With its interesting, fusion Indian fare in a kitsch setting, a new Shivaji Park restaurant makes for a quirky addition to the central suburb
Michael Jackson in Mughal-e-Azam-esque garb of Shahzada Salim is staring down at us. Overhead, a ring of brass bells threatens to start pealing every time a gust of wind surges in as the main door opens. The wall behind us is encrusted with huge pearls and other assorted coloured glass stones.
Khow suey samosa
Then, suddenly, the singer seated at the small stage beside our table breaks into a fusion version of Raag Malhar that seems appropriate, as the rain is pouring buckets outside. And no, in case you were wondering, we aren't alluding to some sort of substance-induced trip we recently went on. In fact, we weren't drinking anything more potent than water at that point.
Tarbooz without booze
We were simply there for a lunch to check out the brand new Tanatan restaurant that recently replaced the popular China Bistro in the Shivaji Park neighbourhood of Dadar.
Desi-baroque. That's the best way to describe this rather over-the-top restaurant with its embellished walls and intricately carved, back-lit jaali screens. All this combined with a menu that's replete with an array of modern Indian dishes and a few fusion eats thrown in.
Take for example the innovative and delicious vegetarian khow suey samosa (Rs 320) that arrived at the table placed in six shot glasses filled with a tangy coconut milk- and galangal-based sauce. The wackily named tarbooz without booze (Rs 255) — a fragrant watermelon and star anise mocktail — had a nice tart lemony finish to it and was the perfect foil to our robustly spiced mains.
With its crisp, wafer-like accompanying bread giving it a great textural element, the Mangalorean kori roti bowl (Rs 574) was generously portioned with juicy chicken bits enrobed in a bright orange chilli-coconut gravy. Reminding us of a well-made haleem and prefect for a rainy day, the cooker wali gosht khichdi (Rs 570) was the ultimate comfort food dish. Each gooey mouthful of spicy lentils and rice was enhanced with the umami taste of tender chunks of mutton that also gave the preparation some meaty heft.
However, we weren't entirely convinced of the freshness of the dal Bukhara (Rs 340) that though edible, tasted a bit off with none of the expected smoky, buttery goodness to it. Even the quinoa rosemary kulcha (Rs 110) that we used to mop up the dal with was a big disappointment with its burnt taste overshadowing any hint of delicate rosemary. That aberration aside, we'd happily go back to Tanatan for seconds; maybe even thirds.
At: Tanatan, Vidya Bhavan, Opposite Sena Bhavan, Shivaji Park, Dadar West.
Timing: 12 pm to 1.30 am
4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE
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