Mumbai Food: Find out how chef Ranveer Brar's new art-and-dine outlet fares
Ranveer Brar's latest all-vegetarian offering housed inside an art gallery in Kamala Mills satisfies with eclectic flavours that are bound to find their way to a carnivore's heart, too
A view of the bar and the gallery space. PICS/BIPIN KOKATE
EGO brick artworks and a well-stocked bar gleaming under snow-white lights welcomed us into the new art-and-dine outlet, TAG (The Amateur Gallery) located in Kamala Mills. Post a long day at work, we were tempted to plonk ourselves on the polished wooden bar stools and feast our eyes on the quirky art over wine and cocktails. Instead, keen to be where all the action was, we headed to the second level of the duplex that houses celebrity chef Ranveer Brar's new all-vegetarian restaurant, GourmArt Kitchen.
From Japan to Jaffna
A ceiling-to-floor bookshelf with titles on food and design, and kitschy neon-hued chairs vied for our attention in the 20-seater brightly lit space, with a semi-open kitchen. However, we focused on the menu featuring only soups, small plates and desserts, amazed by the variety of world-inspired options like Mock Duck Vindaloo, Konyakkuyaki (a Japanese street food with Idiyapam twist), an Awadhi-style palm heart and jackfruit biryani and Charred Sri Lankan Eggplant with Jaffna spice.
Still Liquid Brie Brulee
We began with Afghan Mantu (Rs 350), a small plate marked with an RR tag (Ranveer Recommends), which s a take on the traditional beef-stuffed dumplings popular in central Asian cuisines. The dumplings arrived on a bed of tomato-braised lentils, topped with smoked yoghurt in a glass jar. Though wrapped and steamed to perfection, the paneer stuffing was slightly chewy. However, we were smitten by spoonfuls of warm-and-cold lentils and yoghurt that caressed our taste buds with tart, tangy and a hint of lovely, smoked flavours, interjected by beautiful sweetness from the beady pomegranates that popped in our mouth.
Mushroom or meat?
While we skipped the cocktails as we found them pricey (R900 for most), we tried Honey, Green Tea (Rs 225), a sweet-and-sour iced tea that was just about average. Instead, we picked another RR-tagged dish, Mushroom Galawat (Rs 350). If we'd been blindfolded, we would have never guessed that the melt-in-your-mouth Lucknowi-style kebabs were made of mushroom and not minced meat. So soft that it was difficult to pick them with a fork; we mopped up the richly spiced, umami-flavoured (a signature taste associated with the meaty version) kebabs with crispy sour dough crostinis, amidst bites of lacchha pyaaz (onion rings) soaked in buttermilk, which accompanied the dish.
Then, we ordered The 'Still Liquid' Brie Brulee (Rs 400), an eclectic, savoury take on the French dessert. Comprising baked brie, rose-berry biscotti and lemon pate de fruit, it turned out to be a sensory delight as the sharp, salty flavours of the creamy French cheese perfectly balanced the zesty lemon pate (jam-like consistency) and toasted, sweet and nutty biscotti. Needless to say, it was the star of the meal.
Though stuffed, we couldn't resist 70% Dark chocolate-Beetroot-Raspberry-Sweet Fennel-Olives (Rs 300), a dessert that won us over with the earthy, bittersweet flavours of chocolate and raspberry complemented by slightly pickled beetroot and tangy olive — two ingredients that rarely make it to this section.
As we stepped out of the venue, we realised that this had been a rare all-vegetarian meal where we hadn't missed, or even given a thought to ordering meat. And for that highly satiating dining experience, we have Brar to thank.
TIME: 7 pm to 1 am (last order at 11.30 pm)
AT: Kamala Mills Compound, Lower Parel. CALL 24972424 (only by reservation)
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Watch video: Chef Ranveer Brar shares his unique recipes at a new Mumbai eatery