Saturday, June 10, 2017

Mirchi and Mime

Its been a while since I have reviewed a restaurant and for good reason.  Almost at the same time as I begun this blog, I had also begun jet-setting to foreign lands.  As I discovered a multitude of cuisines, restaurants, and food habits across geographies, I got interested in the stories behind the plates I enjoyed. Pune too began growing as the software industry thrived bringing with it a boom in restaurants and bars. During the initial years, I wrote many a review of restaurants I visited and liked.

Fast-forwarding to now, I rarely post a restaurant review. Having seen a host of restaurants open and close in record time, the ones that I continue to patronise tend to be the older, familiar ones where I know I won’t get a nasty surprise. So this post is somewhat of an exception, and only because the restaurant in question does such a good job.

I had heard of Mirchi and Mime some time back. People loved their concept of only hiring staff who have severe hearing and speech disabilities; visitors are taught how to order and communicate using basic sign language. The restaurant is among the highest rated on Zomato.

I ended up here for lunch during a short business trip to Mumbai when I decided to book myself at the Radisson hotel.  I had gotten here early and was one of the first to walk in, but I saw the restaurant getting filled up pretty quickly. The manager (the one person who can speak) came over to explain the concept, the menu, the sign to call out the name of my server, and some basic words like thank you, etc.

I decided to try their fixed multi-course menu. My server was a friendly and efficient young man and soon dishes begun making their way to my table. The jal jeera was served in a mason jar (a trend much over-used in trendy restaurants now).

The soup was a mutton nalli shorba cooked in dum!  That was the first non-biryani dish I have had in this manner. However, the flavours were intense and perfect. I knew right then this restaurant was going to be a winner and I was right.

The next dish was a nicely plated portion of calamari pan-tossed with Kashmiri red chillies and curry leaves.  This dish too was perfectly balanced - spicy but perfect on the palate.  Until I began tasting the food, I had kept my expectations fairly low.  Few ‘concept restaurants’ do an impressive job with their food. Mirchi and Mime is clearly an exception. Their concept deserves to be applauded, but so does their food.

Next came the Amritsari fish tikka grilled with mustard, dill and ajwain.  This was a prepared well too; however, I am not fond of basa which has become the standard find now served at most restaurants.

Finally the amazing main course that was delightfully plated and finished on the table with a side of Zaitooni Rice, red rice with olives that was just amazingly good.  I was so full by now I could barely move.

I couldn’t refuse the sugar-less sitaphal panna-cotta.  It has been a long time since I had such a delightful meal in an Indian restaurant.  Concept, service and food were all perfectly executed. If you are a foodie, this is a restaurant you must try!

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