Sample Chef Mitz Vora’s Globetrotting Menu at Foley’s
His cuisine is largely influenced by spices from India, Middle Eastern ingredients and South-East Asian recipes that are fused to give guests global flavours in contemporary tapas-style dishes. Mitz Vora, head chef at Foley’s, that has recently earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand rating, offers exciting options from different genres such as ‘Bits and Bobs’ that includes dishes such as Indonesian peanut crackers with tomato sambal, ceviche endive tacos (tuna, octopus, cucumber, coconut, miso leche and crunchy peanuts) and spiced sweet potato fritters (inspired by Mumbai’s ever-popular batata vada) that come with grilled pineapple, cured red onions and a saffron coconut salsa. Or ‘From the Sea’, which includes hake with tamarind, fennel, coconut crispy chickpeas, okra, coriander and kale. Full marks for the excellent cornflake-crusted popcorn chicken with pickled shimeji mushrooms, corn endive and chorizo and the lamb rump which is garnished with herb hummus, spiced peppers, feta and dukkah from the ‘Meat’ section of the menu.
Vegetarian options include a chargrilled spicy cauliflower, which has a satisfying smoky taste with tzatziki, tomato and smoked peanuts and is both crispy and tender yet simultaneously bursting with newly combined flavours. Sipping on a chilled dry Riesling compliments the cuisine and keeps the palate refreshed.
The restaurant’s decor of exposed brick work and copper panelling gives it a warm easy-going feel, mirroring the efficient yet confident regime on show by chefs and staff alike. A short staircase transports you to the lower ground floor which has the kitchen and guests sitting around on curved leather stools, absorbing the action of small eclectic dishes being paced out sensibly. With its friendly, unobtrusive service and hearty cooking, this venue is a shining example of what a neighbourhood restaurant should offer. Ending the meal with a warming drink called chai old-fashioned (secretly laced with maple syrup), after sampling a globetrotting menu, leaves you with a comforting feeling of having eaten good food which Vora has skilfully delivered without compromising on taste or texture.
Excerpts from a chat….
“I was born in Mumbai, in a vegetarian, Indian, business family with a huge interest in food but no one thought of becoming a chef, including me! I didn’t decide I wanted to be one till I was 22 and it was a stroke of luck that I joined cooking school.”
“In a small, private school in Canada called Niagara-on-the-Lake Culinary School. They hired the kitchen of a famous winery restaurant called Peller Estates and so our school was an actual working kitchen. I travelled and worked across Canada for nine years, picking up different skills and styles from some very talented chefs and restaurateur and chef, Nick (Nicholas) Nutting, (Wolf in the Fog), is the biggest influence on the way I cook now.”
“Comes from fresh produce, the weather and what I would love to eat. We had to compose a daily vegetarian dish in Nutting’s kitchen, where we would be asked to step outside and feel nature and use what we had available in the fridge to come up with a dish every day.”
Getting an award…
“Would be nice but it wouldn’t really bother me if we didn’t. Though any kind of appreciation for our work would feel good. To make every single guest who comes to my restaurant have a memorable experience, and to connect with them on a personal level and make them feel at home, is what I strive for. And I push myself to get better every single day.”
“Is Indian…. However, I did not appreciate or understand how complex it is until I moved to Canada and started cooking North American food. Outside India, people’s conception of Indian food is totally different from what authentic Indian actually is as it’s very regional, light and healthy most of the time. I try to showcase a bit of that in my food.”
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