We walk into Spesso Gourmet Kitchen one evening on a weekday, and the voices in our heads scamper off, clearly affronted by the din inside.
The restaurant, which opened a month ago, and is run by the guys who own the iconic Status restaurant besides it, is visibly popular. Intrigued, we take our seats and decide to stick to gesticulation through the evening.
Spesso has an extensive menu of appetisers, soups, salads, pizza, Italian and a mixed bag of mains. We order the Spesso Appetiser (Rs 490), which comprises XXXXX. The XXX has a crisp pastry and a rich babycorn filling to match, while the zucchini fritters are insipid and uninspiring. We don’t mind popping more than the four balls of XXX served to us — the risotto-like filling is creamy and moderately cheesy. The XXXX, on the other hand, drips oil and reminds one of us about the spring rolls had at an ostentatious wedding. With the dish come two tall glasses of green liquids — the Tall Summer Sipper (Rs 155) and Melon Caprioshka (Rs 155) — which are not exactly memorable.
By now, we wonder where the ‘gourmet’ in the restaurant’s title comes from, and hope that the mains tell us more. Our Ravioli (R380) comes slathered with the tomato sauce instead of resting on a bedding made of it. The pasta, too, is stuffed with the cottage cheese and olive. Far from being a delicate dish, the ravioli tastes of too many ingredients at once — an ‘Indianised’ imitation of finer ravioli elsewhere.
The Malaysian Curry Laksa (R375) looks pretty with its subtle orange coconut-based curry, floating vegetables and a serving of herbed rice, which we find are delicious enough to be had without an accompaniment. The curry, though well-made is high on salt. It is immediately replaced for a slightly less salty version, and reminds us of the memorable Amok we had at Cambodia not too long ago. It is clearly simmered for a good amount of time, and has soaked the best from the lemongrass added to it.
Will we return to Spesso? Not if it is gourmet food we want. If, for some inexplicable reason, we yearn for a local, oil-laden touch to signature world cuisine, we might. But that’s for another day, and we aren’t waiting.
At: Ground floor, Regent Chambers, Jamnalal Bajaj Road, Nariman Point