment gone right (I’ll eat guacamole with anything), and if you like mushrooms as much as me, definitely give the portobello and blue cheese burger a shot. Thank God for not having to order burgers from fast food chains anymore.

Delivery only, find them on Instagram @bun.and.only 

Also Read: Where To Order Dinner Tonight: Indulging In Artisanal Chocolates