Bird Song opened with a lot of goodwill. Co-owner Jennifer Mallick is the person behind the delicious Electra organic bakery and the menu here was prepared in consultation with nutritionist Kavita Mukhi, founder of the popular farmers’ market.
So when we walk in to the just-opened restaurant in a narrow lane off Hill Road, late on a Saturday morning, we expect the very best. Maybe that is the problem -- we expect too much.
The place is done up beautifully. A quaint lane, wooden doors and windows, antique wooden and steel furniture, unpolished and rugged walls and the smell of freshly baked bread greet us, as the old wooden doors swing open to admit us.
Let’s be fair upfront though -- Bird Song is just about a week-old and things haven’t really been set up yet. The menu is half ready, the staff is still being trained and Mallick and co-owner Ashish Madan are always at hand to make sure every complaint is dealt with quickly.
We order a slice of Vegetable Quiche, a thin crust Margerita Pizza, an Egg Salad Sandwich and a Coconut Water to begin with. While we wait for the food, we chat with Mallick to learn that the menu is being beefed up even though everything will remain organic. The Coconut Water arrives, with a straw sticking out of the coconut. Of course it’s pure coconut water served in a real coconut, but Rs 60 for a coconut is a bit steep. The single slice of quiche (Rs 120) is warm and soft with the vegetables herbed just right. The pizza (Rs 150) is average and while my six-year-old co-reviewer gobbles down two slices, he agrees with me that it could be better.
The egg salad sandwich is disappointing. Two small slices of organic multigrain bread, a slice of lettuce, a thin layer of butter and a boiled egg sliced over it. No frills, not really tasty and pinches a bit at Rs 80.
But while some of the dishes that emerge from the live kitchen, does not quite live up to our high expectations, the savouries and cakes sure do. The orange brownie (Rs 80) is soft, not-too-sweet and goes delightfully with a cup of tea in the evening. The carrot cake (Rs 80) also scores. I am no carrot lover but the cake now has a new fan. The cranberry cookies (Rs 60) are crunchy and do have genuine cranberries.
Bird Song scores when it comes to an old world charm, lovely hosts, healthy food and cool deserts. But its sandwiches and pizzas can do better and surely the service can speed up a bit. While Mallick assures us that by the time this review reaches readers, the staff would have been trained to be faster, chef Ambar Samtani, who has just joined here tells us that Bird Song is about to introduce new yoghurt-based juices, yummy new sandwiches (they bake their own bread) and more of organic food. We trust a chef with 15 years of experience and all those who are regulars at the farmer’s market or Electra will also keep the faith. Let’s hope Bird Song lives up to it.