Slink & Bardot Mumbai , A romantic French sojourn

This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I have had to write. The reason is simple; how do you write a review for a place where each dish is fighting to outshine the other? How do you point out the highs and lows of a meal where right from the moment you enter, to the moment you leave, you are on a constant culinary high?

The place I talk about here, is the newly opened French restaurant in the city called Slink and Bardot. Coming from the stables of master restauranteur, Riyaaz Amlani, you can expect a certain quirkiness in his restaurants and over here too, he has redefined French elegance with panache. Gone is the snobbery, gone are the pretentious table settings, and equally pretentious waiters. What you get instead is a very cozy, cute, laid back restaurant tucked quietly in the hidden lanes of Worli village replacing the erstwhile Café Nemo. Super friendly and helpful staff, a chef who prefers to zip in and out of the kitchen chatting with the diners and a manager who makes his own pastis and offers a sampler gladly when asked.

The pastel greens, the old world tiled flooring, the well-spaced tables, the mood lighting and the soft music all adds to the laid-back charm and you immediately feels at ease as you enter the place. The affable Canadian host Nick and the charismatic Chef Alexis further make you feel part of the place with their anecdotes and suggestions and finally, if this wasn’t convincing enough, the menu pricing would get you hook, line and sinker.

It would be difficult for me to write about the best dishes of the evening, instead I am simply going to write about the dishes I tried that evening and what, to me, were the highlights in that dish:-

Truffle scented French Fries Rs.140 – two words – Truffles and Fries (add to it a bit of parmesan) and its pure magic!

Goat cheese beetroot walnuts and rocket tartine Rs.190 – Creamy salty goat cheese beautifully paired with the sweetness of Beetroot with a slight edge of balsamic. The candied walnuts add to the oomph.

Chicken liver parfait Rs.280 – Carrot & Apricot Chutney, Cocoa nib jam – the liver parfait was light, fluffy and airy, the chutneys sweet and lovely with the nutty-buttery-salty liver parfait. Personally I am not a big fan of liver pate, but I would go back again and again for this parfait. Converting the paté into parfait is a brilliant move methinks!

Steamed Rose snapper Rs.410 – truffled Dijon, pastis, fennel sauce – A brilliant dish by all means, flaky juicy Rose (not red!) snapper wrapped in pok choi served with truffled (Yes truffle again!) dijon mustard and a buttery nutty and aromatic fennel sauce. How can you even go wrong with such a seductive combo?

36 hour Belgian pork belly Rs.340 – emmental croquette, sweet potato mash, sage jus – Barring the croquette (which I thought, didn’t add to the dish) every element did a happy dance on my palate. The pork belly was simply to die for and the sage jus, aa perfect compliment to the melt in the mouth pork belly.

The duck Rs.650 – Kalamata Mash, braised cabbage – if you thought the pork belly was orgasmic, then you must try the duck, a true masterpiece. The braised cabbage adds a beautiful dimension to the dish.

Steak tartare Rs.310 – Mustard ice cream, toasted baguette – Refreshingly simple and delicious, the herbs and slight lemony zing in the tartare felt so beautiful and the ohhh so creamy mustard ice cream was simply divine. Truly multi-dimensional.

Brie en Croute Rs.280 – Filo Pastry, lavender honey – The filo pastry was flaky and the brie inside was perfectly rendered. The lavender honey cut through the saltiness of the cheese giving a perfect balance to the dish.

Gratin Dauphinois Rs.280 – Potato, brie, garlic cream, green apple salad – oh I just loved this one; imagine butter poached potato slivers, on a bed of brie and caramelized onions, topped with a garlic cream. The explosion of flavours in the mouth was just too good to be true. Ahh by the way…there is no such thing as too much butter!

Poached pear Belle Helene Rs.240 – vanilla Ice cream , Hot chocolate sauce – you know a pear has been poached just right when it retains its bite but at the same time has allowed the aromatic red wine flavours to penetrate all the way to the core. The pure vanilla ice cream and the chocolate sauce were good, but I just couldn’t get past the beautifully poached pear.

I must confess that the drinks at Slink and Bardot fade in front of the spectacular food, but in their defense they have been well designed and complement the food pretty well. Take for instance the O! Canada (which is Nicks Favourite) Rs.650 and contains Canadian club, maple bitters bacon syrup and orange bitters; this cocktail works beautifully with the steak tartare and the brie cheese dishes where the bacon essence adds to its appeal but I found the balance of the drink a bit off. Similarly in the Johnny under pressure Rs.750 (black label, martini rosso, chilli and chocolate bitters), the bitters were a bit too strong for my liking.

Slink and Bardot is an unpretentious classic French restaurant sans the French pricing! A perfect place to take your date for a romantic evening without worrying about burning a hole in your pocket. Its unconventional location adds to its charm and takes the diner by surprise. The relaxed laid back vibe allows you to indulge in conversations and the food and drinks add to its eclectic charm, so what are you waiting for, head out there with your date at the earliest.

Ratings (Out of 5) 

Food: 4.0 | Ambience: 4.0 | Service: 4.0 | Overall: 4.0

Meal for two: Rs 3000 | Wheel Chair Friendly: No | Credit Card: Yes | Alcohol: Yes

Address: 329/A, Thadani House, Opposite Indian Coast Guard, Worli Village, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400030

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