The Tasting Room
by Annalisa Merelli
4 July 2009
The Tasting Room
Good Earth Building
Raghuvanshi Mills Compound
Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai
Ph. +91.22.6528.5284, +91.22.2495.1954
I discovered The Tasting Room the day I learned that not everywhere restaurants are open all day. In Bombay, for instance, they are open for lunch. And they are open for dinner. But not in between.
This is something very important to keep in mind if you are planning to cross the city to get to your favorite restaurant. Because the moment a sorry restaurant manager explains you that the kitchen has been shut down fifteen minutes before your arrival is not a happy one.
Well, it's right after the shock of being denied the best Italian food in town that I heard of The Tasting Room for the first time. A friend suggested it as a backup plan, and now I can say is I wish all the time second options were as good as this one.
The place was a nice surprise, and it quickly healed my foodie bad mood with its smiling, accurate service and chilled atmosphere. The restaurant location is unusual: it's inside a furniture shop. If you think that food and furniture can be sold together only at Ikea (and even then it's quite odd) you are probably right, but don't let it discourage you from checking out The Tasting Room. In fact, there's something a bit dandy about dining right next to a display of elegant armchairs and upholstery. Like, if you receive a call, you can leave the table, go to the next room, sit comfortably on a designer sofa, and play the cool.
Something in The Tasting Room just makes you feel at ease, relax, and take your time. It's probably the of the awesome restaurant decor. High ceilings, washed off wall paint, nice chandeliers (with price tags still on, but by now we should know perfection is illusion, right?): the rooms have somehow trapped inside that decadent, drab, tropical Bombay lush that makes the city so unique. You will end up spending there much more time than you expected, possibly discussing art and literature, just because it matches with the ambiance.
Salad, bagels, sandwiches: even after with the kitchen closed (as it was, by the time we got there) you can have a really good meal. I suggest the duck breast salad with orange dressing. It was great.
And treat yourself to desserts, they're worth it: I had a wonderful fruit cheesecake that tasted exactly like a cheesecake, not like that sort of scam-dessert that most Indian bakeries dare labeling "cheesecake".
Great discovery, then, and for those who make it to lunch (or dinner) at a decent time, the menu offers a mouth watering (at least according to names and ingredients listed, which is all I could taste!) range of main courses, pasta and risotto. I'm still fantasizing about those linguine with lemon sauce: anyone had the pleasure?