It’s the season to avoid a heat stroke, hydrate, and gorge on summer menus
The Bombay Canteen
The leaders in the ‘seasonal menu’ game, The Bombay Canteen has yet another fresh list of options for a hearty meal outside. Start with the smoky Baigan Chokha, a spin on Bihar’s famous Litti Chokha, with tomato, cilantro oil, pickled chillies, and fried garlic chips served with the litti-inspired sattu papdi. Follow it up with the Greens Patta Chaat — a fresh take on Delhi’s classic snack — it has some crispy amaranth, poi saag and spinach that comes with tangy tomato chutney, and pickled dahi. Light, and fresh. The standout dish on this menu, however, has to be the Surat special Corn Locho — khaman made of corn, topped with crispy corn, scallion chutney, locally made Belper Knolle (a variety of Swiss cheese), and sprinkled with crunchy, corn chivda. It’s such a filling, new take to try, even the Gujaratis on the table agreed! I can’t talk about TBC without my favourite cheese dish ever — Begum’s Baked Brie — the summer twist being a house-made bel (wood apple) murabba. I don’t need to hard sell TBC at all, but as always, it’s a menu that only delights.
Toast & Tonic, BKC
Confession: I underestimated the food at Toast & Tonic before this meal. There’s nothing I like more than a concise, to-the-point menu, showcasing exactly what they want you to try: just summer things. Kickstart this meal with a Fraise & Tonic, a delish gin cocktail with strawberry and lemongrass shrub.
Move on to the Everything Summer salad — it has mangoes, avocadoes, tomatoes, crunchy lettuce, and starfruit, which compliments the sweetness of the mango bites. Fresh Vietnamese summer rolls with juicy shrimp make for a great appetiser, and for the mains, the Rigatoni in Summer Vegetables — a light, creamy sauce with summer squash, zucchini, and bell peppers — is actually more satisfying than any meat could be. Mangoes are always the stars of summer menus, but you know which other fruit deserves a place? Jamun, guys. While Toast does a mean mango panna cotta, their star dessert is the purple jamun sorbet, which retains the texture of the fruit, and tastes exactly how sweet and sour jamun is. Stole the show, this sorbet.
After his take on gourmet burgers with Louis Burgers, Zorawar Kalra is now bringing gourmet pizzas to your homes via Slyce. A limited-edition menu with his ever-so-favourite edible gold touch has three pizzas, followed by a section of vegetarian and non-vegetarian options that are diverse, and go beyond the usual olive-and-mushroom-and-chicken flavours.
Authentically Italian and the best one, for me, is the Lobster White Top pizza from the limited edition — thin slices, topped with butter-poached lobster and prawns Blanco, delicious truffle shavings, white truffle oil, and gold leaf. This is the pizza I wouldn’t mind ordering every weekend! Chicken lovers can indulge in the Mad Dog, with four kinds of chicken and some cheese and onions. Sunday lunch plans sorted.
Perch: Wine & Coffee Bar
Perch is doing a mix of many interesting bites, some nostalgic, some comforting. With an impressive selection of cocktails as well as a summer-centric menu list, Perch makes for the right lunch spot — you’ll eat well and not want to fall asleep because the meal isn’t heavy at all. Remember the cheese and pineapple on a toothpick that we’d enjoy as kids? Appetise yourself with their cheese, berry & pineapple bites to start off. I’ll come to the cocktails, but guys, it’s cold soup season, and the watermelon & kimchi gazpacho will make you want to skip drinks, and just guzzle this soup. Watermelon’s sweet hydration with kimchi’s spice — yum. Follow it up with a generous serving of their bowl of lentils and sprouts, with some wasabi edamame and kimchi barley — a tangy bowl of protein that does only good for you. The braised oyster mushrooms & truffle barley was another refreshing twist, and makes for a soul-filling combination. A classic mango cheesecake makes for the best dessert — bite-sized, so it doesn’t feel like ‘too much’. Cocktails at Perch are a must, and the summer cocktail menu has some punchy ones — the Irreversible Martini with citrus-forward gin and coffee vermouth is a kickstarter, and if you want to tequila it, the Tongue & Cheek with rhubarb liqueur will tingle your taste buds.
Nara takes mango season very seriously, and the fourth edition of the Mango Summer Menu made sure that comes through. Indulge in the really well made mango and avo salad, the mint and chilli lime sauce makes this salad stand out from other mango-infused summer salads.
Crispy squid with mango sriracha and the grilled chicken skewer with mango salsa make for great bites as appetisers, and for the mains, I liked the stir fried prawns in with mango in Thai mint sauce, but the chicken in sesame sauce with mango can be a close second. You can’t leave Nara without its Thai curry, and the green curry with butterfly pea noodles is comfort at its best.
Dashanzi X Henshin
JW Marriott’s progressive Asian restaurant, Dashanzi, is doing a high-energy pop-up showcasing a bold fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine experience and eclectic cocktails from Jakarta’s highest rooftop restaurant and bar, Henshin, and this is a collaboration that infuses Peru’s flavours with the meticulous cooking techniques of Japan.
The menu is specific and special — my picks would be the Tuna Foie Gras (made with tuna, teriyaki sauce and pan seared foie gras), and the Henshin Roll (crispy prawn, avocado, crab lump, unagi, ikura). If you’re looking to do something different this weekend, this is it, as the pop-up is till May 29. Their eclectic cocktails and Nikkei delights are a must-experience, especially if that’s your idea of a good meal out.