There’s no shame in being outclassed by a plate of minuscule chicken cubes floating in a glorious ginger glaze or being cast in the shade by thin slices of barely seared Tuna sitting on buttery avocado or in being shown up by a plate of Italian tagliatelle that tastes every bit Asian induced by Kaffir lime leaves and a mix of sea-creatures in its red curry body. Reopening a kitchen that was hit by fire only a few months back, dishing out a brand new lunch menu and living up to it's repertoire seems like a deja-vu moment from David Kinch's Californian 'Manresa' in 2014.
Mind you, this meal is what any average person will label as expensive. At 600 odd rupees for a small plate and 900 to 1000 bucks for mains, this is something you don't do regularly, but when you do, you make sure you've got good company who appreciates what's coming their way and also its exclusivity in this current world of metropolitan cooking that believes in serving anything and everything with a touch of dry ice.
One glance at the menu and you can, if you've been to Ellipsis, find many a typographical similarities in the print and also in the mind of the chef. Although the former turned out to be a one dimensional affair few months back during the last few working days of Kelvin C. Ellipsis, mind you, was good; but in the grand scheme of media hype of chef's retirement from the outlet and the weekend brunch menu in particular was mostly jaded and had a gang of eight lost in its mass of printed textual porn and one redeeming dish-Dulche French Toast (read here)
A brief look at Table's Lunch menu and it looks imaginative, scary and varied. Varied is good, simply because you can jump right from a Crab & Watermelon Salad to Provençal Lamb Ragoût to a Shrimp Dumpling, like our order of small plate-Boneless Chicken Wings and a portion of a Tuna Tataki. The Wings here are boneless, cuboid and float on some strangely compelling Ginger Glaze and come with a much needed side of Brioche. The meat itself is simply seasoned, but hold the cube on your left, Brioche on your right and bring them both together inside your mouth and let your taste-buds appraise it. It's made for everyone, not one palette left. The slightly seared Tuna on the other hand may not be kindergarten level, comes with a ginger-soy-lime vinaigrette, garnished with stunningly beautiful cross-sections of hard to find Watermelon Radish, all of which sits on some flawless Avacado. It's a dish that draws a respectable caricature of the original Japanese plate, some well deserved brownie points to the Chef for this one. Next to arrive was a rather simple looking bowl of Zucchini Spaghetti. If Spaghetti were to sue someone, it would be something called the 'Spiralizer'. Of course, the Zucchini has to look glamorous and inviting when it has to compete with some beautiful strands of Spaghetti. Nevertheless, both come slightly sealed in olive oil and visibly contrasting nuts. Parmesan though mentioned on paper had disappeared by the time the plate reached us. A generous grate of that cheese is absolutely missing, to add some textural quality, and also for some visual play.
A fine-dine meal doesn't necessarily have to be muted by the silence of knives and forks. Some plates call for getting into the action, holding a Shrimp Taco, squeezing lime, adding a dash of fresh salsa, roasted jalapeno dip, closing the ends and heading it into the holy place. This particular one tends to make you a little untidy, reaching for the napkin and wanting another one. The combination of components work just fine by themselves, a touch of the sides though elevates it a notch up and into a moment when you look across your table waiting to get similar reaction, and you do get that. Straight away you know everyone is going for a spoonful of that roasted dip again.
The last two plates to arrive were a Tagliatelle of Seafood in Red Curry and a Roasted Red Snapper. The former was perhaps a torrid love affair of east meets west and where flat ribbon like pasta romances the robust flavours of Kaffir lime. On paper it may come across a bit melancholic, but that first forkful makes even a Hungarian Goulash seem less comforting on such a wintry day. It's deep, layered, filled with goodness of shrimp, fish, clams and calamari. Get the bowl closer, make sure you're in the best seat in the house, and keep your eyes clear on any femme fetale floating around; this dish demands your attention. The Snapper plate in contrast is delicate, a mild coating of Ginger-Miso and served on a bed of warm spinach. The dish feels singular in taste unless you have all three components on your spoon-Fish, the complex piece of cabbage garnish and lesser spinach.
In a nutshell, the meal was largely consistent and quantifiable when it comes to the final amount. At 7245 bucks for ten items including taxes and service charge, it may come across a tad expensive and that should be perfectly okay with any wallet that dines in an upmarket eatery in SoBo and one where taste is respected a little more over the visuals. Particularly glad that menu was well-tailored for the multi-religious city crowd and there's something for everyone. 'The Table' can easily hold it's head up high for being in the list of elitist eatery across Bombay, gotta bookmark this one.
Menu details : http://thetable.in/food_menu/Lunch.pdf
Location : Ground floor, Kalapesi Trust Building, Opp. Dhanraj Mahal, Below Hotel Suba Palace, Apollo Bunder Marg, Colaba