Mumbai Food: Lower Parel's fashion-themed restaurant offers healthy Italian food
South Mumbai's fashionable bunch have a new restaurant to schmooze at. Here’s a glimpse of the calorie-conscious menu
It's Christmas Day and combined with the season-end sales, this Lower Parel mall is packed with shoppers trying to find the best deal. It feels apt that The Runway Project (TRP, second after The Bandra Project), from The Project series of restaurants by Pizzaexpress finds a home here.
Themed on fashion, the interiors are designed by The Busride Design Studio. The entrance has a vintage-style window display, which like a boutique will showcase seasonal fashion. Unlike the facade, the interiors are glam — a high shine bar and tabletops, velour seats in the private dining section, Art Deco hanging lights, and graphic art prints suspended from the ceiling. The piece de resistance is a deconstructed handbag installation mounted on the wall.
Scallops and Mash
With the walkway designed to double up as a ramp, TRP makes for an ideal venue to host a collection launch soiree (it has already hosted a party that honoured designer Hemant Trivedi). even the staff uniforms have been designed by Narendra Kumar.
The menu, helmed by chef Vicky Ratnani, is mainly Italian with a strong focus on healthy portions and fresh ingredients. It will change, as do the seasons of fashion, with the current one being an autumn winter 17/18 menu. Spiced fox nuts or makhanas are served for free with stylish cocktails. The health focus even trims their fabled pizzas, made in the Calabria style, with the pizza centre replaced by a salad. The bar snacks include non-greasy portions that are meals on their own, the purpose being to satisfy those with a small appetite, who survive on bar nibbles for the entire night while making small talk. These include scallops and mash ('650) served on cauliflower truffle mash, and the creamy artichoke and asparagus paco ('250), a pizza taco topped with beans, feta and salsa.
The cocktails, designed by Varun Sudhakar, are as stylish as they are tasty. Our favourite is the show stopper ('775), a negroni made with arabica-infused tequila and a hint of citrus. A perfect blend of coffee and orange juice, can we have this for breakfast, we ask ourselves. The espresso martini twist ('650) has a small dose of hazelnut as a ribbon bow that nicely packs all the ingredients together. Chocolate ('650) is like liquid dessert with bold bourbon, which reminds us of David Gandy from Dolce and Gabbana ads.
Artichoke and Asparagus Paco
The flirty size zero salad ('450) brings us back to reality with its balsamic-cured watermelon, feta, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, roasted broccoli and leeks. The small plates are a must-try. Chef Jerry Thomas brings in tubetti ('550), which comprises silken milk-braised and chargrilled squid and chorizo, finished with tangy tomato and basil. The imitation ('550), a mock duck dish with beautiful turmeric yoghurt, spicy barley, chickpeas and other veggies, is a great balance of textures.
Among the mains, their salad pizzas make for a perfect meal where the cheese won't make you feel guilty. Thomas recommends padana ('550) made with goat cheese, mozzarella, tomatoes, caramelised onion, spinach, red onions and garlic oil. Thomas tells us that their Hawaiian pizza ('550, smaller in size than their usual pizzas) often makes for his dinner. We pick the light seafood risotto ('550), which, though loaded with lobster, prawn and squid, is not overwhelming.
Restaurants often tilt towards gimmicks with the food being forgotten, but The Runway Project grasps the essence of serving an image-conscious clientele, where the menu and interiors combine seamlessly.
Opens Today: 12 pm to 1 am
At: Second floor, North Sky Zone, High street Phoenix
Cyrus Broacha and Kunal Vijayakar on a quest to find the best food in Mumbai!