Off the table
A spanking new Bandra eatery doesn't thrill with taste, but compensates with generous portions, pocket-friendly prices and a leafy patio
A wise man once said, there's a sandwich for everyone,” says mid-day reader, Bandra resident and sandwich enthusiast Sean Rourke, as we make our way to the newly launched The Family Table. And in a city where deliciousness and convenience are often packaged between slices of bread at a variety of price points, the prospect of a pocket-friendly sandwich joint located in the heart of Bandra was, in equal parts, intriguing and exciting. Run by the family that also operates Joseph's Cold Storage and Joseph's Chinese Kitchen (a Bandra landmark, located just across the street), the eatery claims to dish out a comprehensive assortment of fresh, pocket-friendly fare.
When we got there at about noon on a sunny weekday morning, only two of the several white tables scattered around the leafy, open-air patio were full. The counters are well-manned by eager and helpful staff, and neatly lined with the day's offerings. Manager Valentine Pereira informed us that if we chose to eat in, the staff would prepare our order right then. And so, that's what we did, sipping on a tall glass of iced Americano (R110) and a fresh lime soda (R60) as we waited. Both, we noted, were unremarkable in taste but quite well-priced and served generously. That observation also proved to be a bellwether for the rest of our meal.
We began with the bacon and ham (R120) and the corn, spinach and cheese (R120) quiches. Both had a light, crumbly crust and the bacon and ham version earned itself a special mention for also having sautéed spinach in the filling. The vegetarian variant didn't fare as well — the flavours were bland and typical of the generic “continental” fare that is often served at wedding buffets. Next up was the ham and cheese croissant (R100), which, as the name suggests, contained plenty of cheese and a reasonable amount of ham. The portion size is substantial. If you intend to eat this alone, know that the taste of processed cheese can get a little overwhelming after a while and that you will be left with not much of an appetite for anything else. We also noticed that the puff pastry was a little undercooked.
We moved on to the pulled chicken burger (R140) and the TFT chicken club sandwich (R140), both of which were marked as specials. While the pulled chicken was tender and coated in an appetising BBQ sauce, the bun was a little too thick which, as Rourke pointed out, meant that we ended up eating a lot of bread (baked in-house every morning). It was the same story with the club sandwich, which was further let down by its bland chicken filling, limp vegetables and slightly soggy texture. Both would have largely benefitted from the bread being toasted, which could have been an option for diners eating in, but unfortunately wasn't. On the day of our visit, they had a special offer on snacks. We went with the staff recommended chicken cheese lollipops (R50), which were quite dry and definitely not the eatery's highlight.
To end our meal on a sweet note, we went with the banana caramel and chocolate tarts (R80 each). Like with the quiche, the crust was enjoyable but in the case of the banana caramel variant, the filling definitely wasn't —the taste of overripe bananas completely overpowered the caramel. The chocolate tart, on the other hand, was quite decadent and enjoyable.
TFT chicken club sandwich
The eatery enthusiastically advertises its chicken roast with optional stuffing; however, this must be ordered at least three hours in advance and was therefore not available. Keeping in mind the fact that many of this eatery's customers will grab their snacks on the go, we packed the chicken junglee, chicken tikka and ribbon sandwiches (R40 each). All made with white bread, the sandwiches had turned soggy in the 30 minutes it took for us to get home and unwrap them. You'd do much better to eat in.
By the end of the meal, one thing was abundantly clear — if it's a gourmet sandwich you're after, skip this joint and walk a few minutes further to Kitchen Garden by Suzette. But if you're looking for a well-priced meal that won't blow your brains out with flavour but is fresh, substantial and gets the job done, The Family Table may just be what you're looking for.
Time 8.30 am to 9.30 pm
At The Family Table, Epitome Building, 29th Road, opposite Joseph's Chinese kitchen, Bandra West.
4/4 EXCEPTIONAL, 3/4 EXCELLENT, 2/4 VERY GOOD, 1/4 GOOD, 0.5/4 AVERAGE. The Family Table didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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