Long story short: Gallops offers the sweet taste of nostalgia and a view that’s beautiful enough to die for
Once upon a time, in a far-away land where I wore a younger man’s clothes, a few things took on the form of rare treats to my primitive mind. Among them was the simple joy of playing cricket, for my dad never let me play, fearing that the local Wasim’s, Lillee’s and Holding’s would knock my head off. Even more pleasurable were the late-night drives to the airport, with the city’s highways bedecked in a blanket of halogen orange at the eeriest hours of night.
But perhaps more than anything else, I looked forward to family visits to Gallops. The most gallant of steeds in my eyes, Gallops has a stately, immaculate old-world charm that commanded instant respect, what with its imperial interiors, a ceiling that stretched all the way to the sky (as seen by my little eyes) and stone walls that exuded elegance. To my juvenile mind, it was the trifecta; it had incredible food, a view for which paeans are sung and a sense of occasion second to none.
This Sunday gone by, I stepped into a wormhole that took me back to Gallops and while the world has moved on, Gallops has stood still at the crossroads of time. Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.
We sat at a window table and enjoyed our little slice of heaven as the rain danced a staccato pattern on the glass. There is a good reason that this was high up on my list of must-visit places in the monsoon, and the lush greenery coupled with morbidly overcast skies framing Mumbai’s skyline would have made for a very pretty site were it not for the splendor of Gallops in and of itself.
The staff were quick with their recommendations and friendly too, and on their recommendation we ordered for a Chicken Kalimirch to kick off proceedings. While it made its way to us, we all savoured our individual drinks on the day.
Let’s kick off then with the weakest link of the lot. Yatin’s Cold Coffee with Ice Cream was homely, and I don’t mean that in a good way. If you paid for a Ferrari and got a Fiat, you would have good reason to feel very shortchanged. Although truth be told, all Ferrari’s are Fiat’s in much the same way all Audi’s are Volkswagen’s. Like that analogy, the Cold Coffee too was tenuous at best, trying to hang on dearly to our attention but failing to do so.
Our trip down memory lane continued with the Gateway Sunrise, which was essentially Gold Spot reinvented. This drink served as another glimpse into a glorious past where no birthday was complete without samosas, chips, a return gift and some Gold Spot. Bottle this stuff and sell it. Heck, even patent the formula. You’ll earn millions from the sweet taste of nostalgia for ‘90s kids.
My Mojito on the other hand, was a classic in every sense of the term and the only thing that irked lazy ol’ me was the fact that I had to actually stir the damn thing to get the minty syrup at the bottom to billow across the rest of the drink. Annoyed, I resorted to pretending my lil’ horsey stirrer was a horse galloping across a great expanse as it made near perfect circles of the perimeter of the glass.
The Chicken Kalimirch was mildly spiced and quite nice on the whole, but it was nothing significantly different from anything you’d try anywhere else. Cooked flawlessly and with flecks of peppercorn on it, it was quite enjoyable when one swabbed up the mint chutney along with it. A special word of praise should be reserved for the naan it came nestled on, which was slender and tender, wonderful to the last.
For the main we ordered a Pan Seared Indian Salmon with Lemon Caper sauce, fries and assorted veggies between us as we had big plans lined up. Seared to perfection, the issue with this was the Lemon Caper sauce in itself, which was too salty to enjoy with the fish that accompanied it. It was bit like finally getting to hang out with that hot girl you’ve always dreamed of, except her clingy friend you don’t like tags along and makes it a threesome on the first date. Ugh.
The Garlic Bread we ordered as a side was a better complement to the Lemon Caper sauce, but I can swear by all the 9,999 Indian gods that the Garlic Bread was just the generic stuff you can pick up for 40-50 bucks a piece at your favourite neighbourhood bakery. Like my childhood, it was very unmemorable in large parts.
They say you should never revisit your childhood heroes nor big them up in your head, but with Gallops I walked in with my eyes wide open. I knew the food, like my pop culture references, are stuck in the ‘90s. I knew that I could do much better on the day. But for a view that’s prettier than the sun setting on Charlize Theron, it’s hard to beat the picture postcard perfect gorgeousness that is Gallops. Visit it while the rain gods are in town and you’ll be feeding both belly and soul. Now that’s a deal that’s hard to resist.