In the overall tasty and soul pleasing scheme of things to arrive at our table on a Sunday afternoon, a French onion cheese melt, a seafood couscous salad, a stupendous tenderloin burger, a home style prawn with appam and a dark chocolate basil fondant, were some of the stellar dishes backed by a lingering taste and a relatively lower price tag than its South Bombay cousin.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Sassy Spoon Bandra.
Now, Sassy Spoon needs no introduction to the Bombay audience (the well aware ones), their first branch at Nariman Point has been know for consistently great food helmed by Chef Irfan Pabaney and Chef Rachel Goenka, but also has been regarded as a pricier affair with dishes coming off the skillet at 895 and 995 at the peak for mains like Srilankan baby lamb shanks, pan seared grouper, baked fish and lot more.
The story is a lot different with the Bandra outlet, more accessible in terms of the pricing and more casual (may get noisy especially at the tables inside the bar area), though it does attract the right kind of audience, suburban and willing to spend a decent amount for a meal out at an upper class restaurant. The team has certainly replicated all the essential vibes and spot-on cooking just like at the SoBo branch and almost at a per plate cost that is around approximately 15-20% lesser than the former.
Starting off with one of the best plates from the afternoon, Tenderloin Burger that arrived open-faced with pulled meat, purple lettuce, black olive, chopped peppers all roughly stacked under a sunny side. The burger plate can easily pass off as a plate of main course considering that there is a slightly dignified way of eating this layered beauty inside a deep plate inch by inch, fries after fries. While the 'Cajun spiced Butter Garlic Prawns' does come across as a very Jamie Oliver styled checkered towel wrapped dish in a rustic pan, the melted butter infused with garlic and the Cajun spice mix don't quite compliment each other well or fuse the flavours when you dunk the baguette generously and follow through with a bite of a prawn. What rather comes unpredictably appreciable is the plate of Seafood Couscous Salad. A mellow mix of couscous, prawns and squid, coupled with coriander and a little heat from sliced red chili, all enveloped in a slightly lemony taste. The 'Rava crusted Bombil' was a close to satisfactory attempt at serving a local, yet less appreciated fish with a mild change of including coriander paste as an under-coat before the final semolina dunk.
The place is incomplete without the occasionally loud chatter at the bar, and it would be unfair to not give equal credit to the guys behind the bar for coming up with some well-balanced concoctions like the Mulberry and Orange infused version of Kala Khatta or the Kokum, Chili, Cilantro and Soda stirred 'Soul Cooler' or a simple one with Ginger, Lemon and Basil (Herby) that works a great taste-buds cleanser.
A perfectly timed gap later, the table was greeted with a few more plates- French Onion Melt, Spiced Chicken Wings and Coconut Prawns with Appam; all three succeeding the prior in areas of taste and execution. The Coconut Prawns dish was sequentially the last to reach the table, but the first to get wiped clean. That good! What makes it stupendously overindulgent is the combination of familiar coastal ingredients of prawns cooked in spiced coconut milk along with water chestnut, garnished with crushed peanut and tempered curry leaves all sitting inside a beautiful lacy Appam (always advisable to call for an extra Appam beforehand). The French Onion Melt is something that can never go wrong; warm melting Gruyere intertwined with caramelized onion and sandwiched between buttered bread. The same can be said for classics like Chicken Wings which were more peppery-pungent than spicy-hot and came doused with a spoonful of marmalade glaze on top, which cuts through what may have been a lopsided affair of just chicken and pepper.
With nine plates of food, three mocktails and a beer, this meal proved to be an absolute bang for bucks affair; To be precise, five thousand and forty rupees (inclusive of all the layered taxes) between five is a great price to pay per head. Easily one of the more memorable meal from the recent past, with the Couscous Seafood Salad, Coconut Prawn Appams and Tenderloin Burger being the conquerors of palates, and a deal that was only sweetened by a closing plate of Dark Chocolate Basil Fondant with an oozing liquid center and a basil pine nut ice-cream.
*This meal was followed by two more outings in the next week, a quick high tea with day's chicken sandwich plus tea and a slightly healthy dinner of day's special pumpkin soup plus basil grilled chicken, broccoli, green apple and soft eggs salad, both consistently good with a relatively calmer atmosphere of a weekday (as compared to the weekend brunch), and yet again, not too heavy on the wallet.
*This visit was conducted anonymously and Medium&Rare paid for the meal.