Come rain (literally) or shine, taxes or tamasha, Mumbai’s vibrant food scene never seems to stagnate. A slew of new restaurants in the city prove that there’s always something happening in Mumbai and have us feeling seriously thankful for being hard-core foodies. From standout pin codes and globe-trotting chefs, to intrepid owners and eclectic menus, Maximum City has been taken by storm! Need to know where to go to whet your appetite when hunger strikes? LIVEINSTYLE.COM picks five of the most popular new restaurants that are driving the metropolis of Mumbai towards the status of a world-class gourmet destination.
HEMANT OBEROI IN BANDRA KURLA COMPLEX
After a luminous forty-year career with the Taj and opening restaurants in Singapore and San Diego, India’s premier grand master chef returns home with his eponymous restaurant at Bandra Kurla Complex. The opulent fine dining space — decked out in red, gold and mahogany accents with liveried waiters and gleaming silverware — is resolutely old school. Borrowing from Oberoi’s travels, it presents an elegant bouquet of Peruvian, Asian and Mediterranean flavours and techniques. Linger at the bar with a glass of Peru Peru (guavas and Pisco with hints of Thai chilli and Tabasco) or HO-T (a twist on the classic Bloody Mary that is dedicated to Oberoi by his staff), before moving over to one of the intimate spaces within the cavernous restaurant for an unforgettable meal. The starters usher in the global theme with an artistically plated Betterava — colourful beetroot slices from India, Holland and Sweden — and a refreshing Sheesha of Chilled Melon Gazpacho and Coconut Snow. Fans of Oberoi classics at the Taj’s Zodiac Grill will enjoy the light-as-air Brie and Truffle Soufflé, a take on the former’s famous Camembert Dariole, adored by Mumbai A-listers from the Kapoors to the Ambanis. The Norwegian Salmon — served with caper berries and broccoli — is a shoo-in for mains, while the signature Chocolate Shawarma (available only at dinner and sliced at your table) is a must for a sweet end to a dazzling gourmet experience.
SLINK & BARDOT IN WORLI
Coq au Vin and Cassoulet have typically left Mumbaikars cold over past decades, sending them running towards the comforting warmth of Italian and South East Asian cuisines. The whimsical Slink & Bardot aims to buck the trend, diving into unconventionality head first with an unusual location — a gorgeously decorated bungalow in a fishing hamlet, off the Sea Link in Worli. Chef Alexis Gielbaum’s menu steers clear of pandering to Indian palates, instead focusing on contemporary Parisian cuisine with global accents. The Poached Pear Daiquiri and Sitting in the English Garden Waiting for the Sun (gin and elderflower with cucumber, lime and egg white) are standouts from the cocktail menu. The restaurant serves only small plates, so you can order a variety of French classics like Steak au Poivre and a reassuring Gratin Dauphinois; along with modern additions like Citrus-Cured Gravlax, where the salmon is replaced with rawas. The tarts at Slink &Bardot are exceptionally seductive, with love and care doled out to simple ingredients like mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach and butter. Their famous Belgian Pork Belly is slow-cooked for 36 hours and is appropriately succulent. Sign off your bombshell rendezvous at S&B with Paris-Brest — light choux pastry with caramelised bananas, chopped nuts and meringue — if you aren’t already reeling under the heady impact of the Dark Chocolate Tartelette.
TOAST & TONIC IN BANDRA KURLA COMPLEX
The chic Mumbai outpost of this celebrated Bangalore restaurant formed a terrific trio this year — just around the corner from Hemant Oberoi and Fish N Bait — at the city’s burgeoning gastronomical district, Bandra Kurla Complex. Like its hugely popular affiliated restaurants Fatty Bao and Monkey Bar (more on Monkey Bar here), this casual dining space has a hipster East Village vibe that’s ideal for post-workout drinks while rubbing shoulders with financial consultants in sharp suits and tony media types. Before circulating, dive straight into the flavoured tonics menu (the Herbalist and the British Raj tonic are our favourites) that span the ingredients spectrum from basil, orange, jasmine, elderflower and cucumber, and can be paired with a gin of your choice. Food-wise, the menu meanders across the world, gathering interesting techniques for low-profile Indian produce to shine. The Bajra and Ricotta Gnudi served with amaranth leaves is a lighter version of gnocchi, the Chilli Tossed Tuna Poke Bowl features sticky Gobindobhog rice, and there’s a smashing dish of tiger shrimp in a kokum and coconut broth. If fusion doesn’t float your boat, the Bulgogi Buff Burger and Udon Noodles with house-cured chorizo and clams are spot on. Finish with the soft and dense Filter Coffee Cremeux and your palette will begin clamouring for an encore soon enough.
+91 IN JUHU
Besides yanking desi fine dining out of the rut of curries and kulchas, the trend of progressive Indian cuisine has a delightful perk: re-introducing ingredients from the length and breadth of the sub-continent to urban foodies. Vipul Shah, Bipin Grewal and Prashant Chaudhri’s Juhu restaurant +91 takes its pin code theme very seriously, dotting the trio’s travels from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and dutifully doffing its hat to a wealth of regional ingredients. Don’t go in expecting the usual Indian kitsch décor; this one is tasteful and subdued with +91 numericals in different Indian scripts on the wall and a mural with Indian matchbox art. The +91-866-Avaki Mojito and +91-2366-Jambhul Karvand Martini kick off the menu. The pairings are intrepid — Gondhoraj lime with bacon, porcini with basmati rice — and there are some childhood classics that’ll feed your soul, including Amritsari Macchi and Langar Wali Kali Dal. The piece de resistance though is an Awadhi treat — Baby Lamb Galouti, served on a crispy roti.
TAMASHA IN LOWER PAREL
Restaurateur Priyank Sukhija’s stable of 15 brands in the capital extended to Mumbai this year with unbridled Tamasha at Lower Parel’s Victoria House. The 9,000 square foot space, with an al fresco area, is just right for rambunctious group celebrations where you and your squad aren’t staring politely at pretty plates of escargot. Tamasha serves Indian and international cuisine with a twist and definite dramatic flair. Start with the Burrata (served with lavash and a balsamico syringe) and try their blockbuster Achari Shroom Wontons for good measure. The mains section of the menu gets its fusion experiments right with dishes like Madras Curry Chicken Risotto and Murgh Khurchan Cannelloni. The Bhatti Murgh Souvlaki is a crowd pleaser, while the Laal Maas Irun (which pairs the Rajasthani classic with Mumbai’s beloved brun pav) is a treat for discerning taste buds. For thali lovers, the Jamva Chalo Ji thali — with Patra Ni Machhi, dal, murabba and fryums — will hit home with a nostalgic bang. Finish with the (very sweet) Mumbai Mawa Cake Cream Toast and you’ll be ready for round two of more butter-chicken-at-heart drama.
If you are considering taking a handful of friends along, or thinking about hosting a party at one of these venues, why not check out our top tips on how to host a hassle-free party at a restaurant near you. Do share your experiences with us by commenting below too!
Image Credits: lbb.in; hindustantimes.com; architecturaldigest.in; publicity pictures
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