This stylish restaurant chose to set up at Raghuvanshi Mills instead of Kamla Mills
A stylish new Lower Parel restaurant takes a detour from the saturated Kamala Mills compound and sets up shop at the more laid-back Raghuvanshi Mills
In a rather refreshing departure from the gazillion new restaurants and bars opening up at the almost de rigueur environs of Lower Parel's Kamala Mills, Carouse finds itself a comfortable spot a little further down the main Tulsi Pipe Road at Raghuvanshi Mills. Accessible by a topless hydraulic elevator, this 9,000-sq ft first-floor restaurant is divided into two distinct zones.
Roasted wild mushroom soup
While the main dining area is a tribute to all things techno-glam with its moody strobe lights projecting onto all-black walls, tufted velvet couches and a blood-red DJ booth, the al fresco zone is a totally different story. Here, the wispy smoke of flavoured sheesha, along with low-slung settees and comfortable bar stools, conjure up a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere, all fenced in by latticed woodwork that keeps the outside din, well, outside. We choose the latter to make the most of the city's uncharacteristically chilly spell, as we sip a well-made spicy thoughts (Rs 250). The mocktail, with distinct oriental underpinnings, is a refreshing blend of five-spice, ginger and orange, with a hint of mint. Disappointed that our first choice of chicken liver paté with an apple and fennel compote (Rs 499) isn't available, we settle for the roasted wild mushroom soup (Rs 350).
Peanut butter pie
Served in an almost pool-sized bowl with an accompanying bread basket and two herbed butters, the soup is an ingenious preparation that sees the rather unusual pairing of coconut milk and lemongrass with roasted mushroom, while the Thai chilli oil ties things up perfectly. Masquerading as steamed chicken baos (Rs 400) are three soft and baked pita wedges filled inadequately with shredded chicken and iceberg lettuce, with an ineffectual drizzle of overly sweet BBQ sauce. Though totally edible, we feel a wee bit short-changed, especially after our server's passionate hard sell of it.
Fettucini with pan-seared duck leg confit
But our mains of fettuccine with pan-seared duck leg confit (Rs 625) more than makes up for the earlier aberration. It is a symphony of perfectly al dente pasta and falling-off-the-bone, umami-redolent duck meat, with the accompanying cranberry compote giving it a nifty little festive Christmas flavour.
Feeling a little indulgent about dessert, we call for the peanut butter pie (Rs 400) and are at once rewarded with one of the best renditions of the all-American classic we've ever had. Sitting on a crumbled oats cookie base is a not-too-sweet peanut butter ganache, topped with a hazelnut-flavoured mousse and fresh strawberries, with a luscious maraschino cherry topping it all off. The perfect end, if there ever was one. So, far from being "just another Lower Parel restaurant", Carouse packs a mighty punch that expertly matches a bang for your buck in every way.
TIME: 4 pm to 1.30 am
AT: 1st floor, P2 building, Raghuvanshi Mills compound, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.