Jul 17, 2013

Dinner at Citrus

Times City contacted a few bloggers in Mumbai and asked them to go review the food on offer for the Times City Gourmet Week. The concept is similar to other restaurant weeks. For a fraction of what you would otherwise pay to eat food at these establishments, you can eat from a fixed menu or a buffet depending on the participating restaurant. Most of the participating restaurants are award winning restaurants at either 5 star hotels or standalone. Having never been part of any restaurant week, I decided this is something I wanted to try.

The one I ate at was Citrus at The Leela, Mumbai. Citrus is one of Leela's award winning restaurants known for their all day buffets. They have allowed for this buffet to be part of the Gourmet Week and let me start by saying it is an absolute steal.

Before all that there was one condition though, at least some food had to be vegan for this to make it worthwhile for me. If you are ordering à la carte, the food is easier to veganize because you can tell the staff  exactly what to leave out of the dish. A buffet is rather challenging and that is usually why I avoid buffets in general. The generous people at Times City did all the checking for me and I was assured it was possible. So my evening arrived and with a little bit of trepidation I made my way to the Leela.

Beautiful Roses that were there all over the hotel

The restaurant is situated at the lobby level right next to their Indian restaurant Jamavar. With the tables all spread out on the right side, the food occupied almost the entire left side. While the food side was brightly lit, the slightly dimmer tables had tea lights to aid the diners. I had the privilege to meet the very talented chefs behind this large spread of food. Let me tell you, being a home-based caterer is hard enough, but imagine the hard work these chefs have ahead of them every single day.

Sr. Sous Chef Birender Barthwal & Sous Chef Akshay Pandit

An amuse bouche- Artichoke, Sundried Tomato & Asparagus with Balsamic Vinegar

We were guided to our table and after a bit of catching up with their friendly PR Manager. I went to check on the food. The food is a mix of Indian, Italian, Thai, South East Asian and Mediterranean influences. So you can imagine the amount of food on offer there. They also had a live counter to grill a few things on offer including very cute looking vegetable skewers. You could even have a pasta or pizza to order. Among the salads, a lot of what was already at the buffet was vegan already. I love salads, and I filled up my plate with their Roasted Cauliflower salad, Pickled Mushroom, a make your own leafy salad counter with arugula, baby spinach and iceberg lettuce, a Mediterranean style chickpea salad and a very interesting Pomelo Salad. I would have never imagined a Pomelo to take center stage in such a way. Pomelo shreds with onions, corn and lots of peanuts in a zesty dressing awakened my chaat taste buds (yes I have one whole section on my tongue dedicated to chaat). I loved the peanuts and actually did not notice them until I tried the salad. I also made my own leafy salad with the lemon-oil emulsion and the balsamic-oil emulsion, both already being one of my favourite salad dressings. Reminded me of how delicious food can sometimes be so simple.

The surprisingly good Pomelo Salad

Pickled Mushrooms

Pretty Vegetable Skewers

From the other types food on offer again a lot of it was vegan, a few South Indian style preparations like the Thoran, the dry Potato Curry, Hummus and the most amazing Baba Ghanoush I have ever tried. I also tried their Pasta Arrabiata and a very piquant Yellow Thai Curry with rice.

Aloo Soya & Mixed Vegetable Thoran

Pasta Arrabiata

Yellow Thai Curry & Rice

When I eat out in this city, I don't expect to eat dessert because almost always nothing is vegan or can be veganized. Not like I need an excuse for dessert being a baker myself, but sometimes it is nice to have a cake someone else has made instead of you. The chefs obviously noticed that none of the desserts were vegan and quickly whipped up a gratifying raspberry sorbet that came in the prettiest bowls. Needless to say I was already stuffed but made my way through the sorbet just because it brought back some Italian memories. That was the perfect end to an already perfect meal.

Delicious Raspberry Sorbet

I was told that they will be more than happy to cater to vegans coming to the buffet and also that they are looing to introduce gluten-free options in their à la carte menu.

Times City Gourmet Week has given us mortals a chance to enjoy am amazing array of food at a great price. I think it's more than a deal.

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