Bombay Showcase

Future repasts

his year, Mumbai’s always-roaring restaurant scene really went into fifth gear, with a whole host of wide-ranging options opening up for the eating-out-inclined.

Early in the year was the arrival of the much-awaited regional magic of The Bombay Canteen. This soon segued into a symphony of champagne pops that announced the entry of many other heavyweights… From AD Singh’s breezy Olive Bistro and pop Parsi at SodaBottleOpenerWala to the amazing Asian with Chef Manu Chandra at The Fatty Bao.

The same team’s delish desi at Monkey Bar to electric eclectic with Chef Rohan D’Souza at Radio Bar. Energetic Asian at Zorawar Kalra’s Pa Pa Ya, hot Cuban at the Narangs’ Havana with Chef Zubin D’Souza, chilled vibe at Brewbot, to the cool at all the Socials (Todi, Palladium and Khar) by Impresario owner Riyaaz Amlani and his chef, Gaurrav Gidwani.

Even smaller food entrepreneurs have been actively coming up with unique offerings, like Papa Cream at Churchgate, the Bao House Co at Colaba, Mexiloko and Cairo Grill at Bandra, Gonguura at Andheri and The Laughter Chapter in Mulund.

Despite the fact that the corporate world is still decrying the faltering economy, the food and beverage business seems to be in fine fettle, all set to bring us better and brighter venues with ever more elaborate and elegant menus. In the last month alone, there’s been another flood of foodie destinations that we hope are here to stay. Here’s a quick dekko into what you can expect…

145

Cheval’s gone but this new eatery in the same spot at Kala Ghoda is having fun horsing around with a whole lot of cuisines.There’s American, Indian, pan-Asian and Mexican on the menu and a desi dabba touch to the décor. We recommend it for the cheery vibe and WiFi while taking a break from shopping and art-gallery hopping.

Have: quinoa salad, turbo naan tacos, butter chicken bunny chow, raan baos

Where: 145 VB Gandhi Marg, Kala Ghoda; 40396638

29 – Twenty Nine

Take a ‘pure’ vegetarian turn around India’s states to discover some truly unique dishes. We like how this spacious and well-designed bright spot offers food that’s light on the stomach as well as the wallet.

Have: Garhwali bharvan khumb, Kanpuri tikka pulav, laal hara chaat from Mizoram, jalebi-rabri

Where: Mohammedbhai Mansion, NS Patkar Marg, Kemps Corner; 69992929

AKA

We may miss the food from 212, but AKA, which has recently replaced it, does a good job of making us forget, with its truffle-oil infused innovative menu.

The interiors are inspired by prints from the fashion brand, Love From India (LFI), whose owners also bring us AKA.

In fact, you can also indulge in a spot of shopping with LFI goodies in the restaurant’s al fresco section.

Have: wood-fired baked Camembert cheese, tagliatelle pasta with black summer truffle and aged parmesan, rose petal ice-cream, Ecuadorian chocolate truffle.

Where: Ground Floor, Lotus Cinema Building, Motilal Sanghi Road, Worli; 24901994

Bad Café

It takes some gumption to name your café ‘Bad’. But owners Bhavna and Amit Dhanani add 50 shades of free-spiritedness to this space that’s supposed to ‘Bring A Difference’ (hence, BAD). While body and mind are taken care of too (a yoga studio and library are attached), the siblings serve healthy, soul food that they have experienced on their travels.

Have: salads like the piña y coco, hot and cold Spanish tapas, gourmet coffees.

Where: Kapadia House, 22G, New Kantwadi Road, Off Perry Cross Road, Bandra West

Craft Deli.Bistro.Bar

We love that this well-crafted European deli with eclectic fare is all about conscious cuisine and culinary creativity. The brainchild of epicure Romil Ratra and top chef Paul Kinny, Craft promises curated eats in a lovely faux al fresco ambience reminiscent of a European street café. Glutton or gourmet, hearty-eater or calorie-counter, meatarian or veganista, tippler or teetotaller, you’ll find just what you want on the menu and something special to take home with you too.

Have: craft caprese, savoury baklava with dynamite bhut jholokia coulis, roasted beet burger, tenderloin carpaccio, any of their salads, peanut butter pie.

Where: 1st Floor, Phoenix Market City, LBS Marg, Kurla; 33126875

Fable

This book-themed all-day dining café weaves a food story that encompasses everything from Italian to Japanese, Malvani to Kashmiri. There’s a wishing well that welcomes you and oodles of natural light and sunshine-like interiors to keep you occupied with a book as you wait to be served.

Have: wood-fired Genovese pizza, lobster balchao with pao, the five pigs calzone, flavoured golarita coolers.

