Mumbai food: Bhaijaanz' newly opened Cafe Bandra offers hodgepodge of cuisines
A new restaurant pays a half-hearted ode to the hip suburb but dishes out fare that will have you asking for second helpings
Trio Fungi Risotto
Just when you thought you had enough of nostalgic tributes being shoved into the menus and interiors of city restaurants, along comes another one. The newly-opened Café Bandra is by the team behind Bhaijaanz, an eatery launched to honour Bandra boy — Salman Khan. This time, the spotlight is on the hip suburb.
We head over on a weeknight to see how it stacks up against eateries that are constantly mushrooming in this part of the city. Once inside, our eyes are drawn to a wall with installations of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and a map of Bandra, made with screws. The choice of material is lost on us, but we appreciate the effort.
The twinkly-eyed waiter taking our order has the enthusiasm of a teenager. But he doesn't hover around. We sigh in relief.
Prawn to impress
The menu is a hodgepodge of cuisines. Tandoori and fusion fare sit beside Italian and French dishes, and we're not sure how any of them pay homage to Bandra.
Also, there's no alcohol on the menu. While sipping on a-touch-too-sweet mocktail, Pina Colada (Rs 179), we try Coriander Relish Sweet Potato (Rs 249) and Sriracha Prawns (Rs 385). The former appetiser is thoughtfully executed. Sour cream is piped on top of medallions of the sweet tuber, which are coated in a rich coriander pesto. The flavours are balanced.
The prawn dish looks deceptively simple, so we're unprepared for the explosion of flavours that hits our palate when we pop one. The crustaceans are de-shelled and grilled, lending them a light smokiness. They are glazed with Sriracha sauce, making them at once spicy, tangy and sweet. Both dishes hit the spot, but we wish the portion sizes were larger.
Rice to meet you
We spot a risotto in the mains section, and order it immediately. There's no better yardstick to measure a restaurant's worth by. Several things can go wrong while making risotto -- the rice could get overcooked, or remain undercooked; become stodgy... we could go on. The Trio Fungi Risotto (R349) manages to walk this tightrope without missing a step. The flavours of chunky bits of mushroom (porcini, button and shiitake) shine through the not-too-creamy base.
The Spaghetti Bhuna Gosht (R419), meanwhile, is fusion food gone wrong. The pieces of boneless lamb are juicy, but the spice-heavy gravy paired with the spaghetti makes us feel like we're nibbling on homemade Maggi.
Although the Tiramisu (R219) is sufficiently creamy, the sponge layers are dry, and missing the hit of coffee associated with it.
Would we return? Certainly.
The offerings may not be entirely unique, but it's the execution that matters.
Time 11 am to 1 am At 85 Luis Belle, near Toto's Garage, junction of 16th and 30th Road, Bandra West.
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