Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cafe Sundance Mumbai. Really avoid this place

We do not like to eat at new or moderately new restaurants. They are overhyped, serve poor imitations and often bastardisations of classic dishes [add cheese add chilli] and are never grounded. They have either a group of investors or have an entrepreneur who is masquerading as a restaurateur.

One such place is Cafe Sundance in the Eros Cinema building at Churchgate. HRH the Queen of Kutch has been complaining that I am unadventurous and only want to go to `the same five and a half restaurants’. She had wanted to eat at Sundance Cafe and I had been resisting. I gave in on Friday 12th December. Mistake, bad mistake.

After downing a few beers and whiskeys at the Bombay Gymkhana, very cheap as you know, it was time for dinner. So we hailed a taxi [simple black and yellow, smelly, dirty, dusty, rattly with a cranky driver] we reached the Sundance Cafe at 9.15 on a Friday night in December during the festive and NRI season. The place was empty. Just two other tables were occupied. We should have walked out. A restaurant in such dire straits during peak dining time is a bad sign. Signal one ignored.

Menus were placed printed on card paper, dog eared, and frayed on the edges and with lots of food stains. Scanning the drinks menu HRH the Queen of Kutch asked for a Glenfiddich, I asked for a beer. After taking the order the server comes by and says they have no, repeat no, single malts. So she settles for a beer. Signal two ignored.

We ordered a starter, more about that later, a Tenderloin Burger and a Ham and Cheese sandwich was ordered for our mains. The order included potato so we asked for a portion of French Fries and a portion of Potato Wedges.

Before we could say Jack Robinson, the Ham & Cheese Sandwich arrived. Yup. Before the starter. We returned the sandwich with a warning to not serve the same sandwich again later but to ask the kitchen to prepare a new one. We again requested that the starter be served. Signal three ignored.

Normally three strikes and you are out. But the ordeal continued, now with an amusing twist.

Soon enough the starter arrived. This was Pork Belly Tortillas which are described in the menu thus - “Mini tortillas, slow roasted pork belly, guacamole and tomato salsa.” This is what we got. Clearly no slow roasted pork belly but bacon. Yes yes I know that streaky bacon is from the belly of a pig, but this was bacon for Christ’s sake not slow roasted pork belly. Obviously the kitchen had no pork belly. We did not return the dish for mis description but proceeded to eat it. It was fine but it was not what was described on the menu. Signal four ignored.

This is Bacon not Slow Roast Pork Belly

Then the Burger and Sandwich arrived with the two potato sides namely a portion of French Fries and a portion of Potato Wedges. The potato wedges were ice cold. I requested that they be removed and a hot portion be served. The staff readily obliged. Problem was that the Potato Wedges were ghastly. They had what appeared to me to be Maharashtrian Goda Masala more than liberally sprinkled on them. I hated them and left them uneaten. As far as the French Fries are concerned, this was a new low. By far the worst French Fries are served at Totos Garage. These were worse. Left uneaten. Signal five ignored.

Potato Wedges

The Burger had a patty that was small, tasteless and totally overcooked. I do not mind it being overcooked in India. I would be very wary to eat a medium [red in the middle] mince meat patty in India purely on account of health and hygiene. The problem we have is that our beef [buffalo] is very lean; hence getting moistness in a burger patty is difficult. So to that extent I do not blame Sundance Cafe for the poor quality of burger at the price Rs 475/- ++. The best burger by far is the one at The Table but that costs an eye popping Rs 1,200/- ++. The Indigo Deli also does a Burger at Rs 585/- ++. But, I am conflicted. Should lesser money mean worse food? I am not really sure how to answer this. .

The Ham & Cheese Sandwich at Rs 425/ ++ was unremarkable. You could make this at home. It had nothing going for it.

When we got the bill they had cheekily added 5% service charge. We refused to pay this. So we got a discount of Rs 160/- In any event the bill came to Rs 1800/- for two beers and the food I have mentioned. Absolute waste of money. We came away angry, and hungry. The restaurant never filled up. Clearly it is dying.

To conclude, do not go there. If you want a burger, and I am not being facetious, have one at Dunkin Donuts. Much much better and far cheaper.

It was entirely HRH the Queen of Kutch’s fault.

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