Saturday, October 27, 2012


Rest : Serafina
Loc : Palladium, Phoenix Mills,
Meal : Dinner

Serafina is a New York based Italian restaurant/pizzerias specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, they opened doors only about a week or ten days ago with much fanfare. My twitter timeline was populated with Serafina chatter and since a bunch of us were getting together this evening we settled on Serafina.

One of our friends got there about 8 and asked for a table for 8.30 and was told that they would not reserve any more tables and we could come in first come first serve. When the party descended roun 8.20 we were told we would have to vacate the table at 10.  Funnily enough there were empty tables throughout our dinner and even when we left, so the hard sell was really not required. 

Anyway, the menu is reasonably expansive and typical of an Italian restaurant, you have the salads, the soup of the day, risottos, pastas, pizzas and mains. Plenty to choose from for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians, there is also a liberal sprinkling of truffles and dishes cooked in champagne.

The bread basked if you can call it that was a bit of a joke, four slices of some pretty ordinary bread between five people.. not sure what the deal here is but the best part was when mid meal we asked for some more bread and were told we would have to pay for it.. the waiter was quite embarrassed bringing this up himself. And no, it wasn't worth paying extra for...

The Bruschetta, was good, fresh and crunchy.

The Minsestrone was the soup of the day, completely ordinary, no strong flavors.. avoidable.

Spinach & Ricotta Ravioli in sage butter, tasted exactly like i expected it, the butter works nicely but the spinach & ricotta was not terribly exciting.

The Mushroom risotto was good, flavours came through nicely 

The Marinara was pretty awesome, tasted just like a load of pizzas i had in college, tomato & garlic do it for me every time.

Didn't order this one, was the goat cheese pizza i think, sourish taste, served with a little salad and some cheese, nice. 

The mashed potato's were a decent side.

The Tiramisu was above average, too strong on the coffee though but everyone else seemed to like it. 

Overall, Serafina was a disappointment in more ways then one. It was loud, like Trattoria loud, which is acceptable when the food is good but when the meal is just about average it gets grating. The front of house staff needs to take the hard sell down a notch, you have tables, give them.. why the pretense? 

Some of the dishes said 15 minutes to prepare but i think a lot of it was prepped and ready (which is fine) and just heated and brought to the table. The waiters too try to push their big ticket items, the truffles etc.. which seems a little duplicitous.

The pizzas were good but then again, Indigo Deli does pretty good pizza and everything else..

All in all, above average and certainly not an impressive showing.
Food : 6/10
Service : 6/10
Damage : approx 5000 without drinks.

Edit : A spate of new restaurants have opened doors in Bombay and almost all of them have spent immense amounts on décor, the kitchen and have the ambiance down pat. However staff in most places is not trained well enough to operate at a high level, add to that the ridiculous pricing which does not reflect in the food or the service, this state of affairs does not bode well.

Some say they import a lot of their ingredients, which is impressive. They go the extra mile and its sad that we cant offer quality ingredients but if you don't know how to use them what good is it? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday Brunch

Rest : Kebabs N Kurries
Meal : Sunday Brunch
Loc : ITC Grand Central, Lower Parel 

Kebabs n Kurries for the longest time were off the Sunday Brunch train, although my last visit was quite a while ago, i called them to set up a table for two when i was informed that it would be a set meal which i found quite interesting. 

The menu offers 2 kebabs 2 curries, a dal served with a selection of breads, a rice dish and a dessert. One can order wines, sangrias or soft drinks as well. By all standards, that is quite a lot of food, there is no way you dont come out stuffed. 

The Pudina Paneer was just like i remember it, big cubes of paneer with some pudina chutney on it, burnt on one side, brilliant. The Aloo too was just delicious. The two together were an awesome combination.

The cold butter milk too was pretty good. Just the way to start the meal. 

i love how they get you a big dish of onions and a heap of pappads to begin, you never have to call out for em again. their selection of pickles and chutney is also reasonably interesting.

The selection of dishes was interesting, a traditional dryish curry, a gravy, a dal. Offers enough for most palates.

Unfortunately, the dishes were quite weak, The curry dish Kehkashan had a distinct sweet spicyness that a South Indian restaurant doing North Indian cuisine serves up.The Makhna Korma was just plain bad, didnt taste like anything whatsoever,  it has no place on the menu and i hope they drop it immediately.

