A spoonfull of sass

Naughty and whimsical, Sassy occasionally serves up spoonfuls of wow

After indulging in meals at both outlets of Sassy Spoon, I think I’m in a fair position to talk about spooning and forking.

“Quirky”, is the first word that pops into my head when I land up at the Sassy Spoon’s Nariman Point outfit. How else would you describe being greeted by the image of a pink bicycle with asymmetrical wheels and a basket on the front? It was clearly the brainchild of someone’s whimsical inner child that never grew up.

A shot of the kitschy bintage brad boxes lining the wall
A shot of the kitschy vintage bread boxes lining the wall

Stepping inside didn’t do much to dispel the notion. The place, while pretty as a picture, had more oddities to show off than Nicholas Cage’s filmography. With its upturned lights, pink chairs and dim-lit romantic allure, the snugness of it all was hard to escape.

Speaking of escape, it was here that we first ran across Chef Irfan as he trotted through the restaurant with the watchful gaze of an invigilator on his pupils.

However, a 10 minute conversation with him is all it took to gauge the passion he poured into Sassy. And it shows, for the place is nothing if not a labour of love.

Through the looking glass separating the al fresco area from the inner sanctum
Through the looking glass separating the al fresco area from the inner sanctum

If the Nariman Point outlet carries with it the air of romance, the Bandra joint is more like sitting on a rich friend’s patio and just chilling, if said friend charges you a bomb for food and drinks after plying you with them.

There’s no way of beating around the bush; at near or above Rs. 600++ for the better dishes and with some of the cocktails touching Rs. 750++, it will burn a hole through your pocket. But with its eclectic offerings that bring the best of world cuisine together like a culinary Avengers, it is sometimes well worth the hit.

A show of the childlike inventiveness at work was well and truly apparent in the Korean Pork Belly with Spicy Lyonnaise Potatoes. Think of it as sweet, savoury and mildly spicy flavours enjoying a ménage à trois and you’ll begin to understand it better.

Seduction through sweetness, savory and spiciness
Seduction through sweetness, savory and spiciness

The peach on top was spread liberally so as not to overpower the tender meat that stopped just short of being melt in the mouth fantastic. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this one of the best dishes of its ilk in the city, but if you see this little piggy on the market, you’d do well to call for a portion of it.

Legends have been told to me of a legendary Coconut Rice on offer here, and the only way to get some of it is to call for a side of Tamarind Chilly Rawas with it. A man must do what a man must do, and so we went with the flow. Like a riddle wrapped in a puzzle, the leady layers unfolded around to reveal the meaty fillet of Rawas served to us.

The stellar Tamarind Chilly Rawas with the interstellar Coconut Rice
The stellar Tamarind Chilly Rawas with the interstellar Coconut Rice

This was one cut of fish that had landed up on the platter after working out at the gym big time, but even though it was a contender for Mr. Universe, it won few laurels from me because Sideshow Bob (aka the Coconut Rice) stole the limelight from it. Savoury, milky and steeped in a big vat of elegance, this Coconut Rice is as close to comfort food as we got on the day. Ignore it at your own peril.

There’s something distinctly fishy about the special lady in my life, and so I wasn’t surprised to see her plump for the Cajun Prawns. The prawns, however, didn’t work out like its fishy brother that preceded it and was quite wiry and lean in comparison. No matter, so long as it packed a serious punch I’d be more than happy to eat my words and the prawns along with it. However, the prawns themselves weren’t doused in flavour, and so I found succour in the arms of another.

Come to me, warm bread. I shall dunk you in the oily, greasy, surprisingly flavorsome slop this thing is swimming in and give you the loving home in my belly you deserve. I went all Jurassic on the bread and gravy combo as I turned into an on-nom-nom-osaurus. However, all good things must come to an end and so I wistfully said goodbye as I made that plateful of food extinct.

Strange bedfellows that make for a spectacular combo. The Dark Chocolate and Basil Fondant
Strange bedfellows that make for a spectacular combo. The Dark Chocolate and Basil Fondant

Some classics are ageless, like Tito belting out Rain Down in Africa or Anu Malik crooning Dekho bearish Ho Rahi Hai. Anyone saying that those two songs are anything but classics is due a paddling! Much in a similar sense, the Grilled chicken with potatoes of the day, olives and peppers was a comforting, evolved take on a homely comfort classic. The meat was succulent and mild, if not as tender as I might have liked, and the veggies accompanying it were bursting with freshness, screaming for joy as they danced all over my palate. For those struck with analysis paralysis as they glance at the menu, this option is tailor-made for you.

Of the desserts, I tried the Seven layered textured Hazelnut and Chocolate cake and can safely say that it answers the prayers of those that worship at the altar of the God of Chocolate. With brownie, sponge, fondant, mousse, chocolate discs and a chocolatey biscotti base thrown in for good measure, the only way this could be better is if Katrina Kaif invited you to share it with her in a tub of chocolate. Scrumptious, sinful and utterly gorgeous; and I haven’t even spoken of Katrina yet!

Seduction by sweetness. The Seven Layered Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake
Seduction by sweetness. The Seven Layered Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

The steady stream of hot chocolate poured over it serves to melt away its layers and your own inhibitions. Decadent, gooey, sweet and slightly crumbly as you work your way to the bottom, the only thing truly missing is some dark chocolate or chilli chocolate even, but that’s just me nitpicking. Highly recommended for the chocolate lovers, this might be a bit much for some thanks to its excesses.

The one dessert I would unabashedly recommend though is the one that flies a bit under the radar. This is a dish that has two very unlikely bedfellows cavorting under the sheets, such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. The menu said this is served with a drizzle of EVOO, and my mind drifted to thoughts of Tommi Mäkinen at the wheel of his EVO. I quite like EVO’s, and so was disappointed not to get one with this.

Instead, what I got was some Extra Virgin Olive Oil. No matter, I’d make do with it. Guess I can always do with a few extra virgins, even if Olive Oyl isn’t particularly my type.

Lovely Lemon Meringue Tart, but it was so large that its loveliness grew thin by the end.
Lovely Lemon Meringue Tart, but it was so large that its loveliness grew thin by the end.

As for the dessert itself, revealed a gush of green ectoplasm from the fondant and yes, it can look pretty unappetizing at first.

Don’t judge a book by its cover though; the fragrance of the basil beautifully counteracts the dark chocolate and the delightful ice cream served on the side completes the holy trifecta. I never thought I’d enjoy Tulsi after hating Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi for years, but by the gods, it can be quite the tasty dish with the right dash of inventiveness.

In an era where eateries seem like they’ve been made from the mold of the same cookie-cutter, Sassy Spoon boldly tries to walk the path less trodden, and for that alone I commend them. Inevitably, some of the dishes end up being misses, and some linger longer. It is a small price to pay for eclectic experiments dished out with a liberal dose of sass.

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