Restaurant Review: Town House Café Offers Comfort Food At Ultra-comforting Prices!

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Jinxes they say are meant to be broken. And in the case of Town House Café (THC), I sincerely hope and wait with bated breath for them to jackhammer down the jinx that seems to cloud over the location where they have set up shop. First as Crepe Station and in its last avatar as Malt & Pepper, this standalone heritage structure—cheek by jowl next to Sterling Cinema in the historic Fort precinct—seems to enjoy a remarkably short run as a restaurant location.

Town House CafeBut the less-than-a-month old THC—that is a separate entity from the aforementioned ‘doomed’ eateries—looks like it has every intention of staying put and carving a niche for itself as a purveyor of very good value-for-money comfort food and reasonably priced tipples.

Done up in mottled shades of moss green with the current distressed look motif (that seems to be the flavour du jour in Mumbai), high ceilings with exposed wooden rafters, large bay windows, brass chandeliers and a 16ft wide mural depicting a café somewhere in Europe, the twin-level THC is a cozy charming little gem of a place that is high on comfort and low on cost.

DSC_6998But it is the food here that really trumps all. We chimed in our late dinner with an interesting mix of nibbles that took the form of a quintet of perfectly poised Halloumi Crostini that had flavourful slabs of char grilled halloumi cheese anointed with a tart salsa rosso, all sitting pretty on crispy rounds of bread. Next was a pile of the smoky-n-sticky BBQ Chicken Wings that was ably aided by the blue cheese dip that gave it delicious company and us one more reason to savagely lick our fingers clean! The deceptively named Potato Bravas, though very tasty and more-ish along with the spicy tomato sauce and the garlic aioli was nowhere close to the patatas bravas I’ve had encounters with at obscure tapas bars in Spain. Another Spanish classic, the Lamb Albondigas served with a spiced sofrito fared a little better on the authenticity charts with its meaty bite complimented by the acidity of the sofrito.

The drinks we chose that evening were a mix of some classic cocktails and THC’s much-recommended signature ones. The Coconut Mojito was a refreshingly unique spin on a classic mojito, but had us wishing that the cloyingly artificial taste of the bottled coconut syrup would somehow vanish. And like magic, after paying heed to our comment, a new ‘sans syrup’ version of the drink was brought to our table by the very efficient manager. Other cocktails like the Jealous Eve made with vodka, green apple and cinnamon along with the Basil and Orange Margarita were simply divine to the very last drop.

DSC_7008For mains, we went family style by ordering a whole selection of shared dishes, making sure to throw in a couple of vegetarian options to balance out our meaty excesses. Speaking of which, with two healthy sized slabs of perfectly medium-rare beef sitting on a schmear of Pinot Noir reduction, along with jalapeno mash, the Tenderloin Steak was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. Period.

The Scallion Crepes filled with mushroom, goat cheese, caramelised onions and smothered in a cheese sauce was a knockout of a dish, as was the very competent Seafood Saffron Risotto studded with plump prawns and juicy calamari rings in fragrant, creamy, saffron and mascarpone cheese-infused carnaroli rice. While the Herbed Gnocchi Mac-n-Cheese was a celebration of all things cheese, with its four cheeses blend enhanced by the addition of nutmeg and fresh sage, my dining companions and I unanimously agreed that the gnocchi could have been a tad more al dente and not as flabby and gloopy as it turned out to be. And for all those who insist on dissing basa fish, a visit to THC may have you reconsider your relationship with the Vietnamese import. The Grilled Basa with leek, cherry tomato gratin and potato confit all coated in a sauce vierge was all the things a good fish dish should be—moist, flavoursome, flaky and criminally encore-worthy.

But sadly, like Dhoble crashing a rocking party, our dinner finale hit rock bottom when the rather apologetic-looking wait staff put in front of us bowls with horribly gritty and crystallised, insipid, beyond redemption vanilla frozen dessert (I refuse to call it ice-cream!) splattered with an artificially offensive tasting ‘chocolate’ sauce in lieu of dessert. The reason? THC doesn’t do desserts yet and offer this atrocity in a bowl as an “on the house” peace offering till they start doing afters—which they assured us will be in a few days time.

Let’s fervently hope and pray that they do so rapido and probably then we can truly call it a meal crafted out of perfection…

WHERE? 16, Murzban Road, Near Sterling Cinema, Fort. Call: 022 22037356
HOW MUCH? Rs 1,500 for two without alcohol
WHEN? 12.30pm to 1.30am
WHAT’S HOT? Undoubtedly, the pricing. I mean, hello! An almost 300gm tenderloin steak of Le Cordon Bleu standards with all the fixings for Rs 425 is applause-worthy.
WHAT’S NOT? The rather tacky laminated drinks menu typed out in Comic Sans font and the rather pedestrian paper napkins as opposed to classy fabric ones. Über uncool, I hiss…
SHOULD YOU GO THERE? Hell yes!

Post By Raul Dias (102 Posts)

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.

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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.
  • Vedica Tilakkumar Shivsagar

    The concept theme is designed by me for town house cafe also the 3d images ty