HUNGER GAMES: Pop-up sensations Part 2

More of the best home-based cooks, caterers, small food entrepreneurs and exhibitors from The Bombay Local food show in Bandra

The crowds at The Bombay Local pop-up food show
The crowds at The Bombay Local pop-up food show

It’s been a little over a week since The Bombay Local pop-up food show took place in Mumbai and we’re still salivating at the thought of all the dishes we got to sample at food consultancy Small Fry Co.’s anniversary event. Last week, we picked only five of the best, most innovative and most enterprising home-based cooks, caterers, small food entrepreneurs and exhibitors from the show. We’re now going to list all the other fun stuff we tried at the four-hour long food marathon. All of the brands and products below are in no particular order of preference (and we enjoyed them just as much as the brands we featured last week):

Miniature cookies
Icing On Top: We’ve been fans of baker Ayushi Shah’s miniature cookies ever since we first sampled them at a pre-Diwali shopping sale at Blue Sea in Worli last year. We even ordered 250g boxes (all priced between Rs.1,200 and Rs.1,500 per kg) of several flavours including sweet ones like Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip and Orange Peel and Cranberry and savoury ones like Sundried Tomatoes and Parmesan & Basil for a house party in March. At the food show, Shah took us through some of her latest mini crackers and biscuits in 8-to-10 spice-and-herb variations like Moroccan spice blend, Mexican spice mix and green-chilli-and-oregano. When we ran into Shah at a movie theatre last week, she said that Icing On Top will only sell these products after she perfects the recipes. We can’t wait to pair the spicy cookies with cheese, cocktails, wine and beer at our next house party. Of course, we will continue to order miniature Cinnamon cookies too. Cinnamon is easily our favourite Icing On Top product because of its soft, delicate, crumbly texture and coating of cinnamon-flavoured sugar.

For more information, click here.

Eighth: We’ve known about Eighth, a bakery and cooking studio located off Carter Road, since February now. Back then, popular city baker Shaheen Peerbhai of wrote to us about hosting baking workshops at the newly launched kitchen studio. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it to any of the classes, but we were very happy to stop by at the Eighth stall at The Bombay Local and chat with owner Anurita Ghoshal about her part-time baking business. Ghoshal says that she bakes on weekdays after 4pm to service orders placed in the mornings.

The Eighth menu features cookies (priced between Rs.500 and Rs.700 for half kg) like Red Velvet Crinkles, Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti and Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies, cakes (priced between Rs.500 and Rs.800 for half kg) like Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, Blueberry Almond, Double Caramel Apple, Poached Figs and Cornmeal and Coconut Tea Cake and 8-inch tarts (all priced between Rs.1,200 and Rs.1,400) like Tartelettes A L’Orange and Classic French Apple Tart.

We only sampled a miniature orange tart at the stall but absolutely loved the crumbly pastry and the sweet-sour filling. We can’t wait to try some of the bakery’s muffins (Rs.75 per piece, minimum order of six) in flavours like Cinnamon Walnut, Vanilla Poppy Seed and Blueberry Almond.

For more information, click here

Good Juicery: Pune-based Good Juicery is now a permanent fixture at all kinds of food events and exhibitions in Mumbai. Not that we’re complaining, we absolutely love the brand’s aerated Passion Fruit drink. The brand also sells two other Sparkling Fruit Drinks (all priced at Rs.75)—Pink Guava and Apple. The owner, expat Michelle Bauer, claims the beverages are packaged without any preservatives, artificial flavours and artificial colours and with locally sourced guavas and apples (the passion fruit is imported). We like that all three flavours aren’t too sweet and taste like fresh fruits. We also think that the Sparkling Passion Fruit drink is a great cocktail mixer (we like to simply spike it with our favourite spirits).

For more information, click here.

Poco Loco: Earlier this January, Poco Loco, the Spanish restaurant, tapas and wine bar in Bandra West, shut down with a promise that it would open soon elsewhere. Since we never got a chance to eat at the restaurant, we were really excited to sample the food at the Poco Loco stall at The Bombay Local. Since the paellas were simmering right in front of us, we immediately asked for a plate of the Paella Marinera (seafood paella). While we waited for our order, one of the owners informed us that the restaurant will be opening in Lower Parel in the next few months.

