Note to Saffron Bay — there are many ways to get things right at a Mughlai restaurant, but do strike off the following from the list — overbearing staff and over-priced dishes in a helter-skelter menu.
At the newly-opened Mughlai restaurant opposite Chowpatty, the red, blue, green and saffron coloured seating areas amid an otherwise black décor do little to infuse charm (the Ajanta and whatnot-inspired murals don’t help). We take our seats and call for the Pan Polli (Rs 260), made of coconut and mushroom filling in a rice pancake and the Surmai Steak (Rs 380). The food arrives in time, after we answer a couple of people asking us how we like the décor, the colours, or rather the lack of them.
The Pan Polli has the filling wrapped in soft pancakes, mushrooms and coconut seasoned just right, but we cannot say the same about the less-than-ideal temperature at which is it served. We find numerous bones in the Surmai Steak (we aren’t referring to the main fish bone) which otherwise tastes as good as at an average restaurant. As we almost dip our noses into the yellow sauce and fish to dig out more bones, we hear more questions about the dish in the background. We mumble truthful answers.
Next come the vegetarian Bhindi Dahiwalla (Rs 240) and the Gosht Razella (Rs 430). The former was perfect — the bhindi is cooked just right, swimming in a tangy yogurt-based gravy. The Razella had a decent gravy, which is certainly not enough praise for the money it is worth. Also, one of us finds the cashews too overpowering, the butter too little and the mutton too chewy.
Curiously, we are asked (no, it hasn’t ended just yet) about whether the Roomali roti is too rubbery. It is, and our fingers take some getting used to the acrobatics we introduce them to. The butter naan, however, is soft and delicious.
The Shahi Tukda (Rs 180) is up next. By this time, we are really hoping to be surprised by anything just as much as the impending bill, which we know, will surprise us. Fair, right? Turns out, no. We’ve had better, silken Shahi Tukda which has unhinged us from our belly buttons and had us float a few inches above the ground. So, it’s flat cousin here just doesn’t cut it.
Our friend also points out that the menu is rather confused and inadequate for a Mughlai restaurant — there are Bengali curries, coastal cuisine and — shocker of shockers — no biryanis. Neither does Saffron Bay have a wide range of kebabs, another must for a Mughlai restaurant.
We aren’t very happy paying Rs 2,400 for a meal for two (sans alcohol), because the food at Saffron Bay is not bad — at best at par with any other good takeaway restaurant which costs one third the amount.
The friend, in a rather dry tone, adds that the same takeaway still has more Mughlai options.