Food

All-day vintage vibe

Set amidst a profusion of veggie establishments, Opera House’s new eatery Canto has the promise of being an inclusive eatery for the hood

The neighbourhood bar, as a concept is due for a resurgence in Mumbai. As food and drink establishments proliferate in certain locations, like Lower Parel and Bandra Kurla Complex, there are vast swathes of the city where residents live, but without the kind of dining or drinking options that locals crave.

As Pooja Kanodia, who is the restaurateur with her husband, Pankaj, says with a laugh, “My neighbourhood is very large, it stretches from Cuffe Parade all the way to Lower Parel.” Canto, is a new all-day dining restaurant and bar at Opera House, occupying the spot that was formerly Karma. The Kanodias’ all-day restaurant and bar is targeting those people that don’t want to drive to another part of the city for a night out, and is counting on the fact that there are enough people that would rather visit some place closer, that serves both quality food and drinks, and who want to visit often.

All-day vintage vibe
 

Canto, lives up on both counts, with a menu that has been put-together by consultant chef Gracian D’Souza, and a bar that features signature tipples by Mukesh Khatri of Bar Solutions. The interiors, by Shweta Kaushik, are transportive, allowing you to imagine a swish Milanese clubhouse, with velvet sofas, lots of green tones and arched windows that let you look out to the street. Says Kaushik of the interiors, “They wanted a very vintage vibe, and no distressed finishings at all.” A mirrored bar area, with black stone helps set off all the colour, and makes a mean spezie negroni, their twist on the classic cocktail, which comes with citrus infused gin, sweet masala vermouth and Campari bitters.

A consideration made during the design process was the ample number of power outlets for those that want to work out of the restaurant, while sampling the eatery’s all-day menu. Says Pooja, “We’ve tried to maintain a very warm and inviting feel.” The worry, with an eatery that wants to be everything—a café, bar, restaurant and hang out—is that it ends up falling short on all counts. At Canto, that doesn’t seem to be a problem, though it’s still early days when it comes to how customers see the all-day space, after all it opened in May 2.

The food, is of the moment though, and Pooja describes it as being, “global fusion.” What that translates into on the menu is dishes like the ragda bao and sambar risotto. During the course of our interview though, we sampled less fusion fare, including a highly recommended lamb meatballs, which thankfully, had more of the promised tomato and less of the coconut flavour in its sauce. Also on the menu are au current favourites like the cheesy eggs Kejriwal.

All-day vintage vibe
 

Even though a majority of the restaurants in the area are all vegetarian, serving up comfort food, at Canto the menu includes non-vegetarian fare, as the Kanodias wanted the eatery to be inclusive and welcoming to all.

Canto, Opera House, Charni Road; 30151537; 12 noon to 1.30 a.m.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 6:27:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/all-day-vintage-vibe/article18533803.ece

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