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There’s rhyme and reason at Canto: Mumbai restaurant review by Raul Dias

This large new eatery near Opera House in Mumbai has a laid-back vibe, a varied menu, and fusion food that actually works.

mumbai Updated: Jul 19, 2017 10:45 IST
Raul Dias
Raul Dias
Hindustan Times
Canto café and bar,Fusion food,Thai curry bao
There’s a lovely sense of space at Canto. Comfortable tufted couches sit atop black-and-white tiles. There are pendant lights and wall sconces, and also plenty of natural light streaming in from the large windows.(Kunal Patil / HT Photo)
  • Rating: 3 / 5
  • Where: 534, BCMA, SVP Road, Opposite Sukh Sagar, Opera House
  • When: 12 pm to 1 am
  • Cost: About Rs 3,000 for two, with one cocktail each
  • Call: 4971-1813

In a neighbourhood where pure vegetarian restaurants abound, this omnivorous, multi cuisine, all-day café and bar tries its best to be heard. It succeeds fairly well.

Canto replaces Karma —The Liquid Lounge, popular in the early 2000s for filling a gap between nightclub and fine-dining restaurant. In its new avatar, it has a chilled-out, easy vibe. In the midst of families out for a mid-week lunch and noisy kitty-partying women, one does spy the odd office-goer at a quick, solo lunch.

Divided up into a voluminous main area on the ground floor and a tiny mezzanine level, the sense of space was apparent the moment we walked in. Comfortable tufted couches and wrought-iron-legged tables sit atop black-and-white tiles. Adding a touch of whimsy, two giant paintings of dancers in voluminous skirts dominate one wall. There are pendant lights and wall sconces; and plenty of natural light streaming in from the large windows.

The Thai curry bao was disappointing. While the bao was fluffy and perfectly made, the green chicken curry within was criminally salty. ( Kunal Patil / HT Photo )

We started off with a well-made Spezie Negroni, a Prohibition Era-styled cocktail elevated by citrus gin, vermouth and Campari. Our next drink, the sour Melodies, was too high on lime juice and too low on gin. We sent it back (and weren’t charged for it).

The slabs of chilly-parmesan polenta, topped with a coconut-redolent Goan green beans foogath, showed us that fusion needn’t be all bad. We wish we could have said the same for the Thai curry bao – fluffy, perfectly made baos filled with criminally salty green chicken curry.

The mutton sali boti came with caramelised onion rice and was spot on. ( Kunal Patil / HT Photo )

The seafood risotto passed muster with its generosity of calamari, prawn and saffron-infused arborio rice. The mutton sali boti, though lacking the all-important potato-straw halo, came with caramelised onion rice and was spot on. The suitably straightforward juicy grilled chicken breast with a buttery potato mash on the side was the poster dish for comfort food.

The desserts lacked imagination. A competent but boring combination of molten chocolate lava cake and vanilla ice-cream did little to outshine the creamy brilliance of the wobbly blueberry cheesecake with crumbly shortbread base. While Canto may not seem to have any immediate aspirations of being hailed as the hot new place, it does seem to be the kind of restaurant that’s happy to stroll along at an unhurried pace.

The juicy grilled chicken breast with buttery potato mash was straightforward but well-executed comfort food. ( Kunal Patil / HT Photo )

(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)

First Published: Jun 02, 2017 16:14 IST