Is this the 'mellow' in drama?

Jan 26, 2012, 06:21 IST | Aviva Dharmaraj

The only eye sore at this picture-perfect al fresco eatery inside The National Centre for the Performing Arts is the service: We wish it was less intrusive and more on the ball

The only eye sore at this picture-perfect al fresco eatery inside The National Centre for the Performing Arts is the service: We wish it was less intrusive and more on the ball

The open-air cafe is similar to the one-break movie on TV: it offers respite from all the noise and the hard sell. By that yardstick, the Cafe at the NCPA has already won the attention of its diners, if nothing else.

The Prime Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Pickles and Greens served on a Sesame bun stars a juicy meat patty, and is served with a serving of slaw on the side


The location, as you may have already heard, is terrific, so much so that we were almost willing to forgive the inefficient service that bordered on hostile towards the end of the evening.

The al fresco eatery is co-partnered by talented chef Farrokh Khambata, who also runs the fine-dining restaurant Amadeus that sits to one side of this 4,000 sq ft eatery.

Closer to the entrance, there's an open kitchen, though you'll be better off not expecting any elaborate omelette flips or flaming woks. For starters, they don't serve omelettes.

The menu lists a few options each of the burger, sandwich, salad, the mini meal and dessert. Post 6 pm, you can choose from a variety of tikkas and kebabs, which they can also serve in a kathi roll for an additional charge.

The Stuffed Tandoori Aloo were circles of hollowed out boiled potatoes stuffed with paneer and cooked on a tandoor. Pics/ SURESH KK


The Prime Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Pickles and Greens served on a Sesame bun (Rs 325) is worthy of special mention.

The juicy patty is served in a blanket of melted cheese over pickles and caramelised onions on sesame bread, and is served alongside a portion of fries and slaw.
 
The serving was not as generous as we might have liked, but that might have more to do with the fact that we liked it as much as we did.

The Silken Tofu with Chilli Black Bean and Greens (Rs 125), which you can choose to have with either rice or noodles, makes for a filling meal, but is far from exceptional. The sandwiches and burgers, or something from the 'Tandoor Se' section would be a better bet.

The location of the caf � is its biggest USP


Given that Khambata also runs the popular Joss known for getting its south-east Asian menu right they score higher  on the Indian menu than they do on the Oriental fare.

Service with a slime?
There's more than a fine line between service that's genuinely warm and service that borders on obsequious. We'll even settle for service that's well-informed. No? How about informed? Aaah! Just missed.

The person who took our order had a tight smile pasted on his face that would, towards the end of the evening, turn into a scowl, and a stern refusal to accept that the ice cream served to us, was not the one that we had requested (after much deliberation we requested for the Prune and Armagnac ice cream and not the Gianduja), which might have caused the confusion in the first place.

Would we head back? Of course. You would too. For the same reason you tune into the one-break movie.
At NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.
 
Call 66223737
Cafe at the NCPA didn't know we were there.
The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals.

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