Resturant reviews

     Print Edition: March 4, 2012

Darling dumplings
An expansive facade, exhaustive menu and exquisite rendition makes Yauatcha's tale a worthy one.

It was a proud food moment for Mumbai as upscale London-based dim sum tea house, Yauatcha, launched its second-and first international- outpost here. This Michelinstar all-day diner is the newest place to see and be seen in, and welcomes the swish set with panache at its restaurant in the Bandra Kurla Complex.

An impressive 26-foot-high glass façade exemplifies the restaurant's minimal, understated décor. The welcome is sweet, quite literally, since the dessert counter, (hand-rolled chocolates, macaroons and bespoke teas) sits at the entrance. Upstairs, lies the imposing bar and wine cellar, with its 64 varietals. The bar leads into the 200-seat dining section, which is separated by large fish tanks.

Yauatcha specials on the bar menu are innovative and come highly recommended. The Baron Vert and Lam Peak martini are bestsellers. Whiskey aficionados should try the whiskey- based watermelon martini for its richness.

As for the dim sums, they come fried, pan-fried and steamed. The crispy prawn cheung fun is wonderfully textured with a thick potato pastry sheathing the prawn. Be sure to try the aromatic truffle edamame dumpling and the rich poached Peking dumpling.

The Shanghai siew long bun with chicken defies superlatives. The flavour is enhanced by dipping the chicken in soya sauce. The bewildering range of teas prove great palate cleansers between courses: the Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong or the roasted Chinese Anxi Tie Kuan Yin are simply delightful.

Although the freshness of the braised Australian Barramundi is a desirable mouthful; the fish pales in comparison to the poultry section's crispy aromatic duck. The duck meat is shredded off the bone, on the table, and is served with paper-thin rice pancakes and finely chopped spring onions and cucumbers. Physically, it may resemble steamed spring rolls, but the taste is much more evolved.

If you want to sate the sweet tooth, settle on the raspberry delice-a raspberry chocolate brownie served with ice-cream or sorbet.

As bite-sized delights go, Yauatcha sure packs in a punch; definitely more than a dot on Mumbai's culinary map.

Meal for two: Rs 3,200 (including a cocktail and taxes)
Address: Raheja Tower, BKC, Bandra (east) reservation.

-Anamika Butalia

Prawn in citrus marinade roasted in a clay pot
Prawn in citrus marinade roasted in a clay pot
Wholesomely Indian
Experience a healthy take on authentic Indian food at Durbari Wholesomely Indian.

If the very thought of an Indian meal is inevitably followed by a mental calorie count, try Durbari, the Indian speciality restaurant at Kolkata's new Swissotel. Healthy ingredients handpicked from all over the world substitute their calorieladen Indian counterparts. This means you don't have to sacrifice any taste in exchange for a guilt-free meal.

In fact, the 'health' word does little to diminish your taste buds' delight at Durbari. Conceived after six months of extensive travel and food tastings across the country, the comprehensive menu on offer showcases the vast culinary heritage of India on a platter.

The meal starts with an assortment of roasted papads complemented with dips and pickles. These range from the tried and tested mint and tamarind sauce to an eclectic east Asian peanut and sesame dip. The munchies give way to Indian soups like the yellow lentil and spinach soup dal palak shorba.

The creamy tandoor-cooked chicken breast and pan-fried minced lamb kebab emerge as forerunners from the extensive kebabs selection. Techniques such as slow cooking and the use of olive oil as a cooking medium ensures that there's plenty of room for the main course when it's time.

Cochin prawns simmered in coconut milk; coastal spices and kokum; betki doused in mustard flavoured curry; and Awadhi lamb biryani reflect Durbari's diversity. While there is an overall focus on healthy Indian dishes, there are some deviations. For one, the north Indian favourite, dal makhani, is topped with an unforgiving helping of butter and tempts even the calorie conscious eater with its frankly, unskippable appeal. Another diversion from the health track is the fusion naan stuffed with melted Swiss cheese.

In a city where meals don't end without desserts, Durbari serves moong dal halwa, made not in ghee but French butter and a paan flavoured ice cream prepared in 30 seconds using a Pacojet.

Since its opening in August, 2011 Durbari has attracted food lovers, both from the developing neighbourhood of Rajarhat and the main city. However it is primarily frequented by foreign guests of the hotel. Functional from Tuesday to Sunday between 7 to 11 pm, the restaurant is open for lunch only on weekends.

Meal for two:
Rs 2,500 with alcohol.
Address: Swissotel

-Sanhita Sinha Chowdhury

Kolkata, City Centre Tel: (033) 6626 6666

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