Restaurant Review: N Bar & Grill, The Reason Why Chembur Is Now On The Foodie Radar

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Now, before I go any further, I must admit to behaving like the ultimate South Bombay snob when I was invited to check out the Indian fine dining restaurant N Bar & Grill in Chembur. But then, thank God better sense prevailed in a nano second, the moment I reminded myself of my credo that nowhere is too far or too obscure in my quest for good food. And I’m so glad that happened, for I would have lost out on one of the most memorable meals of my journey as a food savant, trawling through the city’s over-populated culinary landscape.
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
Literally next door to the venerable RK Studios on the bustling Sion-Trombay Road is this large eatery that is clad in a white origami-like geometric mesh from the outside. Inside, an opulent setting welcomes you with its rich, dull gold accents on the walls and lighting. The tables are a mixture of very comfortable 6-seater pods with quirky hanging overhead lamps and a 12-person PDR (private dining room) section cordoned off from the rest of the restaurant. The bar section is a separate zone altogether with comfortable seating and a large mirrored bar. But as the restaurant is yet to acquire an alcohol license (a pity, I know!), the bar section is a little quiet and non-buzzing. The eatery section though is a whole other ballgame… Guided by the restaurant’s very hands-on Corporate Chef, Chef Rajeev Basak who quickly handed me the very elaborate i-Pad menu featuring his creations, I was all set to let indulgence take over my being. Sipping a Virgin Piña Colada with unusual accents of ground peppercorns, accompanied by the free amuse bouche of Spiced Chass with a Phyllo Pastry Cup of Spiced Black Channa with Mango Pearls, I realised that this place was as outré as it can possibly get.
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
For appetisers, I chose to start with Chef Rajeev’s version of a Mutton Yakhni Soup. Hearty strips of pulled mutton were placed in a soup bowl over which a lusciously thick broth of mildly spiced mutton yakhni stock was poured table side. So good was the soup that I wanted to mop up every last drop of it with the house made breads like Foccacia, a Mini Baguette and a Rosemary-scented Ciabatta served with a Tomato-Basil dip. The breads were some of the best I had had in a very long time. And that’s not faint praise! A light and flavourful salad of Malai Paneer, Orange Segments, Pears, and deep fried crisp Lotus Stems all tossed in a Toasted Garlic and Creamy Cashew dressing was a lesson in both simplicity and sophistication at the same time. Other appetisers like the earthy Tawa Portobello Mushrooms with Asparagus, a smokey, spicy Galouti Kebab on a Saffron Ulte Tawa ka Paratha and a creamy quartet of (rather sweetish) Dahi ke Kebab were blithe companions to more yummies like the texturally rich Murgh Akhroat Kebab bursting with bits of walnuts and the heady Lahsun aur Teen Mirch Walle Jhinge.
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
Mains were an endless procession of marvels starting with a Poha-crusted Black Snapper Fish served with Turmeric Rice and Bengali-style Baigun Bhaja, all enrobed in a tomato-lime sauce that Chef Rajeev had me know was also made with the fish bones, thus giving it a lobster bisque-like flavour. Insanely good, that one, though I would have preferred the Baigun Bhaja to have been a tad crisper. Still on the fish bandwagon, a Bengal-meets-Punjab Tandoori Fish with a Mustard Paste Smear was next to wow me with its bite, as did the silky 12-hour-simmered Dal Makhani that I hungrily mopped up, alternating between a flaky potato-stuffed Kulcha and a simple, yet good Tandoori Roti. With just enough space left, I gave in to the charms of the Kacche Gosht ki Biryani served with a simple Dahi Raita with each grain of rice celebrating its union with the succulent morsel of tender mutton lustily!
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
N Bar & Grill, Chembur
And what truly sealed the deal for me that afternoon at N Bar & Grill was the quirky and innovative desserts it has on offer, something one rarely sees among the boring run-of-the-mill gajar halwa and kulfi specimens. Served up in a stylish martini glass the Gulab Jamun Bharva Litchi is a sculptural confection composed of litchis stuffed with gulab jamum bits sitting pretty on a sevaiyya kheer base and topped off with a foam created out of beaten milk froth—the making technique of which I think Chef Rajeev should patent. Also applause-worthy was the Saeb and Kesar Phirnee with crunchy apple bits suspended in a cardamom-scented rice pudding sent off with a squiggle of raspberry coulis and stewed apples. So, if you adore Indian food and have been longing to see it shine at its brightest as a cuisine worthy of being up there with the other haute cuisines of the world, then let N Bar & Grill show you just how that can be achieved. WHERE? Near R.K. Studios, Sion-Trombay Road, Chembur. Call, 022-25213030 HOW MUCH? Rs 2,500 (no alcohol served yet) WHEN? 12.30pm to 12.30am WHAT'S HOT? The attention to every small detail, be it in the mind-blowingly good food that one can order off snazzy i-Pads or the sumptuous ambience that is very chic and elegant. WHAT'S NOT? What’s the use of calling yourself a ‘Bar & Grill’ if the former aspect is lacking? Get that alcohol license rapido, guys! SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes! This review was done on the invitation of N Bar & Grill Pics courtesy: N Bar & Grill and Raul Dias

Raul Dias

Raul Dias
Lists travel, food and luxury as the tantalizing trifecta that defines him. When he’s not travelling, eating or getting pampered at a spa, you'll find him assaulting his notebook's keyboard with a feral vengeance, churning out what he hopes are intelligent, informative and entertaining stories.