The weekend sneaked in quietly. We decided to welcome it by having dinner on Friday night with a couple of friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. We went to a restaurant in the Beatle Hotel called Rythm. It was a buffet which suited us just fine since the evening was more about the company than the food. There was a Mumbai street food festival going on so the buffet had all the chat foods, indo-chinese dishes, various kinds of bhajias plus several salads and standard dinner fare. It is fun to sample everything in a buffet; but very few things tend to stand out. For me, I was very impressed by the patra. There exists a version of patra in Garhwali cusine which a great aunt of mine once made for us when we visited her. I was touched by her effort to make the snack because it is a fairly complicated process of layering, filling, wrapping, steaming and frying. But this one was spicier and crisper – it had the beautiful combination of tauk, jhal, mishti (sour, hot, sweet) that the Bongs love so much. Let’s just say I had more than one!
The other thing which I particularly enjoyed was the chinese bhel – a beautifully crunchy combination of deep-fried crispy noodles, cabbage, carrots and all the traditional bhel puri ingredients. Yumm-o. The jalebis were softly crisp and just the right amount of sweet but a little too thin for my taste. I like my jalebis with a little body. The vadas and bhajias were nice enough; I ate the bhajias just because it had been so long since I ate them. I laze out on making them at home, so when hot and freshly fried bhajias were served at the table I thought why not? I skipped on most of the chats because I was afraid of where I would end up if I went down that road. It is very hard to turn back from chat galli you see! But I tried the kachori and was sorely disappointed. It tasted like – well, nothing. And the pastry wasn’t even crisp. How disappointing. Made me miss mom’s kachoris again!
Now we move to the dessert table where my heart truly lies. I ate the gulab jamuns because I have to eat them where I find them. They were soft, but too soft and too sweet. My record of not having had better jamuns than my mom’s remains. I did not try the creme brulee just because I don’t get what the fuss is all about. It’s just caramelized sugar with a custard beneath it. The husband loves it and ate multiple I believe. He has been trying to sell the idea to me ever since he fell in love with the dessert in a bakery in Ithaca but I am not buying. Okay it is fun to break the sugar and dip into the custard but what make all that effort for custard. Blah! What I loved where their chocolate cups with fruits and cream which were thin moulded chocolate cups filled with whipped cream and fruit. We had the mandatory discussion on how they must have made the cups. I think it involves some kind of flash freezing of hot chocolate poured into small cups. I remember an adolescent favorite of mine used to be this softy ice cream quickly dipped in hot chocolate. The chocolate freezes and becomes this thin chocolate wafer on top of the ice cream. So you bite into it and the chocolate first melts on your tongue and then the cold ice cream hits you. Beautiful! Oh, ice cream shop beneath Pushpa Shoppe in Adyar, Chennai, why did you shut down? I loved you so!
My personal favorite were the lemon curd tarts – really tiny, bite sized shortbread tarts filled with lemon curd and fruit. Reminded me of the lemon bars – aah! Such joy. Sweet and tart lemon curd, your taste still lingers on my tongue. Sigh. I skipped the mocha mousse cake because somehow the flavor seemed too strong to pair with the lemon. I did have the black forest-like cake with chocolate cake, whipped cream and cherries just for old times sake. The creme caramel was nice and moist but the pairing with the fruits did not go well at all. I mean why put fruit on everything? What I was seriously disappointed was the panna cotta. Panna cotta is supposed to be demoulded and served. It is supposed to be hard so when you unmould it, it looks beautiful. This one was served in a shot glass and had not even set properly. It just tasted like sweet cream. Didn’t eat more than a bite. And I’m not one to waste dessert!
I think though that the most fun that evening was had by the baby. But that is true of his life in general I guess – he has fun everywhere he goes! He loved the aloo bhajias and his dinner consisted of aloo bhajias, vegetable soup and a pav! But the best part for him was meeting up with his uncle, as he calls all grown up males nowadays. He is partial to males – no I don’t know what that says about him, but that’s how it is! He kept running around behind uncle as uncle walked around the buffet and uncle pampered him by carrying him around, taking him out when he asked and letting his parents eat. Such nice friends we have! I tend to get worked up when the baby runs around restaurants but the service staff was quite accommodating with him, as were our co-diners. My brother likes to call this the “society tax” you have to pay for living in a society.
This is not a review of the restaurant – here’s my disclaimer after the recent brouhaha about food blogger reviews vs food critic reviews. This is just me sharing my experiences of a visit to the restaurant. I would go back, it piqued my interest enough that I would go there when I am in the mood for a buffet rather than going to Rodas. And of course in the hope of meeting the lemon curd tart again.