Mumbai Food: Zorawar Kalra goes cuisine agnostic
Zorawar Kalra. Pics/Suresh Karkera
"They're beautiful, right? Go ahead, touch them," propositions Zorawar Kalra, his eyes glinting with child-like enthusiasm as he invites us to get a feel of the massive rock-cut stones that stud the walls of his soon-to-open outfit, Kode, in Kamala Mills. The restaurateur sent a team to a quarry near Udaipur in Rajasthan to source 40 tonnes of these marvellous pieces.
A wall with stone sourced from Rajasthan
Tokyo-based architect Masafumi Sanada has juxtaposed the stones with refined glass panels and steel grills that feature in the island bar, open kitchen and seating area. The result: a 155-seater that looks edgy yet evolved, a concept that also spills into the menu of the 'cuisine agnostic' freestyle bar and kitchen.
Forgotten Petal Sour
Campari soap, anyone?
If you think Kalra's 'high octane' MasalaBar is progressive, wait till you meet Kode's Forgotten Petal Sour (cocktails priced between Rs 450 and Rs 700). The concoction arrives plated as a three-course meal with a soap that acts as a starter! It's on the signature cocktails menu, helmed by liquid chef Shishir Rane. The drink menu also includes a list of 130 whiskies from around the world, along with wines, gin and vodka.
We bite into the wobbly blush-hued soap infused with Campari and orange zest that greets us with citrus-ey flavours. We follow it up with a sip of the main - a potent gin-based take on Whiskey Sour. Then, we crush a rose, freshly dipped in liquid nitrogen, on a bed of cotton-soft candyfloss and relish it as dessert over lively Electro Swing music playing in the background.
The drama that accompanies every cocktail is expected, but enjoyable. That's because it helps accentuate flavours instead of overpowering them - whether it's bechamel sauce that adds a creamy texture and balances the tartness of a reimagined Bloody Mary or a red wine-and-mango sorbet that caresses our palate before we try a strong, whiskey-based Old Fashioned.
From a section called To Ponder, we love Toragashi And Garlic Olives (Rs 180) and Seafood Ceviche (Rs 525). The former packs in tangy-salty flavours in moist and juicy olives marinated with a Japanese spice mix and served with chive-laced crème fraîche. The icy Peruvian ceviche warms our soul with zesty truffle and yuzu dressing drizzled on tuna and hanami.
Massive Restaurants' trusted chef Saurabh Udinia helms the kitchen at Kode. From tacos and quesadillas to burgers, gnocchi and ramen, the menu offers flavours from across the globe. We spot Homemade Churros (Rs 295) in the Small Plates section. Served with a creamy goat cheese mousse, the airy, golden fried barrels make for a great appetiser.
Next, a stone mortar and pestle appears on our table with a plate of raw avocados, lime and salt. Udinia scoops the flesh out from South American imports and mashes them perfectly with the other ingredients to create Fresh Guacamole (Rs 450), a creamy dip we enjoy with beetroot crisps.
18-Hour Cooked Lamb Shanks
Blue cheese burst
From the mains, Potato Gnocchi (Rs 425) comprises cheesy, melt-in-your-mouth carb-heavy potato cubes served with roasted pumpkin sauce and crunchy edamame and asparagus. Next, we discover sharp tasting fried balls of blue cheese that elevate the flavours of fall-off-the-bone 18-Hour Cooked Lamb Shanks (Rs 525), doused in peppery jus. Though satiated, we're unable to resist a deconstructed rendition of Black Forest (Rs 350) with maraschino cherries.
As we step out, we realise a torrential downpour has flooded parts of the city. Do we care? Not really. We're still in the afterglow of our chill zone. In the urban dictionary, that's what Kode means.
OPENS ON: June 19, 7 pm to 1 am
AT: Gate No 4, Kamala Mills, Lower Parel.
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