Kebabs don’t get better
Kolkata’s popular Mughlai eatery, Arsalan just opened shop in the city. Located at a prime corner spot near Khar Police Station, SV Road, finding it is hardly a task. The place is spread over a huge area, and with the option of cosy outdoor seating, it seems warm and inviting. While this open-air section reminds one of a lazy neighbourhood café, the indoor seating sports a dash of elegance and subtlety à la a five-star coffee shop. The menu is elaborate, with numerous varieties of kebabs, biryanis and gravies.
Our first starter, the Chicken Hariyali kebab (Rs 80, half plate), with its exceptional herbal marination and strong spinach flavour, reassured us that the Arsalan legacy hadn’t diluted with migration to this city. Things only got better with the arrival of the special Mutton Seekh Kebab (Rs 130 for a half-plate), and we knew that this eatery-round-the-corner would soon sport packed tables, with a bevy of families waiting to be accommodated.
The swift service and polite waiting staff were the cherry on the cake. And we still had the main course left to order! We opted for the Mutton Rogan Dum Biryani (Rs 160). Our first reaction to the preparation, which seemed to lack colour, was that of disappointment. But we only had to take the first spoonful in our mouth to learn never to judge a book by its cover.
The Chicken Reshmi Butter Masala (Rs 210) was a creamy delight, and the boneless pieces were tender and succulent. However the Phirni (Rs 45) lacked the grainy texture, and came across quite unappealing to the taste buds. But as our dining experience till then had been surprisingly smooth, none of us complained.
However, a slight discrepancy among the prices mentioned on the menu and the ones charged to us on our bill, got us suspicious. Somehow, the difference, though measly, didn’t seem to be due to a "mistake in the computer system" that the apologetic staff maintained, since the difference in price showed up in two dishes and not one. However, we gave the restaurant the benefit of doubt and happily left.
What we like:
Location and outdoor seating
Where: 1 Sapphire, SV Road, 1st Road Corner, Khar West. Ph: 9768555556, 9920222873
What’s on the menu: Kebabs, biryanis, gravies, tandoori items
What we don’t like:
Dine alongside the tide
Much like the famed Salt Water Grill that stood at the same spot previously, Café By The Beach is about as close as Mumbai gets to a Goa-like ambience. There’s open-air seating in the sand, deck chairs overlooking the sea, a nearby water sports complex, relaxed music and waiters dressed in knee-length shorts.
The menu is fuss-free precise, yet offers something for everyone’s taste. Mediterranean and Italian dishes dominate, with salads, wraps, sandwiches, a range of coffees and beverages thrown in.
Our Iced Dark Mocha (Rs 200) serves as a refreshing thirst-buster in the afternoon heat. It’s chilled and not too sweet. We follow it up with a Turkey Salami Sandwich with mayonnaise, jalapeno and black olive tapenade (Rs 550). Although the filling is interesting and the portion commendable, the accompanying mustard is too pungent and the
potato wedges on the side are meagre.
Next, we select the Prawn and Green Garlic Ravioli (Rs 695). This time, we have a bone to pick with the quantity, considering we picked it as the main course. The ravioli itself is tender, cooked well and deliciously stuffed, but it’s garnished with one too many chilli flakes. Serving them on the side and allowing the patron to choose the quantity would have been a wiser option.
To finish, we ask for the Lemon Grass Crème Brulee (Rs 395). The hint of lemon grass is bang on, while the delicate upper crust adds the tinge of sweetness.
If the prices are anything to go by, hanging out at this South Mumbai eatery clearly comes at a premium for its stunning setting. Even a small meal here will burn a substantial hole in your pocket. But then, staring at the sea with a coffee and sandwich once in a while might not be such a bad idea...
What: Café By The Beach
Where: Near Mafatlal Club, Seashore Beach, Girgaum, Chowpatty
What’s on the menu: Salads, sandwiches, pastas, coffees
What we like:
Location, range of coffees
What we don’t like:
Least expensive: New Welcome, Nerul Rs 10
Most expensive: MoMo Café, JW Marriott, Juhu Rs 270
Average: Rs 64
Compiled by Pooja Maheshwary
Below Rs 21:
New Welcome, Nerul Rs 10
Sai Sagar Fast Food, Colaba Rs 10
DP’s The Fast Food Centre, Matunga- Rs 12
Madras Cafe, Colaba Rs 14
Y Not, Thane (W) Rs 15
Kailash Parbat, Andheri (W) Rs 15
On The Go, Vikhroli Rs 15
Gopal Krishna, Andheri (E) Rs 15
Shree Samarth Foods, Colaba Rs 15
K P Colaba, Colaba Rs 15
Tasty Corner, Dahisar Rs 15
Cross Road, Kharghar Rs 15
Stadium Restaurant, Churchgate Rs 18
Nashta Chai, Fort Rs 20
Mezban, Colaba Rs 20
Below Rs 61:
Indian Swad, Thane (W) Rs 30
Vrunda’s Veg, Borivali (W) Rs 35
Java Green Coffee, Powai Rs 38
Brun Cafe, Juhu Rs 40
Cafe Bean Garu, Powai Rs 45
Cinnabon, Bandra (W) Rs 45
Tease, Girgaum Chowpatty Rs 45
Java Grind Coffee Company, Goregaon (E) Rs 45
Cafe 91, Borivli (W) Rs 45
Teapot Café, Fort Rs 45
Chai-Coffi, Andheri (W) Rs 50
HQ Cafe, Malad (W) Rs 55
Barista, Andheri (W) Rs 60
Above Rs 61:
Deja Vu Café, Dadar (W) Rs 65
Gostana, Bandra (W) Rs 70
The Yoga House, Bandra (W) Rs 70
Aromas Cafe, Powai Rs 77
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Bandra (W)- Rs 100
Veda, Lower Parel (W) Rs 122
Miro Lounge - The Svenska Hotel, Andheri (W) Rs 125
Lake View Café, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel Rs 185
Nawab Saheb, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel Rs 185
Bombay Baking Company, JW Marriott, Juhu Rs 200
Corleone, Inter Continental Marine Drive Rs 250
MoMo Café, JW Marriott, Juhu Rs 270