We also decided to try the Poco Lcoo Frittata (basically a fat potato and onion omelette). Though we could finish both the dishes (we paid a total of about Rs.350 for both) without any complaints, we didn’t particularly care for any of the flavours or the cooking style. The yellow rice paella had beautifully cooked seafood (shrimp, clams and squid) but it tasted like any other regular fried rice. It didn’t remind us of the many paella variations we enjoyed on our country tour of Spain a few years ago. The frittata slice (shaped like a pie slice) wasn’t warm when it was served, it was also too bland for our liking (yes, we know it’s supposed to be bland, but this one tasted like a regular salt-and-pepper omelette) and the tomato sauce served with it was too basic. Still, we’re excited about the restaurant’s reopening and can’t wait to sample tapas other than frittata and patatas bravas.

For more information, click here.

Anjli Vyas of The Singing Bowl Cafe at her stall
The Singing Bowl Cafe: One of the stalls we wished we spent more time at was The Singing Bowl by Anjli Vyas and Prasheen Lodhia. According to their Facebook page, Vyas and Lodhia were active participants at the last season of the Mumbai Farmers’ Market, selling organic salads. At The Bombay Local, their menu consisted of only “raw foods” like Mango and Peanut Salad Rolls served with spicy peanut dip (Rs.200), Tangy Tom Yum Salad (Rs.200), Green Beans and Peanut Vermicelli Noodle Salad (Rs.200) and a No Bake Chocolate Brownie (Rs.100). You can’t really blame us for picking fried and cooked foods like Philly Steak Fries, Burritos and Noodle Burgers over The Singing Bowl’s menu, can you? Still, we managed to taste all of the salads from a friend’s plate. All of them were very well balanced and you could tell the ingredients were super fresh. But in that kind of a setting, there was no chance we were going to waste our precious appetite on entire plates of just salad.

For more information, click here.

Pishu’s: Pishu’s was easily one of our favourite stalls at The Bombay Local and it wasn’t just because of their food and drink offerings. It had been set up by vegetarian, vegan and healthy-focussed restaurant Pishu’s in Andheri West. We loved that the staff helping out at the stall offered everyone passing by free samples of their smoothies and mini bowls of food. We got a chance to try their Brown Rice Meal cooked in a “Green Sauce”. The rice was very well cooked and we got quite a few chunks of veggies like broccoli and coloured peppers even in our sampler bowl. The sauce was a bit like a pesto-cream mix. We loved that even though the dish looked and felt healthy, it still tasted pretty delicious. Ever since The Bombay Local we’ve been meaning to make a trip to the restaurant Andheri’s Shastri Nagar neighbourhood, so expect a review from us soon.

For more information, click here.

Self Care and Unjunked: There were two other concepts at The Bombay Local that impressed us too. The first was a stall by nutritionist and author Suman Agarwal’s fitness company Self Care. We chatted with Agarwal’s three daughters about their mother’s future plans while sampling home-made and “healthy” snacks like vada pavs (more like a deconstructed vada without its deep-fried besan shell) and chaats, cooked using recipes from Agarwal’s cookbook Unjunked: Healthy Eating for Weight Loss. When we asked whether the dishes on display could be ordered for home deliveries, Agarwal’s eldest daughter Priyanka Agarwal informed us that a tiffin service (also based on recipe from the same cookbook) is in the works. Since our office has no real healthy lunch options, we will probably give the service a try.

For more information, click here.

Indian Wine List: We had sampled some really good wines by Charosa at a previous edition of The Bombay Local pop-up and so, we were very excited to see a stall by the Indian Wine List at this food event. Photographer Aneesh Bhasin’s website and application, the Indian Wine List, not only features the latest news from Indian wine companies but also publishes reviews and food pairings of new wines in the market. At The Bombay Local anniversary show, the company had curated a selection of 5-6 wines including a rosé by boutique vineyard Vallonné from Nashik and was also selling some sangria. Though we appreciated the company’s new initiative, we felt we had to shell out a bit much (Rs.200) for a “tasting” pour of the rosé. In other news, the company will soon change its name and branding to “Hipcask” to cover updated and reviews of both Indian and international wine and beverages.

For more information, click here.

Also read | HUNGER GAMES: Pop-up sensations Part 1

Follow Small Fry Co. on Facebook for updates on their upcoming sales and exhibitions.

This weekly series, which appears on Tuesdays, looks at what’s new with food and drink, and how we are interacting with it.

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