Sundance's new menu makes us feel at home; and work. It is a broadsheet with an old sepia-tinted photograph of the Oval Maidan, now only found at photo exhibitions, flea markets and people who collect memorabilia and bric-a-brac on the city that was Bombay like their memory depends on it.
Pulled Pork Banh Mi is the restaurant's signature dish
At first glance, the menu seems ambitious, even daunting – except for a few of the restaurant's old favourites, diners can expect to be surprised. We try a few dishes and here's the verdict: Brioche French Toast (Rs 325): We start our meal on a sweet note, and don't regret it one bit. This fluffy, indulgent breakfast dish, drizzled with bourbon caramel, can drive away any weekday blues you might wake up with. The dollop of mascarpone definitely helps.
Quinoa (Rs 375) and Poached Chicken (Rs 375) salads: We quite like the former — healthy and colourful with bell pepper, olives, feta cheese, greek oregano, crunchy with toasted pine nuts and spunky with a red wine vinaigrette dressing. The chicken salad, too, is rich, delicious and crisp in spite of its yogurt dressing.
Tokyo Drift (Rs 425) and Juicy Lucy (Rs 425) sliders: We have had Sundance's burgers earlier and liked them. However, the vegetarian Tokyo Drift fails to find its place into our heart (or the stomach after a while). It looks great on paper — think panko crumbled edamame, shiitake, and brown rice patty sitting pretty on a bed of pickled asian slaw and romaine, drizzled with teriyaki mayo – but doesn't taste as imaginative. The Juicy Lucy, which has a 'secret spice' rubbed tenderloin patty, cheddar, onion jam and baconnaise, fares better, but it isn't something we'd shell out almost half a grand for.
Brioche French Toast is a fluffy, indulgent breakfast option
Creamy Garlic and Wild Mushroom Fettucine (Rs 475): If you're looking for some pasta you could trust, e recommend this one. This dish sticks to a classic recipe of the sautéed mushroom, white wine and cream, parmesan cheese and olive oil – and doesn't let it tradition down.
Pulled Pork Banh Mi (Rs 475): This dish may well be this restaurant's signature dish. The pork is braised for eight hours, its tenderness is witness to the difference it makes to this dish. The chicken liver pate inside, pickled Asian slaw's sourness, all complement the café's homemade Vietnamese dressing encased in a crusty baguette. Chicken Pot Pie (Rs 525): Chicken and mushroom baked in Béchamel sauce, as if it has been stirred with the leisure only a long afternoon can bestow, then sealed with puff pastry and baked — this comfort-food dish is unparalleled.
Grilled Polenta with Mushroom Fricassee (Rs 475): Opinions on this one are divided amid me and my fellow diner. True, this dish has no surprise up its sleeve — the combination of shiitake and portobello mushrooms tossed in dry vermouth, onions and garlic have been around. What does grow on one of us is the soft, char-grilled corn polenta square instead of the usual bed of rice or grilled veggies. It might have its own league of fans, perhaps.
We cannot rate the experience as it was a preview
At: Cafe Sundance ground floor, Khambata Building, near Eros Cinema, Churchgate
Food: Mostly scrumptious