Two steps ahead
Giving us a different perspective on the oft-abused term 'fusion food', an eatery in Tardeo steps up the game with imaginative fare
"Confusion" is a word that almost always crops up when we're contemplating the term "fusion food". This, thanks to scores of restaurants — both in Mumbai and around the country — that seem to lose the plot so criminally when it comes to the tricky coupling of different cuisines.
A few days ago, we almost struck foodie Valhalla when we chanced upon One Step Up that sits perched on the busy Tardeo main road. Done up in bold accents — hints of which show up in the colourful crockery, comfortable teal-hued sofas and the ambient, bright green (faux) foliage — the three-level restaurant, with its large bay windows and swooping indoor staircase, is perfect for a leisurely lunch.
We started off with the cheesy goodness of the innovative pav bhaji fondue (Rs 329) that came to our table just like a real fondue should — in a ceramic pot, sitting atop a small tea-light burner, with a side of crunchy buttered croutons in lieu of the traditional laadi pav. The generously filled quartet of Chettinad chicken quesadillas (Rs 329) had a piquant hit to them that was tempered down by the accompanying bowl of sour cream.
Fire n angel, pav bhaji fondue
Redolent with the spicy taste of cinnamon and cloves along with the cooling trio of apple, cranberry and passion fruit juices, our fire n angel mocktail (Rs 260) was perfectly made. As was the peach ice tea (Rs 200) where the taste of the fruit shone through the refreshing libation that was evidently made in-house and not of the bottled variety, as we had imagined.
Guava chilli panacotta
To shake things up a bit, for one of our mains, we opted for the grilled fish with lemon butter (R349). This was one of the restaurant's few non-fusion dishes. Although the dish had four generous filets of the ubiquitous basa, the technique with which the fish was cooked elevated it. A flavourful garlic sauce, creamy mash and a medley of sautéed veggies made it a winner. Passing the risotto test with its creamy arborio rice, the almost neon green coloured saagwala chicken risotto (Rs 349) was delicate and vibrant at the same time, with the leafy flavours of the spinach shining through.
Chicken saagwala risotto
At the behest of our enthusiastic server, we gave the guava chilli panacotta (Rs 249) a go for dessert. And we weren't disappointed. With a wobbly jiggle and a fiery chilli finish to it, the creamy, guava-rich Indo-Italian concoction ticked all the boxes, while showing us that there is some hope for the future of fusion food in Mumbai, after all.
AT: One Step Up, Shop no 1A/1B/1C, C wing, Dadarkar Compound, opposite Film Center, Tardeo.
TIME: 12 pm to 1.30 am
EXCEPTIONAL, EXCELLENT, VERY GOOD, GOOD, AVERAGE
One Step Up didn't know we were there. The Guide reviews anonymously and pays for meals
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