"If you bought Stones tickets and Jagger didn't play Satisfaction, how would you feel?" Exactly the feeling here. South Bombay favourite 'Ellipsis' was high on the list since a long time and reviewing it didn't seem to be the purpose of visit, but more so experiencing the hype around its food and chef Kelvin Cheung who reversed Ellipsis's fortune a little more than a year back.
Arriving a few minutes later into the scene, our fellow epicureans had got the table started and perfumed with fragrance of the white truffle oil emitting from a wooden bowl full of house fries, strong fragrance, one that makes the next tables go "Is that fragrance from the fries ?". Extraordinary scent apart and ingredients of the dish apart, Nine hundred and fifty bucks (950/-) is in no way justified unless it was garnished with a spoon of unseeable Beluga caviar. That right there alerts what is headed your way, perhaps a call from the credit card company asking if you would like to convert your amount from the final bill into EMIs of six or nine months?
Accompanying the fries were steamed dumplings of three varieties i.e : Truffle asparagus, Chicken siu mai and Shrimp. All three taste delicate with respective flavours oozing from the generous filling; the Shrimp particularly gave left a strong crustacean flavour due to its size and freshness. Orders kept flowing from the table, more Prawn dumplings, grilled Prawn tacos, Lobster tacos, fried Chicken buns, Pork belly buns, Buffalo wings and liquids of various nature. First up, the fried Chicken buns. A must order; the crunchy batter, pickled gherkin and juicy chicken is probably what Colonel Sanders would approve of. As far as the Pork belly variation is concerned, the table unanimously drooled over it and went for another portion. The subtly flavoured Prawn and Lobster soft shell tacos were equally relished with a squeeze of lime. So far this meal was straitjacketted in Asian territory; Yes, a modern American diner with a Chinese-Canadian head chef serving a weekend menu that is full of east meets west. Honestly we were all prepared for steaks, burgers, flat-breads and anything that was meaty cheesy messy with a dollop of finesse. At this point it was sure that call was not a play in the head, but an actual foresight.
The two dishes that brought the meal in its deserved direction were the Chicken wings and the Lamb burger. The glossy sticky crust on the wings, flavours of sriracha and Korean chili paste coated on the flesh makes it an instant like. The burger on the other hand was monstrous, like a pumped Hulk straight out of the gym with a flexed harissa patty, sunny side up, goats cheese, tzatziki, et cetera all packaged between two sides of a brioche bun. Priced at a questionable thousand bucks (1000/-) a piece, the lamb must have been grazed at Bilbo baggins's back mountain.
The last order from the savoury section was a humble Lamb tacos. The pulled spiced lamb shank meat with ricotta and pickled onions tastes delicious, a lot native, perhaps it resembled Nihari meat falling off the bone only to be wrapped in tiny sheets of tortilla. On a festive day like 'Eid', if you hadn't been treated to a good lamb, then it's just not right.
Sweet things like Dulce French Toast and Pretzel Pancake were called for the end. If heart attack on a plate is your calling, then this French Toast is the dish you should be savouring on your death bed. Every element that could compliment the other sits either next to the other or on top. Evil brown caramelized Bananas, candied Hazelnuts and that sinister candy of milk 'Dulche le leche' mousse, all the goodness of life served on a single plate with triangles of fried soaked Brioche was never meant to go wrong to say the least. Arguably, anything that came after this, like the Pancake filled with Pretzel Streusel topped with Milk crumbs would only be playing a second fiddle.
This was perhaps the point of culmination of a strange meal with severe identity crisis and occasionally soaring high burst of flavours that could easily stupefy one's thinking if not put them in momentary limbo. Strange, Yes! If you came to a Rolling Stones concert and they played Cantopop instead of their hits, you would certainly be disappointed, disappointed more since you paid a hefty close to Eighteen Thousand Rupees (18,000/-) for the best seat in the house and expected some reputed rock'n'roll. The decor mind you is pure exemplary with its white wall finish and display of large framed canvases, but most people would travel this far only with an appetite for solid food, exceptional hospitality and a known fact that prices will be high, but not burning the underwear.
This particular day at Ellipsis left almost everyone high and dry. The townies cared less about money versus food, each one of them came dressed ready to bet at the race course and an accent so fake that their morning tea with Lord Mountbatten still shows its after effects. Well, for the rest of Mumbai, call the restaurant and ask for the day's menu before making a reservation.
As for the brains at Ellipsis - Always play your hits, if not the entire discography.
Location : Amarchand Mansion, 16 Madame Cama Road, Colaba.