5, The Restaurant, @ Santacruz West, Mumbai – High Five to Life!

ExteriorSummer of ’97 – I think was the best of my life. I was young, successfully employed, money in the bank and a little to spare for travel, no encumbrances, easy going parents and first World Zoroastrian Conference in London sponsoring an eight day stay at Sheraton. Life couldn’t give you more than these many roses and a perfect opportunity for a road trip around Europe. The green countryside, the long roads with picture-perfect cottages, the mountains, the valleys, the gurgling brooks, the waterfalls, the smiling faces, the friendly people and … the quaint little bistros with the freshest ingredients, simplest preparations and loving service.

5, The Restaurant brought it all back with an extreme case of nostalgia. I had a smile all through my meal and they don’t even serve liquor! It is a quaint little place which is built around relaxing and enjoying, appreciating the food and the gifts life has given you. So go there only if you have some time to spare. This is no quick service, fast turnover place. But rather a place to savour every bite – and savour you shall.

MocktailsWe were invited to try their summer menu. We started with the Blueberry Sorbet and Virgin Peach Margarita. I am not a great fan of mocktails and yet these made me stop and savour every sip. Pure Ambrosia! The blueberry sorbet was a slushy blueberry, black grapes concoction. The margarita was a peachy, apple juice, lime slush; not too sweet or sour and just perfect. It was like the breezy evening on Eiffel Tower; cool, very cosmopolitan and very sophisticated.

hazelnut creme bruleeWe tried the Seafood Stew and Squash and Lemon Grass soups. I had my trepidation when I saw the stew. It looked like seafood in sambhar. But one taste and I was totally blown away by the burst of flavours. It was a meal in itself, a wholesome soul feeding kind. It had it all, catering to our Indian spice-wanting palate as well as the Catalonian freshness which is the inspiration behind this stew. The squash and lemon grass soup was one I would yearn on those days that I need comfort. It had the freshness of summer and at the same time the comfort of a hug. Lightly seasoned, the chef had let the delicate flavours of the ingredients come through. This was like the wholesome robust Germany with a touch of excitement from Spain.

Watermelon cucumber saladWe had cucumber watermelon feta salad, salt & pepper prawns, stuffed mushroom and beef quiche as starters. The starters just added to our delight. The cucumber watermelon feta salad was a superb example of simple is beautiful. The balsamic vinegar dressed salad was truly a beautiful sight to see and a dish to relish. This was reminiscent of that warm lazy afternoon at a cafeteria in those by-lanes leading to the Fontana di Trevi.

salt and pepper prawnsThe salt and pepper prawns with dill infused yogurt dip were fresh and mildly spiced to keep them light for summer reminding me of the Gondola rides in Venice eating at small outlets manned by handsome Italians (Oops my husband could get jealous here).The stuffed mushrooms with scarmoza cheese were an example of what good ingredients can do to a simple dish. Smilingly I remembered those slopes of Switzerland and their rich creamy cheese that could by its self be a meal with crusted bread. The beef quiche was probably the crumbliest crust I have ever eaten and its buttery flakiness complimented well with the lightly flavoured beef mince. The pastry was so light that one could easily eat several bringing back those sumptuous B&B breakfasts in Germany!

PomfretFor our main course we had Harissa Pomfret and Grilled Tenderloin. The pomfret was fresh as if it was caught just that morning. Rightly so as Roy the owner told me that they buy their produce fresh every day from the docks. But unfortunately it was not Harissa. It was a cheesy fabulously herbed sauce. Mind you it was delectable but was definitely not Harissa. We had asked for a medium rare to rare steak. It was however well done. The taste was excellent but again a little disappointing. One can excuse the chef this slip-up as most Indian patrons would ask for a well done steak.

Banana Flip torteFor our desserts we had Hazelnut Crème Brulee and Banana Flip Torte. Though the hazelnut base was more a mousse than custard, it was divine. The caramel sugar crust was thin and delicious.  But what highlighted the afternoon was the torte; an honest-to-God banoffee pie which had the crusty base, the silken toffee caramel, the yummy stewed bananas and then the melt-in- mouth cream. The desserts took me back to those sinful desserts I had devoured in Belgium. Aah bliss!

This lunch brought back my fondest memory of a dinner in a family run restaurant high up on the mountains outside Verona. Tired, slightly lost and hungry, unknown language; I was at the end of my tether. I entered and maybe it was evident on my face, a big healthy momma hugged me. She made me sit at this long table with laughing people who just took me in their fold. That night I have no idea how much and what I ate; pastries and slices of pizza and pies. When I got to paying they just said whatever you want. That’s the smile I shall keep with me all my life and that’s the feeling this meal brought back to me; the friendly service, the attention to you as an individual and above all just taking life easy as it comes.

It is a definite several visits place and I see myself going there often and a huge Thanks to 5 for bringing back the memories of another life, long ago!

Ratings out of 5

Food: 4  | Ambiance: 4 | Service: 4 |Overall: 4

Meal for two: INR 2000 + taxes | Alcohol: No | Credit Card: Yes

Timing:12.30 pm to 3.30 pm and 7.30 pm to 12 midnight

Address: 5 The Restaurant, 25 D, Wellingdon Catholic Colony, S V Road, Santacruz West, Mumbai – 400 054

Telephone :+91 22 26000367 / 66939919



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