The dal bukhara was pretty good, no complaints here, was the only thing that salvaged the dinner more or less.

The tarkari pulao is quite intricate and even flavoured, considering how heavy the rest of the dishes are its quite a relief. 

boring and not so fresh gulab jamun for dessert followed by

 an equally boring Kulfi. 

Overall, the place is huge and it was more or less packed, the good food mag was holding their fest at the ITC and it might have been crazy because of it, however they are usually pretty busy anyway. The meal started out well, the kebabs were great, however the mains were a disaster save for the dal.

Neither of the veggies worked and it didnt make for a very happy meal post that. The desserts too were a total let down, absolutely no quality or thought went into the dessert. Its better to serve their amazing Kulfi Falooda in a glass, it makes life easier for all involved, it tastes great and does not hurt from being made in the morning and having to sit around. 

Also, i think having a one price luncheon which is the same for vegetarians and non-vegetarians is fine by me but to charge those not drinking their bubbly/wine the same is a bit unfair, i wish they could sort that out. . Perhaps they can also offer choices with the mains, I would have picked their Kez Kazaa which is what i usually get, instead of the ridiculously bad Makhna Korma.

At 2300 with taxes its quite even for a Sunday brunch, they give you plenty to eat and treat you quite well. Unfortunately they do need to work out their offering, if two of their mains are not going to work and dessert is so weak they might as well become Just Kebabs. 

Very disappointed  considering my ten visits before i have never had a cause to complain until now

Food : 6/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 4600 for two 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ice Cream Works

Rest : ice cream works 
Meal : Lunch
Loc : Phoenix Mills 

We were in Phoenix Mills to watch Looper, a super disappointing movie, to wash its weak taste out of the mouth we chose Ice Cream Works.  My last visit was pretty good (here) and we were hoping it would be just the tonic to salvage the afternoon. 

As mentioned before the most disappointing thing about Ice Cream Works is there name, while they do a boat load of Ice Cream & Yoghurt they are also do food which is actually pretty good. 

They do an interesting little Penne which is in a Marinara but also has Pesto, pretty good, served piping hot. 

The Pizza was wafer thin and delicious, although we chose Mozzarella, there was really very little Mozzarella on there. A bit disappointing.

The chocolate monstrosity chosen by my fellow diners was two scoops of chocolate, a cheery, some chocolate cereal i think as well as a Brownie. Not bad, not bad at all but a simple minded choice considering all else they have on offer.

I wish they would offer some size options like a Large or Regular so people can order smaller sized servings of some of their desserts. The truly interesting ones are just not for single chaps.

Food : 8/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 1800 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Rest : Indigo
Loc : Colaba, Behind the Taj
Meal : Lunch
Indigo has been around for a while, i have been there quite a few times now and have admired their willingness to experiment. Despite the years, the ambiance of the place is still quite stellar, dining in an old Colaba bungalow is like a bit of a time warp. 

They have recently launched a Prix-Fixe and they had us over. A Prix-Fixe is a good idea but it hasn't taken off in India yet, although a few do offer it (Zia, Souk, the erstwhile Pure) but its an idea worth pursuing. The three course Prix Fixe is only available for lunch and one gets to choose from a dozen dishes each for the first two courses and six desserts.

We sat next to the lovely Miss Malini  (Twitter : @MissMalini) the conversation was entertaining and one can see why she is Queen Bee !

Indigo has always done decent cocktails, the mojito was pretty good, the frozen lemon thingy was way, way too tangy.

The Baby Beet with Horseradish Panacotta was okay, Indigo has some sort of a fetish for Beet, seen plenty of it over the years. Never been a big fan, while this wasn't too bad, it was nothing special. 

The Salad of Green Asparagus with Labneh was pretty good. Enjoyable.

Potato & Roasted Ricotta with artichokes, delicious. Dish worked pretty well. The potato was almost ravioli like, filled nicely. Good stuff.

The Grilled Portobello was stellar, just brilliant, however it was marred with the barley risotto which was completely unnecessary. No special flavour here, something slightly sweeter on flavour or perhaps going for a salty finish with cheese would have worked better. 

