Andheri East area in Mumbai has the distinction of having the maximum number of five star hotels in Mumbai but somehow, the food offerings in these hotels barring a handful are not that well known. The Leela Hotel at Airport Road is one such example; despite having the world renowned Le Cirque in its premises, it is hardly considered as a go to place when it comes to dining out in this part of the city.
The new marketing team at The Leela has taken this as a challenge and has initiated plans to promote their in-house restaurants like Jamawar and Citrus through food festivals and several promotions in the coming days.
Having missed their recently concluded South Indian food fest, we went last Thursday to try out their regular menu in Jamawar. The restaurant is located next to their all day dining Citrus and opens only for dinner. The interiors of the restaurant are a contrast to the opulence of The Leela chain with subdued colours, subtle lighting and very comfortable seating.
The restaurant menu covers dishes from all across India and we were confused whether to go for North Indian, Mughlai or South Indian coastal dishes. The chef of the restaurant came to our rescue and suggested that we go for his specialities which were kebabs and curries.
So we started our food odyssey with Pomfret Kebab, Murg Malai Tikka, Subj Galauti and Lamb Seekh Kebabs. The Subj Galauti, a spinach based cheesy nutty kebab, was a bit dense but very flavoursome and a good option for the vegetarians. I found the Murg Malai Tikka a bit undercooked but once again the flavours were quite subtle and easy on the palate. The Lamb Kebab was robust with strong spices. The stand out kebab, however, was the Pomfret Kebab which had South Indian coastal spices as marinade and was simply delicious. It was a bit spicier than the other kebabs but the tangy sweetness of the tamarind blended with the spices made the taste linger on the tongue for quite some time.
We were then served a portion of Lamb Galauti Kebab on Varqi Paratha which were bigeer than the portions served anywhere else. The kebab had a creamy, melt in the mouth texture and was mildly spiced with cardamom. The sweetish, crispy varqi paratha gave good accompaniment to the galauti and is certainly a must try at Jamawar.
For the mains, we were served the regular Murg Tikka Makhni where the chicken was a bit hard and the gravy, typical to Mumbai, a bit sweet. This, to the North Indian in me, is strict blasphemy and hence, was quickly written off. The Dal Makhni was tasty but much thinner in consistency than the ones served in Baluchi (The Lalit) across the street and in Peshawari (The ITC) a few blocks down. The lamb dish was called Nihari and though the lamb was well cooked, juicy and succulent, the taste was not like the nihari I am used to eating.
We also tried a South Indian Prawn Curry with simple Basmati rice. The long grained rice was very aromatic and delicious and the prawn curry mild and flavoursome.
We finished off our meal with Kulfi and Jalebi which, once again, were quite run of the mill. The Jalebi can certainly use some more finesse and less yeast.
Though the food experience was not entirely disappointing, and the quality of the ingredients top notch, it was nothing extra ordinary especially considering the competition they have against their neighbours like Baluchi and Peshawari. None of these restaurants, however, have a varied menu like Jamawar and therein lays Jamawar’s forte. Rather than being just another run of the mill, Indian multi cuisine restaurant, it should focus itself on its niche coastal cuisine segment and/or segment which can be showcased as its USP and I am sure it will succeed in pulling in a big crowd.
Here is wishing them all the best in this venture and hope they take the right direction with their food – the marketing sure looks to be headed that way.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 3 | Drinks: 3.5 | Ambience: 4 | Service: 4 | Overall: 3.5
Meal for Two: Rs. 4000 | Credit Cards: Yes | Alcohol: Yes |Timings: 7.00 pm to 12.00 am |Wheelchair Access: Yes
Address: The Leela, Airport Road, Sahar, Andheri (East), Mumbai – 400 059
Telephone: 022 6691 1234
Disclaimer: This review was done on an invitation from the restaurant. Due judgement and care has been applied by the author to remain objective and unbiased in the review, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind.