I hear of Serafina’s new executive lunch from a CEO friend who had dropped in quite by accident, the day the new menu was launched. So two days later, during a shopping trip at High Street Phoenix (Lower Parel), I walk into the spacious and brightly decorated Italian restaurant on the third floor of Palladium, not quite knowing what to expect.
This is the New York-based restaurant’s first outlet in Mumbai and I am surprised to see at least six tables occupied by European or American diners. But this is a good sign. people don’t just eat at restaurants because it’s a name they are familiar with back home. They come only if they like the original!
We ask for the special lunch menu. The one-page menu has options from soup, salad, pizza and entrees and we can choose any three. But what strikes me immediately are a few curious items on the list. What is the D Chopra salad? Or is this an Italian dish misspelt? The manager explains that author Deepak Chopra is a regular at the NYC branch and this is a “salad tribute” to him!
We promptly order it. The mixed greens, pears, cherry tomatoes, corn, asparagus, and walnuts salad with lemon vinaigrette dressing is light and healthy. An ideal start for a hot summer’s day lunch. We also try a bit of the Avocado and Baby Shrimps Salad, which comes with arugula, grape tomatoes and cannellini beans in a champagne mustard sauce. Both get our thumbs up.
The pizzas on the other hand are decent but nothing to write home about. The Margherita V.I.P (meant for important diners we assume) has imported Italian fior di latte mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil and the Alla Norcina comes with mozzarella, mushrooms and spicy chicken sausage. Unless you are starving, or would have pizza everytime you enter an Italian restaurant, we recommend that you give them a pass and opt for the soup of the day to go with the salad. There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options here and we love the minestrone soup that came our way.
Just like the salads and the pizzas, there are four vegetarian and three non vegetarian options in the entrees or the pasta section too. We choose the Rigatoni Alla Bolognese, a mouth-watering pasta with the homemade lamb Bolognese. This one genuinely melts in the mouth. Well cooked. Not an ounce of extra salt. And very well presented.
The vegetarian option too gets the vote of approval. The Spaghetti Aglio E Olio Al Pacino (the Hollywood superstar loves his pasta this way) with olive oil, crushed hot red pepper, garlic and parmigiano is gorged on even by us hardcore carnivores. Though I am not sure if the name influenced us in any way.
We are already full, but a bite of the Chicken Breast Paillard (organic chicken breast served with arugula and fresh tomatoes) shows Serafina genuinely has good verity on offer for the special lunch menu.
Executive lunch menus are not a new phenonmenon by any means. But more often than not, these are set menus or at best give diners an option of choosing between two dishes. But a choice of two appetisers, six salads, five pizzas and seven main courses, is truly amazing. Almost as much of a draw for me as the fact that the chefs at Serafina clearly know their Penne Primavera and Mista Verdes well!
While a regular meal for two at Serafina can easily set you back by Rs 3,000 (without alcohol), the special three course lunch comes at a mere Rs 750 plus tax per person.
Do we hear whoops of joy from happy foodies?
SMD reviews anonymously and pays for its meals
At: Palladium, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel
Verdict: Good value for money