The Pana Cotta with Rhubarb confit & Champagne consommé was a total let down. Did not work at all. the consommé tasted like a cough syrup as one of the diners mentioned. 

The chocolate raspberry meringue tart was pretty good, very well done, the texture was a little too grainy for my liking but it was quite stunning by itself. 

Overall, the ambiance is great, the service impeccable, if a tad slow. I am not a fan of the weird shaped dishes and the very uncomfortable silver ware, makes for a weird experience. 

As for the food, while there were hits and misses, if you can pick the right ones, you can have a pretty good meal. Plenty of options for vegetarians as well.

Price wise, its a tad on the higher side(1320 with taxes) but what one would expect at Indigo. A thousand bucks ain't what it used to be. I could see myself do a working lunch here if in the area. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

ITC Hornbys Pavilion

Rest : Hornby's Pavilion
Meal : 3am snack 
Loc : ITC Grand Central, Lalbaugh 

Returning from a night out we decided to stop by the ITC for a much needed meal. The place was totally empty when we walked in, a gentleman out of uniform was doing some maintenance work.. which is bad form.

The tomato soup has usually been pretty stellar, it was on the best things they served at the late hour, however the soup was quite tangy and sweetish, certainly nowhere close to their usual high standard.

the bread basked has not changed in ages. not but not great either.

The veggie burger is actually two burgers, not too bad, come with some home style fries and some really nice relish, more relish would rock.

Overall, the service was quick and friendly however they were very noisy, kept dropping things all over the place. Dishes, silver ware... i know its late and only two people there but no reason to take things lightly.

Food : 7/10
Service : 7/10
Damage : 900

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Otto Infinito

Rest : Otto Infinito
Meal : Lunch
Loc : Bandra Kurla Complex

Been trying to make it out to Otto Infinito for a few days but it never really worked out. Fortunately i as in BKC for a busy afternoon and though located close to LPQ & CPK we decided to head on down to Ottto Infinito which is a few minutes away.

Moment i got out of the car i was hit up for 30 bucks for valet parking.. come on Otto.. really? no subtler way of doing this?I just happened to have cash but i live on my credit card.. the Four Seasons pulled this on me once and I pretty much left on general principal... this time I was with people so I had to behave.

The space reminds one of the Bandra Indigo Deli, they share a similar color scheme. Although its nice to be in a large pillar less space. Since it was 4pm the place was empty and we were lucky they were serving lunch.

The menu as the name would suggest is Italian/Mediterranean which is di rigueur for a cafe nowadays. There is a selection of the usual, soup/salad/appetizers/sandwiches/wraps/ pasta etc. The menu is wide enough to appeal to most diners, it is playing a little safe though.. a little risk would have been interesting.

The iced tea was okay, lemon only.. tad on the sweeter side, works better if you let people choose pour their own sugar syrup.

Everyone has their own Minestrone (250) recipe, theirs is not bad at all. Quite enjoyed it, throw in a little pasta in there and we really have something hearty, nonetheless good stuff.

The Mezze dip (295) consist of roast tomato which is pretty good, the labneh which was top notch as well. The moutabal and the hummus were not bad but the harissa was downright bad. They also serve some platters and salads which look pretty interesting.

The tagine (385) isnt something you find at many places around the city, (souk, olio, amadeus) this one was not bad at all, certainly among the better ones. It was certainly the smallest of the portions i have had, the couscous was good although im not a fan of pomegranate in my food.

The Quattro Formagi (595) comprised of gorgonzola, parmesan, scarmoza and goats cheese It was thin and delicious but i saw some broccoli in there and in the words of the great Wayne Knight/Newman its a 'vile reed' and it should come with a warning.

The tiramisu  (250) was creamy and quite ordinary.

The cafe mocha (110) was yummy all credit to whatever machine they used.

Overall the space is nice but quite unfortunately located in BKC of all places perhaps it will catch on. The layout and ambiance is upscale and comfortable, unlike most newer places the seating is unlike a can of sardines. 

The food is not bad but there is truly nothing unique on offer, except for the tagine one can get most dishes just about anywhere. A little risk, a little imagination especially for a new place would have gone a long way. Worth a go especially if you are in the area.

Service was quick and friendly but then we were the only ones there.

Food : 7/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 2400 for 2.
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