Café Basilico review: Bandra store has improved organic menu

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There is bad service, there is terrible service and then there is the service of Basilico. And then there is the service of Basilico. It’s not just the customers who are complaining that no one has given them a menu or taken their order, but the chef was intermittently coming out of the kitchen to lash out at the waiters for not picking up the food. The water glasses are not full, the plates are not cleared, a drink we ordered only arrives after my table mate, fed up with nothing showing up despite two reminders, has an angry word with our server.

To read: Green signal: why is veganism the main food trend of 2016?

Service at the all-day world cuisine restaurant, which recently reopened its Bandra store on Hill Road, is atrocious, but the space is nice. A deceptively narrow corridor housing the pastry counter opens onto a large, well-lit dining room. The decor is minimal and understated; the wooden tables are lined up against the paneled walls.

The new menu, while retaining many of the old favorites, also includes a number of new dishes. Trying to get the service staff to explain what has been added is a challenge, so on our phones we painstakingly compare this menu with that at their Colaba outlet. There seem to be a lot more vegetarian options and the word “organic” appears a lot more frequently.

First on our table is a refreshing, but light, salad of mozzarella and chicken nuggets. The fresh, creamy mozzarella balances the spiciness of the crunchy and colorful salad. Ignore the horrible commercial mayo and you’ll love the spicy sweet bite of perfectly cooked peri peri shrimp.

The light salad, mozzarella and chicken nuggets contains fresh, creamy mozzarella that balances the spiciness of the crunchy and colorful salad.

It’s no surprise that Basilico managed to achieve such a perfect balance of flavors. The kitchen is run by Evan Gwynne who started his career in India with Olive, Bandra about ten years ago. He was one of the few expatriate chefs who quickly understood that Indians don’t need spices, but strong flavors.

So juicy, grilled Arctic char barbecue chicken wings are not dipped in the sauce but wrapped in a syrupy honey glaze. Eat them by hand and you’ll be tempted to nibble your fingers.

With the teriyaki glazed salmon, Gwynne scores again. The fish flakes off into succulent chunks while the toasted black and white sesame crust gives off a pleasant aroma of sweet smoke. Teriyaki sauce is sweet enough to be appetizing, but not so much that it masks the taste of the fish or the sautéed vegetables that accompany it.

The Teriyaki Glazed Salmon has a toasted black and white sesame crust with a pleasant aroma of sweet smoke and a sweet teriyaki sauce.
The Teriyaki Glazed Salmon has a toasted black and white sesame crust with a pleasant aroma of sweet smoke and a sweet teriyaki sauce.

When it finally arrived, the tropical guava cooler, served in a chunky jar-shaped glass, had a minty and lemony freshness.

Read: Mockingbird Cafe Review: This Mumbai Cafe is a Library of Flavors

At the end of the meal, we were too tired to invest more time in ordering a dessert. This turned out to be a good thing, as we had to remind them three times to give us our bill.

While the new menu makes Basilico more relevant, they need to sort out their service issues before things go downhill.

WHAT: Basilica Café

EVALUATION: ** ½

OR: Ground floor, Eternia Building, Hill Road, Bandra (West)

WHEN: 12 p.m.-12.30 p.m. Will be open for breakfast from June.

COST: ??1,500 for two

CALL: 67039999/6710 0000

The author tweets to @chezantoine


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