Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Table

We were invited by Mr. And Mrs. Bagvala [names changed to protect their identities] to dinner at The Table, a Fine Dining restaurant at the Gateway of India. I must start by saying it was a fantastic meal, the food was top notch and more than that the food was really innovative. It was not the usual quasi Italian quasi Mexican quasi Oriental cheese and carbohydrate laden food that passes as Continental food in today’s restaurants. This was really new food. I will go so far as to say that this was the finest `Continental’ food I have had in India in the last 10 years. It was imaginative, well cooked, excellently presented in custom made serving dishes and above all, tasted excellent.

For those in the know, Alex Sanchez who was the Chef at The Table has since departed. I do not know if this is correct. The restaurant describes its cuisine as `ingredient driven, focusing on simplicity and purity of flavour, a philosophy inherited from Chef Alex Sanchez’s native San Francisco’. This is a two level restaurant done up in wood with a lot of wrought iron, pleasant to the eye with a bright red rather macabre painting at the top of the stairs. I was rather surprised that the restaurant was only at 50% or less capacity though it was a Wednesday night. By contrast Indigo Deli located just 25 meters away was packed to the rafters.

Soon after seating we were handed the menu as well as the wine list which I glanced at. I was not drinking as I was driving. The Wines themselves were not very many with what looked to me like a 33% Indian wine selection and the remaining global. Not impressive but not something to sneeze at. I know for a fact that the ITC Grand Maratha has a much larger selection, anyway, that is not the point. A bottle of Bodega Norton Malbec which sells at the ITC Grand Maratha for Rs 4,000/- was available here at Rs. 3,500/-. Is that expensive? A bottle of Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile which we drink at home costs Rs. 1,300/- at Shah Wines while it was being sold at Rs. 2,900/-. A decent price to pay at a restaurant.

A most decent bread basket

Mrs. Bagvala took charge and ordered starters for the table. She is a reasonable regular at the restaurant and was familiar with what was what. A most popular dish is Zucchini Spaghetti with Almonds and Parmesan. This is served warm with a Balsamic dressing. Mrs. Bagvala warned the waiter that she would not accept a soggy dish. I must say that the waiter’s promise of not serving a soggy dish was met. The dish was excellent. The Zucchini was cut into strands to resemble Spaghetti and probably sautéed. Parmesan was grated at the table. Really top class and something I have never had before. It was polished off in seconds. 

 Zucchini Spaghetti with Almonds and Parmesan - just before they added the Parmesan

The next starter she ordered was described on the menu as Boneless Chicken “Wings” with a Ginger Glaze. Total knock-out of a dish. This was a genuine creation, something I have not seen ever before. From what I could figure out Chicken Skin and stripped meat from the wings was probably pressed into a sort of cake and then cooked in an oven. Cubes were cut dressed with the Glaze and served. Fantastic dish. I am glad Mrs. Bagvala took charge.

The Chicken `Wings'
Then it was time for the main course. 3 of us decided on the Burger, cooked medium in a Brioche Bun. Mr. Bagvala wanted Bacon in his, HRH the Queen of Kutch requested Cheddar while I said I would like Blue Cheese. Folks, these were good burgers, really good burgers. Juicy, the bun was super and the fries that accompanied the Burger crisp and hot. The best Burger we have had in India. As good as what you get in the UK? No, but close. Mrs. Bagvala ordered Grouper Roasted in Japanese Aromatics with Spring Onion Fondue and Spinach. It looked really good and she declared it as excellent.

The Burger with Blue Cheese

Grouper Roasted in Japanese Aromatics with Spring Onion Fondue and Spinach

A few days after the meal I have written about in the previous paragraphs, we once again dined at the Table. In light of the excellent food we had eaten we ordered exactly the same things again. However, we had some additional people we were dining with. Senior Mrs Stonethrower ordered a Korean Barbeque Beef on a  Kimchi Pancake with Scallions, Mung Bean Sprouts and a Horseradish Cream. We all had a forkful to taste. This was a really good dish.

There was a Red Snapper also on the menu. This was served with Curried Quinoa, Fresh Fennel Slices and some sort of Broth. I am afraid I cannot recall what the dish was exactly. But this dish too was pronounced as really good.

The Red Snapper without the broth and then with the broth poured on. 

As I have said earlier, a really good meal, really good food and food that genuinely excited us. I regret the fact that I have not eaten at the Table before. I plan to remedy that and eat there a few times. Mind you it is pricey, the burgers cost Rs. 1,200/- plus plus but they are really good.

Go there soon. I recommend it. The Table is far superior to Indigo and certainly better than Indigo Deli. I do not think there a better restaurant serving `Continental’ food in Mumbai.  

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