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4, Mandlik Road, Colaba, Mumbai 400005, MH

+91-22-66368980, +91-22-6636898

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Mild Sign of an Emerging India
Sep 04, 2007 08:38 AM 3977 Views
(Updated Sep 04, 2007 09:56 AM)

Food and Presentation:


Customer Service:

Value for Money:

It sounds a trifle elitist, using a high-end European-Indian Fusion Restaurant as a sign of India's possible emergence. Some may rightly ask, what about the IT Industry, the high GDP growth rates, the malls, the cars, the airlines et al. Others may dispute India's emergence citing, widespread poverty, pollution, lack of infrastructure et al. My effort may be categorized as either harmless lunacy, or irrelevant mutterings of a pompous NRI; perhaps a few would rather be kidnapped by Gabbar Singh than continue reading.

Routine details of our dining experience, occurred in April 2006, party of two --- me and

my teenage daughter. Reservations were done over the phone the same morning and were for 10 pm, it did not seem like they were hard to get. Probably due to being a Thursday night, the outdoor rooftop area where we had dinner was not crowded, although there were a lot of people downstairs. The decor inside can be described as fairly minimal, with the outdoor area being utilitarian, and the bathroom being nice and clean. I am not good at describing decor anyway, always reminded of that character in P.G. Woodhouse who keeps comparing a romantic sunset to a slice of underdone roast beef. One nice touch was a personalized menu, with my name printed at the top. I read in several reviews that this is the place to see some of Bombay's stars and beautiful people, but did not see any that day (maybe they all knew I was coming).

Jokes aside, the innovative selections on the menu is the main reason this restaurant was rated in the world's best 60 by Conde Nast. (I believe this rating was only for new restaurants in a particular year, late 1990's or early 2000's, and not best restaurants period). There were some fusion items (French or Italian dishes married with Indian Ingredients), and some European/New-Age items (mostly French or Italian). I had a mixed greens salad with goat cheese for the first course,

followed by Norwegian salmon as the main course, and a souffle for dessert. The salad was mixed with just the right  amount of greens and cheese and held together by a light viniagrette dressing; the exquisite salmon was cooked to perfection; and the souffle was light and fluffy and delicious. Along with dinner I had a glass of red wine from Pessac Leognan (Bordeaux, France), and they graciously opened a fresh bottle. My daughter had a wild mushroom ravioli for her main course, and a chocolate brownie based dessert. She liked the pasta much more than her main course at an Italian restaurant at a five-star hotel the next day.

I ordered salmon with a Red Bordeaux and no one at the restaurant attempted to suggest a better match, a pinot noir either from Burgundy or from California/Oregon. A little more friendly chatting with customers, and some more  elaboration of the elegant menu would go a long way. In fact, I believe that this restaurant definitely should take the lead in creating and publicizing wine-food pairings; especially related to its Indian fusion cuisine (if it already is, will someone please comment on it).

Plating and presentation of food, an extremely important aspect of high-end restaurants, was upto standards expected at major Western restaurants. The wine list was extremely impressive, containing not just reasonable French and Italian wines; but more expensive first-growth Bordeaux's as well. Not being a bar person, I unfortunately cannot review Indigo's much discussed cocktails. Service was professional, competent and prompt; we were never kept waiting. The bill came to approximately 80 US dollars or 3600 Indian Rs; roughly broken up as 50 US $ for the adult and 30 US $ for the teenager.

Indigo's ambiance, food and service are definitely on par with comparably priced restaurants in Manhattan and France, and restaurants better than this one are certainly more expensive.This place is a cut above most five star restaurants run by major multinational corporations in India, and, as expected, far superior to chain restaurants worldwide. Although expensive by Indian standards, this restaurant is very competitive by global standards. It is certainly believable that Indigo was found good enough to be in the top 60 new restaurants in  the year it opened, although very few are likely to rate it as one of the absolute best.

Chef-Entrepreneur Rahul Akerkar is Indigo's creator, and had to undergo a lot of struggle to start this restaurant. His background includes a Master's degree in Bio-Chemical Engineering (Columbia Univ. New York) and years spent in Manhattan restaurant kitchens working with celebrity chefs. The positive effects of both of those formative experiences are very

much in evidence.

(A disclaimer --- All info. contained in the above para is obtained from public domain sources)

That Indigo has survived and flourished for 6+ years implies that this restaurant has numerous discerning patrons who are demanding more than Indian food. This in turn implies that India is generating enterprises that either create or attract more sophisticated upper middle class to rich people; a category that was largely unseen 10 years ago. Allowing for a little hyperbole, one can argue that this restaurant probably serves as a proxy for the emergence of India. However,

Indigo has several milestones to achieve before it breaks into the absolute best in the world; and these are generally among the hardest (increased global scrutiny and comparison, absolutely consistent level of quality and service, and flawless public relations and advertising). An inspiring start that all Indians should be proud of, both the restaurant and India's recent achievements; on balance a "Mild Sign of an Emerging India".

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Indigo - Colaba - Mumbai