It’s like a magnet. I refer to Nariman Point’s Express Towers. For the past twenty years, I have been going regularly for memorable meals to Ananya Goenkas penthouse there. Restaurant Vongwong (Chinese and Thai) set up in the same building, followed by the European –turned-party lounge Dragon Fly . And now the Express Towers table is set with the brand new Sassy Spoon. “I dream about Sassy Spoon’s pannacotta and the brown rice paella” gushes actress, trained bharat natyam danseuse Madhoo who’s eaten here four times. “I loved the very Bohemian free spirit of the Sassy Spoon and the excellent fare by Chef Irfan” says vivacious Shyamalee Tudawe, the feared and revered founder Editor of Sri Lanka’s first ever premier, Society magazine (its celebrating it’s 10th anniversary). She and her husband Amal Tudawe, Chairman of Srilanka’s oldest construction company are globe-trotting foodies. As are Madhoo and Anand Shah, (her industrialist husband ). This warm and vibrant zoology major, has acted in 53 films (half in hindi) and next week marks the premiere of her Telugu film and her debut in theatre.
When the trend is toward sleek minimalism, Sassy Spoon is a thrilling blast from the past, a reminder of how wonderful it is be in a sappily romantic atmosphere.Triple height ceiling, large gleaming mirrors, white table cloths and a wall inset with quaint old trunks complete the decor. Bathed by daylight, it is a delight at lunch time, dinner time has it’s own charm. Eclectic music too. Full marks to the décor. Now if only one didn’t have to walk into the corridor to get to the loo.
Chef Irfan Pabaney serves up his take on global eclectic. Truly qualified to do so, Columbia-born, he lived in Mexico. Guatemala and the Philipines. Over the years, I have been sampling his evolving cooking ( as a caterer, at Under the Over, Indigo, Seijo and the soul dish, Hakkasan). All the styles and influences distil themselves in his dishes.
He marries Indian (molgapodi, curry pata) Japanese (mirin ) Thai (somtam, birdsye chillies) with Italian and European with panache. I eat two large meals here and the three superstar dishes are the aldente spaghetti ( perfect nutty kiss of lemon butter noisette ) the unbelievably light as air warm, lemony couscous salad (enlivened with chilli) and whoa! The joy of mopping up the rich buttery, garlicky Cajun spiced prawns with crusty French bread! Sure the Brown rice paella, light Emmental souffle offset by caramelized walnuts are good too. As is the Mirin soaked beef paired with raw sprouts. Innovative sandwiches (sorry sassywiches) must try the beer-cured ricotta with juicy roasted grapes on a raagi baguette. The finale of Rachel Goenka’s desserts offers an amazingly wide spectrum of flavors and textures and the peanut tart is a masterpiece in crust and contrast, with crunchy peanut brittle and oozing caramel. Sassy stacks (luscious red velvet and shot of cappuccino foam) and the meltingly firm pannacotta (sugar free) thrill.
Some of the dishes (especially the mains) disappoint. While the sauce (with Coke the beverage) is creatively delicious, the spare ribs are stringy. Also stringy is the honey roasted duck breast . Thick skinned ricotta ravioli , humdrum, oversauced chicken oversweet tiramisu and stodgy Sugar free sweet potato cake are the letdowns.As is the walk to the loo, outside the restaurant.
Indigo set the trend of Global eclectic fare and (in the same vicinity) Table and Ellipsis followed. Sassy Spoon comes along as yet another “me too” in Nariman Point, but presents it’s fare in a refreshingly romantic ambiance with friendly service. A meal here has peaks, but it has valleys, too as do the price points (Averge meal Rs 2000 per head) and the substantial Sassywich at lunch (Rs 295) is a yummy sassysteal.
The Sassy Spoon
Ground Floor, Express Towers, RN Goenka Marg, Nariman Point,
Open lunch and dinner
RATING FOOD 3.5 DÉCOR 4 SERVICE 3.5
NOOR AND PYAAR FOR RAMADAN
I dedicate this to the most magnificent and generous lady, who lived up to her name, Noor Oomerbhoy. She lit up our lives and continues to live in our hearts. It is in Roohi Oomerbhoy Jaikishen and Farah and Riyad Oomerbhoy’s (the first family of fine food) home that over traditional, home-cooked “Iftar” I feast on a banquet of rare and authentic Iftar masterpieces. Feel blessed to get a taste of this holy month of Ramadan. Equally amazing is how my non-Muslim friends fast and celebrate this month too, like Riddhi Walia and her office-team. They bring in food from caterers Jantar Mantar ( special
Ramadaan Thaal.). Eating out of this large specially customized Thaal (with meats, biryani and salan) is an experience. This is for a minimum of 12 persons (Rs 5000Rs-12,000 depending on the quantity of the meat.) Jantar Mantar also has ala carte North Indian and food from Hyderabad and Kerala. They deliver till 3 a.m
Jantar Mantar. Gautan no 3, A B Nair Road, Juhu. 8655344771-5
Ps Thanks a million, Been happily rained out with requests (will revert asap) Would you like to accompany me on my eatbouts? please send me your contact details by email
(firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter@rashmiudaysingh or sms