URVASHI & TARAANA VASWANI visit Viva Junction, which serves a large variety of cuisines.
Viva Junction is a new addition to Bandra’s ever-burgeoning list of eateries that serves exceptionally good food. “After two years of running a restobar, I wanted to take my food to a wider audience and along with two friends, decided to set up Viva Junction in Bandra, where we serve a large variety of cuisines,” says Savio D’mello, who owns the restaurant.
The menu has been devised by Savio himself, and has been executed by Chef Navin who earlier worked abroad and offers quite an eclectic multi-cuisine mix. The appetisers include the likes of deep-fried Prawn Tempura and a continental-style Bacon-wrapped Chicken, flattened chicken supremes overlaid with crisp bacon and rolled into little bundles with a bit of cheese in the centre and served in a delicious smoky roast brown sauce. Fungi aglio olio is a preparation of diced mushrooms sautéed in onion and garlic with a dash of white wine, and we highly recommend the Vol-au-vents, flaky puff pastry cases filled with chicken dressed in a beautiful garlic cream sauce.
The Sandwich selection is also very appealing if you are inclined to a quick bite-try the perfectly marinated Chicken Tikka with potato, the spicy peppercorn infused Smoked Chicken or the Barbecue Chicken in a yummy sweet dressing. Herbivores aren’t ignored here either; the ‘Rasta-style” Mixed Veg sandwich with veg mayo and the teekha Paneer Tikka Sandwich are great veg choices. Pair one of these with the herbed Cream of Mushroom Soup or the available Soup of the Day and you have an amply satisfying mini meal.
Of course, there are a myriad, flavoursome main course options for the taking if you are there for the full ride. From the Oriental offerings, the Teriyaki Chicken, with shredded peppers and onion in tangy yin-yang gravy served with simple steamed rice to offset the intense flavour, is lip-smacking.
The Continental selection is vast, with classics like the Spaghetti Bolognaise, pasta topped with chicken mince drenched in a sweet-spicy tomato sauce. The other house specialities are the Chicken Steak, wonderfully seasoned and served in a brown mushroom sauce with herbed rice and vegetables, and the Chicken Parmigiana, chicken fillets atop a pasta bed and gently gratinated with cheese.
Vegetarians will savour the Veg Lasagna, fine pasta sheets interspersed with a medley of vegetables, covered in sumptuous home-made tomato and white sauce, simply amazing when you have it with slices of hot, buttery garlic bread. The Indian selection extends to include preparations like the traditional Goan Chicken Xacuti, mildly spicy, to be eaten with rice and a hearty, thankfully not too pungent, murg biryani.
If you have a yen for Seafood, do not miss the Fish in Lemon Butter, succulent fillets of grilled Rawas in a sumptuous gravy, again served with mashed potato, herbed rice and veggies. Fast food freak? The Chicken Burger is simply fabulous-a juicy mince patty sandwiched in a soft sesame bun stuffed with lettuce, tomato, gherkins and fried onion, the works.
What it means is simply that, there is something to match every taste on the Viva menu. Snackables available include a range of freshly baked Croissants, Puffs and Pies and you also have options of all-day breakfast items like Omelettes, Eggs-to-order and French Toast to choose from.
Now don’t be surprised when we tell you that all these goodies are available every single day, in a compact 12-seater restaurant, just across from Lilavati! Well, it just goes to show that big dreams and great ideas don’t always have to have a huge space to be shown to their best advantage.
Closing up on a sweet note, Viva’s must try house desserts are the decadent Goeey Chocolate Cake and the delectable Caramel Custard. For unusual dessert options however, you could indulge in one of their refreshing varieties of Cold Coffee, in flavours like Caramel, Hazelnut, Irish Cream, to name a few. What a way to beat the heat at this cool culinary junction!
• 2 tbsp butter • 110 gm other spicy smoked sausage, sliced 1/4″ thick • 110 gms Chicken Breast (Boneless) • Few strands of Saffron • 2 tbsp paprika • 1 tbsp ground cumin • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper • 1/2 cup diced tomato, fresh or canned • 1 large green bell pepper, diced • 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4″ thick • 4 green onions, sliced thin
• 1 cup Arborio rice • 3 cups chicken broth • 1 portion large shrimp, peeled and deveined • Salt as per taste
In a heavy bottomed pot with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced sausage, chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Saute the spices for 1 minute, and then add the tomatoes. Cook stirring for a few minutes to let some of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporate. Add the green bell pepper, celery, and most of the green onions (reserve some of the dark green slices of the onions to garnish the top); cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
Stir in the rice and mix well. Add the saffron and the stock, turn the heat up to high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the lid and check the rice. It should be just tender; if it is still too firm cook longer. When the rice is tender, add the shrimp, stir in, and cook covered for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and adjust if needed. Serve the jambalaya in bowls with green onions sprinkled on top.
(This jambalaya recipe is an easy version of one of Viva Junctions dishes. Jambalaya is soul food at its finest – hearty, satisfying, and deeply comforting. There are many variations of this Creole classic.)