If you should remember one thing from my previous blogs on the Aasha Foundation, it would definitely be that I absolutely adore these young ladies. So when the wonderful director of Aasha Foundation invited me to participate in the newly launched Aasha Adventures program, I could hardly wait to respond with a huge YES! This program makes it possible for the girls of the foundation to spend time in small groups of 4 to 8 all while embarking on a new experience.
On our first adventure, 7 of the Aasha girls joined MissMalini, Trishna Mathews, Heena Jain and I for a game night at Candies. We gabbed, grubbed and did our best keep our laughter contained to the 4th flood. Huge thank you to Candice of Candies for making our girl time possible with the amazing location and yummy snacks!
Following the request of our young adventurers, the second outing needed to be something and somewhere completely new to them. Yikes! I was a bit stumped for weeks. Halfway through a delectable menu tasting with Chef Rahul of Shiro, the answer hit me…. A Pan-Asian feast!
A few sweet smiley requests and emails later, I arrived on 60 Feet road in Dharavi to pick up my 7 future sushi lovers. Decked out in trendy fashion and huge smiles, the girls were ready to begin our second Aasha Adventure. Shiro, here we come!
The girls flung open the massive wooden door and stood in awe for a few moments. Shiro, or castle in Japanese, is a dramatic soaring space that immediately captures the imagination and stretches the senses, and this was going to be their playground for the next few hours. I was a momentary hero until the real stars of the show, our 4 brilliant chefs and General Manager, took over.
We were barely in the seats of our teppanyaki table on the mezzanine level when a myriad of mocktails arrived. After a quick introduction, the teppanyaki chef began searing mixed vegetables, chicken, and boursin prawns (to die for) right before our eyes. He even made our hibachi rice into a heart shape before we dug in. Too cute, Chef!
Do not ask me how he did it, but Carlton Royale, General Manager of Shiro Mumbai, persuaded each and every one of our girls to try at least on piece of nigiri sushi each. Raw fish…. Can you believe it? Pooja and Bharti asked for multiple pieces while the rest of the group indulged in the yummy cheese rolls that are more teenage friendly.
After lunch, we were invited downstairs to sample the entire dessert menu and learn card tricks. Somewhere between bites of chocolate sushi and giggles over tricks gone wrong, the girls realized we were the only customers allowed inside after closing. This could only mean one thing. It was time for a photo session! The girls made the most of the zen-inspired interiors and even had the statues modeling by the end.
Maybe it was the sugar high from all the desserts and mocktails, but the girls were nowhere near ready to head home after 3 hours at Shiro. We decided to move our party to Hard Rock Café where the girls were treated to memorabilia tour courtesy of one very friendly Rocker. Learning all that rock history must have burned some calories, because the girls were ready for another round of mango mocktails followed by 6 baskets of fries and very cheesy nachos while watching the SoulReich sound check. I may have shared lessons on Pan Asian cuisine and chopsticks, but the girls also had a few facts up their sleeves about the band. Most importantly, Loy Mendonsa, SoulReich bassist, is a famous Bollywood composer.
As the sun began to set and the sugar wore off, said bid our adieus and headed for home. HUGE thank you to the marvelous staff at Shiro and Hard Rock Café Mumbai for another successful Aasha adventure! xoxo