Ishaaro ishaaro mein
The Lower Parel restaurant with its heart in the right place continues to offer quality food and service by specially-abled staff
There is a language that doesn't need words — a smile, a twinkle in the eye, a hand on the heart to show appreciation. Ishaara by Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah of Stratix Hospitality, in partnership with Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD of Impresario Handmade Restaurants, has an energetic vibe. Issar and Shah formerly owned Madeira and Mine as well as Madeira and Mime in Powai where the inclusive concept was first introduced. There is meaningful eye contact, exchange of smiles and alertness between the staff. Most of the staff is hearing- and speech-impaired but has an unmatchable energy to make us comfortable and feed us well. They listen with their eyes and converse with their hands, the menu explains.
Located on the third floor of Palladium, its décor is intelligent, with clean corners, happy plants, and high on natural lighting. The rush of the mall and its buzz dissipates from our mind and sight. mid-day had visited the restaurant when it launched in July last year. We had relished the Malabar
We are directed to our table and a staff member comes and asks us if it is our first time at the restaurant. He asks us if our server, who is specially-abled, can introduce herself as he explains a few basic signs. Touching the hand to chin is thank you, while ordering signs are explained in the menu. Our server puts her tiny finger and index finger to the chin indicating her name: Uma. We put a hand to our chin and thank her.
Vegetarian tasting thali: Lotus root kofta, green yogurt pickle, roti, Kashmiri tehri biryani and dal haveli
The cucumber and basil drink (R250) from the non-alcoholic cocktail section is bubbly, refreshing and works up an appetite for us, but the smoked sangria (R450) is on the sweeter side and doesn't seem to have been smoked. Along with condiments of fried karela, chhundo (just like our nani's), red garlic chutney yogurt and a masaladar papad mix, we relish the lobster patti samosa (R380) that has a deep-fried, paper-thin crunch and juicy meat inside.
Ishaara gets its sweet and spicy chutneys on point. After drooling over on the pictures and videos of dori kebab (R480), the aroma of the rose smoked pate holds the promise of a good kebab. Having been to Lucknow recently, we are reminded of tunday. This version is skilfully crafted. Take a bow, chef.
Lobster patti samosa
After a meaty start, we opt for the tasting vegetarian thali (R850) which comes with orange and goat's cheese salad, paneer panch phoran, sago tikki, tandoori broccoli, lotus root kofta, dal haveli, Kashmiri tehari biryani, and gajar halwa crumble. The salad is fresh and crunchy, but the oily starters are a let-down — the tandoori broccoli and sago cutlet, which comes stuffed with a purple cabbage mash, is too oily, cloaking any flavouring. The paneer panch phoran is the saving grace. The mains lift the experience with the lotus root kofta cooked in a slow-cooked yoghurt gravy, and the rice is fragrant, cooked together with the veggies like a pulao. The dessert is a stand-out — gajar ka halwa in a crumbly pie. Somebody call the Frenchman to take a bite.
The food at Ishaara is rich, and sticks to Indian dishes without frills and modern drama. Go with a big appetite, and eat with your hands.
Gajar ka halwa crumble
At Ishaara 3rd Floor, No. 462, Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.
Time 12 pm to 12 am
4/4 Exceptional, 3/4 Excellent, 2/4 very Good, 1/4 Good, 0.5/4 Average. Ishaara didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
Cucumber and basil drink
The Guide first reviewed Ishaara in July 2019. We conduct select, anonymous follow-ups to assess maintenance of standards
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