The cuisine contest hots up

Hometown Cafe opens its doors at Andheri and adds Malaysian flavours to the rapidly growing list of cuisines offered by city restaurants

After a successful run at Juhu, Hometown Cafe has ventured into Andheri with a beautiful ambience and top notch service and food. The decor is a modern Indo-Western mix, with interesting wall hangings and bright lights. There is an open seating area, a pub inside, and the restaurant itself. It is swarming with mosquitoes outside and every time the door to the restaurant opens, a few sneak in. Insist that your date does not wear a short skirt.

Hometown Cafe
Food: Authentic
Service: Top-notch
Ambience: Modern

The menu is exhaustive, with pictures for each dish, which is very helpful. The pictures also make it appear as though there is plenty to choose from. The cuisine is an eclectic mix of Mexican, Continental, and Malaysian.
There are a few places that offer authentic Malaysian fare in Mumbai. The cuisine is a culinary diversity originating from the multi-ethnic population of Malay, Indian, Eurasian, Chinese, Nyonya and the indigenous people of Borneo. So if you fancy the mix, you won't be disappointed.

Prawns in Sambal Sauce and Pussy Foot. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar

We begin with the drinks -- the rather provocatively titled Pussy Foot (Rs 135) and Silk Panties (Rs 300). The Pussy Foot is an interesting fruit mocktail that takes on the feel of many of the fizz cocktail combinations. A super mix of orange, lemon and lime, with some soda. The Silk Panties comes with vodka and peach schnapps.

Delicious, but not what we expected. The Grilled Chicken in Teochew Sauce (Rs 189) is quite a surprise. The cuisine of Teochew bears more similarities to that of Fujian cuisine than Malaysian but it works either ways.

The dish is a pleasant surprise as the garlic chilly shrimp paste sauce uses flavouring that is less heavy-handed than most other cuisines and depends much on the freshness and quality of the ingredients for taste and flavour. In this case, Hometown Cafe hits a homerun.

An interesting item that caught our eyes was the Prawns in Sambal Sauce (Rs 329). Sambal is a chilli-based sauce, which is normally used as a condiment. Sambals are popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the southern Philippines and Sri Lanka. It is typically made from a variety of chilli peppers and is sometimes a substitute for fresh chillies. The prawns tossed in the sauce are gourmet-like, but lacked the spice that the Sambal is usually associated with.

The Nasi Kunyit Curry
(Rs 159) was next on our list. There are many variations of chicken curry in traditional Malaysian cuisine but chicken curry with potatoes served with nasi kunyit (coconut milk and turmeric-infused sticky rice) is possibly the most common chicken curry in Malaysia. Hometown Cafe whips up a great version of this dish. It's like home made chicken curry -- and that's a good thing.

The only continental item we tried was the Fillet O Hometown (Rs 269). A prime-cut of beef, served flavourful and satisfying, despite its slightly overlooked edges. The steak comes covered in sauce. We wish it came with a special steak knife (like it should in any specialised restaurant) and an option to lather it with steak sauce at will. There are a few vegetarian offerings on the menu, but largely, this is a place for meat-eaters.

At: Oberoi Tower, opposite Tanishq Showroom, Laxmi Industrial Estate, Andheri (W).
Call: 67666752

Cafe Casa Mia didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals

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