Gourmet Central

     Print Edition: Aug 19, 2012

Down On The Corner
Bandra in Mumbai gets a fitting replacement to an old neighbourhood favourite watering hole.

Lagerbay has taken the place of Zenzi, which worked as the equivalent of 'the neighbourhood bar' for anyone who lived in Bandra, Mumbai. Like the fictional Cheers, it was the kind of place where everyone knew your name. Men could walk in wearing shorts and sandals with as much ease as women could come in dressed to the nines.

Lagerbay retains that welcoming vibe but that's where the similarities end. The vintage posters and woody interiors give this four-month-old restaurant a distinctly young vibe. Expectations were high as we waited for the highly-recommended prawn and calamari ajilo, which didn't disappoint.

The prawns were large and succulent and thankfully, very fresh. The bowl of chicken wings was surprisingly desi, and paired with a side of salli (thinly-julienned fried potatoes), it was reminiscent of the old Parsi eateries that dot the city. The vegetable quesadilla confused with its mix of cheese, broccoli and way too much oil, and just about passed muster.

The salse fresca it was served with was also of the wrong consistency. The tomato and mozzarella bruschetta on the other hand got a thumbs-up for being spot on and inventive with the pesto drizzle. We washed all this down with a sweet but chilled watermelon caipiroska- a safe and standard drink. However, if you are feeling adventurous, do try the refreshing and flavourful malta and cranberry caipiroska, which cries summer. The wine list is small but interesting. What disappointed though, was that for a place called Lagerbay, we did not see any local brews.

We hummed along to the tunes of The Corrs and Dave Matthews Band. Very few places in Bombay still play this kind of music, so Lagerbay scored many points for giving us that. For mains, the tenderloin steak was perfect, though we would have loved a little more gravy. However, the absolute winner of the night, without a shadow of a doubt, was the mushroom risotto. The creamy sauce was not at all heavy, and three different types of mushrooms ensured here were few surprises with every bite we took.

We finished off with some dense and dark gooey chocolate cake, pretty sure that the next time we want to hang out with some friends, or maybe even watch a match, we would definitely be heading back to Lagerbay.

BT MORE RECOMMENDS
Mushroom Risotto
Malt & Cranberry Caipiroska
Meal for two Rs 2,000 (with taxes & drinks); for reservations call .. (022) 67369900

- Shagun Luthra

Simply South Africa

With stunning views and local ingredients, it doesn't get more 'South Africa' than Sand at Plettenberg Bay.

The first thing you notice when you enter this elegant restaurant is the stunning view of beautiful Plettenberg Bay. Located right on South Africa's Garden Route, the quality on offer here should hardly be surprising. Sand is locate d in one of three hotels overseen by executive chef Peter Templehoff. Together, his eateries have earned him nine Rossouw's stars, more than anyone else in history (a Roussow star is South Africa's equivalent to the coveted Michelin star).

Sand is big on fresh and local food. In fact the tasting menu is called "Garden Route Origins". Not in the mood for six courses (and wines) our table ordered from the brand new winter menu. The meal began with the chef's garden vegetable soup. The rich, thick broth was loaded with flavour and instantly warmed us on that chilly evening. For mains, I picked klein karoo springbok loin with port & pear puree. One of my fellow travellers ordered a mushroom risotto.

A third put in a not-so-fine-dining request: fried chicken with french fries and garlic sauce, which the restaurant gladly accommodated. The fourth ordered the catch of the day, in this case, sole.

The springbok arrived a deep pink. The mildly-sweet puree and burnished coffee praline added elegant side notes, while the crisp winter cabbage superbly complemented the tender meat.

The lady who ordered the mushroom risotto called it the "most comfortable food for vegetarians," adding that it was "creamy and flavourful" and perfectly seasoned. The man who ordered the sole rated it the best seafood he's eaten (he's from Kerala). Even the off-themenu fried chicken and fries won praise for being "quite classy, well prepared and presented."

The dessert, a pina colada, was the highlight. Think cocktail on a plate. What we got was toasted coconut panacotta, pineapple icecream, dark rum espuma (or foam) and lemon jelly drops. The flavours and textures combined into one word--heaven. The 30-year-old head chef Gideon Landman calls it his "favourite deconstructed cocktail as a dessert." Would I return? You bet. A meal at Sand, breakfast, lunch or dinner. is an extraordinary, unmissable experience.

BT MORE RECOMMENDS

Klein Karoo Springbok
Catch of the Day
Pina Colada
Meal for two (without alcohol) Rs 3,000 excluding taxes.
For reservations .. (+27) 44 533 2030

Pierre Mario Fitter

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