Finding the sweet spot
A new Asian diner on Hill Road is serving satisfyingly good food at relatively affordable prices. Just in case you're looking for a break from the shopping
There's a special kind of service that eateries situated within shopping hubs extend. Imagine leaving your home with the idea to splurge. You visualise yourself making a grand entry back home from Hill Road carrying a clutch of bags like you were some desi version of Rebecca Bloomwood, but the spree ends abysmally having found nothing that suits your taste. Such a terrible anti-climax can only be healed by a good meal, and preferably at a diner nearby.
To that end, both Bandra and Colaba are perfect, with an intriguing mix of shopping and eating offerings. Now, adding to the chain of restaurants on Hill Road, is a new Asian supper and lunch space called Shibuii. A short flight of stairs and a lively wallpaper with a split-palm-leaves print lead you to the first floor, where the dining space is. The ambience is classy, with grey, teal and ochre lounge chairs, a wooden ceiling interspersed with black glass and fake plants, and mood lighting, all lending a pleasantly tenebrous aura.
The menu is a potpourri of several Asian cuisines, so there's sushi from Japan, Thai curries, spring rolls and the Korean kimchi, too. Such a hodgepodge of offerings could mean two things, depending on what kind of an eater you are — a high-browed critic sniffing the hints of indecision or an open-minded foodie looking to have fun. But being placed somewhere comfortably between the two types, is a wise option, which allows you to make an informed choice, after finding the proof of the pudding.
In this case, it lay in an array of dishes, beginning with a plate of Korean honey chilli potato (Rs 180). It arrives rather quickly and a bite confirms that though palatable, there's genuinely nothing Korean about it. It's a regular honey chilli preparation that tastes good on the whole, but would have done well to balance the sweetness with a little bit more soy sauce.
Muai Thai chicken. Pic/Suman Mahfuz Quazi
The next dish is a serving of pork dumplings (Rs 300) that come in a bamboo steamer, exuding an inviting aroma. The attentive server who suggested the dish is right to call it juicy, for a slight incision made with the tip of the fork inundates the plate. The dumplings are supple and the meat is succulent, setting the mood for the next treat — crunchy prawn uramaki (Rs 590). It comes in an elaborate platter, looking exquisite and fun. The sushi, however, is not even close to the versions available at other Japanese eateries in the city. It's tasty, to say the most, but doesn't wow the palate.
For the mains, there's the pea butterfly garlic fried rice (Rs 350), a magnificently blue plate of rice, which in itself is lacklustre, but tastes fantastic when paired with the muai thai chicken (Rs 350). Those with a low threshold for spice, should stay away from this dish, but it's a match made in heaven for those who fall in the "sir, thoda spicy bana de na" category of people. A mélange of tender chicken pieces, cooked in a piquant broth, this Thai recipe also features peanuts and cashews. The ginger-y and refreshing lemongrass and galangal tini (Rs 250) helps wash the hotness down, setting the stage for dessert — deep fried chocolate rolls (Rs 250). The rolls are crunchy cannellonis that burst into a chocolate-y goodness, and pairs well with the humble vanilla ice cream it's served with.
Now, you tell us, dear reader, a failed shopping spree or not — wouldn't an absolute luxury like this leave you in a sweet spot?
At: Shibuii, Hill Road, Bandra West.
Time: 12 pm to 4 pm; 7 pm to 12 am
Exceptional, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Average.
Shibuii didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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