Friday, July 29, 2011

Konkan Cafe

Rest : Konkan Cafe
Loc : Taj President, Cuffe Parade
Meal : Dinner

Konkan Cafe is a restaurant i have been meaning to dine at for quite some time. Its quite unfortunate that it happens to be in the same hotel as two other extremely popular eateries (Thai Pavilion & Trattoria) because its a pretty stellar venue for an eat out.

Most five star restaurants in Bombay/India focus on eastern or western cuisines or variations of North Indian. There are maybe two restaurants that dare to present the complexities of South/Konkani specialties which are terrific in their own right. Konkan Cafe is of course one, the other being Dakshin at ITC Grand Maratha.

While there is some overlap, Dakshin has a larger menu and focuses on a wider range of cuisines from the various Southern states.

Konkan Cafe on the other takes a comparatively limited view of the South and has many dishes which are found/inspired by Maharashtra.

The worse thing about Konkan Cafe is its decor. Its terrible, the place looks as if its stuck in the 80's with wood paneling to give it a rural Maharashtra feel.
The utensils on the wall were done by
Status eons ago and now feel quite out of place. The bar in the center looks like it is straight out of villains den in a B-Grade Bollywood pot boiler.

Down to the food, the menu offers veggie, non-veg and sea food options. One can order a-la-carte or get a thali.

For first timers the thali is a great way to taste multiple dishes, with a dish of each variation on offer. It is also a very well priced offering.

Like Dakshin, you start of with a bowl of various types of papads and chutneys, the red one being the best.

Its very easy to go through a few bowls of chutney and papad but its best to moderate and not ruin ones appetite.

The thali is well balanced and offers a one each of a dry and semi-dry veggies. There is a rasam, an usal, a curry, there was also some lightly fried potato and mahrashtrian style masala rice. The thali itself could be just a little bit larger, the bowls are really quite tightly bunched and i almost missed the spinach vadis which were hidden two one side.

The food was good, the curry was just fantastic, the potato was excellent as well. The rasam though good was very spicy. The dal was not bad but it too was fiery, fiery hot. The usal i didnt care for at all & the masala rice was allright.

They serve an Appam, a Neer Dosa & a Kerala style paratha, all of them were brilliant, the Appam especially, which went brilliantly with the dal and curry. The paratha felt like a Roti Canai roti from Malaysia and probably shares some history there. Each of the three were freshly made and served out of a dim sum basket.

The dessert was Kulfi-Jalebi, however i dont like Jalebis so i chose the Kulfi on its own. Nothing great here.. very average.

the wife picked the jalebis and found them way to sweet.

We were finished off with a sweet or plain paan.

Overall, the food is good and really filling, in fact we were both surprised by how little we ate on the whole. The curry was the best thing on the table and also the heaviest, though you dont realize that until much later.

Also gorging on the papad probably contributed. I would highly recommend that anyone going for a thali avoid getting a drink, especially folks getting the non-veg or sea food options.

The one thing i missed was having a yoghurt or butter milk preparation served with the thali, sorely missed it and it would have cooled down the heat and added a dimension to the rice which suffers without yogurt.

Although i am no slouch when it comes to spice, too many hot dishes can kill the overall effectiveness of a meal. So for those who dont like it spicy, best ask them to tone it down because its certainly not for the fainthearted.

The service was quick, friendly and fairly good but that is expected from a Taj group hotel. One of our servers came by and told us to go easy on the papad because we would fill up very quick, which was good advice.

Food : 8/10
Service : 8/10
Damage : 2400 for 2 with no drinks

Konkan Cafe
Taj President,
90, Cuffe
Phone: 66650808


Sassy Fork said...

I used to enjoy going to Konkan Cafe for their VFM Seafood's an awesome place.Haven't been there for a while.I kind of like the rustic feel except the bar.I think the decor has been kept that way cos of the foreign visitors that come there.

Gaurav said...

@ SF.. absolutely, they and the rest of the restaurants at the President are certainly VFM.

i get that they are trying to reach out to the foreign guests (and 50% of the guests that night were foreign)but its still just sub par design.

The knife said...

I like the papar advice

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