Uncle Ben used to say,”With more power comes more responsibility”, and rightly so. Being a food blogger comes with its own set of responsibilities – people rely on you to pick the place and the menu is directly handed over to you which means only you will be ordering. At first, I used to ask people on the table for their preferences but overtime, on being told things like “you’re the blogger; decide for us”, I’ve stopped. And here’s the challenge – you’ve still got to somehow figure their taste buds and please them all because then it’s the question of your credibility.
However, recently, I’ve been hit by a new challenge – planning family dinners. While Mumbai is being flocked by new eateries every other week by finding a place that pleases everyone, from my ageing grandparents to my notorious little cousin, is one hell of a task. To give you a little more perspective here’s how it works:
Grandparents – The ambiance needs to be ‘very’ well lit and can’t have loud music tearing the eardrums
Parents – Shouldn’t be so authentic that we end up with a takeaway from our regular joint near home
Uncle & Aunt – Anything but Indian, please and should be a place we haven’t been to, and needs to have a happening crowd
Baby cousin – Nachos dripping with cheese
Brother (giving me a reminder of the obvious) – Grandparents won’t have anything but Indian without making a face, Uncle & Aunt won’t have anything Indian without making a face and if the foreign cuisine isn’t Indianized, everyone will make a face.
You get the drift… So when I was introduced to Ten One, a 3 storey all vegetarian multi-cuisine restaurant in Juhu, I heaved a sigh of relief.
Now, I follow one strict rule while shortlisting options for my family dinners: never, ever experiment. To be absolutely certain about picking Ten One as my next destination, I decided to go for a recce. As soon as I stepped in, and after expressing my concerns, I was assigned Imitiaz, the manager who gave me a guided tour of the 3 storeys. Every floor had a different theme; the ground was a cafe, the second was fine-dine-ish and the third was a diner. (Their kitchen is on level 1)
The ambiance was sufficiently lit and the ambient music wasn’t interrupting my conversation with the manager. Criteria no.1 – checked!
After the tour, I took a table on the fine-dine-ish level. A quick scan through the menu brought a wide smile to my face. Not only did it have North & South Indian variety with popular foreign cuisines like Italian & Mexican, but also an entire section dedicated to Gujarati and Rajasthani that would most definitely please my Swati-Snacks-loving grandparents. Criteria no.2 – checked!
This left me with my final and most important check – the food itself! Imtiaz requested the permission to serve me three of their best dishes to which I happily obliged. The first dish to arrive was Benne Dosa – a type of dosa which originated in the city of Davangere in Karnataka. It was almost as thick as an Uttapam and as soft as the centre of an Appam. It was accompanied with Sambhar, Coconut Chutney, Tomato Chutney and Potato Bhaji. Wiped it clean in less than 2 minutes.
From Karnataka, we travelled a little towards the North stumbling upon Maharashtra. What was placed in from of my eyes was what I claim to be one of the best Kolhapuri Misal Pav I’ve had so far in Mumbai. It was spicy enough to make you want to order a chilled glass of Kokum sherbet after the first few bites. And that’s exactly how I like it – it needs to make you perspire. The plate consisted of a bowl full of misal mixed with a little sweet and tangy Namkeen, a small portion of spicy Usal, fried papad, two super soft buns baked in-house, and onions mixed in shredded coconut with green chillies.
P. S. It’s not for the faint hearts and delicate tongues.
From Maharashtra, we took a Rajdhani up North to bite into the succulent Mirch Pudina Paneer. Ten One had set the tone high with its fantastic initial offerings. So in comparison, the Paneer Tikka with a spicy Pudina twist didn’t quite cut it. By every means it was a delicious dish. It just didn’t wow me as much.
After tasting the North Indian flavour I was flown to a land that was a little too foreign – a fusion of Morocco and France. The Ratatouille & Pearl Couscous Salad was the next dish to arrive. This was something I chose because one I am a sucker for salads, two the fusion intrigued me, and three I love Ratatouille. The salad was a pleasant experience – the flavours were mild like you’d like in a salad of such a kind, with enough crunch from the fresh cut vegetables. I finished the whole serving by myself.
By now I was quite full but there was one last item to be tried for Ten One to fully satisfy my last criteria. So I ordered Pizza Napoletana – Tomato sauce, Onions, Capsicum, Jalapeño, Chili Oil and Mozzarella Cheese served in a rectangular shape cut into criss-cross triangles. It was just perfect. The spiciness was not very overpowering, the crust was thin and crisp, and it tasted equally good even after going cold. Criteria no. 3 – checked!
The dessert menu didn’t really catch my fancy but Imtiaz insisted I try their Chocolate Bomb and I did, and I was so glad I did. This one was a winner! The hot Caramel sauce melted the chocolate dome to reveal a bed of brownie with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream sitting on top of it. The 3 flavours of Caramel, Chocolate and Vanilla had together in a single bite made for the perfect end to my dinner.
After trying dishes from different sections of the menu and leaving the table with nothing to complain about, I was heading back home confident about picking Ten One as my choice for the next family dinner.
I hope you give it a try with your families as well. If you do, do drop me a line about your experience. Also, if you know more of such place then write to me about those as well; I’d be indebted to you!
A look at the ambiance –
Level 3 –