Restaurant Round-Up: Balthazar, Raaga, Grass Root
Juhu Road, opposite Lido Petrol Pump, near SNDT college, Santa Cruz (West). Tel: 99309 99930.
While size is Balthazar’s most striking feature (it’s 6,500 sq. ft), its proprietor, 1980s actress Anita Raj has been inventively eclectic with the decor, an incongruent mix of statues, Moroccan lamps, hieroglyphics, photographs, plastic plants and a network of concrete pillars. The Chinese menu has a lot to offer for non-vegetarians. The slightly sweet Inferno chicken in superior sauce (a combination of light soya and oyster sauce) was a lot better than the stir fried sugar snaps and celery with minced prawn, which was a sour, strictly passable appetiser. The pan fried whole pomfret in yellow bean sauce is worth trying, if you can stomach the searing red chilli garnish; the chicken pan fried noodles, however, are bland and disappointing. The restaurant also doubles up as a lounge/bar and in a month’s time, they expect to start a Johnnie Walker Blue Label Lounge, where entry will be via guest list.
Meal for two: Approximately Rs1,400.
Sea Palace Hotel, 26, P. J. Ramchandani Marg, Apollo Bunder, near Radio Club, Colaba. Tel: 6112 8080.
Down the road from the stately Taj Mahal Palace hotel is the weathered Sea Palace Hotel, a budget accommodation that is hoping to draw more attention with the launch of its new north Indian restaurant Raaga. Opened in place of Marina, a cafe that served Indian and continental fare, Raaga is a no-fuss restaurant furnished with dark wood furniture and yellow tiled walls. It’s best for a quick lunch, especially in an area that has few places serving North Indian food. They make a suitably creamy though overspiced dal makhani and an equally rich nimbu chicken, which is a tasty, tangy alternative to the more obvious butter chicken. In addition to standard Mughlai fare, Raaga also serves Sindhi food on weekends.
Meal for two: Approximately Rs600.
Senapati Bapat Marg, opposite High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel. Tel: 2491 3131.
Grass Root, located across the road from Phoenix Mills, is owned by the people behind Kamat’s, the popular chain of vegetarian family restaurants. In terms of both decor and food, it’s indistinguishable from other Indian fast food chains. Their eight-page, all-vegetarian menu has numerous specialities from Maharashtra, South India and Punjab, but many of these will be launched in phases. When we went by, only the Bombay chaat, and a few South Indian and North Indian options were available. Try their paratha thali—a wholesome lunch option that offers a choice of potato, paneer, pea or cheese paratha, served with chole, raita and either chaas or lassi. Unlike the chaat, idli and dosa which are served fairly quickly, the paratha meal takes time to prepare and is best reserved for a long lunch break.
Meal for two: Approximately Rs300.