Sugarcane?’ I wondered. I’ve eaten kababs served on sugarcane sticks but never one infused with sugarcane, as the menu proclaimed. Even though I was sceptical, the Cane Kababs were an obvious choice. But like everything else in the restaurant, even the Cane Kababs (Rs 230), fail to live up to its promise. Juicy, but not a hint of sugarcane, said my palate.
Situated at the junction of Pali and Ambedkar Road, Clove Bar & Grill has a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of an entry. No extra-lighting, just a wooden signboard merging with the rustic wooden door. Which perhaps explains why my friend and I were the sole diners in the two-storeyed restaurant.
A spiffy-looking lounge on the ground level (they are still awaiting their liquor license) makes way for the restaurant above. Despite the wood paneling, straight-back wooden chairs, twigs on the ceiling, there’s no wow factor. Pristine white textured walls, with a Mediterranean feel seem a bit out of place.
The name is deceptive too. There is no exotic grill.. just staid Indian fare, the kind served at budget eateries or take-aways.
The menu is very limited and unexciting. Among the appetisers, the Pickled Baby Potato (Rs 180) had a nice earthy feel to it but was a little too tangy. The Achaari Bhindi (Rs 185) cooked in mustard oil with all the pickle spices was edgy, which made me believe that the restaurant is better with vegetarian fare than meat and seafood. The meat was stale and had a peculiar taste.
The Chicken Kadai (Rs 225) was left untouched as it tasted like it had been sitting in the fridge for almost two to three days. The Prawns Masala (Rs 325) cooked in coconut and spices was quite lip-smacking but for the prawns (four pieces) in it. Even though the chef was apologetic and offered to change the dishes, it left a bad taste in my mouth, quite literally. The Garlic Naan (Rs 60) was perhaps the best part of the deal.. crisp with bits of chopped garlic.
The service was okay, considering that ours was the only occupied table. But all the dishes are overpriced. I felt cheated.. it seemed as if I paid for the ambience and the location, more than the food. Clove Bar & Grill really needs to get its act right, lest it become just another open and shut case.