Far, far away, amidst the noisy lanes in Fort, lies an eatery that has toppled out of a fairytale itself. Khevna Pandit visited the charming Henpecked to find it loaded with culinary delights
Those of you who have walked back and forth confused, as you search for the Nutcracker at Kala Ghoda, will understand what we mean when we say that it is a struggle to find this gem tucked away in Fort. At least that’s what we felt when we were scurrying about trying to locate Henpecked on a busy Monday afternoon. You may wonder why you’re near the BSE building amidst the crowd of bank employees chattering away, and at some point you may even begin to question the directions on your map. But don’t worry, because that’s when you’ll finally arrive at a hole-in-a-wall sized door that leads you to a beautiful little bistro. Henpecked stands in a busy, narrow lane and we couldn’t help but frown in dismay at the strange choice of location the restaurant seemed to have picked. However, soon after we settled in, the restaurant filled up table by table (to our surprise) on a Monday (read: holiday) afternoon. And that geared us up to delve into the menu without any further delay.
With intricate aesthetics and minimalist décor, the interiors at Henpecked are enchanting. One look around is enough to know that the place screams ‘brunch!’ in every corner. The endearing interiors comprise of porcelain utensils, books and adorable potted plants. With shaded lamps hanging over the heavy wooden tables, we were instantly taken by Henpecked’s delicate Victorian charm. For a place that’s super tiny, Henpecked sure has an elaborate (hardbound!) menu, several pages thick, to confuse you.
Flipping through the menu, you will find an array of delicious cocktails (along with a few house craft beers), and a delicious breakfast spread, of course. We decided to start our fare with a Kambucha (Rs. 550), a blend made of tequila, kambucha, curacao, orange juice and lime, and a Heisenberg (Rs. 350), made of lime, homemade gin syrup and blue curacao. The Kambucha was a flavourful drink that my dining companion thoroughly enjoyed. The Heisenberg, however, didn’t go down well with us; it tasted like watered down lime juice and it can be easily overlooked when ordering. However, the staff was kind enough to tailor our drinks according to how we liked them.
With so many options, we were spoilt for choice. We decided to pick a Mezze Platter (Rs. 455), the Herbed Grilled Chicken Skewers (Rs. 345) and the Mushroom Aglio Olio (Rs. 295). The mezze platter was an elaborate spread! Loaded with hummus, lavash, Baba ghanoush, harissa sauce, za’atar pita and cumin cilantro falafel, it looked wonderful with many striking colours on one plate. The za’atar pita was soft and delicious, and it went exceptionally well with the hummus. However, what we found delicious was the medley of tasty dips and sauces, which complemented the offerings on the assorted platter very well.
My dining companion relished the Herbed Grilled Chicken Skewers, which were char-grilled with crumbled herbs and garlic. Moist and not too chewy, he claimed that he could finish at least five more! The humble Mushroom Aglio Olio comprised of diced mushroom with a sprinkling of garlic, chilli flakes and basil. Fun to pop some in our mouths every now and then, we were left craving for more long after we had polished the dish off our plates!
We know that we have said this several times in the past, but this time we’ve truly found the perfect pizza! Outrageously priced, the Mr. Gogo (Rs. 865) seemed like just another mushroom pizza when it arrived at our table. However, one bite of the pizza and we could taste the shiitake, porcini as well as the farm ’shrooms in dollops of chevre cheese and truffle oil. With a melt-in-the-mouth texture, this was a hit with us in no time. Here’s a fun fact: it isn’t made using a base sauce. Surprised? So were we!
Moving on from a dreamlike state to try our next dish, I ordered a Pomodoro Pasta (Rs. 365), while my dining companion called for Coconut Prawns (Rs. 615). The Pomodoro Pasta was made using cherry tomato sauce, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil, and it tasted fairly alright. However, my dining companion couldn’t stop licking his spoon after relishing a delightful portion of Coconut Prawns, cooked with curry leaves, and served with pimento rice and green bean casserole. Although not so spicy, the dish retains its original Goan roots, which is what left us impressed.
A sprinkling of cocoa
Nowadays it is almost impossible to feel satiated without a good round of dessert, and we had two! After learning about my love for chocolate, the chef sent his special Chocolate Mousse (Rs. 235) to our table. A big ball of chocolaty goodness, the mousse was everything we’ve ever dreamed of — and more! Unfortunately, it isn’t on the menu, but if your passion for chocolate is unlike any other, who knows? You may be granted this delicious treat!
We also tried the Mocha Fudge Treat (Rs. 225). Leaning on the bitter side, this cake made of mocha came with a coffee creameaux and mocha cream. A treat for coffee lovers, it gives you a zing of caffeine with every bite. Nevertheless, we found it to be an indulgent dessert.
Before we left (with full bellies and a happy smile), we vowed to walk in again someday, for a brunch (if we manage to make it from the other end of the city in time, that is) and relish everything Henpecked’s elaborate menu has for us. We think you should grab a table if you’re nearby, and if you plan on getting up to town, make sure you reserve a table!
Where: 105, Apollo Street, Opposite Laxmi Vilas Bank, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort
Meal for two: Rs. 1,700
Alcohol served: Yes (a pint of beer from Rs. 170 onwards)