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Fun food, great service: Kettle & Keg restaurant review

Like most contemporary casual-dining restaurants, K&K’s is a ‘safe’ menu, but the options are plenty and the staff refreshingly warm.

more lifestyle Updated: Apr 10, 2017 19:12 IST
Antoine Lewis
Antoine Lewis
Hindustan Times
Kettle & Keg in Khar has something to please everyone and a staff that’s eager to please too.(Aalok Soni/HT photo)

WHAT: Kettle & Keg

RATING: 3.5 / 5

WHERE: Shop No 1, Plot No 470, Celeste Kinchin Co-Op Housing Society, 14th Road, Khar (West)

WHEN: 9 am to midnight

COST: Rs 1,500 for two without alcohol

CALL: 2605-4343 / 2604-0303

It’s rare to find a restaurant in Mumbai where you’ll see such camaraderie among the service staff. When your server is busy, another waiter, or a captain, will take your order, clear your plates, make suggestions, and provide explanations, even before you draw their attention. It’s this congenial spirit that makes pint-sized Kettle & Keg such an unusually warm and friendly place. This warmth emanates from the kitchen as well. The chef sends out a complimentary salad when one part of our order is delayed; later, when he finds I’ve left my mushroom cheese melt sandwich half-eaten, he apologies and promises to work on the recipe.

The tikka botis are served with soft ladi paos and a raw papaya salad. The botis are not the chewy street fare but generously marinated strips that pull apart effortlessly; the salad, however, is inadequately tart. (Aalok Soni/HT photo)

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It’s unlikely he’ll be able to do anything to rectify it. The problem with the sandwich is the problem every bland or neutral flavoured Western dish faces in India: it gets drowned with spices. I was expecting a simple, toasted sandwich that melded the sweet earthiness of mushroom and the salty stringiness of cheese. What I got was a spicy, saucy mess of a filling that killed the taste of mushroom.

I was pleased to find that the restaurant didn’t charge us for it.

Like most contemporary casual-dining restaurants Kettle & Keg has a ‘safe’ menu – there’s enough to satisfy every palate, appetite and age group. You’re overwhelmed with options from an all-day breakfast menu to burgers, sandwiches, grills, pastas, pizza and Parsi food.

The Guntur chilli cheese fries come arranged in a neat column on a black spice-flecked plate. The combination of cheesiness, pungency and crispy fries makes it good enough to become a signature dish. (Aalok Soni/HT photo)

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We decided to start with a portion of Guntur chilli cheese fries and a beef tikka boti. Arranged in a neat column on a black spice-flecked plate with a generous topping of grated cheese and coriander, the chilli-tossed fries are beautifully plated. The combination of cheesiness, pungency and crispy fries makes it good enough to become a signature dish.

The botis, tender and moist, are served along with some soft, bubble-shaped ladi paos and a raw papaya salad that’s inadequately tart. These are not the chewy street botis but generously marinated strips that pull apart effortlessly.

The three-cheese risotto isn’t the mushy mess usually served at casual-dining restaurants. You can taste the brie, padano and cheddar distinctly. (Aalok Soni/HT photo)

We anticipate a mushy disaster when we ask for the three-cheese, black pepper and thyme risotto to be prepared al dente and are told that the rice is pre-cooked. It turns out to be not as firm as we’d like, but much better than what you’d get at most non-Italian restaurants. And you can taste the brie, padano and cheddar distinctly.

Kettle & Keg only serves wines on the weekend. We opted for a Twinkled Galangal Lemonade, which proved to be refreshing on a summer afternoon.

The mushroom cheese melt is drowning in spices, which kill the taste of the mushroom. (Aalok Soni/HT photo)

Despite being on a street that’s bookended by Monkey Bar and a Domino’s, Kettle & Keg is full on a Friday afternoon. With the exception of our table, the tiny place is entirely overrun by large groups of ladies who lunch. And even though it’s noisy and a bit cramped, what draws the crowd seems to be the fine balance of comfort food and attentive service.

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(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)

First Published: Apr 07, 2017 16:04 IST