I remember writing negative about a restaurant in Noida a few years back, where the food was mediocre, not presented well, and I had sent back two of the dishes for re-doing. The owner of the restaurant had commented saying (words to the effect) they had a great ambience, a well-learned staff and a huge television screen with projection, and therefore it was a great restaurant. I ask- why does one go out to eat? Is it the ambience, or the interiors or other things done inside, or is it the food? Well, to me, good staff or a huge television or beautiful ambiance won’t make my food taste good.
I was painfully reminded of that experience again recently.
Ahmedabad has a Mediterranean restaurant (the only one) called Souq, serving Persian, Lebanese & other Mediterranean cuisines, and I would rate it at above average in my 4-5 visits in the last two years or so. Recently, they have opened up in another location, the Acropolis Mall, on Thaltej Circle. This avatar of Souq is a Bistro & Grill place, with some nice features. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Mall, the entrance is simple and elegant, giving you the feel of a good fine-dining restaurant. I had called ahead for a table, and we were greeted by a cheerful steward who led us to a table for four. The ambience is lovely, all blue and white lights, and artfully done. It’s a rectangular area, the left side wall full of jars containing vegetables, whole spices and other condiments all the way to the back. Bunches of potatoes and onions tied with strings, adorn the wall on the other side. The kitchen is located opposite the entrance at the far end, and its outer wall facing the restaurant is pinned with frying pans and other utensils. They have a wood-fired oven, where they make their pizzas. A juice counter occupies a corner. And in the center is the highlight of the place- live music, a dance floor and a smoke machine. All in all, the restaurant transports you in a different environment altogether, which is rarely seen in Ahmedabad.
The menu was a mix of Mediterranean, Italian, a few Indian and continental dishes. My eyes lit up a hundred watts at the sight of tenderloin. But the lights died when I was told it’s not available. Where the interiors are brilliantly done, the atmosphere was spoilt by few kids who were howling at the top of their lungs, running amok and parents not bothering to control them.Though this was not in direct control of the restaurant butwith a two-person band playing their bit, it’s not really possible to have a conversation, without you having to shout.
We ordered a Mediterranean Mezze Platter (Rs 390); Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken (Rs 425); Barbecued Grilled Chicken Legs (Rs 410); Smoked Murgh Reshampatty (Rs 425). We were forced to order a Vegetarian Burger (Rs 285) later, I will explain why.
And then it went downhill, all the way.
The Mezze Platter came with a pita stuffed with falafel, brown bread, lavash, veggie crudites, garlic mayo, green pea hummus and babaghannoush. The green pea hummus was nothing but peas pulped with added salt. The pita bread itself tasted stale, the salad felt kept for a long time after being cut. The falafel however, was nice, but when combined with the pita and the rest of the things, did not lift the dish. The Oven Roasted Teriyaki Chicken was sweet. Now, I know the Teriyaki Sauce is sweet, but this sweet? It felt like a dessert with chicken. The Barbecued Grilled Chicken Legs were nothing great- overcooked chicken with, again, a sweet sauce. And the horror of horrors, when I bit into the leg, a trickle of blood oozed out of the white flesh of the meat! It was grossly repelling. The dish was sent back the next second.
Reshampatti Chili Powder is an extremely strong spice used in many Indian dishes, especially for masalas, pickles and chutneys. Its color is vibrant red and has a powerful, spicy flavor with a broad, pepper sweetness. It is used mainly in Guajarat and Maharastra in making pickles. Reshampatti chili powder is brighter and hotter than regular chili powder, thus imparts a birhgt red color.
The Smoked Murgh Reshampatty, supposedly spicy, with all the chili added to it, did not have the desired flavors. A hint of spice, but otherwise no particular flavors. The meat was overly dry, and hence this was sent back as well! One might ask, why did I not leave the place after all this? Well, I wanted to see how far they would go. And this was when we asked for the menu again, and ordered the seemingly simplest dish, the Vegetarian Burger, which was average. The bun was a bit old but the vegetable patty inside was quite edible. Can’t say anything more than this.
The prices here are 5-star, but the food nowhere compares. Never have I felt my money wasted the way it did here, when I was paying the bill. Though the staff apologized for the blunders that happened, it definitely left a bad taste in the mouth.
The staff is friendly and polite, and they took my tantrums without any show of emotions. The music and the ambiance is top class. If you think that can make your food good to taste, Souq awaits you. Otherwise, don’t bother
Ratings (Out of 5):
Food: 2.0| Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 3.0 | Overall: 2.0
Meal for two: INR 1,200 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: No
Address: Acropolis Mall, Below PVR Cinema, S G Highway, Thaltej, Ahmedabad | Phone: 91-79-65101033