If you have been reading the blog for a while you will know that we don’t experiment much with new places to eat in in Mumbai these days. Nor do we travel out of Bandra to eat.
When K and I go out to eat we pretty much stick to Ling’s Pavilion, Bhojohori Manna and, back home in Bandra, Saltwater Café & occasionally Indigo Deli. We prefer the comfort of the tried and tested when it comes to our reasonably rare dining out occasions and don’t want to risk it by going to a new place. Specially when we have options that give us pleasure. When it comes to a notch higher we again tend to stick to places such as Thai Pavilion and occasionally SanQi and Spices where we have had good experiences in the past. We don’t experiment too much with eating out places in Mumbai these days. After all every meal is not one where one is looking for a story. Sometimes one just wants to have a good meal in peace.
Last night was an exception. A happy one.
We had just had two good days. On Sunday I won at the IFBA Awards. The next day K and her team won 3 Ogilvy Envy awards at work. We were in a celebratory mood. Wanted to go out for a feel good dinner. We were looking for a place which would feel special and where the food would be good.
K asked me to choose. A task which always overwhelms me. I mean there are so many new places in Mumbai. How can one be sure that one will choose right? I normally turn to people I know, and whose food tastes I trust, in such cases.
Which was when Nido came to mind. It’s in Bandra to start with so we wouldn’t have to travel. I had wanted to try it initially as it chef Vicky Ratnani was behind it. He is not with them anymore though.
What made me consider Nido strongly was that our friends Sue and Nathan had visited them recently and told me that they really enjoyed the mushroom pate, pork loins, duck ravioli and steak frittes there.
So we zeroed in on Nido.
I called to reserve a place. Got a booking only at 10.30 pm. They said they were full before that. A good sign specially given it was a Tuesday.
We landed there at 10.30 and gave the car to the valet. Looked like the door had collapsible gates, which looked forbidding, then realized it was part of the décor and was not a functional one.
We stepped. There was a small section outside but we got a table inside. Both K and I broke into smiles the moment we walked in. The place had a lovely European parlour-like feel to it. White and grey theme, relaxed classical seating with loads of sofas around, lights which gave a nice glow to the place. I told K that it reminded me of Café Louvre inPrague. She said she agreed and said that except in Café Louvre one could look out onto beautiful Prague from the windows. Here we were in the congested stretch near Olive and Out of the Blue at Bandra’s Carter Road.
The waiter came with the drink’s menu and I asked for a fresh lime. It was served tepid and I had to add quite a bit of ice to it. The only false note in the evening.
It took us a bit of a time to find someone to get us the food menu. That apart the service was quite competent. What I really appreciated was that they were able to answer any questions we had on the menu and made some recommendations too after asking our preferences.
For starters we went for the seared tuna which the waiter told us was ‘served like sushi’. I think he meant ‘sashimi’ but it worked for us. Lovely cured tuna, served at room temperature. The menu described it as having a pepper and coffee seasoning. There was the odd bite of crushed pepper which livened up the taste but thankfully no coffee. I noticed the coffee bit in the menu after ordering and had reservations about it so this was a relief. I don’t want coffee in my food. The tuna was served on a bed of lettuce and pickled onions and olives and small potatoes with a poached egg on the side, the sharper tastes of which gave a nice flavour and textural contrast to the tuna. We were very happy with the first dish.
For the mains we chose the duck ravioli which Sue had had though the waiter suggested a spicy aglio olio with beef strips. We skipped the pork loin that Nathan had had, as the waiter concurred that it would be a tad sweet. The menu mentioned berries after all. The other dish we chose was the steak and frittes which Sue and Nathan’s friend had ordered and the waiter assured us that they would make it medium rare and leave it pink inside. The steak was local he told me.
It was around 11 pm at this time and suddenly the lights were dimmed and it became pretty dark. So dark that one could barely see the food when it arrived. Let alone photograph. We requested them to brighten the lights and they did though not to the levels they were at when we entered.
We started with the steak. The frittes or hand cut chips were fat and a tad undercooked. Medium rare potatoes anyone?
The steak however was fantastic. The meat, even though local, was very pleasing. It was really juicy, meaty and had that nice spring that a good medium rare steak should have. The steak was not over done. Often the problem in India. Nor was it dry and chewy. The steak, like the décor, evoked memories of Prague and the steaks I had at Nase Maso. Not quite there of course in terms of the quality of the meat but pretty good. The steak was seasoned well, had occasional bites of pepper and a muted flavour of rosemary. It was served with bits of ‘6 hour cooked’ tomatoes which was a nice tangy taste breaker when the meat got too much.
We followed this with the ravioli which was equally delightful. The ravioli casing pretty thin and not chewy and the shredded duck meat inside was really full flavoured. This was served in a nice thick garlicky sauce which, as K rightly pointed out, was mushroom based. I agreed with her when she said that the sauce and the ravioli stood proudly in their own rights. Combined together very well of course.
Three good picks out of three. That’s a pretty good score.
We skipped desserts as we were quite full and satiated.
The one thing I had heard about Nido before was that it was pricey. We paid close to Rs 2500 for 1 non alcoholic dish, 1 starter and 2 mains. Pretty much standard for that class of restaurants (Indigo Deli, Saltwater Café) I would guess. And the food was exquisite. As was the experience. There were a couple of imported meat dishes at around Rs 2,000 each but the rest was around Rs 500 to Rs 800.
The other thing I picked about Nido, while looking up for the address on twitter, was the number of Bollywood sightings that happened there. We saw that yesterday as well as there was a group led by a former (?) actress and IPL team owner celebrating the birthday of an actress who recently won acclaim for playing the role of a mother in a Shakespearean Bollywood flick. Go figure.
As for us, Nido is definitely a place we will recommend.