Fowl is fair at Henpecked: Food review by Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi
Customisable cheese boards, classic fondue, plush upholstery -- at Mumbai’s Henpecked (ignore the gimmicky name) there’s quite a bit of fun to be had.mumbai Updated: May 27, 2017 10:05 IST
- Rating: 3.5 / 5
- Where: 105, Apollo Street, Kala Ghoda
- When: 11 am to 1 am
- Cost: About Rs 3,000 for two, with one drink each
- Call: 6555-0303
Month-old Henpecked (tagline: Eat Drink Obey) claims to follow the farm-to-table philosophy.
If there was ever an attention-grabbing name retrofitted to imply the farmer’s toil in the field — and according to Henpecked, now also in the kitchen — this is it. Pay no heed, and the name could simply be an easy pun involving hens and farms.
Despite its baiting name, 105 Apollo Street has never looked less constrained. After the partners of the erstwhile Farmer And Sons split, the current space has been redesigned in ecru. It’s brighter, warmer, friendlier.
The beautiful but very broody long bar has been compacted at the back and this has made all the difference. There are many more seats, and they’re way more comfortable — sofas with wooden arms, plush upholstery. Cabinets showcase farmstead tchotchkes: cookie jars, glass figurines, floral teapots.
The food is said to be inspired by “farmers’ daily meals”, but the menu doesn’t specify where these farmers are from. There are lavish customisable boards of cheese, meat, or vegetables, featuring knobs of gorgonzola, prosciutto, braised fennel, seasonal fruit compote, and sourdough bread, all sourced locally. Here’s what would have seriously impressed us: if they’d named Indian farmers and farms under each dish, ingredient-wise.
A small pot of classic cheese fondue had light and buttery brioche croutons and snappy pepper and zucchini sticks alongside. There was a swirl of fragrant pesto under a dome of burrata, but the otherwise creamy cheese was frozen solid, the tomatoes mushy, the balsamic strawberries not tart enough. A butternut squash salad was a counterpoint to the fondue. With its cubes of orange flesh and slightly bitter leaves studded with the heft of lentils and the crunch of unsoaked chia seeds, it’s worth repeating.
There was more fire in a faultless chilli-garlic-stippled aglio e olio than in the ‘red hot’ chicken wings, which were crunchy enough but more sweet than hot. The blue cheese dip alongside was barely cheesy, with none the bite of blue. A thin-crust Old MacDonald pizza had choriz, bacon, potato cubes, pearl onions and pea shoots, so it was robust and smoky, balanced with tang from a well-made marinara. But the meat was sinewy and dry, the slightly charred crust otherwise doughy.
Henpecked’s apple crumble pie could have been perfect, a marriage of very short pastry encasing juicy fruit, but was marred by a minor imbalance of power. Subtract sugar, add ice-cream, and it will make a perfect match. We’ll go back when we’re feeling peckish.
(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)