Polynesia is a cluster of tiny islands located bang in the middle of the Pacific, about as far from sultry Mumbai as you can imagine. But the owners of Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge (yes it’s quite a mouthful) have endeavoured to recreate the island atmosphere for Mumbaikars, and it’s quite a success.
With Tiki masks, cane furniture, high windows, plenty of potted plants and reggae music, the roof-top restaurant tries it’s best to bring you the island experience. We went on a Monday evening, post work, the perfect time to escape to a beach paradise for a couple of hours.
The waiter attending our table was an eager beaver, he introduced himself as Tuna and went on to explain the history of the Trader Vic’s chain, much to our amusement. We started our meal with the Baked Spinach and Potatoes (Rs 281), a dish that the earnest waiter recommended and lived up to our expectations. The potatoes came with pita bread; they were perfectly baked, neither dry nor crumbly. Together with the spinach, the appetiser had a great combination of flavours. Our other choice, the Grilled Tsukuni Chicken (Rs 290), was nothing to write home about. Only the white dip that came with it was the saving grace.
For our mains, we decided to go local and ordered the Tiki Falafel Burger (Rs 299) and the Grilled Jamaican Jerk (Rs 396). The falafel in the burger was too dry and the ordinary trimmings did nothing for the taste. We would recommend the Jamaican Jerk since the hot spice rub was just fiery enough and the chicken was well cooked.
When we asked Tuna to recommend something from the dessert section, he insisted we opt for the house special, which is an original recipe by the Trader himself. So we went for the Chocolate Nut Tiki (Rs 250). According to the Trader Vic’s website, the place was started in Oakland, California by Victor Bergeron and he converted it into a tropical restaurant after travelling to Hawaii. Unfortunately, this dessert had neither Californian nor Hawaiian flavours in it.
What: Trader Vic’s Mai Tai Lounge
where: Unit No 3, Food Court, High Street Phoenix 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel
Call: 6773 4949
What’s on the menu: Polynesian cusine