Bandra West packs some of the finest Mumbai restaurants within a 9 sq km area. The old bungalow style houses and establishments, and strong construction limitations create quite diverse settings for diners and visitors such as Bungalow 9, Out of the Blue, Olive Bar and Kitchen, Hawaiian Shack, Candies, Escobar and Bonobo to name a few. Bandra also has many restaurants that offer open air seating, a big requirement for any city located next to the sea.
The Sayaji Group, which has popular restaurants in Indore, has opened a new roof top (covered and open seating available) restaurant, which focuses on bringing a true Mediterranean feel to the diners in Mumbai. The restaurant is located above the Bar-be-que Nation off Hill Road (opposite Globus) and is quite easy to miss unless you are looking for it. While the approach and location is easy to get to, parking, entrance and exit are challenging given the busy street (nothing new for those regular to Bandra).
I visited within the first week of operations, and it was clear that some parts (entrance, lavatories, etc) were still work in progress. The small stairs wind up one floor to get to a narrow door that opens into a wonderfully designed and laid out restaurant. The clear emphasis on colors and flow makes one feel that one has been transported out of India. The covered area is very comfortable as the roof is made of translucent sheets that allow for all the sunlight to bathe the restaurant, and the air conditioners are standing at multiple places blasting cool air to keep the place comfortable.
Upon seating, I was introduced to the menu which is priced higher than I expected, thus raising my expectations from the quality of dishes I was about to taste. The restaurant does not serve alcohol, which will limit its audience given the options available in the vicinity.
The first dish to be served was the Watermelon Feta Salad. The watermelon was cold, juicy and accompanied by slices of Orange. The Feta Cheese on Greens was visually appealing, though the greens felt like they have come out of a refrigerator. I next tried the bread basket with a range of accompanying sauces. The bread and the bread sticks were not fresh at all, which was a severe turn down, and a poor friend to the many well-crafted dips. The Tomato Salsa, the Hummus and the Mayo-Olive oil dips were great, especially with the hot pita bread (the only bread I did use).
We next tried the soups – I tried the Lamb and Chick Pea Soup – the Moroccan Harira, which was a deliciously thick and flavourful soup with juicy chunks of lamb. My wife tried the Minestrone Soup, which was most definitely below expectations. While minestrone comes in many forms, this one lacked any punch and was akin to simple vegetable soup in tomato base. The use of coriander gave away the fact that we are in India.
Next I tried the Adana Kebab, minced lamb with onion, garlic, chilli pepper, and ground sumac. The lamb was lightly fried and served over a full fried egg and a bed of rice. The lamb was delicious, soft and very flavourful. The egg and rice was not required for the starter, else I would have been unable to move forward with the tasting. Radhika tried the Jibnah Kebab, baked paneer covered with spices and sesame seeds served with rice and masala onions. The paneer was very much like tandoori paneer served at Indian restaurants, quite soft on the inside and crispy and spicy on the outside.
I moved on to try the main course with Wood Fired Lamb Chop served with rosemary red wine sauce and mashed potatoes. Radhika tried the Mushroom Ragout with cous-cous. The mushroom ragout was quite good with thick gravy and well-cooked mushrooms accompanying a lightly flavoured cous-cous. The lamb on the other hand was a big disappointment, with a small piece of single lamb chop, on a large bed of mashed potato swimming in rosemary sauce. The presentation was sloppy, and the portion disappointing for a dish costing 1495. I was able to get two bites of meat from the dish, and the lamb was hard and over cooked.
I had to go for a dessert to save the day, and luckily for us, the Baklava and Ice cream was good closure to our meal.
While we had out hits and misses on the day, the brand needs to lift up its composition of flavours to reflect the prices on the menu, and to create a strong foothold in a highly competitive location. Its early days, so I look forward to seeing how it shapes up over the next few months.
Ratings (Out of 5)
Food: 2.5 | Ambience: 3.5 | Service: 2.5 | Overall: 2.5
Address: 355, Hotel Metro Palace, Opp.Globus Mall, Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai – 400050| Tel: 022 69455554
Timings: Lunch 12:30pm – 3:30pm & Dinner 7pm – 11:30pm | Meal for two without alcohol: Rs.2500 | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: No | Wheelchair Friendly: No
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, but readers need to consider this review keeping this fact in mind