Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Lounge review: Bastian, Mumbai

In Mumbai’s overcrowded restaurant market, filled with mediocre cafés, restobars and modern Indian (shudder) kitchens, Bastian comes as a whiff of much needed fresh air. Here the focus is firmly on the excellent seafood (vegetarians needn’t despair), and none of the gimmickry of smoke, foam, “caviar" and suchlike. Chef Kelvin Cheung (who was with the Ellipsis restaurant ) seems to have hit another home run after One Street Over, which opened nearby in December.

The good stuff

Bastian has a casual, fun eatery vibe. The décor is nautical, with porthole windows, crabs and mermaids on the wall, and a blue, green and brown colour scheme. The music is set at just the right volume to allow for conversation. We began with the Hugo Royal Spritzer ( 300), a herby mix of vodka, mint, cucumber, lime and elderflower syrup, topped with sparkling wine: It was refreshing, if a tad too minty.

There is a huge variety of small plates, including salads, sushi, grills, etc., and a fairly large number of these are vegetarian. From the “charred" menu, we picked the Maple Glazed Sweet Potato ( 150): five chunks of grilled sweet potatoes glazed with maple syrup and drizzled with sherry vinegar gastrique. The earthy, smoky flavour of the root vegetable was beautifully complemented with the sweet glaze.

Our second small plate was the Tuna Poke ( 750), a light, refreshing salad of tuna, avocado, cucumber and greens, dressed with lime and sesame, and served with crispy, spicy rice crackers. The tuna was incredibly fresh and the light dressing allowed the ingredients to shine. When we enquired, our server cryptically told us that “all our fish comes from somewhere along the western coast".

The third small plate was a winner: Korean Seafood Pancake ( 500), a simple rice crêpe stuffed with diced calamari and prawns, served with a chilli sauce on the side. Again, the seafood was fresh and minimally spiced, but very flavourful.

For the mains, we chose from the “seafood market", where you can pick your seafood and match it with a sauce of your liking. We decided to forego the 1kg mud crab ( 2,400) since we were already a bit full. Instead we picked the Prawns Singapore Chilli ( 850), a coconut-based curry, lightly flavoured with lemon grass, kaffir lime and chilli oil, with eight plump, well-cooked prawns. While the curry was aromatic and had a lovely sweet-savoury flavour, it didn’t seem very “Singapore Chilli", which is normally a tomato-based curry. We ordered two breads to go with the curry. The Scallion Chilli Flatbread ( 100) was essentially a naan that wasn’t particularly flavourful, but went well with the curry. The Fried Mantou ( 100) was our favourite—a soft and airy Chinese bun that was steamed, then fried. It mopped up the prawn curry nicely.

The Market Fish Under the Bridge ( 1,800) was a whole snapper that had been cooked in a tandoor and served on a bed of wok-fried crisp shallots, onions, fermented black beans and chillies. The fish was perfectly cooked with a crisp skin, and was complemented by the spicy, slightly tart crunchy shallots. Though it’s one of the “sauce" options, it’s a dry preparation inspired by the famous Under Bridge Spicy Crab restaurant in Hong Kong.

The dessert menu comprises seven cheesecakes, each of which sounds delectable. We picked Turtles ( 500 for a slice), a near-perfect cheesecake (tart and sweet, and not too creamy or dry), slathered with salted toffee caramel and dark chocolate ganache, and topped with roasted peanuts, which gave it a nice crunch.

The not-so-good

Talk plastic

Our meal—two cocktails, three small plates, two mains, two breads, and one dessert—cost 6,925, all inclusive. All the cocktails were priced at 300 as an opening special and do not reflect the actual cost.

Bastian, B/1, New Kamal Building, opposite National College, Linking Road, Bandra—West (26420145/33126175). Open from 7pm-1am.

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