If I was to ask you about Burritos or enchiladas, you would probably recognize them from the several Mexican and Tex Mex joints around India; but if I was to ask you about papas a la huancaina, Platano frito, rabos, habichuelas and feijoadas, you would not only have difficulties pronouncing the names but also have difficulties identifying the dishes from any of the diverse culinary offering available around India.
This is primarily because till date no Indian gastronomical adventurer has ventured into the diverse universe of Latin America and explored the most amazing natural produce based cuisine from the South American Continent.
I was very happy to know that the first Latin American restaurant in Mumbai (And perhaps India) soon opens its doors in Bandra. The management has named the place as Asado which means a barbecue in Spanish and promises authentic Latin American fare. I went for the preview launch of the restaurant and was greeted by the owner and his staff quite warmly.
The restaurant is divided into an alfresco part and an indoor part which is very tastefully decorated in bright colours with murals depicting scenes from Latin American living quarters. This gives the places a very Cuban feel. However surprisingly, the signage within the restaurant depicts two names, Casa Batllo and Las Ramblas both of which are from a Non Latin American destination – Barcelona.
Asado or the barbecue/grill is a consistent feature throughout the South American continent. The Argentinians are famous for their GAUCHO barbecue while the Chileans pride themselves for their PARILLADAS, The Brazilians loves their CARNE DO ESPADA and the Peruvians their LAS BRASAS. Keeping in line with this fascination to barbecues, the restaurant plans to feature a menu that is primarily based on grilled meats/seafood which shall be served on hot lava stones and the diner can choose the cooking level as per their preference.
The preview menu did have many dishes, but only a handful few could be called authentic Latin American dishes, the rest were at best, dishes with elements from Latin America but were essentially a mix of food from all over, like for example, there was an amazing edamame risotto which had crunchy water chestnuts in them. The dish by itself was deliciously creamy and bursting with flavour, but we couldn’t call it Latin. Another instance was a most amazing cauliflower and gorgonzola soup where the nuttiness of the cauliflower balanced the sharpness of Gorgonzola cheese, this was a very creamy smooth and delicious soup by itself but once again, the elements were European/French at best.
Of the dishes which I thought were Latin American or had elements from that region, the stand outs were the Quinoa Salad with cucumber and sweet potatoes and beans where the dressing had balsamic and a slight sweet chilly hit towards the end which I found quite appealing to our Indian taste buds. Similarly the Caramelized Pork Belly salad with mango bits and sharp rucula was another bursting in flavour salad where the pork was crisp, sweet, smokey and delicious and the dressing of balsamic vinegar on mango and rucula a perfect balance. The other success story were the Open Burritos that were actually made with real corn meal instead of the usual flour made tortillas one find at Mexican restaurants all around India.
Towards the mains, the Lava Stone Grilled Tenderloin, which was flown all the way from Brazil was amazing. The tenderloin was so juicy and soft that I could cut through it using only my fork; undoubtedly it was ecstasy en la boca. The Grilled Jumbo Prawns, on the other hand, were undercooked and left us a bit disappointed.
The Churros which were served as desserts were average, nothing to write home about. The Caipirinha and Margarita cocktails served in different flavours were certainly a stand out and I would definitely be going back for more once their complete tequila bar is open.
At the end, I must applaud the management for creating a restaurant with a concept which has not yet been attempted in India. They have their heart in the right place, hope once they overcome the customs and excise hindrances and have their complete stocks from Brazil and Argentina; they have an authentic Latin menu to match as well. Here is wishing them the best and looking forward to some beautiful carnes and pescado al asado in the days to come. Salud!
Alcohol: Yes | Credit Card: Yes|
Average Meal for two: Rs. 2400 per person (without Alcohol)
Timing: 12:30 to 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm to 1 am | Wheelchair access : No
Address: Monorama Chambers, Ground Floor, S V Road. Bandra West, Next to Railway Colony, Mumbai 400050
Telephone : 022 6568 6666
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; however readers may exercise their own discretion.