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Put your money where your mouth is

Would you shell out Rs 13,000 for a bite of this?

india Updated: Jul 16, 2011 15:02 IST
Rochelle Pinto

Six figure salaries might not be enough to pay for these five-figure dishes. So if you think the price of potatoes in the market is scary? You should give these budget-busting delicacies a nibble.We scoured the city’s classiest restaurants in search of Mumbai’s most exotic offerings.



From a platter of exotic caviar to a beef steak that comes from some seriously zen cows in Japan, the dishes on offer

will seduce your senses, while making your wallet considerably lighter.



1.Beluga Caviar at Zodiac Grill, Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, Colaba

Rs13,000

Officially the most expensive bite in the city, the caviar platter at the Zodiac Grill has been served for 21 years running and still gets ordered almost every other day. "We serve Beluga, Sevruga, Oscieterra and Imperial caviar throughout the year," says executive chef Hemant Oberoi. "It’s served on a bed of crushed ice, and has accompaniments of chopped shallots, lemon wedges, chopped parsley, chopped egg white, sieved egg yolk and sour cream." The caviar is served on a special plate with spoons made of mother-of-pearl.Food

2.Peking Duck with Ossetra caviar at Hakkasan, Bandra
Rs8,500
When London-based, Michelin-starred restaurant Hakkasan first opened in the city, food connoisseurs knew they would be in for something exclusive… and expensive. And their signature dish, the Peking duck served with Ossetra caviar, pretty much fits the bill. Only served if ordered 24 hours in advance, the duck is cooked over several hours, starting with being placed in a special duck dryer before being roasted. It is served with Ossetra caviar, 16 pancakes, spring onions, cucumber and hoisin sauce, and can be shared between about eight people. Prepared by a specialist barbecue chef, the restaurant keeps a team of these chefs on hand so there is always someone available. For guests who prefer not to have it with the Ossetra caviar, the price for the dish is Rs 4,500.

3.Kobe Beef at Four Seasons, Worli
Rs 8,500
According to executive chef Clinton Cooper at the Four Seasons, this 220 gm beef dish is probably the most Zen morsel you’ll ever put into your mouth. “It’s made from Wagyu cows found in Kobe, Japan. You can get wagyu beef from all over the world for a fraction of the cost, but these cows in Kobe are kept as de-stressed as possible,” he says, adding, “They’re sanitised in sake every day, given massages and sedated before they’re slaughtered so that the muscles don’t tense up.

As you can imagine, this is a very expensive process.” Cooper mentions that the highest grade of beef available in the world is A5, and they serve A4 in their Mumbai restaurant. “The meat is cooked medium rare, and usually reserved for VIPs or special guests. Surprisingly, despite the price, we sell about 15 steaks a month, and mostly to locals.”

4.T-bone steak at Two One Two, Worli
Rs 8,000
This upmarket restaurant in Worli serves a beef steak that will leave you Rs 8,500 lighter. Made from Angus beef, that’s specially imported from the UK, the meat, as sous chef Sahil Narvekar assures us, has a triple A certificate from the US. “It’s considered to be among the best beef in the world,” he says, adding,“We cook it medium rare to preserve the flavour and it usually takes about 30 minutes to prepare. Guests are advised to request for the steak when ordering appetisers so that they’ll have their meat ready in time for the main course.” Narvekar reveals that the dish gets ordered about five times a month, saying, “Since it’s a one-kilo steak that can feed about four people comfortably, guests aren’t surprised when they see the price. They know they’re paying for quality.”

5.Wagyu Beef Steak at JW Marriott
Rs 5,800
Japanese chef Raul Borja is often called upon to explain to his diners who order the Waygu beef steak why it’s so expensive. He says with a laugh, “They are surprised to see the price and often ask why it costs so much. But I come out of the kitchen and explain to them the quality of beef, which we import from Australia.” Though demand isn’t high, the chef admits that they only have to order about twice a month keeping in mind the ordering patterns – it is cooked in traditional Teppanyaki style and served medium rare, preferably. Ask the chef who’s in charge of making it and he shoots back, “Only me.”

6.T-bone steak at Celini, Grand Hyatt
Rs 3,500
Beef being the poshest item on the menu is a pattern confirmed by Celini, the Italian restaurant at the Grand Hyatt, Kalina. Chef de cuisine Chef Alessandro Persico imports his meat from Scotland. “It costs about Rs 2,600 for a kilo and since we sell one piece at 500gm, we have to price it this way,” he explains. Adding that the preparation is kept simple – it’s marinated in garlic, black peppers and rosemary to enhance the natural flavour of the meat — the chef usually makes it himself to avoid any goof-ups.

“It’s fine to make mistakes with pasta, certainly not with a Rs 3,500 dish.” And if you’re dining in his restaurant, Persico prefers you leave the cooking up to him. “I ask the waiter not to give customers a choice on how they want it cooked. This must be eaten medium rare, cooked for two minutes on each side, or it will ruin the taste.”

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