A biased & personal take on The Table, Colaba, Mumbai

I know that everyone and their aunts absolutely looooove The Table at Colaba.

But in my world a hundred dollar or 5,000 Rs lunch for two needs to wow me from start to finish.

It worries me when people said I didn’t order the ‘right’ dish. Or it worries me if I have to look for flashes of goodness to deal with what they call ‘post purchase dissonance’.

Now Chef Alex Sanchez of The Table doesn’t think much of Indian food reviewers and their creds to diss his food. Mangal Dalal wrote about this a while back here.

Of course the focus of the Sanchez rant, as Mangal Dalal pointed out in a comment there, was on the media who are ‘objective’ according to M D and, I would add with a jar of sarcasm, as ‘credible’ as Caesar's wife.

Not like us wild food bloggers.

“@Pawan – Just to point out – this piece is referring to reviews in all media, not just bloggers. In fact, all media except bloggers – the nature of blogging is that it is entirely a personal opinion. Any organisation should be more objective in its opinions than that.” MD

So as a not very ‘objective’ blogger here’s my ‘personal’  and biased take on The Table. I went there last Saturday.

We had a couple of cocktails – whiskey sour and caprioshka between us. That would have jacked up the bill I guess. I don’t always order alcohol at restaurants given the mark ups.

whiskey sour caprioshka

The bread basket, on the house was nice, specially the buttery brioche.

brioche foccacia 

The menu at The Table is divided into small plates and large plates.

Starters and mains to you and me.

We first went for a grilled squids with coriander and peanuts in a vinaigrette.

I was quite impressed by my first bite. The squids were grilled to perfection. Juicy and not chewy or over cooked. There was a lovely flavour, the vinaigrette I assume, that shrouded the squids in a fresh romantic mist.

Then I took a bite of the coriander and peanuts.

My face soured. This tasted so similar to the coriander, peanut and sweet tamarind chutney mix of a Mumbai bhel puri. Just the raw mango was missing. At the risk of being called not objective, and I am no expert, the overtly sweet peanut coriander mix just killed the subtly flavoured squids for me.

grilled squids

Our other small plate was tiger prawns with crushed bacon and bread crumbs. Like the squids, the prawns were cooked to perfection. Not stiff at all. Nor were they squishy.

Just juicy and joyful.

Pity that one didn’t get any flavour from the most flavourful of cold cuts … the bacon. The bacon bits and the prawns were like a married couple that slept at two extreme ends of a bed.

A regular Raymond and Debra. A great opportunity missed.

The waiter made it a point to inform us that the prawns were served on a bed of rock salt. The latter was not meant to be eaten. A mark of good service.

What ticked me off about the service though was their hurry to get the food to table despite the restaurant being empty. A nice place to sit. But not a place to go to catch up with a close friend.

grilled tiger prawns

For the mains we had pork chops with a guava glaze. Don’t know if the guava glaze was meant to give the pork a sweet touch. The very few shards of meat one could cut from the size zero chops were devoid of any taste.

But then what do you say about a pork dish where you keep reaching out for the coleslaw?

pork chops

Our other ‘large plate’ was the high point of the afternoon. Cheese and chicken parathas. The quesadillas. The chicken succulent, the cheese flavourful, the quesadilla thin and textured just right. The dish was so good that one didn’t really need the fresh salsa, guacamole or sour cream which were on the side.

Yes, yes go ahead.

That’s all our Desi palates would appreciate you say? These Indians!

quesadilla 

I wanted a dessert wine and I appreciate the fact that the waiter suggested a nice Sula chenin blanc (I think) and not one of the more expensive ones.

dessert wine

For dessert we thought we would share a cheesecake souffle.

The dish was rather stiff compared to the visions a ‘souffle’ conjured. The flavours more Irani cafe sweet caramel custard than cheesecake.

cheesecake souffle

All I can say is that is that I would not trust a dessert that one Bengali and another half Bengali left untouched despite our genetic sweet teeth.

So you liked The Table?

Well good for you.

It’s nothing personal.

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Comments

Curry Spice said…
Good you havent lost your touch!
Kaevan said…
MY WIFE IS A SOUS CHEF AT A 5STAR HOTEL AND SHE AGREES WITH THE REVIEW TO A LARGE EXTEND . WHEN WE WERE THERE WE COULD NOT HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THE AMOUNT TO NOISE THERE . WE ALSO AGREE WITH THE DESSERT COMMENT NO GREAT SHAKES.
Sumanjit Kaur Tripathy-Obsession said…
Good ... Somehow never landed up there ...
The knife said…
@Curry Spice: Still The Knife. Or so I hope

@Kaevan: thanks for the feedback

@Suman: thanks
Kurush F Dalal said…
@ Kalyan .... i stand by my comments on the criticism post ... and want to add that this frou frou food being shoved badly down our throats by mediocre chefs at atrociuos prices is one of the tragedies befalling the Mumbai food scene.

Give me a place like lings where 5k would feed atleast 12 pax!! tha too phaate tak!!
The knife said…
And kurush if they want to throw the 'fine dining' argument at us then 2 ice teas, a plate of soft shel crabs, prawns in basil, chicken pad thai, prawn green curry & jasmine rice at Thai Pavilion was Rs 3000. No service charge...and I can tell you that was bloody good Thai...and the flavours of basil had infused perfectly in to the prawns
Anonymous said…
whoa

a bit sensitive are we
Sassy Fork said…
I think some of the stuff at The Table is really nice.The quality of seafood and soups is superb.The Quesadillas par excellence...like it even better than my other favorite Chipotle.Salads are refreshing...have tried the Chevre with Green Apple and Walnut Vinaigrette and the Crab Salad.Desserts are not so great.The ambience is lovely. But over priced it is.It's difficult making an opinion with just one meal but then again,if you are paying so much,you can't keep on going back for a second opinion.
I did meet Alex Sanchez and found him to be quite approachable.
It's not all about food.It's also about people.I think if there is more interaction between both sides,there will be a lot more happy experiences.
The knife said…
@sassy glad you got to meet the chef finally. For me it's the quality of the food and the competency of the service that matter when I go out to eat. Though I must admit that the rest rooms were classy
Scarlett said…
I'm glad you finally had a good chicken cheese quesadilla!

