The fake books lining a shelf in a corner of the room outside the entrance to this restaurant was the first warning. The faux-artificial-turf (is that a double negative?) tablemats should have served as an ominous second. The third was probably the upside-down flowerpots that hung from the ceiling, which we chose to dismiss as a charming, if quirky, detail at the Waterstones Bar and Grill.
The flavours of the spinach, pine nuts and goat’s cheese in the Sambouseks worked in tandem, but were let down by an oily phyllo pastry
Before we go any further, allow us to clarify that we were looking forward to our evening at this Mars Enterprises-owned property. Why? Because there was a time when we were among those happily seduced by the neon lights at the now-dead Just Around the Corner, and another time when Friday nights meant we would be making our way to that other Mars-owned establishment Not Just Jazz By The Bay. So we had reason to believe, if nothing else, that our meal would be a memorable one. Memorable it was, but not for the reasons we imagined it would.
On that particularly muggy night, we chose to forsake our love for the fairy lights outside, and be seated in air-conditioned comfort, instead. We laughed at the previously mentioned bright green tablemats. So quirky, we chirped. We giggled over the flowerpots. So unusual, we thought. We ignored the short menu and the tall prices. So standard, we assumed.
The Sambouseks (Rs 490) with tangy remoulade had an interesting, though not unusual, filling of spinach, cheese and pine nuts, enclosed in phyllo pastry.
The Chocolate and Orange Mousse was light; the flavour of the chocolate, however, was overpowered by the orange
The gorgeous filling oozed decadence, but the oiliness of the pastry remained on the palate, reminding us of a stale samosa that had been re-fried in oil that was initially not warm enough. The remoulade, which is similar to a tartar sauce, only dragged the dish further down, making the oiliness of the dish cling longer to the palate.
We requested that the Grilled Tenderloin Steak (Rs 600) be served medium-rare. What we got instead was a burnt steak that was still raw on the inside. No amount of creamy mashed potato, crisp asparagus (though these were far from crisp) and bearnise sauce would be enough to rescue that.
The Vegetarian Moussaka (Rs 450) tasted dry and flavourless. Two spoons and we had to set our spoons down. We had given up. Almost. The Chocolate and Orange Mousse (Rs 320) was possibly the only saving grace of an otherwise disappointing experience.