Even before you get to your table at Otto Infinito, you are likely to be waylaid by the grab-n-go counter, with its beautifully rendered pastries, signature chocolate ganache with passion fruit, glossy Danishes, neat sandwiches, and perhaps even a spicy beetroot muffin, which was the special of the day when we visited.
Once inside, if you haven’t already at the time of booking, you will try to negotiate your way into a booth. If the sofas along the sides of the room look much more comfortable than the gleaming tables in the centre, it’s because they are.
Otto’s food is all Mediterra-nean. Its name means ‘infinite eight’ and is meant to embody all-day dining from eight countries in the Mediterranean. However, my companion pointed out that there is at least one thing that is very Scandinavian about the décor — the wide variety of light fixtures.
Another Scandinavian trait prevails: efficiency. How the kitchen turned out four seemingly complex appetisers — a truffle soufflé, chorizo ravioli, tenderloin carpaccio and puy lentil and pomegranate salad — in so few minutes, I will never know, but they were ably pulled off.
The ravioli is a sure shot — thin slices of the sausage folded over creamy ricotta, slicked with a peppery honey glaze. The carpaccio tasted of good meat and was so delicate that I wondered how they put the slices on the plate without them falling to lacy shreds.
The salad benefited from the addition of pineapple cubes, and if I had any doubts about beets as a pizza topping, Otto has allayed them. The perfectly airy and light soufflé, however, was missing evidence of the aromatic fungus.
When they told us that the rock salt fish, a signature dish, would take up to 25 minutes, we were relieved for the break. Our Moroccan roasted half-chicken arrived first, skin on, spice paste just under it. The accompanying jus (rich, complex and mildly sweet) and caramelised onion mash made excellent companions, allowing us to ignore the overcooked and therefore slightly dry breast meat.
The rock salt fish brings a little drama table-side. Under what seems like a pile of packed salt in a platter is a whole pomfret. A server cracks the thick salt crust open, skins the fish, debones it and plates flesh so perfectly cooked that it glistens, disintegrating on contact with a fork’s prong.
Perhaps we should have expected it, but the saltiness did take some getting used to. Our aubergine rolls, grilled, sliced and wrapped around hung curd on a bed of marinara and rice, were texturally delightful, but we’d been spoiled by the ravioli, the chicken jus, our first beetroot pizza and the drama of the fish.
The perfect nightcap was the bill. This is the first in-house brand from Ka Hospitality, the company that brought London’s Hakkasan and Yauatcha to Mumbai. And while Otto may not be infinitely more affordable, it’s certainly more accessible.
WHERE: 001, Ground Floor, Raheja Tower (same building as Yauatcha), Bandra-Kurla Complex, Bandra (East)
TIMINGS: 8 am to 12.30 am
PRICE CHECK: Rs 3,000 for a meal for two without alcohol (licence is pending)
OPENED ON: August 27
HT reviews anonymously and pays for all meals and events