This whole thing about "ordering the right dish" doesn't apply to fine dining restaurants, according to me. If you're a gourmet restaurant that charges the kind of money you paid at The Table, everything on the menu better be "the right dish to order".

Of course there will be dishes that wouldn't go down too well on one's palate - which is OK - but the absence of flavour cannot be excused at such expensive restaurants. It's harakiri on their part.
The knife said…
@Scarlett: completely agree with you...specially since our money has to be 'right' every time whether the dish is 'right' or not.

Like you said, one will not like every dish in the world but 4 dishes with something lacking in each...well Indian diners don't come from boondocks these days

And then there are places like Thai Pavilion, Ling's or even the humble Malvani Asvads and Ideal Corners of the world who maintain consistency over a period of time

Anyone who comes from this misconception can check with Ford about how long it took them to come out of the Ford escort fiasco

The quesadilla was good indeed
vishalkod said…
this can only be better for the new indian food scene...if we really want to see mumbai on the culinary map of the world...we need more international involvement....
The knife said…
@Vishal< ai am all for an international touch to the Mumbai food scene.

Though my submission is that unlike the Kolkata Footbal League only a Messi would do and not a Barreto if you get what I mean
Gaurav said…
Seems you and i are in the same boat when it comes to the Table.. My meal there was completely underwhelming and absolutely ridiculously priced.

It was a friends treat, so it hurts even more...
Anonymous said…
Hey can you plz share your email id, need to get in touch with you.
The knife said…
k.finelychopped@gmail.com
Unknown said…
I feel like a minority voice who will be drowned by the ooh aah and ooh la la of The Table which has almost 600 plus positive reviews in zomato . I went there after reading about it in Mumbai mirror on April 17. I am a foodie have travelled extensively across the world . I have had lovely memories of quaint village restaurants in places like atono in Italy where the chef and his wife cook a vegetarian dinner with local produce which is worthy of a michelen star . therefore I went to The Table with a lot of expectation . I can only say that if you are a vegetarian please this is not the place for you . Though the Sobo salad was interesting g it was not outstanding . The cheese chilli toasties were like the toasts my daughter makes when she wants to snack . To be fair the bread was good and so is bread from Bakers dozen at prabhadevi or any artisinal baker . the zuchhini spaghetti was just that . . strips of zuchhini pan tossed in butter with an overload of salt and some almond slivers . The piece de resistance was the spinach side . exactly that . boiled leaves with a few pine nuts . I totally lost it . how could the treat both the spinach and me as a diner in this fashion . I truly felt insulted .by no stretch of imagination can 20 or so leaves of spinach be booked and served in a cup . why would I go to an uber chic place to eat such plain food . ? No creativity no interest no art no beauty no taste . . the chief waiter as well as othes seen disinterested .a far cry from sassy spoon and masala library .the waiter had the gall to say that quesilidias wrte just chaptis .The firang chef was inside. . . contrast him to the warm souls in France and Italy or Spain who would come out of their kitchen and be so happy when they have cooked a meal you loved . I cannot understand the attitude of people at the table and the passion that needs to go into making a guest feel happy and welcome . lastly the prices . . I feel cheated when I was charged 500 bucs for 4 small toasties and an equal amount for boiled spinach. Looks like the restaurant survived on the visits of the colaba tourist crowds . if it's ambience you look for please feel free to visit if it's food then Moshe's is fat better as is sasdy spoon and many others
rema mohan said…
I feel like a minority voice who will be drowned by the ooh aah and ooh la la of The Table which has almost 600 plus positive reviews in zomato . I went there after reading about it in Mumbai mirror on April 17. I am a foodie have travelled extensively across the world . I have had lovely memories of quaint village restaurants in places like atono in Italy where the chef and his wife cook a vegetarian dinner with local produce which is worthy of a michelen star . therefore I went to The Table with a lot of expectation . I can only say that if you are a vegetarian please this is not the place for you . Though the Sobo salad was interesting g it was not outstanding . The cheese chilli toasties were like the toasts my daughter makes when she wants to snack . To be fair the bread was good and so is bread from Bakers dozen at prabhadevi or any artisinal baker . the zuchhini spaghetti was just that . . strips of zuchhini pan tossed in butter with an overload of salt and some almond slivers . The piece de resistance was the spinach side . exactly that . boiled leaves with a few pine nuts . I totally lost it . how could the treat both the spinach and me as a diner in this fashion . I truly felt insulted .by no stretch of imagination can 20 or so leaves of spinach be booked and served in a cup . why would I go to an uber chic place to eat such plain food . ? No creativity no interest no art no beauty no taste . . the chief waiter as well as othes seen disinterested .a far cry from sassy spoon and masala library .the waiter had the gall to say that quesilidias wrte just chaptis .The firang chef was inside. . . contrast him to the warm souls in France and Italy or Spain who would come out of their kitchen and be so happy when they have cooked a meal you loved . I cannot understand the attitude of people at the table and the passion that needs to go into making a guest feel happy and welcome . lastly the prices . . I feel cheated when I was charged 500 bucs for 4 small toasties and an equal amount for boiled spinach. Looks like the restaurant survived on the visits of the colaba tourist crowds . if it's ambience you look for please feel free to visit if it's food then Moshe's is fat better as is sasdy spoon and many others