We enter at 8 pm and are welcomed with a rather surprised grin from the staff, that said ‘What are you doing here so early?’ A musician plays live music next to our table, without any consideration for whether we’d like him there or not. The décor is passé. The walls are replete with traditional-looking Arabic hookah stands and other artifacts. The space is divided into segments: the fine diner, the hookah lounge and a private party space.
There’s not much choice for those who drink beer. For those into hard liquor, there’s enough. Ample choice for meat-eaters (expected) and in certain sections even for vegetarians. The menu is a mix of Arabic, Morrocan, Lebanese and Egyptian cuisine. The manager recommended mocktails like the Lemon Mint and Labaan (a kind of buttermilk with Arabic spices). Neither tasted any different from what you’d have at home or at an Indian restaurant.
We ordered Hummus and Cheese Fatayer. The food takes over 25 minutes to arrive. No one serves you beyond the arrival of the dish. The Hummus is nice, but the Cheese Fatayer suits only those who like bland food. There’s pizza, sizzlers and sandwiches to choose from too, but you can skip those as none seem exciting.
A grilled cottage cheese dish arrives with three different dips and Arabic pickles, which tastes more like Bedekar Bros’ Aam Ka Achaar. Enquiries with the manager reveal that all the curries served with rice or pita bread, taste more like tomato-based Indian curries instead of Lebanese or Egyptian, as promised on the menu. You’re left with no choice, but to order Kapsa, which tastes worse than the usual Biryani served anywhere. No room for sweet dishes, you move straight to try the hookah. You order Arabic Delight, which tastes like lemon. The coal isn’t great because you feel an itch in your throat every few minutes.
The Rs 1,400 bill was not worth the traffic you brave to get there or the quality of the food you are served. You can spend the same and eat anywhere else.
WHAT: Bistro Grill
WHERE: Ventura Mall, Heera Nandani Powai, Mumbai
CALL: 32108585, 3210959
WHAT’S ON THE MENU: Middle-Eastern Cuisine
What we like
Utilisation of space
The alcohol menu
What we don’t like
The confused waiters
The slow service
The exorbitantly-priced hookahs
Most of the food tastes Indian
The confused ambience
The excessive travelling involved to get here from anywhere