Restaurant Review: Eat Around The Corner
On January 3, popular Bandra restaurant/student hangout Just Around The Corner closed for renovations. Mars Hospitality, the company that ran JATC, reopened its doors last Friday. Rebranded as Eat Around The Corner, a sign board near the door states that the proprietors no longer wish it to be just a “coffee shop” and hope to put the spotlight back on the food. They have thus removed the Costa Coffee outlet and Pizzeria kitchen in the restaurant’s outdoor section, and introduced a minimum spend. Coffees and pizzas are still on the menu, but if you want either you will to have to order something else as well because each of those items cost under Rs250, the cover charge that you have to pay to sit at the restaurant. The sign by the door explains the need for a cover charge; it’s meant to deter people who sat there for many hours without ordering. Yet it doesn’t explain the owners’ need to kill the one thing they had going for them: an easy-going vibe.
Now, you have to wait to be seated. There’s a very ordered process involving a seating chart marked with table numbers and push pins to indicate which ones are occupied. Once you’re allotted a table and handed a swipe card (each card carries a specific amount of credit depending on the number of people occupying the table), you can make your way to the food counter. We suggest that you spend the cover charge in a single order because the management is still undecided on whether customers can use the same card more than once.
There are no additions to the list of sandwiches, burgers and pizzas; only now the breads (you choose between 12 types including wholewheat and multigrain) are baked in-house. The salad bar, with four non-veg and two veg set salads, is a pale version of what it used to be. At JATC, you had the option of shamelessly heaping a quarter plate with as many items from the salad counter; at EATC, you only have a choice between a small and a large serving. The tamarind chicken salad was dressed with a refreshingly tangy tamarind glaze and served on a bed of wonderfully crunchy olive oil-dressed salad leaves. Sadly, a small portion only serves one and leaves you longing for the days when you could make a meal out of a salad at JATC. You can however still make a meal of the pizza, even though it’s only served by the slice. Pizzeria fans (the Marine Drive establishment owned by Mars Hospitality) will not be let down. Our pepperoni slice slathered with chunky tomato sauce and a blend of creamy cheeses tasted unmistakably like the one we’ve savoured at Pizzeria.
If you intend to spend only the cover charge amount, stick to the excellent wraps, sandwiches and burgers, dishes they’ve perfected over their 12 years of existence. The fresh-off-the-grill spicy chicken wrap and the chicken Afghani sandwich were equally strong contenders for the “best dish of the meal” honour. The paper-thin tortilla wrap stuffed with shredded chicken in spicy mayonnaise scored on texture and taste. Like us, you may find yourself lingering over the rows of chocolate sauce- and cream-drenched desserts. The Mars bar cheesecake, not commonly found at restaurants, was fresh and had all the caramel goodness of a Mars bar.
Once you’ve spent the Rs250 cover, you can “chill out” at EATC. But like us, you may find that you have no inclination to stay. Surprisingly, the cover charge wasn’t on the top of our list of gripes. It’s the regimented processes that we find harder to stomach. The owners want EATC to succeed as a restaurant but they can’t hope to achieve that with a menu that is only marginally altered from that of JATC, and the food, though good, was never really what drew customers there in the first place.
A meal for two costs approximately Rs700.Tags: Eat Around The Corner, EATC, Food review, JATC, Just Around The Corner, restaurant review, restaurant reviews, Special Top Story
LocationEat Around The Corner
110 Cyrus House
Near St. Theresa School
Junction of 24th and 30th Road
Phone2600 6717 and 2600 2665
HoursDaily, 7am to 1am