Not that Colaba needed one more lounge or even another restaurant, but Mumbaikars never tire of trying a new place. Raja Dhody and Rishi Acharya (who also runs Play at Phoenix Mills), the two partners at this resto-lounge, seem to know that all too well. However, we feel they’re gambling, especially in these lean times, with a menu that doesn’t have so many great options, and steep prices.
The good stuff
The Blueberry Martini made with vodka, fresh blueberry and grape juice is the best concoction here. Must-try small bites with your cocktails are the Wasabi Prawns—fried prawns served with mild wasabi mayo. The decor in the resturant area upstairs is minimalist, with large tables and high-backed chairs.
Oba bakes its own bread, and the excellent focaccia, served with herbed butter and an ingenious preparation of red pepper and carrot hummus, was a perfect start to our dinner.
The smoked duck with stewed dry apricots from the salad menu combined the sweet and smoky flavours well. For the main course, we opted for the pasta with blue cheese and mushroom. The slight pungency of the blue cheese gave this white sauce pasta that come-back-for-more edge.
The ground-level lounge is a small, dark space and the decor with cupid statues and leopard-print couches doesn’t quite create an arresting ambience. The cocktails recommended to us—the Pomegranate Martini, Expresso Martini made with kahlua—were left untouched after a sip. The chef had told us Dhody loves his steak and it was one of their specials. We ordered the steak, medium-rare. Pink in the middle, the meat looked the part but it was hard and chewy and we couldn’t go beyond two bites. The disappointment with the Parma-wrapped Monk Fish was even more because the extra salt overwhelmed the dish. The dessert menu was uninspired: Molten Chocolate Dessert, anyone? We tried the Orange Crème Brûlée, which was insipid, without any taste of orange in it.
The Blueberry Martini costs Rs365 and the appetizers are priced at Rs300-500. The pasta is for Rs450 and the steak, Rs800, plus taxes.
Italia, DLF Place mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi
Instead of redoing one of two restaurants—Fire or Mist—at its Connaught Place property, The Park, New Delhi, has opened a stand-alone restaurant at the DLF Place mall, Vasant Kunj. Italia, the New Delhi version of The Park, Bangalore’s famous Italian food restaurant, is being managed by executive chef Mandaar Sukhtankar, who runs the Bangalore Italia as well.
The restaurant has three distinct zones—one side houses the bar and the private dining room, along with a seating area of around 20 covers. This area is done up in black, white and gold, has formal straight-back chairs, and a very contemporary feel. The area, which opens on to the terrace, has a café-like feel. The terrace, once again, is done up in contemporary style with pristine white chaise lounges, gleaming golden lamps, and black cushions.
The good stuff
The terrace is inviting but seems somewhat of a waste considering that Delhi’s scorching summer is already here. Having said that, it could be a perfect spot for a romantic drink in the evening once the restaurant gets its liquor licence.
The three-way mushroom salad with grilled shitake, cream cheese stuffed morels and fresh button mushrooms seasoned with lemon juice was refreshing. I never thought broccoli soup would ever make it to my must-try list, but this one did. Small pieces of pancetta (cured meat made from the belly of the pig, lightly spiced, but not smoked) swimming in thick, creamy broth added crunch to the broth.
For the main course, lamb chops stuffed with Fontina (cheese prepared with cow’s milk in the Aosta Valley in north-western Italy) are a good diversion from the usual pasta and pizza course. The chops were served with crusty polenta and blanched spinach.
The café area sticks out like a sore thumb between the terrace and the bar/lounge zones.
A well-prepared risotto must absorb the flavour of the vegetable or meat it is cooked with. Unfortunately, the rice in the wild mushroom risotto did not have any taste of mushrooms. It seemed as if the rice and mushrooms had been prepared separately and then ladled together before a serving.
The thin-crust pizza with sautéed onions and Parma ham did not make the cut either. Who wants to eat a slice of pizza with onions bunched at one end and the ham at the other?
The antipasti course starts at Rs325, soups at Rs195, pizzas at Rs525 and main course at Rs325 (taxes and service charge extra).