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Authentic, but expensive

When an all-day dining restaurant at a five star hotel claims to specialise in Mumbai street food, some very obvious questions run through your mind.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2010 15:57 IST
Sneha Mahale
Sneha Mahale
Hindustan Times

When an all-day dining restaurant at a five star hotel claims to specialise in Mumbai street food, some very obvious questions run through your mind. Will the food be authentic? How expensive will it be? Why would you serve street food in a plush restaurant? By the time we had answers to any of these questions, we had reached Saptami, at the newly-opened Holiday Inn Mumbai International Airport.

We step into the restaurant, which has high cream-coloured ceilings and pillars and tastefully done red sofas and chairs. Live stations serve Indian, oriental and continental cuisine. A buffet counter with several cuts, salads and mains tempts us. But we stay focused.

Once seated and humming to the soft music playing in the background, we ask for the menu. On offer are several salads, soups, appetizers and mains. Hold on. Where is the street food that this restaurant is supposed to serve? The menu in front of us has no mention of it. The staff (very efficient and courteous) tells us that it isn’t available at Saptami but at Bar 72. Really? Not what we had been informed.

Anyway, they apologise and say they will bring over the Mumbai street food from Bar 72. To compensate for this, they offer to whip up some mean mocktails with any fruit of our liking. We ask for a peach-based drink ‘sans’ cream and are promptly served a Peach Sunrise (Rs 150). Delightful. We are also tempted into trying out their award-winning Mojito (Rs 375). It turns out to be very heavy on the rum and mint, leaving behind a bitter taste.

Food beckons
The Bar 72 menu offers items from the East, West and ‘from the street.’ The raste ka khaana includes WadaPav (mind you, spelt with a ‘w’ and not ‘v’), Pakodas, Samosas, SeekhPav, Chaat (includes Bhel, AlooTikki and KabuliChanna) and ChottaBhutta. We order the Pakodas, Samosas, Chaat and SeekhPav.

The Seekh Pav
(Rs 225) is awesome and tastes exactly like something you would eat at the roadside. Even the Pav tastes good. We like it. The Veg Pakodas (Rs 175) are good but the non-veg ones (Rs 350) (prawns, calamari and betki) are even better. We devour them.

The Samosas
(Rs 175) have either paneer or the usual potato and peas filling. The crust isn’t crispy. Strictly average.

The Chaat
(Rs 175) is disappointing. The Aloo Tikki is soggy and the chef probably forgot to add salt to the Bhel and Kabuli Channa. Disappointing. We round up our meal with an Opera House Cake (Rs 100 containing a chocolate and cream mix), the sponge of which is hard, but not bad.

Next day, we call the hotel’s PR to tell them about the menu mix-up, only to be informed again that it isn’t Bar 72 but Saptami that serves street food. Odd. There seems to be a lack of communication between the two that needs to be sorted out immediately. Now the question arises. Should you go there? Probably. Just ensure your wallet is deep.
HT Cafe reviews anonymously and pays for it.

What we like
The soft music in the background
The Seekh Pav
The friendly staff and flexible service
The non-veg Pakodas

What we don’t like
The Chaat
The prices
The confusion between the two restaurants on which serves what
The Mojito

First Published: Apr 30, 2010 13:24 IST