GPS: National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point, Mumbai - 400001
Tring Tring: +91-22-22821212/4242
Click: www.amadeusrestaurant.in (site under construction)
In & Out: 12:30 am – 3:30pm (lunch) & 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm (dinner)
The rain in Spain might stays mainly on the plain but a trip to Spain in the rains can mainly be a pain! And we’ve taken not one but two of them in a span of 3 days through moving pictures and then our palate. First there was half-Parsi, half-cracked and fully hot Farhan Akhtar’s picturesque Spanish road trip in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara on Sunday. And then last night was part deux with our half-Parsi, half – hilarious and full restaurateur friend Riyaaz at town’s newest half-Parsi (by clientele), half-Spanish (by cuisine) restaurant Amadeus! Since Riyaaz is a complete Espanophile with great passion and knowledge of different regional cuisines ranging from Andalusian to Catalonian to Basque we knew we were in good company.
The unbelievably affordably prices of wine by the bottle needs premier mention because to our knowledge there is no other fine dining restaurant which sells Indian wines starting from Rs. 1100/- and imported wines from Rs. 2000/- a pop. The selection is fairly exhaustive (and exhausting!) and upon the maitre d’s enthusiastic suggestion we settled for a bottle of the Italian Barbera d’Asti. The wine initially resembled an investment banker - all uptight with an elegant smoky edge - but through the course of the evening it unfurled into a drink resembling us aka floral, fruity, expansive and cheery!
We’ve been fans of proprietor Farrokh Khambatta’s pan-Asian restaurant Joss for a gazillion years now so we’re not surprised by the expansive menu running into 4-5 pages and quickly decide that we’re going to skip the vegetarian hot tapas and the soups and pick our way through the omnivorous hot n’ cold tapas, the cocas (Spanish pizza?). mains, paellas (mais oui!) and desserts. The Albondigas of Lamb tapas with sherry foie gras cream, black truffle scent and alfalfa sprouts is a promising opening to a new cuisine. The meat is finely ground and explosively fresh and perfectly seasoned with mint n’ pepper. The sherry infused foie gras broth is an interesting dip though we couldn’t find the black truffle in any of the flavours.
|The Albondigas of Lamb tapas Photo - Mariam Mamaji|
Amongst the pinchos (grilled skewers) we opted for the Puerto Rican styled beef skewers with caramelized shallots which were tangy, spicy and fun. I thought the beef could’ve been a tad more tender but Riyaaz explained that grilling tends to dry the moisture of meat so this was optimum. We then got waylaid by beefy matters and the revelation of the evening was the buffalo is the leanest of all red meats (we had no idea!) and thus by default (thanks to anti- cow slaughter laws) Bombayites have been having very healthy beef for all these years!
|Puerto Rican styled beef skewers Photo - Mariam Mamaji|
The Warm Goat Cheese with mojo verde, apples walnut oil and baby lettuce was a complete letdown since the cheese came ice cold and resembled any other generic cheese n’ lettuce humdrum. The Twice Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna with Mandarin orange ceviche foam scored high on freshness since there was a hint of mint as well though for a raw dish the fish could’ve been fresher and we were puzzled as the why the dish came in a stemless martini glass dunked in room temperature water – shouldnt it have been crushed ice instead? We had great expectations from the Serrano Ham and rocket lettuce coca since Riyaaz claimed that this is pretty much the best ham in the world. However the minute we saw the tomato-smeared slices we had a bad feeling. As expected the flavor of the ham had been overpowered by the grilling and the tomato overlay and it ended up being just another soggy thin crust pizza slice.
The main course was salvaged by the Caipirinha-style Large Prawns flamed with caçhaca and burnt lemon yam tamales. The yam was ground to a paste and married off to coconut milk and kaafir limes and paired perfectly with the juicy prawns though we had a sneaky feeling this is more Asian than Spanish - which is Farrokh’s area of expertise anyway. Mediterasian cuisine anyone??
|Caipirinha-style Large Prawns Photo - Mariam Mamaji|
We knew the paella would be the make-or-breaker and we prayed hard for Amadeus’ sake. However not only did they mix up our order and get us the Valenciana with chorizo, chicken and prawns when we had ordered the full seafood one viz. Marisco de Rosa the mistake wasn’t even a pleasant one. The rice was sticky and soggy, a cross between porridge and risotto. While the sprinkling of meat and fishes were large and generous nothing could make up for the strict lack of any flavor. However, when Mariam returned a fortnight later to can the pictures she was in for a pleasant surprise. The paella was delish and exactly what it should be. The staff confessed that they had been getting the wrong variant of rice imported which they had since rectified and what Mariam shot was smoky, separated and altogether completely redeeming.
|Valenciana Paella Photo - Mariam Mamaji|
For dessert the maître d’ fulsomely recommended the Hot Chocolate & Grand Marnier soufflé with an espresso pour which has a 30 minute prep time. We of course enthusiastically ordered it with our food itself except that 1.5 hours into our dining even after we had finished dinner there was no sign of the soufflé. Only after we had expressly canceled it did they apologise, send us compensatory tart tatines (too jammy) and the soufflé. However barring the delay the soufflé was absolutely delish with warm dark chocolate oozing out of the cushiony caketop heavily infused with Grand Marnier. It was every bit the heady ending we needed to the tepid meal.
|Hot Chocolate & Grand Marnier soufflé Photo - Mariam Mamaji|
Crowd v/s Company
The crowd is classically south Bombay/Joss/NCPA aka Parsi & Bohri nonagenarians, straitjacketed bankers/lawyers/entrepreneurs and blingy couples with diamonds and Diane von Furstenbergs in full display. The space is vast and broken into several areas including a private dining area, booths and straight up tables. An antique chandelier and a Zubin Mehta portrait completes the Parsi tribute. Perhaps because of the vastness, coziness is in short supply and one always feels somewhat awkwardly suspended in no-man’s land sitting on those straight-backed chairs in full view of all other diners and vice versa. We can easily foresee this being a great option for family and corporate dinners but perhaps not an ideal date venue.
When we want fine dining with an Indian twist you might spot us here again!