The first thing you notice about Tamasha is its size: broad and cavernous, it’s probably one of the biggest restaurants in the city. The second thing you notice is that it looks like every other all-day restaurant bar of the 2010s. There’s the large, long bar at the back, the familiar row of Edison bulbs on an exposed ceiling, high-tables with high chairs, parquet floors and an exposed brick wall.
It’s so wonderfully generic, with so many possibilities, that Rotarians could happily host a brunch in the morning and an EDM DJ could use it as gig space at night. And should the owners decide to change the concept or the cuisine, they can do so without pulling out a single nail from the wall.
A restaurant this size, particularly one that can easily accommodate large groups (we saw at least four tables of ten diners) necessarily needs a modestly priced, one-size-fits-all menu. Tamasha has covered all their bases by offering a wallet-pleasing, trendy mix of traditional Indian, modern Indian, fusion Indian, rasta Indian and a sprinkling of world cuisine.
With such a broad spectrum, there’s a danger of things going haywire. But apart from the Tamasha aranchini (batter coated, deep fried risotto balls with a stuffing of grated paneer in a spicy tomato sauce) which is more strange than unpleasant, the food is mostly on the mark.
The bhatti murgh souvlaki, served on a pita bread along with creamy, thick hummus and a tangy tzatziki, intelligently substitutes smoky, tandoor-cooked tikkas for traditional Greek kebabs. There’s only a faint trace of vodka in the vodka, clove, cardamom biryani. But it comes shaped like a large burger, with the masala sandwiched between two bun-shaped layers of rice. The picture is completed by a scoop of burrani raita on the side of the bun and a tangled nest of onion rings tossed in mint chutney.
Even though nothing in our Konkani thali tasted like it should have, it was enjoyable. The tambda rassa was more like a Mangalorean meat sambar, the overpowering flavour of curry leaf made the shredded chicken sukka taste more Chettinad than Maharashtrian. The pandhara rassa was weak, but went well with the rice.
The Mumbai mawa cake cream toast was a palate-pleasing milk-soaked, tres leches-style dessert, topped with a cherry puree and custard. While they’ve managed to pull off the food our solitary cocktail was execrable; I’ve never tasted a negroni so unbalanced. It was too bitter, had an unpleasant alcohol burn and was too watery.
But then, with its punchy, in your face, middle management flavours and cheap drinks Tamasha doesn’t seems to be the place you’d go for a sophisticated cocktail. It’s where the team would go to celebrate the end of a project, or the 40-somethings to have a boozy, college reunion.
HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously
RATING: 3 / 5
WHERE: Ground Floor, Victoria House, PB Marg, next to Kamala Mills, Lower Parel
WHEN: 12 pm - 1 am
COST: Rs 2000 for two including a cocktail each