A bright blue beam above a yellow wall, checkered floor, and portraits of what look like stern ancestors, Grub Shup feels like you've strolled into the living room of a slightly barmy, but kindly Goan aunt. (Jackson, the friendly manager, may tell you his whisky-loving uncle painted the canvases after he had a few; you don't have to believe him). Soul Fry director Meldan D’Cunha has started Grub Shup with his brother-in-law. They took a ground-floor apartment, knocked down a few walls and set up Mahim’s newest eatery.
The food reflects the mood: homestyle snacks prepared by not an aunt, but chef Gregory Rozario who has previously worked at Trafalgar Chowk. There are a few Goan flavours—as found in the light and flavourful chorizo pao sandwich, and the satisfying prawn balchao paratha roll—but it's mostly eclectic, not fancy and reasonably-priced “slow fast food”, as described on the menu.
‘The Bombay salad’ is a bowlful of mixed greens, chunks of chicken sausage, boiled eggs, and croutons in a lime and herb dressing as bright as sunshine. (A vegetarian version with paneer and potato is called ‘The Mumbai salad’). The chilly cheese crostini is carpeted with melted cheese spiked with a knockout mix of green chillies, red chilly flakes and black pepper.
The milky and sweet chocolate and cookie milkshake would mostly please kids. Mango (and kulfi) lovers would do well to skip the boring set cheesecake, picking instead a kulfi gola. A conical malai kulfi on a stick serves as the gola, and aamras works as the dipping syrup, which freezes onto the creamy dessert. On Sundays, there are breakfast specials too. If the intention was to be an easy hangout for local people, Grub Shup has succeeded.
Breach Candy is a culinary desert, so any restaurant opening here should do well. Vicinia declares itself a fine-dining European restaurant for the pin code with its name—which means vicinity in Latin. Vicinia’s decor borrows from the currently popular industrial-meets-casual bistro theme. Its menu offers a mix of European and American comfort foods. It looks promising, but the kitchen falls short.
Our French onion soup was a light clear beef broth, with barely sauteed onions — a pale substitute of the usual rich, dark meaty broth with caramelised onions. The rest of the meal was a mixed bag. Meatballs with marinara were stodgy. The seafood Provencal was good to look at, but had unevenly cooked squid and shellfish. A quinoa salad in a jar had blotchy arugula and barely any seeds. The hummus was competent, but the soy kebabs with it were bland crumb-fried veg croquettes. The pepperoni pizza served as a highlight, as did a side of crisp-tender veggies. Service was indifferent. Vicinia has a monopoly in its location, which will ensure good business for a while. But more attention must be paid in the kitchen.
— Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
(HT pays for all meals and events, and reviews anonymously)