Tuskers in Sofitel BKC is the only pure vegetarian restaurant inside a 5-star property in Mumbai. The restaurant has a different feel compared to the rest of the hotel – more cosy and old world Indian, which is only enhanced by the elephants omnipresent in the décor;like a different world in the otherwise French themed Sofitel. The ambience is such that it keeps any noisy crowd at bay.
I will readily admit that a vegetarian meal from start to finish has little appeal to me. So when asked by Mumbai Food Freak to check out the changed menu at the place, I was a little low on enthusiasm.
Upon entering, I found the set up very typical of a fine dine inside a 5 – star. Elephant tusks (not the real thing of course) hung here and there as if to emphasize the name. Chef (Maharaj)JankidasVaishnav explained that he had personally travelled to far flung places in Gujarat and Rajasthan in search of new dishes for this menu; the veteran Chef managed to get me interested and I was now keen to sample what was on offer.
We started with the Melon Shikanji – a unique twist to the regular shikanji with musk and watermelon, a pretty sweet and attractive looking start.
TheRatalo Ki Tikki (INR 870) – purple yam, sweet potato and beetroot cutlets stuffed with some spiced mixed dal didn’t look too appealing to me. I am not fond of yam at all. Chef encouraged me to try it and I was pleasantly surprised – they were spicy, soft and had a cornmeal texture, not bad at all although a little dry and needed the chutneys served along with it. I was a tad disappointed with the BharwanPaneer (INR 870). The flavour felt like a mix of tandoori paneer and a bit of Acharipaneer, couldn’t find much about the chillies from the Rajasthani village, Mathania, which I was supposed to feel.
The star among the appetizers was the PyaazKachori(INR 870). Although a common enough dish from the north of India, the medley of curd, sweet and spicy chutney, and topped with sev and coriander, packed an abundance of flavours and taste which was extremely satisfying.
The KalmiVada (INR 770) was like the regular dal wada one finds in Mumbai, although the addition of dil lent a little extra to the taste.
Among the mains, I liked the SangriKeKofte (INR 1120) the most. Sangri is a bean that grows in the arid regions of Rajasthan and has been a part of Rajasthani cuisine for ages. A means of survival when no other vegetables were available, to its current day evolved status where it is used in weddings. The koftas were coated with beautiful cashew gravy. The warm orange colour and balanced spices including fennel had a uniqueness which I have not found in any kofta gravy anywhere. This one is a must-have if you are at Tuskers. I also liked the Dal Panchmel (INR 770) made out of five different lentils which together bring forth a rush of flavour, completely different from any of the five dals cooked individually. It went well with the LachhaParatha(INR 280) served.
There is a variety of Gujarati &Rajasthani dishes on the menu spreading all across appetizers, mains, breads and dessert, prepared using traditional cooking methods. In the right season, specials such as Undiyo are also served.
I concluded the meal with a Rasmalai(INR 570), which was good and tasted like one fromany decent shop or restaurant. One can also find the rusticChurmaLadoo(INR 620) on the menu among other desserts.
MaharajJankidassaid,“We know the flavours used will be as exciting for our guests to savour as it was for us to make it.”
There are no elephants in Gujarat or Rajasthan, then why the name Tuskers?
Well, because the elephant is the largest land mammal to survive on a vegetarian diet.
While the pricing is on the higher side, especially if one has any thoughts veering towards the average vegetarian restaurant in Mumbai serving a similar cuisine. But then Tuskers is not an average place and the overall experience of a well curated menu will find its appeal for those who enjoy the cuisine.
As for me, would I visit Tuskers again for a meal? Yes, but only if I have to entertain people who are vegetarian to the core. The change from the run of the mill vegetarian fare one usually finds in restaurants was refreshing.
Ratings (out of 5)
Food: 3 | Drinks: 3.5| Ambiance: 4 | Service: 4.5 | Overall: 3.5
Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes | Wheel Chair Friendly: Yes
Meal for Two: Rs. 3000++ (without alcohol)
2nd Floor, Hotel Sofitel Mumbai BKC,
Beside City Bank, Diamond Market,
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400051
Phone :+91 2261175000
+91 22 61175128
Timing: 12:00 pm to 03:00 pm, 07:00 pm to 12:00 pm
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgment and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.