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Home > Mumbai Guide News > Mumbai Food News > Article > Mumbai food review All you need to know about this new restaurant in Bandra

Mumbai food review: All you need to know about this new restaurant in Bandra

Updated on: 07 June,2024 09:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Nasrin Modak Siddiqi | smdmail@mid-day.com

Bandra’s latest restaurant has chefs handling everything from cooking and serving to presenting the cheque. The food is a mix of dishes from 48 Asian countries. Feasible? Mid-day finds out

Mumbai food review: All you need to know about this new restaurant in Bandra

Cambodia’s prawn amok

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Ahead of their official launch on Thursday evening, we stepped into Vario, a concept restaurant on Bandra’s 33rd Road, where chefs run the show, from helming the kitchen to taking orders and even serving it. The 7,000 sq ft space has been cleverly mapped out — large round tables for bigger groups, open live kitchens and ample space for private parties — all under a sustainable ceiling decor of paper strips.


Chefs work in rotation to handle prep work
Chefs work in rotation to handle prep work



Vario means variety in Esperanto (an artificial language devised in 1887). But what we found interesting was that staying true to the word pan-Asian, the menu has 100 dishes from 48 countries, segregated into five Asian regions. Planned like an Asian food bazaar, and amidst the cacophony of live teppanyaki, grills, and sushi counters, we sample dishes that narrate tales of the region’s culture, heritage, and culinary finesse. The idea is to bridge the gap between Asian countries that are distinctly unique in character and culinary prowess; however, there are safe dishes like dimsum and sushi options.


Chef Sarthak Malap serves a Sri Lankan gotu kola sambol. PICS/SHADAB KHAN
Chef Sarthak Malap serves a Sri Lankan gotu kola sambol. Pics/Shadab Khan

Chef Rakesh Talwar, with over 40 years of experience, and having helmed restaurants across Dubai, Hong Kong, Lagos, Zanzibar, Qatar, and Orlando, is at the helm of the idea that has been in the making for two years now. He would often discuss with co-founders Gaurav Chowksey and Sneha Nagpal that chefs, the real stars at a restaurant, are never in the forefront, and that we would like to give a platform to them to interact with the diners. “I don’t think there is anything better than a chef getting direct compliments from patrons. It makes a chef love their job more.”

Mach patouri
Mach patouri

At Vario, more often than not, the chef who creates the dish will serve it, so the food won’t be left at the counter, waiting for a server to take it to the diner. “It’s showing respect for food,” explains Talwar who has brought together a team of 45 chefs to run the entire service and operations. “It has never been done before, and I am told it could be a logistical nightmare, but I am confident. A fluid roster, Talwar maintains, will be his mantra. For billing and cleaning of tables, there is a cashier and clearance staff respectively; however, the chef-servers available on the floor bring the cheque to the table.

The 7,000 sq ft space is segregated into zones with plants
The 7,000 sq ft space is segregated into zones with plants

The all-chef team hail from culinary colleges or as part of their apprenticeships, and take us through the dishes. These chefs come with varying levels of experience but can explain flavour profiles better than someone who isn’t a trained chef. We start with chef Ajit More who serves us ezogelin (Rs 345), a hearty Turkish soup from red lentils and bulgur, plated with tiny strips of lavash that could have been slightly crispier. Chef Sarthak Malap brings us the next few courses, including Sri Lankan gotu kola salad (Rs 345), a herby coconut salad dressed with green chillies and lime. It’s a break from the monotony of leafy salads that we’ve had so far but not necessarily something we would re-order. Shuba (Rs 595) from Kazakhstan — a cold salad of root vegetables that’s topped with salmon chunks, grilled halloumi (R475) from Cyprus, and the dak kochi (Rs 575) from South Korea — a marinated chicken skewer dish, get our vote. However, the salmon chunks in the Kazakh dish could have been coated some more with the dressing.

Rakesh Talwar
Rakesh Talwar

Our favourite was the mach patouri (Rs 525) from Bangladesh, a steamed fish and homemade pickle preparation. We liked that chef Malap added a personal touch by suggesting that we eat the pickles to elevate the dish, which it did. For mains, we tried the Thai green curry with steamed buns (Rs 575). This coconut milk-flavoured dish with Thai spices wasn’t unusually green; we relished the twist of steamed buns instead of rice. Prawn amok (Rs 795) from Cambodia was another winner because it came close to what we tried while at Angkor.

The desserts, created and served by pastry chef Saumya Choudhary, included Indian baked curd (Rs 455) served with nutty crumb, fresh fruits, a tangy-sweet fig sauce and mango gel. The Vietnamese Che-Thai (Rs 335), served with assorted tropical fruits, jellies, sweet milk, passion fruit boba, and edible flowers, is like the desi falooda, only healthier.

Vario
At 33rd Road, Bandra West.
Time 12 pm to 4 pm and 7 pm to 12.30 am
Call 7710020084

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