'Free' entry for empty stomachs, not wallets

Sep 15, 2011, 10:48 IST | Anjana Vaswani

You know that piece of advice about never shopping on an empty stomach? This new restaurant nestled within the supermarket hopes you will forget it, because there might be no other way to justify its sky-high prices

If you believe that grabbing a bite at the eatery inside this fancy new supermarket, before wheeling that shopping trolley around the aisles will save you cash, think again.

A bottle of mineral water will set you back by Rs 220 at the sparsely furnished space with wooden tables and floors, with large canvas sheets stretched overhead.

The Veg Burger is a little more than a disappointing deep-fried
aloo patty served between two slices of burger bread

Keep in mind that the restaurant serves only its brand of bottled still water, which, incidentally, is Rs 55, more than what you'd pay for a 1.5 litre bottle of Evian at the attached supermarket.

The menu offers an interesting blend of cuisines with Austrian specialty, Pork Schnitzel (Rs 990), Italian Lobster Linguini (Rs 1,370), Middle Eastern Halloumi Steak (Rs 625) and British Cornish Pastries (Rs 340), interspersed with a host of other novel dishes - none of which are available yet. For now, the place serves only salads, sandwiches, and desserts.

Hail, Caesar
The Caesar Salad (Rs 454) alleviates our disappointment. One almost didn't mind shelling out over four hundred bucks for such incredibly fresh lettuce, and succulent slices of roasted chicken laced with the intoxicating aroma of fresh parmesan.

The warm bread roll served with a generous portion of French unsalted butter is also worthy of special mention. The service, sadly, not as much. Our server, despite olive oil and balsamic vinegar sitting on our table, met our request for a bowl to mix the two ingredients, with surprise.

The cheese platter (Rs 455), as appetising as it looked, offered an ordinary selection of Cheddar, Brie, Emmenthal and Edam, with sliced apples and crackers.

The restaurant has warm wooden floors and tables

Subtly seasoned, the lamb burger (Rs 682) was an exceptional preparation, allowing us to savour the natural flavour of the minced meat.

The Veg Burger (Rs 445), which came highly recommended by the staff though, was a let-down, and featured an unimaginative deep-fried patty of potato, carrot and peas.

Long wait
Despite having pre-ordered the white chocolate fondant (Rs 336), and there being no other guests present, the dessert took so long to prepare, we were ready to leave without tasting it.

We also couldn't help but notice, two chefs and no less than four servers, focussing their attentions on its preparation at a counter near the entrance.

When the fondant does arrive, the light pancake shell trapped a sauce of white, ambrosial chocolate inside, despite the flavour of the eggs (in the pancakes) not being entirely masked, is well worth the wait.

At 43 B, Grand Galleria Mall (near Basecamp Traveller), High Street Phoenix, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Call 40044432
Open daily from 11 am to 11 pm.
Dolce Vita didn't know we were there.
The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.

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