Just two months back I had done a review of this new place in Lower Parel, to which I had given a decent rating of 3.5 out of 5 which in our terminology is quite good. The ratings were given on the basis of the most amazing steak I had had at the restaurant, some great prawns and good service. However just two months apart, I visited the place again to cover their newly launched Chinese Menu and anything and everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. This is a post of how a good place can very quickly go down and commit hara-kiri due to lack of focus and good kitchen staff. The food review in this post is based on the new Chinese menu and does not reflect the Pan European cuisine which I had tried earlier, but the service certainly does!
Braving the weekend traffic we reached the restaurant at around 9 pm;despite it being a Friday, only 2 tables were occupied (one large with around 20 people and another with only 2), which should have been my warning bell. The menu I was invited to review was the newly launched five course Chinese menu. This menu is being offered at Rs.750 for vegetarian and 1100 for non- vegetarian plus taxes.
In soups we asked for a Prawns Tom Kha and a Veg Tom yum which were both extremely salty and were immediately returned. When the same were brought back again, the Tom Yum tasted curiously like a simple coriander soup and the Tom Kha a lemon and coconut milk based soup with no Kafir Lime, lemon grass or even Galangal. The soup was thin, without any veggies and very few prawns.
The Mandarin mojito which we tried to pacify the salt rush induced by the soup was an orange and lemon mint based drink which was reasonably good. The same can’t be said however, for the kiwi cooler which was made using kiwi crush and sprite as it was extremely sweet, to the point that it hurt our throat. When we asked the server to change the same and explained the reason, they brought another one back which was simply sprite with a dash of kiwi crush.
Dejected, we asked for the salads. I had chosen a Som Tam and my partner a silken Tofu and noodle salad. Despite the restaurant being fairly empty, the service was extremely slow and after about 25 minutes the salads were brought to our table. The Tofu salad was a simple lettuce salad with hard tofu and crisp noodles thrown in and with hardly any dressing. The Som Tam was comparatively better but lacked in seasoning and was missing the tart and sweet kick that is typical of a good Som Tam.
By this time we were thoroughly disappointed and asked for the starters with a lot of trepidation. Once again we were made to wait another 20-25 minutes before the same was brought to our table. Our starter of Beef Satay and Vietnamese cabbage roll were probably the only good dishes on the menu. While the beef satay was a tad bit salty, but the peanut sauce was quite good. The cabbage roll, funnily enough was not a cabbage roll, but rather a dough based roll (like a dim sum) but the filling of fresh vegetables and the light and savoury Namjim Sauce was quite nice.
The main course once again took forever to be served. The Chicken in Black Bean sauce was decent but the Tofu and Mushroom chilli sauce was an absolute failure. The vegetables in this dish were fried in a thick corn flour batter before being added to the gravy due to which the dish was extremely lumpy and the thick corn flour added a weird pasty taste to the dish, completely avoidable.
We thought we were smart when we had asked for the desserts to be brought as soon as the mains were served, but to our utter surprise, even they took their sweet time before finally making their magnificent appearance on our table. The fried wontons filled with nuts and served with honey was good, but the corn starch cake was a bit dense to my taste.
By the time we finished our meal, it was midnight. The meal that had started around 9.30pm took two and a half hours to get over. What was most surprising is that the restaurant was not even completely full to warrant such poor service. To be fair to them, the captain and the manager of the place did try their level best to take care of us, but the sad food and the terrible kitchen service made it for one of the worst experiences I have had eating out in Mumbai so far.
It is quite sad to see a restaurant that started off well just two months back, go down to these levels in such a short time. It’s quite evident that the management’s focus is more on the lounge next door and the sales of its drinks. I hope they take note of this lapse and make corrective changes, or else it would be sad to see another one biting the dust.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 2.0 | Ambience: 3.0 | Service: 2.0 | Overall: 2.0
Meal for two: Rs.1500| Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes | Timings: 8.00 AM to 1:00 AM|
Address: D’Bell, Tower 2A, Lobby Level, One Indiabulls Center, Jupiter Mills Compound, SenapatiBapat Marg, Lower Parel West, Mumbai |
Tel: 0226537 4666.