MiD DAY generally reviews new restaurants in the city to inform our food loving readers about what to expect and suggest the best they can order. However, this is not a review, it’s a warning; our way of saving the time, money and energy of our readers in testing times of fuel price hikes, inflation and unbearable heat. The best way to tell the story of Fatira Flare, the city’s new restaurant chain, is the way they’ve spelt it out on their website. Once, there was an obedient little boy Fipu who was finicky about food. His parents took him to the finest restaurants and tried hundreds of recipes but he always craved for more. He persuaded his parents to let him travel the world, to search for the “perfect” dish.
After covering Europe, South East Asia and Africa, he found a tribe of Bedouins making a soft pastry with a “delicious” filing. Fipu loved the crust, “it was different from a regular pizza or a pie”. He rushed back to India and started Fatira Flare. Following in Fipu’s steps, we landed at Vakola, one of the two-take away restaurants that opened in Mumbai about three weeks back. While one of us was placing our order, this writer removed her camera to check the lighting in the store. Fipu’s staff flipped and with a dismissive gesture and rude tone told the writer that photography wasn’t allowed. After a pointless discussion on courtesy and customer service, we returned home and placed an order.
The staff was no better over the phone; a mix of confusion, rudeness and incompetence. With the food too, Fipu’s staff were a disappointment. The food arrived in decent-looking cardboard boxes but the horror of opening these and tasting what was inside is something this writer won’t forget easily. The crust of the Ground Sausage and Mozzarella Cheese Calzone (Rs 130) — a semi-circular baked Fatira, was undercooked and the filling was so minimal that the calzone started to resemble a dry paratha.
The Za’atar and Cheese Fatira (Rs 65, small/ R90, regular), was by far the most edible dish. The Fatira crust was cooked and the cheese didn’t overpower the Za’atar — a mix of thyme, basil and oregano blended with dried sumac, sesame seeds and other spices. The last two boxes, the Matar Kheeme ka Fatira (Rs 90) and Fipu’s ‘favourite’ the Fattoush Shawarma (Rs 110), were disasters too.
The Matar Kheeme ka Fatira was a dense, undercooked and uneven pizza base made of Fatira dough, topped with kheema and cheese. The delivery boy probably manhandled the cardboard box — half the topping was stuck to the top of the box and the rest was strewn in the corners. After carefully separating the cheese and kheema from the boxes and placing it back on the base, we could barely taste the dish. What stood out was that it was undercooked and needed a good amount of seasoning to make it edible.
The Fattoush Shawarma was the biggest disaster. The first visual that came to mind after looking at it was of a puppy tearing a loaf of soggy bread. We were served a desecrated piece of Fatira that had six small pieces of oddly spiced chicken and soggy vegetables shabbily thrown over it. They also tried to convince us that hummus was nothing but grainy chickpea paste mixed with olive oil (Fipu didn’t stay in the Middle East long enough to discover Tahini) and that garlic sauce is supposed to smell like it was kept in an LPG chamber for a week. Those who love Middle-Eastern cuisine will never stop picking flaws with Fatira Flare’s food and those who are trying Middle Eastern food for the first time will swear never to have it again.