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A dose of desi

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Purva Indulkar tries the unique offerings at Veranda and walks out with the delectable flavours  still lingering on her tongue

We walked in on a sleepy Tuesday when the sunlight was streaming in through the large window panels of Veranda, masking the entire restaurant in a glimmering sheen. The white curtains bellowing in the wind, the wooden lamps with thin stems and the spacious seating with just enough space for a private whisper, add an air of sultriness to the place. My dining companion and I sat on a wooden table with floral cushions in the youthful section of the seating area. It was in stark contrast to a part of the restaurant with dim lighting, low tables and mauve cushions, which was meant for families and couples.

We began our meal with their amuse-bouche — a platter of Dravidian mini idlis soaking with pumpkin puree and aam panna served in a test tube. The dish is served to all those who walk into the restaurant and is quite a bland introduction to their wide variety of lip-smacking flavouRs , both Indian and western. Next, we bit into their Baby Beetroot, Arugula and Quinoa Salad (Rs 375) served in a heavy wooden boat. The beetroot filled with hung curd was delicious, while the sweetness of the citrus fruits and the bitterness of the arugula contrasted well. We then drained a glass each of their Kalakhatta Margarita (Rs 300) and Virgin Piña Colada (Rs 300). The kalakhatta served in a huge glass was shaky and swirly, and I was paranoid about dropping it on my white top. While the piña colada looked like a dull milkshake, the thick slush had a coconut ring to it.

From among their appetizers, we went for the Palak Bhindi Chaat (Rs 300) — spinach fritters  topped with yoghurt sauce and mint chutney. The dish transported us to Juhu Beach with its sharp contrast of chaat flavours and the crunchiness of the fritteRs . But, my favourite element of the dish was that it sounds better than it tastes; hearing the crunchiness when we bit into a fritter showed me how food can sometimes please more senses than one. Their Dahi Bhalla (Rs 300) was a lovely sweet treat to bite into after the explosive chaat. The baked yoghurt and dahi wadas with tamarind and mint chutney are a great starter if you like your food sweet. My dining companion was craving some meat, so we went with their Dhaba Chicken Platter (Rs 400), which had three varieties of tandoori chicken — the tikka chicken was crisp and flavourful, the hariyali chicken was tender and juicy, and the malai chicken was creamy and sweet. The ranch dressing and mayonnaise that come with the dish add a flavourful hint to the chunks of chicken.

Moving to the mains, we picked the Goan Fish Curry (Rs 500), which is cooked in red chillies and coconut and was tangy and spicy. It tasted just like the fish curries I’ve had in Panaji, so full marks for authenticity. The denseness of the butter thyme rice served with it made this dish a homely and scrumptious meal. Their Mumbai Tawa Rice with Chicken Teriyaki (Rs 450) is a must-try for people who love Thai flavours. While the chicken and salad left a bitter aftertaste, the sticky rice was delightful. After finishing our drinks, we dug into two desserts that we had never tried before. Their Gulukand Choco Bar (Rs 300) is a must-try. A soft chocolate mousse covered in chocolate sauce served on a platter (much like the choco bar ice-cream) and topped with fennel powder and silver-coated betel nuts, this dessert is simply brilliant! The chocolate is light and sweet, and the Gulukand explodes in your mouth when you bite into it. We also tried their White Chocolate Soufflé (Rs 300), which included a soft and creamy blob served with vanilla ice-cream. Dripping with sweetness, this left a light and memorable aftertaste.

I wouldn’t think twice before visiting Veranda again, and if I spot you sitting at one of their sunlit tables, I would certainly recommend their Palak Bhindi Chaat, the Dhaba Chicken Platter and the lovely Gulukand Choco Bar. Whether you want to head there for a noisy reunion with friends or a quiet dinner with family (or even a fancy date once in a while), Veranda has the ambiance and the menu for it.

Where: Hotel Executive Enclave, 331, Dr. Ambedkar Road, Pali Hill, Bandra

Alcohol served: Yes (a pint of beer Rs 300 onwards)

Meal for two: Rs 2, 500

Contact: 33126749

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