A change for the better

Updated: Jul 22, 2019, 14:45 IST | Shunashir Sen

The F&B scene at Bandra's ONGC Colony is always shifting, but a new Indian eatery is a decent addition to this eat street

A change for the better
Black rice lamb pesarattu. Pic/ Ashish Raje

FOOD/ GOOD
AMBIANCE/ BRIGHT
SERVICE/ GREAT
COST/FAIR
VERDICT/ 1/4

ONGC Colony at Bandra Reclamation is a food hub that's like a chameleon, because the place changes colour all the time. It's a straight road lined with restaurants and pubs on one side. But some of them shut and new ones open, leaving the place in a constant state of flux. Only Candies in one corner has survived the test of time like the Rock of Gibraltar. New York City Diner, right next door, bit the bullet earlier this year after a short but commendable stint. Before that, iBar closed operations, breaking the heart of the city's indie musicians. Even a mighty chain like Doolally threw its hands up. It can be an unforgiving location, but restaurateurs still hedge a bet and put their money on the place, just like the people behind And It Was Called Yellow did last month.

Those who know the band Coldplay will recognise the name as the final line in the chorus from one of their hit songs. But there are two sorts of fans of the band. There are those who — like a football fan supporting a team that's destined for relegation — have stood by the act's evolution as a path-breaking indie outfit to becoming a mainstream group. And then there are those who have shifted loyalties crying, "Sellout!" It means that the proprietors, knowingly or unknowingly, took a gamble while deciding on the name. Patrons inclined towards music will either scoff at it, or give it a thumbs up.

Kashmiri lotus stem yakhni with khasta roti
Kashmiri lotus stem yakhni with khasta roti

Either way, the place seems nice enough at first sight. An al fresco area is lying unused with the chairs turned up. Inside, a bright area that's less yellow than anticipated, has three tables occupied on a Friday night. I take up a corner seat and peruse the menu while waiting for a friend. It's a sparse affair with a mix of straight-up Indian dishes and others that would suit a person who came from Europe and settled down here (for example quinoa and wild mushroom haleem). But as a Bengali from Kolkata, the jhalmuri puchka shots (Rs 195) seem like a must-try. So, an order is placed for that, and for an added appetiser of black rice lamb pesarattu (Rs 395) and Kashmiri lotus stem yakhni with khasta roti (Rs 395) for the mains. The drinks comprise an excellent homemade aam panna (Rs 95) that leaves the real fruit behind when it's down to the dregs, and a classic mojito (Rs 395) that's, well, like any mojito that a friend of yours who's competent with cocktails would make at home.

Jhalmuri
Jhalmuri puchka shots

Now, Bengalis are particular about their puchka and jhalmuri. The water has to be perfectly tangy. The potato stuffing has to be the right amount of teekha, or "jhaal". And God help the roadside vendor if the puffed rice in the jhalmuri becomes soggy too fast. In that regard, it must be said that the starter here isn't as authentic as what you would get on Kolkata's streets. But, it tastes good. Each puchka is a pop of flavour that explodes in your mouth.

Pesarattu, meanwhile, is a dosa-like crêpe that originates from Andhra Pradesh. But the version at this eatery substitutes the lentils it's normally made of, with black rice. The usual upma stuffing, too, is replaced with a Kerala-style lamb stew that's thick in texture. The combination works well, and is so filling that there's little room left for the yakhni that's yet to arrive.

This yakhni isn't authentic either. The gravy isn't as light as what you'd get in Srinagar. But does it score in terms of taste like the jhalmuri puchka shots do? Not quite. It's passable at best; we'll skip this dish when we go back to this joint.

And it was called Yellow

And chances are that we will return. It was an overall pleasant experience. The staff is attentive and courteous. The interiors are inoffensive, though a bit too bright for people who prefer a dim vibe. But there's genuine effort in ensuring that the food is served with efficient care. So, while we wouldn't go as far as to call the place Paradise, an early Coldplay hit, we wouldn't call it Warning Sign either, one of the band's slower tracks.

At And It Was Called Yellow, ONGC Colony, Reclamation, Bandra West.
Time 12 pm to 1 am
Call 61736108

4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE

And it Was Called Yellow didn’t know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals

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