Blue Frog, famous for live music performances across all genres, is pushing hard to create a space for itself amongst the many daytime cafes that dot the mill compounds across Lower Parel. With many office buildings dotting the area, the market is still quite under served when it comes to quality all-day dining.
I got an opportunity to try out their lunch offering on a surprisingly dry and comfortable Saturday. Always a late evening visitor at the Blue Frog, usually to superb music and packed crowds, the sight of an empty cafe was quite a surprise. The soft sunlight highlighting the center stage, which was being setup for the evening’s performance, surrounded by rows of empty pods, stirred a sullen feeling. The long bar, usually difficult to approach in the evening, looked closed for the day, while the open kitchen at the far end showcased a neatly laid out cold cut and salad buffet spread. Notwithstanding the dull ambience, the staff was spirited and the music upbeat.
Making my way to a pod nearest to the bar, the biggest drawback in their plan dawned upon me. The evident handicap to a comfortable lunch experience was Blue Frog’s seating layout. The pods are not the least bit comfortable for a lunch setting, making ingress and egress extremely difficult. Once seated, one would be dependant on the waiters to get the food to the table, ruining the experience of the buffet setup so well prepared by the team.
Being mindful of my limited mobility, I chose to go with the a la carte tasting. I was presented with an order of chicken sliders, spiced lamb & roast potato croquette and crumb fried pork belly crisps. The first look of the food was encouraging, with a delightful yet simple presentation. The chicken sliders were well cooked, with fresh mini burger buns and simple sauces complementing the dish. The spiced lamb was tender cooked to perfection, artistically rolled into a croquette with a crispy shell. The dish of the day for me, the lamb was well spiced and did not require any seasoning. The Pork belly was crunchy on the outside, but left a slightly oily after taste, overwhelming the thinly sliced pork belly within. It was a nothing dish for me, one that I would avoid off the menu. The accompanying sweet chilly dip was bit sweeter than it should be and did not add value to the dish.
In the vegetarian section, I tried the Roast Potato & Corn Pattie with mint chutney, Cinnamon roasted red pumpkin tartlets, and the Ricotta Tortellini. The roasted potato and corn pattie was cooked well, was crunchy and did leave an oily aftertaste, but the mint chutney was a big disappointment. It was runny and heavy on the curd/cream, with a very slight taste of mint if at all. The mint chutney should be an easy fix, which can change the way one experiences a roast potato pattie – a visit to Delhi’s roadside food vendors is in order.
Coming to the vegetarian mains, the seared tofu steaks were fresh and beautifully cooked. The oriental sauce was one dimensional, not adding any wow factor to the dish. I would still call it amongst the best cooked tofu dish I can remember. The golden sweet potato gnocchi, blue cheese sauce, olive tapenade needs a lot of work. The core of the dish, the sweet potato, leaves one’s mouth dry. Unfortunately, the cheese sauce only aggravates the problem. I wish there were something flavorful, crunchy or tangy to compliment the dish. The charred tomato risotto with dried red chillies, tobacco onions, mascarpone & fresh oregano was a welcome change. Better than average risotto, it was cooked well with an even flavor throughout the dish.
The tortellini stuffed with emmenthal, broccoli & shallots, in a brown onion sauce with sour dough crisps was boring. The Tortellini presents quite a challenge as a vegetarian dish, since it is usually served in chicken or beef broth or with a mince meat base. The onion sauce was quite understated with the heavy pasta, thus leaving much to be desired. I wish the sauce were different to bring out a stronger flavor to compliment the pasta.
In the non-vegetarian selection, I got the chicken & cheese lasagna and the baked fish Provencal. The fish was amazingly well cooked, and carried its own flavor well. The sides were crisp to perfection and served on a bed of tomatoes, mushrooms and olives. I felt they underpriced the fish and I would dive right into it on my next visit. The chicken lasagna was not up to standards, with the cheese runny, breaking the lasagna apart as soon as one would try a spoonful. It did taste simple and juicy, but more so due to the cheese than the chicken.
Eager to try out the desserts, I selected the bitter chocolate flan, the smooth chocolate cake and the blackcurrant cheesecake. I loved the bitter chocolate flan, extremely fresh and not too heavy on the chocolate. The smooth chocolate cake was decent but the cheesecake was disappointing. It was definitely old as it was dry within and lacked flavor.
The menu is a great mix of dishes from around the world, with a very technically adept team presenting them very well. I just wish they get the flavors and sauces right, which will go a long way in catapulting the experience. Unfortunately, they do face some stiff competition from other options within the mill compound itself. Hope to see a much needed change on my next visit.
Disclosure: This review was done upon the invitation of the restaurant.
Ratings (Out of 5): For Lunch only.
Food: 2.5 | Ambience: 2.5 | Service: 3.0 | Overall: 2.5
Meal for two: Rs. 3,000/- (incl. taxes) w/out alcohol | Credit cards: Accepted | Alcohol: Yes (great drinks on the menu)
Address: Zeba Center, Mathuradas Mill Compound,, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Timings: 11:00 AM through 10:30 PM