Where: Ashiyana Apartments, #13 NS Road, next to Arogyanidhi Hospital, JVPD Juhu; 26206400.

Grandmama’s Café

We love how this one harks back to a wholesome time where everything is as good as granny made it. Cosy and cheery décor and a menu that taps into precious food memories from grandmas the world over, make for a very feel-good all-day eatery.

Have: chocolate banana oreo shake, cold coffee, kheema pao, rajma chawal, dhansak & mutton curry.

Venue: 32, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Rd, Lokmanya Tilak Colony, Dadar; 33126045

Jeon

Modern interiors and comfortable seating make this a great occasion restaurant for families. The talented Dharmesh Karmokar is behind the Indian-goes-global menu.

Have: Mushroom Ravioli, Harissa-crusted Seabass, Macadamia-crusted lamb rack.

Where: Hotel Sea Princess, Plot No 969, Juhu Tara Road, Near Juhu Beach, Santa Cruz West; 2646 9500

One Street Over

This is where ex-Ellipsis chef Kelvin Cheung has disappeared to. He and Chef de Cuisine Boo Kwang Kim have created a spiffy South East Asian pub. It has a vintage-meets-vibrant feel and is perfect for a chatty evening over some excellent F&B.

Have: Kelvinator (a spicy-citrussy Old Fashioned), crab Rangoon, green beans in garlic soy, burrata, congee, giant salt chocolate chip cookie.

Where: Ground floor, Navrang Building, Off Linking Road, Khar West; 26002224

Ruka

This luxe Japanese restaurant, named after a bright blue flower, stars Chef Masato Toida’s knife skills with some superlative sushi. Unlike its sibling in Bahrain, Mumbai’s Ruka blends formal dining with water walls and lounge areas.

Have: ruka chirashi, unagi nigiri, rock shrimp tempura, spinach chestnut & date gyoza, rice hotpot with grilled Chilean seabass, omakase dessert platter.

Where: Hotel Ramee Guestline, AB Nair Road, Juhu; 67159225

Toast Bistro & Bar

The al fresco terrace will be a big draw during Mumbai’s minimal winter. But then it’s a great view regardless, considering the gorgeous vistas of the international airport that it commands. The upbeat feel of the place is supported by its menu, rich with craft cocktails and interesting international eats.

Have: cocktails like as high on chai, t sour and a-kela daiquiri. Beetroot & goat’s cheese risotto, lemongrass-skewered char-grilled prawns with som tam salad, risotto croquettes, rajma ki gilawat.

Where: Hotel T24 Residency, Church Road, Near Airport Metro Station, Andheri East, Marol; 30151080

Yellow Bar All Day

It’s yet another Mediterranean restaurant with a lively, beachy vibe. But we liked that under the glamour and Greek-goddess vibe, this one really does some authentic Italian, getting the right ingredients and respecting them.

Have: breakfast, made-to-order lasagne, softshell crab sliders, smoked salmon risotto, tiramisu, chocolate and chilli jam mousse.

Where: 21st Road, Next To Gauri Khan Store, Khar (West); 30151199

Opening in January

NRI

Chef Atul Kochhar is one of India’s finest chefs in the UK. His famed restaurant, Benares, boasts of a Michelin star and a recent branch in Madrid, Spain. NRI, or Not Really Indian, featuring an open kitchen and quirky colonial nostalgia, is going to star dishes that Indian immigrants took with them to far corners of the British Empire, adapting the recipes to ingredients that were available locally. Kochhar tells us the dishes to watch out for are vegetarian chilli from Canada, South African bunny chow, British chicken tikka pie and Caribbean goat curry, among many others.

BKC: The Captain’s Table

If you ever got the chance to sit at the Captain’s table on a cruise holiday, you know just how special a privilege that is.

Now, this soon-to-open restaurant brings you the la-di-dah lavishness of a luxury liner at sea, with the freshest seafood delicacies from across the seven seas. We hear the ones that will make waves are Goan prawn curry, Spanish Catalan sea food stew, Malvani fish fry, Mediterranean grilled snapper with warm beetroot and curry leaf salad, lobster tandoori and fennel and crab ravioli.

BKC: Still in the pipeline…

Ostensibly under wraps are Singapore’s all-European eatery The Disgruntled Chef (being brought here by celeb chef Vicky Ratnani), Massive Restaurants’ Farzi Café’s Mumbai outpost (by Jiggs and Zorawar Kalra), Mad Hatter by another UK-based contemporary Indian chef Stephen Gomes, and the famous Gaggan Anand’s elaborate plans for an all-encompassing food and beverage experience in a five-star hotel.

Priya Pathiyan is a freelance writer


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