Skip to main content

TAG-away

I've been eating out and reviewing restaurants in Mumbai for close to nine years now. New restaurants open here all the time but over the years, the dining out options have come to form a rather off-putting level of predictability. Maybe it's because diners look for something familiar but for a while, every new place to open was a 'deli' or a cafe with the same old set of sandwiches, pastas and the lone chocolate fondant on the menu. New trends also come in waves. For a while, you couldn't go anywhere without spotting a new frozen yogurt place. And last couple of years, modern/molecular Indian has become a fad, no matter how terribly executed.

In this mediocrity that has come to define dining out in Mumbai, Ranveer Brar's newly opened TAG is a revelation. This pure vegetarian restaurant puts its faith on tapas, the one trend that never caught on in Mumbai. I am a huge fan of eating lots of small flavorful dishes rather than go the starter-main course-dessert route but not many chefs think that's the way to go in Mumbai. Ranveer clearly thinks my way if the small plates menu at his newly opened restaurant in Kamala Mills is to go by.

We ordered five small plates between the two of us and four of these were brilliant.



We opened our meal with watermelon sashimi sitting atop a yam guacamole. I kept thinking throughout the eating of this dish how delicious this yam was, and how much money I would save from buying avocados if I could replicate this. The lime ice that sits on top is brilliant and you will only wish there was a whole lot more of it.



Next came a creamy burrata, dusted with miso and served with a green tomato chunda and salad greens. This was the dish of the day for me; the burrata simply the best I've eaten in the city.



A kale papdi chaat followed and you will notice at this point how each dish is unique, with flavours and spices perfectly balance. The fried kale on this one sits atop a potato mash and the sweet yogurt foam is a beautiful complement to the crispy bits.



We felt it was the time to order something heartier so our next dish was mushroom galouti. The kebabs were nice enough but the bread that comes alongside is simply spectacular.



We ended the meal with a beet and rhubarb risotto. It's actually an arancini - the risotto shaped into round patties and fried. This was also my least favourite dish. It was kinda sweet and the flavours didn't all add up. But it could also be because we were pretty full by then.

TAG for me is a place worth a revisit. I didn't order any dessert and there are enough interesting savoury dishes left for me to try the next time. But as brilliant as the food is, I wish TAG had an ambience to match. The open kitchen and the kitschy chairs belong to a food that's far less refined than what TAG serves. The service is well-intentioned but servers lack in-depth knowledge on the dishes beyond the catchphrases that seem rehearsed. But the place seemed full even for late lunch and I hope it's a trend that catches on; dining out in Lower Parel is competitive and I would hate to lose out on the option of eating that burrata anytime soon.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Healthy Spinach Rice for Microwave Potluck Party

Is it really two years that Srivalli has been running her innovative microwave cooking event. She's prompted me to try my microwave for more than just heating several times. Just like last year, Srivalli celebrates the event anniversary with a potluck party. I took a dessert to the party last time around, but this time I was rooting for something healthier. I turned to last year's roundup, and there was this spinach rice. Valli, hope you don't mind getting the same dish on the menu again.

To make spinach rice, wash and soak 1/2 cup rice. In a microwave safe dish, heat a tsp of ghee for 30 seconds. Add 5-6 peppercorns and heat for another 10 seconds. Now add a small onion, chopped finely and microwave for another 30 seconds. Add a cup of finely chopped spinach, 1/2 a tsp of garam masala and another 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix and cook for 2-3 minutes until the spinach wilts. Add rice to the bowl, and a cup of water then pop it back in the microwave for 5 minutes. Bring it out and…

The Bread Whisperer

What do an electrical engineer, a monk and an IT trainer have in common? These are all the things Abhilash was before he turned his attention to bread baking. Not the one to pick an easy path, Abhilash started with the most temperamental of breads - the sourdough - as his baking adventure. At first, he was baking these loaves for himself. Accolades from friends and family quickly followed and much to the delight of this writer, he turned his passion into a full time career six months back.

For the uninitiated, a sourdough bread is made by fermenting the dough with naturally occurring yeast, making it harder to perfect than the bread made with commercial yeast. The bread's signature tang and the open crumb, with lots of holes, is only made better with a high hydration dough that is super tricky to master. While extremely popular around the world, good sourdough is an elusive commodity in Mumbai and there are only a handful of bakers I would trust when I am looking for bread.

Thoro…

Mystery Fruit

This only happened a few times every year, just when the rainy season kicked in. A street hawker will come by, straw basket on head. He will yell "kaul chapni" and I will run out to buy a bundle of these. Stuck together like flowers, they looked like a bouquet. Every hole contains a little fruit. You break out the package, peel the tiny fruit that pops out and eat it. Done slowly, it can take you an hour to eat an head. Or did, when I was about 12 years old.

That was the last time I saw this fruit. I've never seen it again, didn't even know what it was called or where it came from. Three weeks back, Vikram Doctor wrote about a store in Khar that sells Sindhi foods. He described this fruit and I knew it came from my vivid childhood memories. And finally, I knew we were talking about lotus fruit.

Now talk about coincidences. Last weekend, I was passing by a lane in Bandra and for the first time in many, many years I saw the straw basket filled with my mytery fruit. It…