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You often hear people say that you can ‘see with your mind’, or ‘listen with your heart’ or ‘feel with your soul’. I believe them.

In fact I would take it a bit further and say that you can ‘smell’ something dangerous, ‘touch’ someone with your creativity and ‘taste’ the rain in the air before it comes pouring down. Try it, if you haven’t already!

But, ‘eat with your eyes’? Never been too sure of that one. It’s not just about getting past the literal meaning, erasing graphic visuals of eyelashes dipped in a soup or, worse, a forkful of Chicken Tikka Masala NOT heading towards your mouth… Ouch!

It’s also about those dramatic guys at Dans Le Noir who believe that dining in complete darkness enhances your experience of the food, because in the absence of visual clues from your eyes in a zero-light setting, all your other senses of touch, smell, hearing and taste become acutely sharpened to compensate for and boost your overall dining-in-the dark experience.

But then again, I would never say no to a beautiful bowl of Muesli like this one, 

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Pic courtesy Camille Styles

glistening with shiny spring berries, a mix of toasted nuts scattered liberally on it, and a blob of promisingly sweet creamy yoghurt resting gently on the top… even though Muesli is one of my most hated things to eat!

And then there are those dishes or cocktails served in smoking cradles and bubbling baths that look like something out of your dreams, but turn quickly into nightmares in your mouth…

Such are the conflicting thoughts that go through the head of a food reviewer such as myself (I hope and pray I’m not alone in this!) when trying out a plethora of dishes at a new establishment. Most of them stick to the middle section of the palate range based on which part of the globe they are in, albeit with a few rebellious nudges and touches here and there. But some start off at two extreme ends of the spectrum – too purist or too experimental. And then there are places like Slink & Bardot, the new French restaurant in the city of Mumbai, that are just delightfully unpeggable.

The curiously-named Restaurant and Lounge (ask the irrepressible and charming co-founder Nick Harrison for the story behind the naming 😉) is housed in a restaurant that has seen several changes of hands and paint and cuisines, but never so elegant in design or so plush in feel. The service is surprisingly intuitive and the servers very well-informed about the complex, multi-component dishes. The menu promises French dishes in small plates that are easy to pronounce AND easy on your pocket. (A tail-coated Frenchman somewhere in the world just shook his head in disgust at such a slight… ‘French and affordable? Merde!’)

And the food… beautiful to your eyes, flavourful to your nose, textured and nuanced to your palate and so good that you spontaneously want to give Chef de Cuisine Alexis Gielbaum a big bear hug… just don’t scare him off please because I want to go back for my next round and try out all the other fabulous secret recipes that he has up his sleeves that I got a delicious little peek into!

Here’s a look at some of the dishes and cocktails at Slink & Bardot. Drool, and then make a beeline for this beautifully-appointed cottage at the edge of the sea, and the Sea-Link!

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With Chef Alexis and Gaurav Sharma and Dolly Bose in the busy but pristine kitchen

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With the charming Nick Harrison, Suprio Bose, Dolly Bose and Gaurav Sharma at the lively bar

 

Riyaz Amlani and team Impresario, twirl your hand in a flourish, and take a deep bow, as the French would! 🙂

 

 

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