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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Tried & Tested: Food Review

All-day breakfast, updated décor and a new focus on the food, Boveda recently re-launched in an all-new avatar. Rhea Dhanbhoora visits to see whether it’s been successful in going from resto-bar to bistro

The last time I walked into Boveda, it was a dimly-lit space that was a throwback to members-only lounges, buzzing with 20-something-year-olds. I remember being quite satisfied with my experience back in 2013, so I was not sure how I felt about Boveda changing to a breezier space with less nips and more nibbles. But, it made sense, because unfortunately for Boveda, the resto-pub had not turned into the nightlife hotspot it had once seemed poised to become.

Yasho Sonthalia and Abhishek Goyal have added Syesha Kapoor to the team and the kitchen has been taken over by Gracian Dsouza, who has worked in Michelin star restaurants. With fond memories of the sliders and pizzas from three years ago, I was ready to see what was in store for Boveda’s second innings.

Inside out
The restaurant retains much of its exposed brick walls and suspended lights, but the dark, wood-finished interiors have given way to a brighter vibe with navy seating. The format remains the same, which is a good thing — high chairs on one side, café dining across the open floor, sofas near the door and an al-fresco setting that’s perfect for breezier evenings. An interesting addition is a tram inside the restaurant that is used as a live station for most of their all-day breakfast options.

Change is in the air
The friendly neighbourhood gourmet spot delivers breakfast till 1.30am, which we were thrilled about. Who wouldn’t be when you can get a Shakshouka (Rs 325) at your doorstep?

A new generation of diners means that the restaurant now has to be careful about what it serves — customers are more ingredient-aware and everyone is a food critic, even if they can’t tell a spatula from a ladle. The drinks at Boveda have always been potent, and they’re not about to get milder. With a very tasty mix of JD, Jameson, Jim Beam and coke in the Whiskey Tripple (Rs 545) and a ridiculously stiff Bloody Mary (Rs 350) with tequila, we were all set to browse through the menu.

Eat street
We skipped these, but you could start with a Cereal Bowl (Rs 235-265) and a smoothie (Rs 250-325). We started with a Four Mushroom Soup with Thyme and Goat Cheese (Rs 225); it was hearty, the mushroom added a meaty flavour to the broth and the thyme and goat cheese were the perfect marriage of flavours.

On to a salad, ours was the Green Bean, Cherry Tomato, Artichoke and Mix Leaf with Marinated Feta and Home Made Vinaigrette (Rs 325). While it was delicious, it could do with less mixed greens and more artichoke and feta.

The Balsamic Marinated Mushroom on Toast (Rs 375) was next and while I was looking forward to it, it didn’t do well. The appetiser would have tasted delicious with a meatier mushroom base than your regular button variety, but I can’t hold that against them. However, the balsamic vinegar was over the top, even for someone like me who can spoon it up like gravy. The first bite is a yummy, tooth-tingling dash, but through your fifth and sixth mouthful you will start to feel more sick than satisfied. Mushroom soaks up flavours, so a little less ‘drowning in vinegar’ would turn this from an absolute no-no into a must-have.

The Lamb Cutlet on Grilled Pita with Tzatzaki & Quinoa Salad (Rs 425) provided some respite from the tangy mushrooms. Although it has strong flavours too, they’re well balanced and the lamb melts in your mouth.

Of two dishes that saved our meal, one was the Chorizo Ragout and Mascarpone (Rs 525) pizza. The base is thin and the toppings generous. The Grilled Fish in Lemon Butter Sauce with Wilted Spinach and Dill Caper  (Rs 525) is also delicious — ask for extra sauce and don’t forget to catch all the capers.

Dessert was a below-average panna cotta with way too much gelatine. They don’t have a dessert menu, simply desserts of the day chalked up on a board behind the long bar — but if this one was anything to go by, I’d skip it.

The bottomline
Did Boveda disappoint? Not really, but it didn’t blow me away either. The décor is fresh and the menu more extensive, but not better than the old (if you’ve had their grilled prawns you’ll know what I mean). The food is good, the drinks are spirit-strong  and the ambiance is cheery, but it’s got a long way to go before it becomes a must-visit on my list. If you’re in Andheri, give it a shot — you may find a few favourites.

Where Off Oshiwara Link Road, Morya Landmark 1, Ground Floor, Andheri (w)
Meal for two Rs 1,400
Alcohol served Yes (pint of beer Rs 185 onwards)
Contact 30038127

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