How often do you get to dig into a Peruvian dish in Mumbai? Or, eat a dish called Pollo ala plancha con salsa de champinones? Café Aylanto in Versova, which opened on April 3, offers a menu that tickles you – my fellow diner and I attempt to rattle off the tongue twisting names menu several times and fail miserably.
Café Aylanto serves world cuisine and no alcohol. The eatery is flanked by other outlets that serve liquor, yet owner Afzal Kochra seems comfortable with his decision. The call to not serve alcohol is just an extension of his religious sensibilities, he tells us during the tasting.
However, we are far from disappointed, given the choice of mocktails. We start off our meal with Mi amor (Rs 150), a concoction of grape juice, black currant crush, black salt and white pepper, Sangrita (Rs 150), with tomato juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, honey, salt, black pepper, green chilli and the lime and mint-based Blushing caipiroska (Rs 160). The drinks are refreshing, although out personal favourite is the Sangrita, with the tanginess of the tomato juice and flavour of the green chillies cutting through the drink.
We continue our meal with Kjebapchinja (Rs 380), Jujeh kebab (Rs 340) and Aphrodite (Rs 240). The aroma of the Kjebapchinja is intoxicating -- the minced chicken and lamb finger kebab is marinated with ingredients such as onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, spices and chili. The meat is flavoursome, perfectly cooked and tender. Our knife sinks deliciously into the finger kebab at the slightest effort. While Jujeh kebab also impresses, the Aphrodite lives up to its name and is truly a thing of beauty. Pieces of chicken are tossed in olive oil, parsley, onion, garlic, cream, parmesan cheese, green chillies and served in white sauce. The dish is spicy, salty and cheesy all at once -- the flavours are incredibly well balanced. We also have the Veg Souvlaki (R240) and Funghi Repieni (Rs 220). The former, a Greek mix vegetarian kebab of cottage cheese, zucchini, mushroom, tomatoes, marinated with olive oil, Greek herbs and spices and yogurt although delicious, does not rate too high on our innovation scale. The Funghi Repieni, button mushrooms stuffed with cheese, jalapenos and oregano, is crispy. The Huevos Cabreados (Rs 170), a small mountain of fries topped by a bulls eye egg lightly garnished with red chilli, is delicious -- but if you are not a fan of fries, avoid.
Interiors of Cafe Aylanto. Pics/ Satyajit Desai
Next we have the Peruvian dish Papas a la Huancaina bi-colour (Rs 230) where marinated pieces of potato are deep fried. It is then covered with hard boiled eggs and served with yellow and red sauces. The flavours of the sauces are so cleverly introduced into the dish that they are subtle, yet distinct. The creamy yellow sauce is spicy thanks to the cayenne pepper and the red sauce, peppery.
In the Pollo ala plancha con salsa de champinones (R350), we like the grilled chicken breast that is placed delicately on a bed of peppered rice, served with mushroom sauce. We love the creaminess and richness of the sauce which goes deliciously well with the flavoursome rice. We end our meal with Tiramisu (Rs 250) and the Nutella Sea Salt cookie Cups (Rs 190). We love the tiramisu, but love the cupcake even more. A thick layer of melted Nutella chocolate is sandwiched between the cupcake and chunks of cookie. Bite into it, and you are hit by the taste of sea salt and delicious chocolate.
Café Aylanto aims to bring the best of world cuisine to your plate and on that count, it succeeds. Will we ever go back to this eatery? Absolutamente!
We cannot rate the expereince as it was by a preview
Where: Café Aylanto, Plot no 18, Aram Nagar Plot 1, JP Road, Versova, Andheri West