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December is a great month, full of fun festivities and plenty of eating. No one is counting calories during this time of the year because almost every restaurant is putting their best menus forward. Apart from specials and new menus, it is the Christmas treats that have everyone excited. Cakes and cookies apart, every restaurant gears up to put forward a lavish spread for the 24th and 25th of December. No matter what cuisine they serve, even at bars, there is always a Christmas special menu with turkey, roast chicken, duck and various other holiday dishes. Almost all menus have different variations of the same dishes.
This year, two Indian restaurants decided to be different and have put together incredibly brave Indian inspired Christmas menus. The Bombay Canteen has maintained its pristine reputation and attracts diners because they are unique and embrace every occasion with their signature Indian local twist. This year is no different. Christmas at the canteen is being celebrated with a beautiful menu featuring dishes such as braised short ribs, in a spicy and sticky meat jus, served with rice pilaf and winter carrots; pork sambari – sliced roast pork in an East Indian style curry with fugias; apa de camarao, a delicious Goan prawn and potato pie with a balchao filling and a special duck curry – slow cooked half-duck on the bone cooked in Kerala-style with coconut and potatoes. There is also an incredible rum-soaked Christmas cake with walnuts and cranberries served with a butterscotch sauce. The bar has their own specials including eggnog, mulled wine and other special concoctions.
While the Canteen is the new kid on the block, the Konkan Café at the Vivanta By Taj Hotel is an old hand. It is such a special restaurant that it has been pleasing its customers repeatedly with their delectable South Indian and coastal cuisine. You would not expect this restaurant to indulge in any Christmas menus, but for the first time they are embracing the Christmas spirit with their very own special Indian themed Christmas menu. While this is not a traditional menu, there are dishes that the Executive Chef Uddipan Chakravarthy has specially curated. They are serving very common dishes such as the prawn balchao and lamb roast as they are the ones that are prepared to celebrate Christmas in the coastal regions.
The menu also includes dishes such as lamb croquettes that are crispy on the outside and beautifully soft inside, fish roe curry, which is hugely popular in Kerala for Christmas, ros omelet that is served in a spicy curry and even a delicious chicken xacuti. Everything is served with hot appams, neer dosa or even Malabar parotas, which ever you like. The menu is À la carte one and if you need help deciphering it, the chefs are more than happy to help you.
Both restaurants are a breath of fresh air in this holiday season and ideal if you would like a Christmas themed lunch with some familiar Indian flavours.
Better known as the Tiny Taster, Roxanne is an internationally respected blogger and expert on the Mumbai food scene. She has hosted many events, including the Upper Crust Food & Wine Show and travels the world, sharing her knowledge and gaining more experience.